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2005_0811Aug0019

Photo from cover of ‘Rail Tales’ 

PRIORITY SEATING No. 2

Young woman sits

while an old man stands.

She gazes through layers

of foundation.

 

Does it screen

the opposite wall?

Can’t she read the

  “Who are you fooling?”

 

Fake fur-collared jacket

and label shoes.

Large black leather bag

clutched to protect her

 

– it doesn’t – she’s mean!

The old man has turned

his neat and clean

but well-worn back

 

and solidly sways,

not expecting courtesy.

 

Frances Macaulay Forde © 2000

 

@FrancesMForde  #FrancesMacForde  #BOOK:RailTales  #POEM:PrioritySeatingNo2  #Poetry  #Communting  #TrainPoems  #RailPoems

 

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https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joondalup_railway_line#/media/File:Mitchell_Freeway_100_N_Stirling_Civic_with_train.jpg

Mitchell Freeway photo courtesy of Wikipedia.

The train I catch to the city rides on a railway line between the North and South lanes of the Mitchell Freeway.  I loved gazing at the cars streaming on their way to or from work.  Comfortable in the air-conditioned, clean and very fast, with someone-else-driving carriage, I filled my notebooks as other commuters wondered what I was saying about them.

Short stories and poems written on my train journeys between Edgewater Station and Perth City, appeared in my book  Hidden Capacity ~ a poet’s journey  and later  separately, in my Rail Tales chapbook. (Both books are sold out.)

Trips into Town.

However, there is a game I play on my way to work. Wearing my HBF corporate uniform, another day of routine smiles and customer queries beckons.

When the no-name monotony gets too much, I shrug off that persona and step into my imagination.

On the most normal and usual of journeys to and from work, strange things happen because I wear the seahorse broach my son gave me for my birthday. It seems that when I touch it, caress it, the cold metal seems to warm.

I can actually feel his love, the time he took to find exactly the right broach, the money he saved and his joy when I opened the wrapping, laughing and smiling with obvious delight.

A different me seemed to take over: moveable me, a nebulous entity able to drift like an invisible tide on air thick with wanting. I could change my life – become someone else by feeling envy or wishing for what others seemed to have…

Though the first time it happened, I was terrified.

Work at the Bank held no attraction that day.  In fact, I had finished up the previous day out of balance, fully expecting my pretentious I-play-the-game supervisor to take me to task.  Not a workday to look forward to.

So with the announcement “Next station Perth”, I was focusing my energies on someone who seems to have it all.

As we squealed into the Leederville Tunnel, the lights flickered then dimmed. I don’t know why but in that fraction of black, a thrill of anticipation ran through me.

The last person I concentrated on wore a lot of good jewellery, expensive clothes, bag and shoes.  She was attractive, with immaculate nails.  When the lights burned fully again, I was wearing the expensive clothes, lots of jewellery and immaculate nails. I had shed myself, metamorphosed into this perfect being.

What next?

Unlimited credit cards, meeting a friend for lunch on The Terrace, more shopping – check out the bank account and then, pop into the Italian jewellery for a new bracelet. I would of course decline dinner at the Hyatt because I have to get back to feed my cat.

Do I still have a cat?  Who’ll feed Soxies?

This dream couldn’t last and I had to try to return to my own skin but first, I had to find myself.  A creature of habit, I make sure I get the same train every night, waiting in the usual place on Platform 2 with sore feet and tired stance.

Just managing to board before the doors swished shut, I gratefully sat down. As the carriage pulled away from the station, I placed ‘her’ handbag between my feet.

We swayed to the left and the lights flickered then dimmed. There’s the fraction of black again and I concentrated, staring at ‘myself’ two seats away, firmly clutching Angela’s purchases.

It couldn’t really happen. My family would wonder how I managed to acquire such gorgeous clothes and new jewellery on my wage. They’d think I had a secret admirer and why weren’t they told?

They don’t know about the games I play to relieve the boredom. 

It’s all in my head of course…

Frances Macaulay Forde © 2001

 

@FrancesMForde  #FrancesMacForde  #BOOK:HiddenCapacity  #BOOK:RailTales  #Prose&Poetry  #Poetry  #ShortStories  #FrancesMacaulayForde  #TrainStories  #RidingTheRails  #TrainWriting  #TrainStories

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Jean, through her Social Bridge blog, has inspired this posting by asking to see a version of down town.  It’s hard to get me out of the bat cave as I don’t often venture into town if I can avoid it, but when I do it’s usually for a meeting at the cultural centre, so straight to that carpark and up the lift to the meeting rooms.  I don’t dilly dally.  Not good with large crowds.

The Bat Cave.

My down town couldn’t be more different to Jean’s, so to give you some idea; I live in the (near) northern suburbs of Perth, Western Australia, 29.5km from the city which takes 26 minutes by very fast train.  (When I choose to drive often the train overtakes me while I do the speed limit of 100k – the train, it seems, has no such limit.)   

