Friday, March 4, 2011

The Monroes

Back in the 50s I grew up
with the Monroes.
There were so many children
in the family you lost count.

I remember Billy, the eldest,
Bobby, Jane and Susy, then there were
two sets of twins. Later, more

babies, a boy, a girl, another girl
as in Cheaper by the Dozen.
Most of all, I remember Rex,
and their bare feet swinging

on the front gate. How different
they were in glamour to the buxom
lady in Some Like it Hot.

They didn't own shoes. During summer
their dresses holed, and their denim
overalls frayed and fringed
like water over sea anemones.

They hardly said a word. They didn't
laugh, or smile, or cry, but performed
tricks for us kids and the neighbours.

After several handstands, bodies piled
high like a pyramid they gobbled fairy
bread, or our grandmother's hot scones
bubbly hot from the oven.

Next, it was Rex who called for their
Saturday lunch. Back on all fours
and with a cue from the boys,

the dog would howl the rising octaves
of a Tarzan call. It was more a wild
jungle call, like the big man
pounding his chest amongst the vines,

and more memorable than Marilyn's
rippled skirt on a vent. We criticized
those scrawny, unkempt kids and never
did see the poverty above the laughter.

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Evangelyne
Published by Australian Poetry Centre, Melbourne

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Helen Hagemann's first literary collection, Evangelyne & other poems, was published by the Australian Poetry Centre in their New Poets Series 2009. 'of Arc & Shadow' is her second full collection published by Sunline Press. She has two e-books, The Joyous Lake & Par écrit: poetry of the feminine @ http://issuu.com/evangelyne/​​docs/joyous_lake/

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