comfort movies

he calls them comfort flicks
video tapes for the VCR
movies made back in the golden days
of contract stars and starlets

sausage factory produced scenarios
for the stars
Mitchum and Taylor and Bogart
Bacall and Hepburn
and Hepburn and Tracey
Wayne and Bronson


romance and adventure
the wild west
and Atticus Finch

sirens and seductions

comfort flicks
predictable and sure

he hires them on Monday for a week
for the nights
when television is a desert
and a wasteland of hours stretches ahead
interminable intolerable

for when the gaps
are too hard to fill
and being alone
is just one reel
too many

© Frank Prem, 2002

swimming on the royal reserve

Poem #41 from Small Town Kid

Back to Small Town Kid – Introduction

stewie shouldn’t go swimming
on hot evenings
with his belly full
of royal reserve port

it’s cheap by the flagon
it doesn’t aid
his buoyancy

there’ll be a day
when we don’t find him
like we did last night

or when we don’t start
to look
quite soon enough

if the silly bugger
goes and drowns himself
we’ll all be in strife
with the law
and our parents

the whole damn town

© Frank Prem 2009

Small Town Kid Poem 42: distance across ford street

the glow in the table (heart and soul)

he found it
half buried
under some rubbish
at the back of a shed
that was a junk shop
in Shepparton

old blackwood tables
with extension leaves
show up that way
from time to time

it was the work
of his heart
when he got it back home
to separate it
into its parts

legs and leaves
all handcrafted original pieces

service the winder
and its mechanism
for extension

he took his time
sanded it back to smooth
but keeping the old life
as a kind of

oil coat to finish

his heart swelled

he’d always understood
that to give your work
you had to put
your soul in

and as he opened up
the polish
was where he’d placed his mind

cloth in hand
he rubbed
while the blackwood
ate up the wax

and as he joined
with the rhythm of the rub
the wood began
to glow

© Frank Prem, 2017

growing pains

Poem #40 from Small Town Kid

Back to Small Town Kid – Introduction

a child of the night-time
he walks
with just the moon
to cast an eye
on his path

he wanders
through streets that lie empty
at the end of daylight

only his footfalls
echoing softly
break the silence he meets

and nobody knows
why he’s out walking
or what’s in his mind
where he goes

the night is private
the dark conceals

around the cloak
of a black mystery
soft hope lingers
that it’s only growing pains
that one day
he will walk in the light

© Frank Prem 2009

Small Town Kid Poem 41: swimming on the royal reserve

breathing their affection

they badger each other
like terrier dogs
veering between relentless repetition
and half-snarled rejoinders

she’s deaf
he’s been worrying about her

and the noise and fury is a kind of
statement of affection
as we drive home from surgical 2
where the doctor has finally showed up
to sign an official release

and as we leave
it doesn’t take long to ask

what did you say

to say

oh for goodness sake
what are you thinking

to splutter

don’t be daft
that’s just silly

don’t be daft
don’t be daft
it’s me who’s going crazy here
listening to this barrage
of exploding affection

the sooner I get them home
the sooner I can
get myself away to somewhere sane

I can hardly breathe

© Frank Prem, 2009

football and law

Poem #39 from Small Town Kid

Back to Small Town Kid – Introduction

woe to those
who meet the policeman
when the bomber boys
don’t kick straight

dragged off the street
slapped in the face
and a foot up the arse
till you’re falling

if it’s saturday
you’d better all be praying
for the bombers to win
or it’s a copper
at war with the world

sergeant mozza o’byrne
stalking the streets
looking for a victim

© Frank Prem 2009

Small Town Kid Poem 40: growing pains

deep breathing

fire in the heater

footy on the box

chilling in the lounge
with my legs up

it’s a reclining chair
and I
am fully laid-back

look outside
the window shows
rain transformed
to sleet now
to snow
blowing around
like leaves down
from their autumn trees

I took the lid off
the red wine
I like it better
when it has a chance
to do some breathing

like me
it’s a Sunday afternoon
and I am
lying back and just
deep breathing

© Frank Prem, 2017

May 2017 Poem #32: tba

an avian reminder of cold

a pretty scene
the upper corner of the window is aglow
sunshine is radiated off pointillised wattle blossom

it is the movement of a bird that has caught my eye
drawn attention to the scene as it flits between wattle-yellow
and the faded red of a persistent grevillea
there is a stark contrast between this illusion of bright warmth
and the hanging chill of my office where an impression of cold
seems ever present
in the dulled staccato movement
of my hands jerking across the keyboard
in my feet
through my knees
surrounding my buttocks
everywhere beneath my work-clothes

stupid bird
those curtains should not be left open

© Frank Prem, 2002