Michael Aiken

Dream Street, Inner West 


                After Tim Harland’s photographic artwork, Substation


plurality as a lie Nietzsche might call you out for

A plurality of substations in a line is a lie

beautiful fantasy, fantasy of beauty.

These palaces could be mausoleums but they don’t let me in.
Such characteristics of this neighbourhood, to paste them together
is to elide all that lies between. This great lie in a line
excises parks and playgrounds, homes and traffic lights
anything that might
require electricity. just the substations, just these monuments
to monumentalism in infrastructure.

How did they get away with anything other than one-size-fits-all?
Who the hell okayed funding individual designs for a series of bunkers
that all perform exactly the same function?

Their only differences are the size of the land they occupy, the camber
of the hill, neighbouring buildings and the number of incoming cables.
in short, their particular location and situation should dictate
their shape and physical nature.

So (for Nietzsche at least) nothing is duplicated, but everything repeats
Love your substation, for it is the only one
in that location
and it will be there again and again

and you and me

What eternal blueprint dictates the way protein chains assemble?
None, of course! Mutation and deviation permeate them all
yet their offspring are all friends, or kin. 

And what says when and how and where
the curved bricks of an early twentieth century substation 
should come to be,
should come to be together as a shelter,
a substation but never together with any? 

And what of the station for which these are the subs? Has anyone seen one?
Were they too much for reality to contain?
Were they an ideal only? Remain so eternally? Forever here, forever unbuilt 
just like your street,





Michael Aiken is a parent of 4 living and working in Sydney. ‘Dream Street, inner-west’, is part of a major series of ekphrases he is developing when his children, employer, dog and garden allow.  



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