a cast of thousands
centre stage in the city,
a synthetic staccato note,
slow clutch release, then the piano melody,
theme to Chariots of Fire.
For the internal three-minute space of a block,
heroes and gods take the wheel of Ford and Holden,
infinity in their grip. Vision is of gold
and golden possibility but as revs peak for an ascent
into top, amber cautions. Somewhere in a sound studio
the conductor withdraws the gift of immortality.
They concede and change down, unblinking subjects
of flux, sing with one voice,
acquiescent as choir boys
they mouth the new creed
to live, love, while the flame is strong,
because we won’t be the young ones, very long.
The musical is rangy
as its troupe is versatile.
Love lost, found —
they’ve all played stooge, crooner, tragedienne.
But there are the odd ones
who refuse to sing along
let alone hold the melody
like Talking Heads in a reconditioned hearse
and a businessman sliding by in airconditioned Jag
immersed in The Four Seasons,
out of contact in his compact disc
and who is oblivious to the chorus line-up
pausing before formation manoeuvres
from which the others will swing off,
merge into a gyroscopic extravaganza
at the roundabout,
changing reckless into top
without a margin for speed,
mouthing through windscreens
on their way to work
I did it my way.