Ekphrasis: Mihaela Cristescu

From Above by Mihaela Cristescu,
a poet who takes photos in her attempt to reveal another perspective of metaphor.

Writers responding: Marina Robins, Peter Cartwright and Barrie East.

Looking Down
Marina Robins

Day for a walk, a day to play. But where have the open green fields gone

Gone, no place for the rain to be absorbed by the earth. Every square inch owned, loaned, owned, loaned. Nowhere is free.

Free to plant seeds, to watch plants grow.

Grow that’s what’s happened. All the small buildings taken down to build tall towers sprouting up from the ground.

Ground – ground down, fewer places for the homeless to sleep, to go.

Go west young man and they did, and they stayed. Kept the land and built towers.

Towers I see two that look like the tassels on the breasts of a burlesque dancer.

Dancer, Prancer where can we walk? Where can we play on a beautiful warm sun shiny day?

The Shape of Parramatta
Peter Cartwright

From above, I have a different view 
of the twin spires, those toothy signs of elegance
and the presence of God,
of history gone and the church surviving.
I sometimes joke that the Anglicans
stole the Uniting Church’s spire, here.
The cathedral church that was once framed by the sky
is now crowded in by progress
and framed by the glass and steel towers of modernity.
Some trees remain as signs
of the resolute determination
to keep the city green,
even if only a little.

From above, I can see a busy city building itself anew.
The country town sense
here, is slipping away
and, as they say, bringing tomorrow’s Parramatta
today. From here, I need no economist,
urban planner or ambitious politician
to tell me about the wealth,
and the busyness of business,
or historian to remind me
of the relentlessness of change.
It’s all laid out before me, below me:
the trains worming their way in and out of here,
the buses and cars buzzing around like ants,
the ‘foot traffic’, as some call it,
wandering around the mall,
sitting in the square drinking coffee and eating pastries,
the new Parramatta Phive that accommodates
the council, and our beloved library
that looks like a remnant of modernism.

From here, I can shoot emails like spears, across the sky
and into the office I can see on the other side of the mall,
just as the Bolognese noblemen used to shoot real spears
from tower to tower in the Middle Ages.
While Bologna is certain of itself as it ages, sprawls like an old signoré,
and starts to crumble a little, Parramatta is a young city,
uncertain and just starting to grow up.

I think I’ll make a call while I think of it,
ring my wife and tell her to meet me here at six
so we can go down to Eat Street, maybe Criniti’s for Pizza
—that’s what thinking about Italy does to you—
and see if we can get a good bottle of some Italian
style wine, they have a decent local Pino Grigio there.

Peter Cartwright has been called Parramatta’s poet and been awarded
in ZineWest. He writes about life in Western Sydney in a wide variety of styles.

Looking Down
Barrie East

I have been reincarnated, returning to Earth seeing at a glance the church that I knew before, and in the same breath, the creation of the future.

Artist Comment re all responses: The distinct soul of the land, a cumulative effect of many cultural layers of history, invited us all,writers and visual artists, to the 26th floor of V by Crown building on its clear intention to remind the photographer of the intrinsic power of image well rendered in order to cover the metaphors of the City. It is indeed a mixture of shapes, traffic, urban life and modernity (Peter Cartwright) melted in faith (Barrie East) and peaceful walk (Marina Robins), a view from Nick and Nora’s Bar, a story within the story, posters and paintings from Dashiell Hammett’s The Thin Man revived and restored in a beautiful day of Australian summer within the versatile paradigm of Parramatta.

Writer Bios
Peter Cartwright has been called Parramatta’s poet and been awarded in ZineWest. He writes about life in Western Sydney in a wide variety of styles.

Barrie East has held several senior management positions in organisations including the not-for-profit sector. Recently retired, he has commenced writing short stories reflecting in part on his own experiences whilst developing his own character as a modern day vigilante, seeking true justice.

Marina Robins is a Canadian born multi disciplinary artist living on Dharug country. Her practice includes: performance dance, music, textiles, photography and mixed media.

 For larger images see Gallery
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