George Street


there’s not just the one you know –
everyone thinks about the bitumen being uprooted
to let more pedestrians through
tourist foot traffic
Clover calls it
as though there aren’t enough uninvited
feet or traffic on Gadigal land

but this one
on Darug country is
but different

campos cups line gutters
boral trucks circulate concrete
for the
ever growing
towers of babel
in honour of the pink phalluses that run the world

alleyways hide away
in polyester suits and too-tight skirts

faces swollen with pride
dare a virus that hides in tabloids and Pauline’s lies
and are
dotted by those with three
filtered layers of the best PPE
China has to offer

it was on this road that she power-walked
pandemic productivity still key
to line up outside of Destination Roll for bánh mì that would
slice open
the roof of her mouth
when he
looking down and scrolling fast
walked into her
spilling his brew
scalding his ego


and she stood
because despite the remarkably pressed shirt
the cravat and the latest device
the letters before and after his name
he had only scored one out of three
on this indictment

points for trying
she muttered through the fabric on her face 



This poem was commissioned by Diversity Arts Australia as part of the I Am Not a Virus project. Supported by Australia Council for the Arts, Create NSW, Creative Victoria, City of Sydney, City of Parramatta and Inner West Council.

Author: Priyanka Bromhead

Priyanka (she/her) is an Eela Thamizh woman who lives and works on unceded Darug land. She is the daughter of refugees who fled a state-sponsored genocide to the UK and migrated to ‘Australia’ in the 80s. A writer, educator and multidisciplinary artist, she chronicles her experiences on the intersections of her various identity markers, as well as her general observations of Western Sydney life through poetry, prose and creative non-fiction. She is inspired by the works of Oodgeroo Noonucal, Toni Morrison and Mathangi Arulpragasam. Priyanka’s first book, Mozhi (2021), is a poetry collection exploring language, trauma and fringe-dwelling.

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