Empty skyscrapers come bellowing the tune of the strike cities – across the railways and slipways, down the random boulevardes and blasted arcades, through the monumental parks and plastic conduits – their emissaries calling, each cubicle mapping the terrain of your capital, the inside of your liberty bell.

Send telexes to your brothers, sisters, for the time is dead and lights have failed us. Shout slogans at the pageboys, entrepreneurs of falsity! Here we come, bearing cannons, bearing gum.

It’s too late for temper. Shadows pulse and rhythm races down the tracks you once called yours, in the towns that have become cities. All now on strike. On high alert, knocking buildings down. Flakes of snow on every hat, cats stepping lightly over your bones.

Or roll over in the grasses, down by the levee, where the sleepers shroud.

Candlesticks and pumpkin heads smashed with pikes, all lands asleep under the curse of our dread destiny. Whether early or too soon the polarities speak through you, whistle lonely as a harbour master’s wife in high seas. Spreading cutlery on a wobbly bench, seeeking pairs, seeking silver.

Each heavenly street, each sorry intersection on strike, a shimmering set of anthems for national consumption, local interrogations. They will come. Bring blankets and typewriters, stencils. Echoes and refrains of once-mighty rivers drained till swamped.

Steal leaves from books and paste them on stars. Then fly. Cities like gigantic zeroes plotted on transparent maps. Television countdowns, radar spirals. Strike cities coming in from colonial hopes on Mars. Soldiers crying in laneways, highways filled with cars.

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