The green streets of Canberra City
(not Lyneham, from there onward it is relaxed suburbia)

Someone is targeting Pablo on the streets of Canberra City.
Targeting him like a smooth peanut butter eater should be targeted.
My friend Joel makes jokes about smooth peanut butter. But it is no laughing matter.
It is a thin line across fluoro tagged bricks
behind Currong’s eight stories and Allawah Court
all soon gone like baby pee-wees near nesting Currawongs.

Someone is after Pablo at the corner of North and Ainslie.
After him through his tags
like a fat kid in primary school after those giant choc chip cookies
that don’t taste like cookies. I know. He eats them every recess and lunch
that’s like three a day. What the hell. That fat kid was me. There’s no redemption there.
And all that wall space with just a giant capitalised ‘one’. Pablo would take that.
The pidgeon on the wall in the picture, it’d have a speech bubble that says, “Pablo”.

Armed with a quiver of poets I took on Pablo and he literally stripped me.
Laid one poet on the Avenue and Currong corner
(behind that broken red box fire hydrant).
The second was left lying in sticky ichor
down the screaming junkie alley behind Bega flats.
Yes the one where the junkies go to scream– they don’t all live there
and yes all these fights are behind things– and yes they are all in the city.
Canberra City is ground zero for Pablo.
He’s not waiting the red light, eyes on Walgreens.

Because Pablo is a bastard and he’s in Canberra. I’ve been scheming.
Scheming ever since that first morning. Maybe it’s time to go in again.
I know a guy that knows a Pablo.
He knows a Pablo so he thinks it must be that Pablo. But this is not that Pablo.
All the Pablo’s don’t look and act the same so you’re no help mate.
You better hand in your detective badge.

At least now I’m not the only one out there. Last 5am morning wasn’t a fight
I didn’t last past three hours. The Municipal Services Directorate watched
from their passing street sweeper. They must have looked bemused.
One guy on foot. That’s like an Australian spoken word artist
all talk and hand imploring and wet eyes and arms sales.
But at least they support the economy.
The arms sales not the spoken words. That’s why there’s no grant money.
Actually it’s not like that at all because Pablo tags for free.
And now someone runs past the bus stop, shirt off, Surface 3 reflected.
He must be chasing Pablo.

To the Canberra Times advert outside the Civic IGA, it says, “Pablo”. To pillars saying
“City Gate” and “Galliard Smith Gate”
and then suddenly, “Pablo”. To the Ainslie shops sign in Ainslie
that directs you away from the Ainslie Shops and Pablo.
To the pointing finger in Braddon
that now says, “Pablo– that way”. He must own a push-bike.
Pablo is multiplying Pablo by Pablo and he doesn’t even bother to give the answer.
It’s self-evident.
Last time Pablo was everywhere. If you squinted you could see him
in the distance
through the chain-link fence. Marker in hand
he was tagging.

Not now. Phone to ear, bright blue washed sky, stripes and stars limp.
It is the hour to get Pablo. To go again.
Because with that black strikethrough of a Braddon Pablo his tag now says,
“It is time to take Pablo to a fountain. Take him to a fountain
like Lorca was taken to a fountain
to a gritty Canberra City fountain where he’ll find a policing muzzle flash.”
Because the walls of Canberra City, like any walls you consider yours
they’re worth fighting for.

– Andrew Galan