inconstant street

Inconstant Street

I live in a house on Inconstant
Street, with weeds for a garden
and shutters that always stay shut.
I know for a fact that the world is
my oyster—it’s glued to a rock
and I can’t prise it open.

Penny Lope left a note in everyone’s mail,
an invite to a party to be held
in the street. But I didn’t get one,
so I asked her the reason.

I don’t exist, that’s what she told me,
though I’m almost sure that I do.
My hand moves, the pen writes,
and Inconstant Street’s secrets appear.


On Saturday night, I peeked through
the shutters, watched as they danced
a blue tango.

Well after late,
when the night seeks the day,
a car with no headlamps

With glowing red eyes
and his claws on the wheel,
the motorist drove right on through
But not a soul noticed, they just
went on dancing the blue.

His plates were grey numbers,
with innumerable nines, and
I jotted down quite a few.
But no-one was injured, they just
went on dancing the blue.


Now Monday’s arrived and they’re still
out there dancing, I’m starting to wonder—
do I live in a street full of wraiths?

When the tango has ended, I think I’ll
see Penny, and maybe she’ll teach me
the steps.

Blue Tango by Leroy Anderson is one of my favorite tangos, it has a kind of inevitability about it.

Turns out there aren’t many Inconstant Streets in the world. I only found one, at Blackheath in the Blue Mountains near Sydney. Although there were a number of vessels with the same name, I imagine the street was named after the sailing ship that brought immigrants to Australia in 1849. I don’t think it’s a particularly good name for a street. Or anything really.

Smoky day, George’s river.

5 thoughts on “inconstant street

  1. I love the way you turned the old cliche of the world is your oyster into a fresh surprise. There’s so much in this story/poem. I’m glad you’re almost sure you exist.

    • Thanks. Existence is tricky. I’m pretty sure blogging doesn’t prove you exist, but I don’t think it matters. I love writing and playing around with visual art (when I have the time 🙁 ), and it’s great to know there are people out there who enjoy my work.

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