I was once a sweet suburban parcel
sown in summer colour and
footy clubs, schoolboys and husbands
hurrying home for tea, for TV, fatigued.
sprinklers soaking dust tic-a-tick-a-tick. Backyard
pools the stink of status anxiety and warm chlorine.
an arm thrown over, cicadas, The Southerly
slamming screen doors and so help me
spitting, bus passes, sex as a whisper
of the world we suspected was ever elsewhere.
we were subs, just subs to a city a day away
and weren’t we glad to get home.
2. the s in drugs
best friend was a saint, a scab, got sad got on the scag
started stealing, seeing a stock broker, went mad
shot up and went down under the 5.00 pm train;
flakes and stains on the rails all that remains.
3. the s in history
this was once citrus and stone fruits. before?
sure, in this land land’s always in someone’s hand.
now the milk bar’s a liquor-mart, the chemist a nail studio
the submarine memorial is rank with weeds and the names of drowned sailors
4. shopping centre
a woolworths, under cover, a multi-floor department store,
citadel where we come to smoke and steal and out-smart security
and centred in the centre – the rain drop fountain
fat drops slide down nylon lines from an electric high
symbol of our persistence, our resistance, our suburban lives
proscribed along parallel lines vanishing into some sunken sauna
mists over sub-tropical leaves.
restless water, water on the move, pumped behind the vinyl banquette.
5. reprise (once a sub)
In the dream I pull my shirt aside and there’s superman’s s –
says it stands for peace, but I know
beneath that bullet-proof shield, there’s a tat-a-tat-a-tat of the sprinkler,
the screen door, and my nylon-held heart rain sliding down.
Image: Jaquelinee Martinez on Unsplash Tonight, I’m hosting the bar at Dverse, the poets pub and we’re focussing on sound in poetry. Come join the fun. Some suburban recollections of growing up in a Sydney suburb (Carlingford, NSW). And for those of you unfamiliar with the raindrop fountain as a thing … (images c/- Glenn H, Flickr – Roselands Shopping Centre, 1966)
And in keeping with the melancholy mood here’s Debussy’s Clair de Lune played by John Chen.