David Gilbey #1 – Wagga Marketplace, Friday: A Pilgrim’s Progress

Hello fellow blogger poets,

I’m not sure if this is the right way to start & proceed, but here goes:
I meant to post this from Wagga, before leaving for Japan a fortnight ago – it was commissioned by a suburban/regional mall management as a starter to a series of ‘Mall Poet’ community posts for the company’s website.


Wagga Marketplace, Friday: A Pilgrim’s Progress


It’s our shelter from the spring squall – our Friday fix, our Canterbury, Rome, Mecca.

And the Murrumbidgee’s rising.

We enter from the underbelly carpark, the travelator pushing us up to

this other world: lighter, brighter, forever new …

where we can change our clothes, our hair, our kitchen – our life.

Disability mobility makes pilgrims of us all.

Let’s take the way of window-shopping, of massage, of caffeine, of skin balm.


Today the Hub is vacant – its industrial aircon underwear is showing.

Last week journalists tapped away at their craft: living sculptures of Wagga’s media life

creating the news as we watched.

Some people spend their whole days here, says Dinah – mall dwellers –

a place to be loved.

A travel agent looks hopeful, beckoning punters to other skies, other boulevardes –

linked by phone, Facebook, the stockmarket.

A hairdresser bends intently over scissors; strands of blonde and auburn bless the floor.


Crowds cluster at the Carvery where electric knives whine like digital games;

wontons, like fresh-caught sea-cucumbers, are tonged from boiler to bain-marie;

today’s espresso arousal fights the inertia of deep-frying;

I fancy the improbability of pomegranate and lime juice;

grilled salmon sushi looks like delicate afternoon tea bliss bombs …

As the crowds thin after lunch we can see the sheen on the pebblecrete –

and the cleaner says she loves her five-day-a-week queendom.

Michel stops by – he’s celebrating a family hundredth this weekend:

his son’s thirtieth plus a friend’s seventieth.


We are less ideal than the shop windows we gaze into

but in the fashion wing we could be in Paris, Tokyo, Dubai airport –

Chloé (is that accent right?), Jeans West, Napoleon Perdis …

the intense insouciance of Bras ‘n Things …

A keycutter jokes with a man about a lock, tapping him lightly, laughingly on the head …

Bargain suits: royal blue or charcoal edged with fake leather

just $199 – and a pair of shoes thrown in!

Japan comes to Wagga with pastel hearts stationery.

Even in the toilets, the coolth of faux granite & marble soothes –

we could be in a forest or close to Nature’s intricate cliffs.


So we go back to face our ordinary lives almost re-branded

like our city Wagga Wagga –

the Art-Deco double W of the Marketplace only just echoing

its bigger W brothers inside.

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