Rhythms of Retrospect



She was eighteen

a country girl, child of the wilderness

stagnating in the vapid blandness of suburbia

breathless, suffocating in rancid air

that hung as an unseen cloud of industrialized miasma…

… rooftop obscured rooftop, a sea of sharp corners

jostling for juxtaposition, with no room to breathe;

She walked in pseudo silence, rising in early morning grey

milkless coffee forgotten as she listens to the radio

… fall of Cambodian capital Phnom Penh

collapse of Pol Pot’s savage regime –

– and on with the weather, and

Earth, Wind and Fire’s latest

After the Love Has Gone;

Suburban streets doze as she greets the day

intercity train clattering past as humanity

scratches and yawns

tuning in to Sammy Sparrow and O’Callaghan

2UE breakfast show at its best…

… breakfast scents permeate the air

eggs and toast-

– but the suburban street is almost empty

a gentleman smoking by his gate

his dog, of indiscernible breeding

claims first place at a thin sad tree…

a jogger swings wide, arching around

a parked delivery van

as she makes her way to the train station;

Littered platform, windswept and barren

– a reveler left over from Sunday Night Sessions

sleeps it off on a shadowed bench…

… other early risers scattered along platform 1

waiting for the city train

entrenched in an everyday routine

there seemed no escaping…

… from somewhere comes the tinny sounds

of a transistor radio,

Shah leaves Iran after a year of turmoil

weather update

and, Electric Light Orchestra

Don’t Bring Me Down…

… too late, she thought

this suburban coffin has done that already;

The train clanks

through backyards and blue-collar sweatshops

past a hundred empty churches and a score of empty schools

micro-communities, suburbia and the mills they toil in

animations of living, encapsulated

beneath a dome of shiftless stale air…

… passing through industrialized mayhem with a rattle and clang

before hissing to a stop beneath the waking city-

– fluorescent lighting hums, blinking out a hidden message to

a boy with a guitar, playing for coins under a yellowed poster

extolling the benefits of milk to a child’s development;

Nexus of city platforms purging the flow of humanity

onto city streets… sudden daylight superimposed on

the blurred reality of rattling trains and underground tunnels…

She wore shades of purple violet blue

flowing layers in silks and hippie cheesecloth

her feet rang with bells at every step

hair flying like ribbons on a maypole –

– she knew she didn’t fit in here anymore than mundane ‘burbs

a flowing cloud of indigo streaming through business suits

and miniskirts… boutique owners on 7 inch heels

she passed them by as if they couldn’t see her

as if she couldn’t see them;

At the far end she stopped at a coffee vender

– large extra shot extra sweet

she strolled into the city park

patrolling for a bench beneath a tree…

… a church group sat by the water

bible debate in full swing

on the steps of the gazebo two lads

in animated discussion- a Mad Max religion was born;


She was eighteen

child of the wilderness

looking for trees in animations of city shadows.




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