Saturday, June 24, 2006

A Taste of Cindy (2006)

Crack of dawn
Cindy's movin' on
Talkin' Cindy to everyone
'Til she's had her fun

– The Jesus & Mary Chain, ‘Taste of Cindy’

Cindy I loved you as much as I love gambling my life away
I bet your favourite flowers are still gardenias
And lilies of the valley and $50 notes and $20 notes

Cindy I built temples on your tongue
My ribs knew your ribs
You fucked me on a dead mattress

Your legs pale in summer
And we made a cloud of stupidity that first night
Serenading you with a sixpack as we cruised St Kilda beach
We got scribbled
We painted the rocks with water

Cindy I remember you
Cindy lifting off
Wacked on valium toes exposed
Single doona on a double bed
Getting stoned watching TV
And drinking Absolut Citron that I’d lifted from the bottleshop
While you stalled the shop guy with your ‘speed humps’
As I called them
Only to cop a mouthful of your door for my trouble

Cindy I got in line for you
We were lovers with the scents of others
There must’ve been so many names I missed
Of suckers young and old swimming silent from your mouth

Cindy you declared you loved porn ‘as much as the next guy’
We’d laugh at the lamest lines and recite them Shakespearean
While going at it in the laundromat
And I used to dream you short-haired with silk tie
Dressing gown completely open
Uncrossing and crossing everything

Cindy you were let go from every job within minutes
I can still see the slow ghost of you
Scanning items in the express checkout
Then screaming down the defenceless old dear
Who was sure she’d been overcharged for cotton buds

That was one of those times you led me back again rattling your tin
Back to your flat with fridge in the bedroom and no running water
Except hard rain through the broken windows

Cindy you were all money
If you were the Empress of China you’d still shop at Target
You once won five grand on a scratchie
Then lived on strawberries for a month
You drew red texta hearts on naked mannequins
Who you’d rescued from shopsoiled obscurity
And this was your greatest act of charity

Cindy I’m sorry we couldn’t see it through
For growing older while time froze you in its eye
But I’m staying in this lane even if it’s slower
I saw you death-defy too many times
Intent on dying Cindy-style

Whether spreading the love in underpaid pics
Or riding a Hills Hoist through the thick of a thunderstorm
You were always the naked one
Cindy you were the laughing one

Below: reading A Taste of Cindy at Federation Square, Melbourne (photo by Monica Barratt).


  1. Love it.

    The characterisation is so beautiful and so poignant and so real. I think one of the most important things you can do with poetry is capture a moment or a period of your life and you've done it well.

    -kat (meow) :)

  2. ^^^I agree on the have done an awesome job of establishing her as a real solid person. :)

  3. Thanks guys! I'd like to point out though that Cindy isn't based on a real person, and this isn't really based on a time in my life at all. I'm not the narrator! ;) There are minor aspects of it that might be based on personal experience, but my main aim was to 'create' a character (or in fact two characters, including the narrator).

    On a different note, I'll be reading this poem as part of the Overload Poetry Festival on Saturday the 5th of August at the Atrium, Federation Square, Melbourne. All welcome!