Any Town by John Holland

It is with great pleasure (and gratitude) that I present the poems of my Australian friend, John Holland. Any Town is taken from the collection, Dry Bones, with the author’s permission.

A street in any town.

Tar runs black

in gutters

of disrepair and 

nonchalant pride.

A girl sways by

summer skirt

swinging against

tanned legs

so beautiful 

they make your

heart ache.

The cigarette butt 

of lunch time


spins from her hand

out onto an 

asphalt river.

A raised eyebrow

flicks once in my 

direction with

studied indifference.

Such are the rules we

play by!

The post office clock

strikes one.

She moves on.

Work waits in

a small office

down behind the 

cluttered rows

of shops and pubs,

cafes and salons

catering for

all kinds of


Same time tomorrow?

my eyes ask

of her back view.

She glances back once

in delicious


That’s good enough

for me.

I’ll be here again


and the next day.

John Holland was born and raised in the Australian outback. He grew up on cattle stations his father Jack Holland managed in Queensland, The Northern Territory and the Kimberley area of Western Australia.

He has been a stockman, a miner, a roadworker, a newspaper columnist and between 2001/2004 he was a media officer for a Queensland state member of parliament.

He draws on personal experience in his poetry and has deep empathy for the vulnerable people in our society. 

John now lives in Townsville, Queensland. He is a fulltime writer who has published books of poetry, literary fiction, speculative fiction and youth fantasy.

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