Towering over the townsfolk, yet unnoticed,
The Wanderer ambles through the streets of Mandurah.
His white shirt and black pants
are well-worn but clean.
Close-cropped silver hair frames his gentle face.
Like a bear forgotten by a travelling circus,
he can be seen rambling to
Furnissdale or Halls Head or Silver Sands.
As he pauses to quench his vision,
God’s butler offers him the silver-plated estuary,
the piece de resistance sprinkled with pelicans.
Looking at the old bridge,
he sees the fisherfolk jostling for casting space.
He wanders on alone,
past the real estate offices
where homogenised photos of faceless suburbs
shout out their dreams
in the form of women’s names
or advertising executives’ utopian fantasies.
As The Wanderer passes,
Mr White-Kneesocks-Safari-Suit shakes his head,
knowing he cannot sell him a mortgaged prison.
NOTE: In a previous incarnation, I drove taxis in a smallish town (with ambitions to be a city) called Mandurah which was about 72km south of Perth. For Kiwis, try to imagine Mount Manganui in the 1960s/1970s and you would get the picture of what it was like when I lived in Mandurah. As a taxi driver, I had plenty of time for observation (fuel for the writer's imagination) and I noticed that there were a number of eccentric personalities/characters that lived in Mandurah. I had the feeling that these characters I dubbed "shamans" were not appreciated in Mandurah. I think that the town fathers and others of their ilk who liked to project an image of Mandurah as a modern, clean, tidy, family-friendly tourist destination saw the "shamans" as blots on the shiny, shiny vista they envisaged. I'm sure if they could have had them re-located somewhere out of sight, they would have. Personally, I love social "outliers". They make life interesting.