stifling heat and open windows
torn green-leather seats with stuffing removed
kids parked in the doorways
daringly keeping the doors open
leaning against one
holding feet against the other
heads protrude from the swaying wooden carriages
at the unsubtle approach of a steel pylon
too far away to do damage
too close not to flinch
lasting architectural impressions
of the nineteen seventies western suburbs
drawn from the fleet glimpses of unkempt backyards
and squalid loading bays of shops and small factories
that line the fringes of the tracks
there must be a rule in town-planning guidebooks
that one ‘Station Street’ must be assigned
to every suburb along the route
© Frank Prem, 2002
This piece is taken from an unpublished set of poems reflecting on change over time in the Western Suburbs of Melbourne. This was an area that was turned into suburbs back in the 1950’s or thereabouts and accommodated the waves of European migration into Australia. It was know as a ‘New Australian’ area, filled with ‘wogs’ and other such unflattering names.
I knew the area as a youngster from visiting with family, and revisited as an up and coming Project Officer in the Department of Health in the late 1990’s and thereabouts.
Other poems in the set may appear (or not). Here’s one: reverse parking at three thirty.