The Smoking Chimpanzee

I peer closer. Really? A man in an old jacket
Is giving a chimpanzee a light from his own cigarette.
Corner of Hastings and Carrall.

Its not real. Relax. It’s not that mad down here.
Its a poster in a gallery window.
“ A captive chimpanzee enjoys a cigarette
with a visitor to the zoo (circa 1930‘s).
Scratch Records presents Prisoners”. Its a gig. Music.
It’s music represented by a cigarette smoking depressed chimpanzee.

I want to gag. What is wrong
with us? Humans I mean?

Across the street I read the letters ‘o’ v’ e’
The L is missing. Its in purple paint. no L.
Doesn’t look like it was ever there.
Next door to that is the Carrall St Church Gospel MIssion.
“Absolutely nothing is to be sold in front of this window. The Lord Rains!”

Suddenly a plastic lighter skitters into the middle of the road. I look around.
Could have been anyone. A nice grey car passing through, crushes it immediately.
Nice. God is pretty funny, Mr Gospel Mission.
By magic I hear laughter behind me.
Ok, this is getting surreal. Did Mr Gospel hear me?
It’s trailing off now in the other direction.

I think back to my friend this morning. I knocked on his door, too early.
Dishevelled but very German and courteous as ever.
“Where’s your security gate gone? “ I asked him
“Oh... it got broken off. People are rough with it and want to sleep in the doorway.”
He looks rough to me, I think.
This whole place is a mix of clean and dirty.
Clean hearts, dirty hair.
Clean hair, dirty hearts.
How do you know the inside of the person smiling at you?

Bars on doors and windows.
A chimpanzee in a cage. Enjoying a smoke.
“Bring your ID if you want to drink” says the monkey.

I look up to check the address. East Cordova Street. 000
Really? I peer closer.
West Cordova Street. 000

This place doesn't exist.


 jamie griffiths June 25 2011