Miss Suburbia

 ‘Woman at the sink’ by Jacqueline Fahey 1959

‘Woman at the sink’ by Jacqueline Fahey 1959

What a tame beast she has become, idling
in the paddocks of her family's unmade
beds and unwashed dishes

Circumambulating, endlessly, the dead heart
of this domestic poppy field; pausing
with lost purpose to pick up
some   thing   here
and artfully
place   it   there -
in abstract justification
of an involutionary existence.

Look!  See how she is
wiping grime from surfaces and
framing frozen photographs and
harmonizing dissonance and
feeding feeding feeding

(those who will never be sated)

While deep inside, covertly she is
self-restrained by sedatives and
spurred to life by stimulants and
lured to the end of day by the promise
of the darkling hours in which to unfurl
her monstrous might and play -

(what desperate play!)

O what a noble
beast is man
O what a cowed
beast is woman -
tethered by the whim
of reproduction
to her most

35 thoughts on “Miss Suburbia

  1. Some wonderful phrases and imagery Michele…
    The picture I love, Jackie Fahey who is an old friend, gave me a print over twenty years ago… do you have it in colour?
    I love all the deep rich blues of it…

  2. I believe that by this very piece you have refuted its hypothesis. It’s time to corral the kids (yes, hubby is included in this designation) and write your book of life, Michele. 🙂

  3. “In abstract justification
    of an involutionary existence” Overwhelming!
    A fine poem, deserves accolades, be read and sung far and wide, it has the kindled spirit of a wrenched heart.

  4. I love the conflict expressed in the stanza that begins with, “While deep inside.” I think I’ve experienced life in similar patterns. This is a great piece.

    • Thanks so much Carl, your latest poem resonated strongly with me also, probably for that very reason. There can be a lot going on ‘deep inside’, while the outside just grinds along! Cheers.

  5. “Poems need to percolate, they need to gather power:” and then be released to the world with something splendid that I can’t seem to find the right word for … but you seem to have mastered it nicely. “tame beast” indeed. Always, always worth waiting for Michele.

  6. I agree with Wisejourney’s opinion…quite a.power-packed piece….i cud observe you trying hard to make sure her pitiable state has enough shine for readers to catch quickly…true to the E…so I congratulate u on this piece for u hv suceeded cent percent, left d new breed of man in me all enraged….wid my species…n also pinched into me some lessons that I cud use post-marraige…lol..great wrk!!!

    • Hi, thanks so much for commenting! So interesting to hear your take on the poem. Although I don’t think men (new or old breed!) are the cause of this lady’s suffering – I think we can all just get trapped in the roles we think we must play. Men must feel this too, right? That they must become a certain way for their society and family, while who they would really like to be is suppressed or dies inside. I would be interested to hear what you think!

      Sent from my iPad

      • I could certainly nod to your viewpoint…But, I’m voice for a new beginning. To be honest, your views have held true till now, but I as an emblem of my generation really feel that we can save ourselves from falling deep into clutches of the society…For I believe it’s time, we open our eyes to what’s fair and what isn’t, it’s time we bring in balances…

        What has it been like till now maybe is as you say, we succumb to pretenses for love for smiles…But, I really feel those who love us, want us smiling , from now on should learn that we”ll want to have our balances maintained…..”That’s why it’s a process, and not only from APE to MAN and over….Man’s evolving too…)

      • “I really feel those who love us want us smiling…” ~ I couldn’t agree more! Based on this I think you will have a very happy future wife! Wonderful views.:)

        Sent from my iPad

  7. I love what you write Michele, and yet sometimes the words sadden my heart for moments and then yet the moments change and i find myself always taking delight in what you share! I always feel your words, as they are always so genuine and real! And you know I want you to continue sharing, your words are a healing tonic! God bless!

  8. Thanks Wendell. Although many of my poems do deal with dark matters, I think the darkness of the human heart needs to be exposed if it is to be healed. Sometimes I worry people will read my poery and think I am depressed – I’m not! I just tend to think about the deep stuff. But thank you for your concern, I always love your comments. Take care.

  9. An attempt to reflect in a dark skew slant, like dancing on a wet tin roof, awkward play the words, but your writing wakes ones senses between out there, and within the inside worlds.

    A tame beast in paddocks, though unmade, unwashed, seems more to fetch a chaos, the darkness that it speaks. But for the glint of colour, a heart dead, though poppy fields in the wind seep red, Like a woman’s hair swept wild, beneath the flames of a breeze touched Coral Tree, the sounds both sea and tide, life flows against its thin. At times that which four walls holds, where windows does not to let escape, what rests within the air, to pass not too brief, but some so uninvited, layers hold, but never could be sold. Such feeding words they hunger, where chaos shadows grow, not slumber, nor do they wait. Life in time to the rhythm be the tortoise, be the hare, a finish line so late. O, O, tethered whim, and self, escape, escape, words give fright to tethered freedoms, loves.

    For some reason reflecting above triggered thoughts of a tea party, maybe one with hats beneath a dappled sun, and cake too. Just feeling a little crazy lost today, had a little nephew have a close call yesterday in a faraway land, hope the writing is not to out there as a reflection on reading your words, and verse….

  10. How can a character come to life so quickly and vividly? It’s as if you capture an entire lifetime in a few stanzas. We all know this woman. She has a timeless sense about her. Another exquisite piece, Michele.

  11. Stunning, wrenching, cautionary tale…and so familiar. It does sadden me as I see her embodied around me in so many hearts that will never truly find their expression. And you remind me of how much courage it takes to veer from the collective path of convention and follow one’s bliss. Thank you and congratulations….

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