Howard Firkin
paint sniffing in Hawthorn 2005
Josh wears the woad of serial defeat
with nonchalance. He shows shy hands and laughs
and says, "It’s prob’ly on my face as well."
It is. A small horizon that surrounds
his mouth and world. He says," It’s Ocean Blue."
Blue ocean on your postcard of a face.
Sweet boy. I wish you’d never travelled there.
I wish I heard your dreams without the smell
of solvent on your breath. What bastard mind
invented solvent for such vapid dreams?

Josh tells me he’s an artist. Tells me blue
is infinite and everywhere—in space,
he tells me. Space. It isn’t emptiness.
It isn’t walled. It’s everything. It’s blue.