Monday, 10 May 2010

Magpie 13 - Gaze


The 192 takes a less trodden path
down by warehouses and development sites.
You can smell the brackish river
see the majestic moreton bay figs
glimpse the mangroves
sucking on mud

Stop 12 always presents a surprise.
A mother with two children and a pram
struggling towards the city;
the man who gives the driver
the same directions each morning;
plastic girls
as shiny as their recently built riverside apartments,
and a man shepherding a young girl to her seat.

The plastic girls have short skirts
legs shining from recent depilation
hair flowing over sunny shoulders
they talk to each other
and to their mobile phones

The man cranes his neck
pretends to make eye contact with his teenager
but his gaze slides past
to the plastic girls
one seat behind.
His eyes disguise nothing
they can't stop their crawl
from painted toenails
to calf and thigh
drinking in the plastic girls
blink by blink

His neck hurts
he withdraws his straining eyes
finds the front of the bus
then as if compelled
places his arm
along the seat back
a fractured line.
his gaze
disguised as neutral and natural
begins the trawl once more

He leans towards the teenager
whispers in her ear
she giggles.
A father's intimacy
a predators breath.

The plastic girls
the passengers
the bus
steam their way to the city
on a sweltering humid morning
in this tropical metropolis.

Twenty pairs of eyes soak up
the scene
or feign disinterest
behind the morning tabloid headlines.

Click on this image for more work of writers from across the globe responding on this theme.


Sheri said...

steve, this is so well written! reading through it i could almost smell the mingling odors of sweat, heady gusts of perfume, and disgust! what a remarkable post!

Brian Miller said...

really that was have captured the scene so well i was there...and the plastic girls, i've seen them...and the man as well...great magpie!

Queen of the Tea Cosies said...

Woo hoo. Loved every word.

joanna said...


Powerful and very good use of descriptives.. . I swear I was on this bus taking in the scene - I could smell, see , hear, feel it all!


Linda Bob Grifins Brin Korbetis said...

vivid and masterful,
I actually understand what you are talking about.
Happy Monday!
Excellent Magpie!

Jennifer said...

Wonderful job Steve - this played out like a bit of film in my head.

Helen said...

Deep ... and dark ... and vivid. I was there with all of the passengers! What a talent!

Tess Kincaid said...

This has such a lovely flow, Steve. Nice texture of darks and lights. Intriguing slice of life from the bus.

Catalyst said...

Very well done, Steve.

Ronda Laveen said...

Life,sunny and shadowy, as seen from that bus. But only a few really chose to see. Loved rhe pacing nd the grittiness.

rel said...

It's fun to people watch on a bus or metro. For real or here;it's the same. Nice.

Unspoken said...

I liked what you did with this! LOVED the "plastic girls" description and the way man.

Unspoken said...

Oops the way you handled the man is what I meant to write!

Lyn said...

Poor deprived little guy...Well there's always tomorrow, to sneak another peek..not that there's anything wrong with that!
You describe human nature very well...

Tumblewords: said...

An incredibly fine look at humanity on the 192~

* said...

A beautiful Magpie. I felt I was there...

transparentnow? said...

It bothers me a bit that this is all too real...but that just means that it is very well written.

~T~ said...

Eye could see it, too. Effectively written.

Katherine said...

Absolutely Awesome Steve.. I have seen that kind of scene on the train & bus many a time. The older man eye-balling the younger attractive women!
They are just so damn obvious & a majority of the time the gals love it, the attention I mean!!
You describe so well the whole scenario..masterful magpie!

Linda Bob Grifins Brin Korbetis said...

Happy Sunday!