HomePoetryIn The Suburbs

In The Suburbs

In the suburbs they build fences and mow lawns
and do bestial things to each other behind closed doors
and behind closed lips.

Jam-faced children press buttons and scream at blaring screens
while wives surrender to unwashed husbands with horrible hands
and then carve off pieces of themselves in the shower.

Isolated castles just far enough apart
that you can’t hear the cracking of fists against faces.
Crow angels crouch on every rooftop like gargoyles
and peer through windows at sleeping bodies struggling not to dream.

They build cages out of university degrees and marriage certificates
and 104″ UHD LED LCD HRQ SmartThin televisions.
When the creep vines slip in through the window cracks
and the rhinos crash against the garage door,
the husbands say “Out! For I am master!”
and wave their swords with whichever arm is not holding beer.

The cawing and croaking is getting louder outside,
and monkeys keep getting into the circuit breaker.
Mothers vacuum while children bite their ankles
and everyone pretends not to notice the strange antlered figure at the door.

In the suburbs they make cages to keep the wild animals out,
and to keep the wild animals in.
To keep the parrots from bursting free from the iron-chained chests of the husbands,
to keep the wives from disrobing and running out the door on all fours,
to keep the children from fluttering out the window,
to keep the labradors from remembering that they are hungry woodland predators,
to keep the apes from remembering life without walls.

One day these lawns will grow into great forests,
and these castles will be covered in moss,
and we will run together with chests wide open like canyons
on our original feet with our original minds.

One day we will stride through life unarmored,
undefended, unhidden and unadorned,
skinless and dripping art from our flesh like rain,
and we will greet our neighbors,
and we will know all their names!
And we will make music together
in a wild world
beneath a wild sky.

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Latest comments

  • I love the outcome, the hopefullness, sounds like heaven….like feeling earth being refreshed …

  • More Rousseauism (very broadly speaking, of course: the original Rousseau was far more nuanced). ‘Nature/wild/naked good, culture/tame/armoured bad’ (a message recorded and spread by means of technology provided to the author by culture). Of course, it’s especially the husbands’ fault, since culture is being associated with men and nature with women within the version of the ideology being espoused.
    .
    Nature isn’t good. Nature consists of things trying to kill each other; consequently, every living thing in it has armour, and it requires armour of everybody, including humans (and walls are one type of armour). At most, one may negotiate the precise shape and design of the armour. One’s identifying with nature does not make it one’s friend, and will not prevent it from trying to kill one. As for ‘armor’, I do not use American spelling, since I do not recognise the government, nation or culture of the United States of America as superior or rightfully dominant over those of my own country.
    .
    The university degrees & SmartThin televisions and the husbands being unwashed didn’t make a lot of sense together either: an affluent upper-middle class lifestyle comes with more, not less efforts expended on hygiene. Not to mention that washing is another product of evil culture.

  • Love it, Caity, and the timing was perfect since I’ve just returned home after spending last night and today amongst suburbanites.
    Believe it or not, a crow flew from the roof of the first house I visited. It wasn’t flying away but instead pitched off the roof and flew close over my head. I guess it could tell I didn’t belong there.

  • The naked in nature part takes me back to hippy commune days in Hawaii. Wild and free!

  • Brilliant portrayal. Lovely prose.

  • Our local suburbs, which I refer to as our LA Suburbs have reached the level of the diabolical like Stanley Kubrick’s Eyes Wide Shut or Inland Empire. The people who reside there have the most degrees and highest incomes. They are psycho psychotics and criminal psychotics. If you happen to encounter them or look at a recent photo in the paper there is nothing human looking out at you. Their gothic crimes and lawlessness are reported in the area media and well known by word of mouth but they are never held accountable in any way.

  • Extraordinary! You should be Australia’s Poet Laureate!

  • Wow. You must’ve been raised next door by the same ogre. Are you my half sister?

  • That is one damned fine poem.

  • Wow.. I hope you don’t mind but sometimes I post your poems on fb… because some people need to get their nerves rattle a bit. <3 this.

  • Aw fuck. You caught me at a vulnerable moment, & you got me crying. Touché.

    As it happens, I’m going Home—i.e., to a Burn—this weekend. The “wild world” stanza comes close to describing the atmosphere there.

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