I first worked for the Post Office in 198something. Two or three or (unlikely) 1984. I was a Christmas Casual. There were two poets there, Stephen Kelen, who published a collection called To the Heart of the World’s Electricity; and another fellow, his friend, who used to go to Ceylon every year for a holiday. Although I have forgotten his name, I still remember the way he looked when he said there is curfew now in Anurdhapura. I showed him Streets of Music and he intuited, correctly, something ossified therein. We either stood and threw parcels from trolleys into an array of open canvas bags; or sat in Green Valley sorting letters by postcode; while overhead a conveyor belt designed by some antipodean Heath Robinson buckled and sighed and, sometimes, ate the mail. A Russian Chilean gave me a paperback copy of Walden. I recall him saying of our overseers, trained according to the protocols of 19th century English prisons, it ees as eef they come from another planet. It was. The rumour mill alleged an Eskimo had once worked here; and a serial killer. At lunch time (2 a.m.) we used to go down Chalmers Street to the Musician’s Club and drink as many schooners as we could before returning for that last, brief, derisory portion of the shift. Walking home drunk to Golden Grove as the sun came up over the buildings behind me. One day the Russian took me into the Dead Letter Office. It was a little hut at the western end of Green Valley, that avenue of viridian, metallic apertures, on the side upon which I worked; a kind of virginal dread attended it. Strange to see something enclosed in that vast, echoing hall like a railway station concourse. A dwelling on Walden Pond perhaps. Inside was poky and dark and shelved eccentrically, as if the carpenter was forever making room : packed with the small envelopes of yesteryear, inadequately addressed, fading from the memories of those who wrote them, unread by those for whom they were intended. A silent cacophony. I would have read every one . . . but read none. They were inviolable. Unopened, by decree. Another protocol. Where are those thousands now . . . as if it matters. Later I joined up as a Mail Officer, worked in Waterloo with forty Vietnamese, was offered permanency, declined. My friend Lud (real name Roland Girvan) was at the GPO where there was, and perhaps still is, written in chalk around the inside of the bell in the bell tower, the word Eternity in Arthur Stace’s hand. He – Lud – used to go at 2 a.m. up on to the roof above Martin Place and, using the small pipe attached to his key-ring, smoke a few pellets of the black hash; looking out to the dim brown stars setting over the city. One night he took a heavy wooden frame, formerly used around a map, and carried it all the way back to his shed in Redfern where, later, he put a painting inside of it. An abstract, a scribble pattern coloured in with acrylics; you could wash it down with a hose, he told me once. Before he died. It will glow like before, he said. I will someday but know already what I will see. Noise, static, unread letters, fade into the oblivion that awaits all communications, received or unreceived. Whatever remains, speaks. And hears the sound of lake water / splashing – that is now stone.