The high-rises were going up and the builders dust
was blasting sideways every time a truck juddered past
in a flatulent rush. All night, the squeaking of axles
and the hollow thumps of rusted barrels –
I was striving for noble silence but could only manage
tinnitus. The mind, like muscle, will eat itself
if not nourished. All highways are charmless –
they’re for people who work just for the paid leave,
counting down the months and weeks
until Bali or Thailand or Tahiti – a highway
gets you to the place you postponed happiness for
as fast as possible. No wonder I was miserable.
So I veered off down a side street in the loveless chill
of a wintry spring and trekked mud through the carpet
on the day I moved in; the awning forming a prison
of rainwater. Boxes strewn through the kitchen,
I gazed out at a hulking mobile phone tower
behind the trees: At least you’ll get reception here?
The nearest tram stop was Arlington; orderly
as a model train running through a miniature village.
Whenever I walked towards it, my body would shrink
but so too would my surroundings – the only clue
as to why it felt weird was the sound – as in dreams,
Arlington was muted; soundless. Trams would appear
in silence and I’d join its cargo of tiny people
to travel, like an epiphany, back to the loudness of life.