The music draws my attention
From across the fence
The beat is relentless
Designed to drown out
The yelling the screaming,
The crying the hope.
The woman emerges from the laundry
A cane-washing basket sits on her hip
Her head covered with a tired scarf
Her feet dragging a pair of worn out sandals,
She approaches the ragged clothesline
Hangs out the greying wash
The result of not caring, no future.
She thrusts weathered wooden pegs
Onto the creases of washed out clothing
Kept clean as the price of sanity.
The baby in filled nappy crawls to the door
She frantically calls to the next one to grab him
No response she drops her wash
Bolts up the stairs to collect baby
Goes inside and there’s once again
The frenzy of voices
As no one accepts responsibility.
‘I did it yesterday,’ I hear one say
And the sounds die down as the music grows in volume.
She stands at the door, exasperated by the indifference
To life, to love, to anything.
At the clothesline she wipes her face on her sleeve.
A man appears at the door
In singlet, cigarette hanging from one corner of his mouth
He watches her, snarls,
‘These kids of yours are fuckin’ driving me crazy.
You gonna get me breakfast or not?’
She glances up at him, pegs a shirt to the line.
Resigned to her fate, poverty, mediocrity,
Surviving day to day
Clinging to any useless man who hints at loving her.
She looks in my direction and turns in shame
Realising she looks a mess, a shambles
Her self esteem rock bottom.
In public she hides all she can
The humiliation of being a no body in a somebody world.
She often dreams of the glamour that could have been hers
Of the days past where opportunity was there
But thinking she knew everything
Settled for the immediate pleasure
And babies later she finds herself
Penniless, a piece of poor white trash.
But she has ambitions for her kids
But they possess the aimless genes
Of their respective fathers.
She knows she has an uphill battle.
From inside she hears that
Beat pounding from the speakers
Ones she bought at the op shop.
Like so much of the music they play
Her days are the same old same old.
Them things she thinks,
Who’d believe her?
Who’d be interested?
Them things she thinks
Who’d see her pain?
Who’d be bothered with her?
Then things she thinks
If only they knew
If only they cared.