Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Tuesday Poem: Bidding

My friend finds the dresses on Trademe, they’re
hung on a door or laid out tragically on a bed,
near an exercycle or a half-drunk cup of tea.
She shows me the wedding gowns – the deleted
faces, the arms spread like hostage victims,
buy now $80. Not that she wants one. She’s
after something in a floral, with bodice,
pleats, buttons of mother-of-pearl.
Each time she bids, it is an act of liberation:
wresting the dress from the cheap duvet,
from the hands of the woman who’s ballooned,
from the disenchanted wife. The packets arrive
in the arms of the courier man who whistles
the Marseillaise, and stays a moment too long
on the doorstep. She can’t wait to rip
them open, watch the dresses tumble out,
a garden right there on the table, but no
whiff of rose or lavender, the scent
is old duvet. Straight away,
she feels the seams, tugs and tugs the buttons,
washes by hand with Sunlight Soap, drapes them
in the garden in the sunshine to breathe. At dusk,
they come inside to the bedroom to join the others.
They have a lot to talk about.

Mary McCallum

Do pop to the Tuesday Poem hub for a fantastic video of poet Rives and his poem 'Rives controls the internet' selected by Sarah Jane Barnett. And a host of other wonderful Tuesday Poems in the sidebar. 


Helen Lowe said...

Mary, I love, love, love, this poem. Not just the story, the character of the friend who collects the dresses, and the story of the dresses, but that wonderful final closing:

"At dusk,
they come inside to the bedroom to join the others.
They have a lot to talk about."

Claire Beynon said...

The secret lives of frocks. . . what we'd give to be able to hear their conversation?

This is what my grandmother would have called a 'saucy' poem, Mary - love it!

Penelope said...

Me too (love it), and have just come home from 'Vinnies' with $9 of clothes that need their seams reinforced, a wash and an airing. . . their conversation with my t-shirts will be more prosaic, I dare say, than the wedding dresses'.

maggie@at-the-bay.com said...

Lovely - and how gorgeous your friend always looks in her trade-me bargains! - I can't do second-hand, and it all goes back to a beautiful coat that my mother had 'cut-down' and had re-sewn for me (dusky pink with a fur collar) but my friends found the 'old lady label' inside it and I was mocked alongside their beautiful 'new' coats.... ha, friends... but I do recall the most beautiful belted rosebud frock that I had for the fair that was second-hand from a girl in town (who drowned)... it was American, it was the 50's and I thought I was a princess.

Meliors Simms said...

This is wonderful, and I wonder if your friend is my friend Wendy, tho Wendy's trademe clothes tend to sombre rather than floral. But much the same philosphy I think. I will pass this on to her.

Mary McCallum said...

Thank you Helen and Claire and Pen and Maggie and Meliors -- I got a bit waylaid and forgot to reply to your lovely comments. Poems in the Waiting Room wants to put Bidding in one of their editions! Very exciting. I've fiddled with a couple of words, a couple of lines. So now, what you see here, is complete. X

Melissa Green said...

Lovely poem, Mary. Beautifully done, moving and fine. xo

Mary McCallum said...

Thank you, Melissa (-: