Hello Neighbour

Good morning!
You who live next door
Or down the street or over road
Householder tucked away
In your private world
Of yard and kitchen or shed

You retired now
Or walking down the street
to the dawn commute
Ferny Grove line to CBD
Opening your business doors
Or tucked in your converted office
Calling customers from home.

You who are old and young
Aren’t yet claiming to know English
Or born to the dialect of these hills
Indigenous ancients shyly hidden
Or whites plump with generations here
You with the cerebal palsy the walker
You ladies briskly chatting your way past.

You whose names I know and don’t
Names that won’t stay
But you’ve sure made your mark
You anonymous faces & bodies
You youth swarming after school
Dispersing to Coles checkout or sport
You drinkers and eating crowds at clubs
You huddling craft and gossip circles
Or choirs and prayer chains.

You all matter the question is only
How it will weave through the fabric
You will be the old lady collapsed
The lad’s sporting victory to celebrate
The distressed girl seeking a home
The dog terrified by lightning panting in fear
Claiming your right to our care
When the time comes you will be
Our most dangerous enemy or
Our most precious ally all hands together.
We will be here with you when the time comes.

Your ignorance is my challenge
Your wit my delight
Your engaged argument inspiration
Your litter my cross humble chore.
Your blind dogma terrifies me.
You drive my despair in humanity
Or bring me comfort and hope
With wisdom & tea & home-cooked
Your sheer ordinariness
(Since inclusion matters so)
Raises questions the elites ignore
Your inertia & business as usual
As the alarm bells scream
Drives me to keep pressing to rowse you
To gird your loins for rapid action.

Your water tank is my peace of mind
Your debt & status toys
The gnawing cancer thriving
Your tight-fisted territorial snarls
Over patches you defend from change
Your all-consuming burden of work
Or your dream-state of travel & play
Your school work & game on Saturday
The pleasures of the kids & grandkids
Your gatherings whether regular or to prepare for
Leaves hands and minds short
For the important urgent work
I worry away about ‘What to do’
The contingency planning
Solution-focused rescue team-building
Preparation now for ahead.

You are the journey I am on
Mired in my people incompetence
I listen and seek for threads
To begin discussions accept the now and
Desperately hope for inching action
What will entice you unlock you?
What do you already think and know?
What are you doing understanding?
How far have you already given your heart
To this journey into the future?
Are you on your own other journey?
Or will you include me and all in your plan
If you have one. Are you seeking a way?
Do my visions and searching strike accord
Or do you dismiss them with contempt?
What do you fear hope believe?
Where is your thrusting energy passion
Inspired optimism & belief in the possible?

You are the journey you in this place
(Do you even see yourself as here
Or is it a temporary stopover to elsewhere?)
You fitted into the social fabric
Where you become integral to making it work
Where what you do makes a difference
Where your input thinking arguments
Bring to our community ‘Senate’ wisdom
To plan and develop here
Your heart is the binding glue of trust
And love and knowing that weaves us tight to one
Your children are all our future.

Good morning! Say hello passing on the street
Or speak your mind clearly and firmly to me
In a meeting or on Facebook
Forum or Twitter.
I hang hoping for your every word
Mourn your struggle with language or ideas
Celebrate every thread you share
We can always hug and give a helping hand
Tell me “My name is …” I’ll be glad to know.
Tribe-building precious locals one at a time.

January 2011