Monday, October 12, 2015

Tuesday Poem - 'Frankston Train' by Garth Madsen

Frankston Train

Armpit to armpit, everyone sweats in a different
language here. A woman's voice calls out the
name of each station as we arrive, another
scratching in the race of life, she says Mordialloc
as if there can be less dialloc. Four urban
minimalists play euchre, I cannot see if their
cards are real or not. The echo girl sits under the
'no feet on seats' sign, her foot on the seat, the
angle showing the curve of her in-step better than
high heels, she tells her mobile phone that she
was named after a car number plate. The
powdered aeroplane blonde with an imitation
pearl necklace becomes a delta, people pushing
past her on either side. A drunk shouts, “Of
course, I'm smart. I went to school, didn't I?'
A father, a mother scold their son as if they are
trying to make him smile for the camera. The
lowrider with an earring drops a water bottle at a
ninja bitch's feet, there is an empty McDonalds
wrapper under her seat and a browning apple
core. The rainmaker with crickets in his ears
drums the seat between his legs. The bonsai
brunette sheds her black cardigan and flicks her
anklet at the far border of my vision and I ask
myself where her story ends and mine begins.

One of my favourite Melbourne poets is Garth Madsen, and he lives out on my train line – the Frankston line. He is very tender and astute about the place where we both live. His 'Frankston For Beginners' is a must-read, as far as I am concerned. I have no idea how you might acquire a copy though. He had a big launch for the book, out at Seaford, (with enough food, including a chocolate fountain, for an invading army whose quartermaster had gone awol so the troops are pretty hungry, about as hungry as hungry troops can get) and then there was a reading at Red Wheelbarrow in Brunswick, and then as far as I know that was the end of it. Anyhow anyhow, when Avril Bradley decided to do an anthology of poems about Frankston, Garth was a must. Those who know Garth truly appreciate him. We had a lovely launch for the anthology in the remoter reaches of the McClelland Sculpture Park in Langwarrin - well done Avril for pulling it all together – and this poem was a stand out for me. And a shout out to Michelle Leber whose stunning photo is on the cover of 'City Of Stars”.

PS Garth often blocks his poems so they are as neat as bricks an expert bricklayer has laid – but no matter how I fiddle I can't make my blog block – so please forgive my my hod, my grout, my towel.


  1. thanks for posting I lived in Frankston for some years and know that line well
    Andrée Greenwell

  2. ... and I can get my copy where? I think I will ring Red Wheelbarrow. Garth Madsen you are a breathtaker.

  3. Great poem--& with nice echoes to your Hub feature this week.:)