Marrickville

4 May 2016

It’s been three weeks since I cleaned the bathroom
and it hasn’t been cleaned since. But that’s what you get
in a share house – a glorified squat for people
who don’t want to pay full rent but dress it up
as ‘community minded’ – a place where conversations
about the fairest division of the gas bill take place
over the compost bin. You could say, hopeful of heart,
that it’s a family, which it is – dysfunctional –
the air seething with PMT, all of us rolling
out yoga mats to the sound of the kettle boiling,
the fridge stocked with kale and coconut water
but never meat. We’re a generation of ideological orphans
building Zion in Marrickville, our dyed hair a symbol
of our kinship – while the original residents, the old-school
Greek immigrants, gaze bewildered from their porches
as hordes of us jog past them of a morning,
farting smugness. I’m so far from home,
from the buzz-cut lawns and yipping dogs, from kitchens
with microwaves and African violets softly dying
beside disinfected sinks. These days I take comfort
in YouTube and weed on nights where the urge
to give up on this poetry caper becomes overwhelming –
the fear that there’s nothing you can do to avoid
becoming your mother so you might as well swallow
your insolence, move back to the suburbs and give birth
in front of the TV. These days I force my focus
onto whatever the present moment happens to reveal –
organic toothpaste, bowls caked with chia seeds,
my own face glimpsed in the mirror like seeing
a celebrity in a cafe – the intimate recognition
of a stranger in this, the mediocre immediate.

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  1. Pingback: Ep 8. Louise Carter on Duffy, Davies, doubt and humour – Poetry Says

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