Cockatoos, by Carole Bromley

Dusk and the bovver boys are back,

in twos and threes at first, or maybe just one

with his Mohican raised, grabbing

the tallest snow gum and screaming

come on then, come on what ya waitin’ for

chicken the lot of ya. Then a rival

choosing the edge of the storm drain

as his patch. Yah! Come on then, I dare ya

show me what yer made of, yer all talk

and, grumbling, heckling they beat it

or join the gang, raucous as ever,

Arrrrgh Arrrgh as if they’re on

the receiving end of a Chinese burn.

They have their favourite spots

for hanging out, or hanging upside down

from the ends of twigs, splatting contempt.

From sundown Telopea Park’s a no go,

they take over every tree, commandeer the grass,

try every nut and pebble, gob them out,

balance on one foot, preen their Elvis quiffs,

jockeying to be cock of the walk

jostling for the best position on a branch,

ganging up on passersby, warning off dogs,

other gangs, a flock of trilling carrawongs.

Then, as suddenly as they came, they’re off

winging it across the dark like vengeful ghosts.

Copyright the author and first published by Friends of Rowntree Park 2015.

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