Sunday Spaghetti

lethargic limbs Batman
my sister whimpers
in the sauna which is
Brisbane in summer

I move
no-where fast
wilting on the front
step viewing platform
to our snapshot of suburban
Indooroopilly

oppressive heat wraps a
clammy embrace
on skin, hair, clothes
we are fish out of water
drowning in humidity

Mum wipes sweat from her brow
defiantly but in vein
in the kitchen
browning mince on the stove
praying for rain

Dad’s after lunch nap
is supported by the solitary
box air-conditioner
gripping precariously
to the house
dripping condensation

Sunday noises droning
humming, hypnotic
eyelids struggle under the influence
of mowers, magpies
backyard cricket balls
thudding on linseed oil
stained bats
six and out
hysterical kookaburra laughter
from my two brothers

threatening storm clouds
gather for a late afternoon
party
God throws his first
lightning bolt
behind Mt Coot-tha
getting the sound levels right

cricket finishes in a flurry
of bat, ball and wicket
gathering

run for cover
tropical downfall unleashed
on a quarter-acre block

it’s like
someone turned on the air-conditioning
smell of rain on dirt
intoxicating
energy magically returns

tea’s ready
laughs Mum
as she fills plates full of
Sunday spaghetti

37 thoughts on “Sunday Spaghetti

  1. Change a few words and you have described a summer day in North Carolina.
    It really pulled me in.
    thank you for writng this poem.

    • Thanks Lisa. Where the hell did that expression come from ‘lethargic limbs batman’. It’s very hard to describe that smell that rain makes as it first hits the ground – if you have any suggestions.

  2. That is a fabulous poem Gabrielle. We had the same ridiculous humidity here yesterday. Today it’s overcast and chilly. Spaghetti weather on all counts.

    • Overcast and chilly sounds divine. I’m sweltering badly today. My mum had/has spaghetti on Sunday rain or shine at about 5pm (we called it tea, most would call it dinner these days).Thanks Brad.

      • The Americanisation of meal time! I noticed with pleasure your reference to ‘tea’. Used to be dinner for lunch and tea for dinner, though I think morning and arvo tea have survived.

        • Ha – we never had official morning or afternoon tea (though my best friend did and I went to her place a lot!) – just help yourself to fruit – I suppose cause we ate so early there wasn’t a great need.

  3. It is also like Montreal in July, hot and humid. A very special moment and atmosphere,I love it.
    Reading the comment of Brad I realized that tea stands for the meal and not the beverage.

    • It could work as the beverage tea as well. My mum drinks a hundred cups of tea a day – cools you down she would say! Glad you loved it Ben and if you come to visit we can compare humidity levels.

  4. That is wonderful and very accurate sense of place and memory poem. God testing his sound levels, I’m going to remember that every time it happens now. Poetry should be indelible, just like that.

  5. This is a great recount, reads classic in its imagery, backyard cricket, quarter acre blocks, box air conditioners, tea instead of dinner. Spaghetti on Sunday after all these images is incongruous, the flow would have been to have a roast, on my first reading it shook me, on my second reading I was expecting it and recognised its brilliance, the last line takes the classic images preceding and converts them to reality. This poem is real, great read.

  6. You have captured the essence of an Australian summer. I like the presence of the familiar things such as Mum browning mince on the stove and Dad’s nap being supported by the solitary (obviously hard working) air conditioner; they give your poem a real sense of place and time.

    I really enjoyed this, Gabrielle. It is something I have experienced on many summer days. Brilliant!

    • I’m so glad you liked it Selma. I like the juxtaposition of the hard working mum with the napping father – ha,ha. With all the drought about I was beginning to think we may never have another tropical summer, but the last few weeks it’s been raining and humid again. I was missing it (never thought I would miss humidity, but there you go – you love what you know best).

  7. My sister Lisa informs me that the expression ‘lethargic limbs batman’ came from an advert on the tv (many decades ago) for an energy drink (maybe Milo) – gives us a hoy if anyone remembers it!

  8. Great closing, Gabrielle! Really captured the family too – my favourite lines have to be

    “stained bats
    six and out”

    &

    “God throws his first
    lightning bolt
    behind Mt Coot-tha
    getting the sound levels right”

    the last one especially, killer!

  9. Enjoyed reading, although for me, it is a bit of a stretch to comprehend without some research — thanks for the lessons though. I always love to learn something new! I’d trade you some of your humidity for some of my opposite season frigidness? Deal?

      • thief? criminal? me? (puts on his most sincere puppy dog look and says) I’m too cute to be mistaken for either of those!! but thanks for the info LOL … I could have a field day with those two words and ideas. Actually, here, a “Dr. Purple” alert means an intruder in a school. I am just maligned and misunderstood everywhere in this world it would seem … sigh

  10. Oh some warm rain would be most welcome here in the midwest of the states about now. It’s cold. It’s icy. It’s been snowing. I’ve had enough of it! For a few moments I WARMED up via your poem. Merci.

  11. Memory lane calls but it would need to be Wavell Heights for me, the memory of lightening over Mt Cootha took me back to fun times with no responsibilities except being home before the street lights came on. Well done on another fantastic journey!

  12. browning mince??? spaghetti on a hot hot day??? aahh!!

    I believe you had some rain recently….hope it cooled down.

    Another poem to make me very very homesick….Indooroopilly is my old stomping ground (is that old house ont he hill still there, the one the old lady used to live in, near Indro Hotel?)

    Or have Brisbane City Council (oopps! silly me, I mean The Dean Brothers, OOPPs no I mean a random electrical fire burnt it down yet??)

    • We always has spaghetti on Sunday – easiest way to feed 6 people I supposed. It has rained but still steamy hot. That house is still there, but I don’t think anyone lives there. It’s a classic spooky looking house. My friends used to called the Indooroopilly Hotel the Library it was so quiet.

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