When I was studying for my degree between 1998 and 2001, I frequently used the train to go from home to Mt Lawley and WAAPA or ECU Campus.  I kept a notebook of poems and prose, ‘Rail Tales’ was re-printed in 2012

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“Rail Tales” re-published chapbook, 2012

 

I did do a ‘Coming home, 2003’  blog entry with lots of photos of the car trip, taken when we returned from Ireland.

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Ocean Reef Road leading to the sea, 5 min from where I live.

I recently Re-Blogged a post about our city which has amazing photos of the buildings; “Perth, is that you?”

Featured Image -- 3651

From the blog entry “Perth, is that you?’

Everyone drives a car here, it’s necessary because there are distances involved in going anywhere.

Two Rocks is an outer suburb at the northern edge of Perth, the state capital of Western Australia, Australia, located 61 kilometres north of the city’s central business district.”

My hubby does most of the shopping because we run a small food production business (registered) from home and I hate shopping.  If I go when I’m hungry, I buy all the worst goodies; so best I don’t go and I hate shopping for clothes.  I’m a maker, so my favourite shops are also within 5min (Spotlight) and 9min (Office Works) respectively.

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Coat made for a recent wedding.

As I mentioned, I very seldom go down town.  We have wonderful shopping centres near us ranging from HUGE (Whitfords City, Lakeside, Joondalup just one train stop away North or South, or 5 -10 mins by car) to smaller local shops with a large supermarket plus more than 20 retail outlets including hairdressers, chemist and post office plus the obligatory fast food outlets, within walking distance of home.

However, I do often drive down south (skirting the city) to visit my children and grandchildren; a trip of 50.2km there and another 50.2km home again.  The city boundaries extend about the same distance down south.  This map shows the Transperth Zones where my children live in Zone 3 to give you an idea of the distances.

Depending on the time of day the trip can take anything from 42min to more than 60 min  each way on our freeway, so I usually leave at home 10am and get back before 3.30pm.

Always worth doing; my grandies are (naturally) adorable and because it’s cold and wintery at the moment, I’m busy making beanies for them in various colours.  Of course, that means lots of trips to Spotlight for more wool and perhaps some more material for dresses, dollies etc…

What are you focussed on – right now?

150506SonjaKnitting (3)s  150509Hats 004s  150509Hats 002s150509Hats 006s150509Hats 001s150521OrangeBeanie 001s150209Babysitting (4)w

@FrancesMForde  #FrancesMacForde  #BOOK:RailTales  #DownTown  #PerthCity  #TwoRocks  #NorthernSuburbs

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Although I was invited to the inaugural Avon Valley Writer’s Festival last year, to speak and workshop with my screenwriter’s hat on, I wanted something tangible for the audience to purchase so (as mentioned previously) self-published three small books.

Since writing the poems in 1998-2000 on the train between the Northern Suburbs, to the City of Perth then on to University in Mt Lawley, they appeared in my first book published in Ireland ‘Hidden Capacity ~ a poet’s journey’ and more recently re-assessed and ‘tweaked’ to appear in the stand-alone chapbook for sale.  Some pieces have also appeared variously in publications and on the net.

Now I’m hoping to give it yet another life, to convert the chapbook to an e-book for purchase on-line.  Any suggestions?  The service at Amazon has been recommended although I’ve been told not to expect ‘many dollars’ it’s a chance for many to see the poems and a whole new experience for me so I’ll have a look at it.  As I’m not really clever technically, I’m looking for something laywoman easy 😮

Meantime I thought I’d share a story and poem from the book just in case you wanted to investigate further either by purchasing a hard copy from me  or perhaps later an e-book from Blurb, Issuu or Amazon.  These are the first couple of pages:

Edgewater Station, 7.45am.

 The first time I climbed the ramp to cross the empty freeway I thanked my daughter’s advice for nervous, first-time train-travel.

“Don’t make eye-contact and take something to read.”

Embarrassingly unfit; I was truly unworthy of riding to city steeples and naked greed.  However, I was able to slow my breathing before reaching the platform, populated by corporate black.

Like others in smart casual I waited unprepared, searching and praying that I had correct change.  No way would I approach anyone to help if my Target Special revealed only notes.  An extra minute to read the zones and I felt their impatience stab my shoulder blades.

First rule: be prepared.  Why doesn’t someone press the ‘Next Train to Perth’ button?  How long have I got?  Finally, the clunking use of coins and metal spit of ticket, loudly confirmed my lack of railway sophistication.

As I claimed my waiting spot, the gentle morning sun warmed my arms and I began to relax.

My head moved left to spy an approaching train. Then swung right, to relax the tension.  The violent clash of eyes focussed on the anticipated train, brought heat and colour flooding to my face.  Have I broken another rule?

I turned away. Moved left and slid around to a corner bench, hiding under graffiti steps.

A cleaner diligently wiped the dead remains of habit from a shiny steel surface.  As our eyes met, she smiled in understanding. My isolation lifted with the corners of my mouth. “Good morning.”

A distant sparkle from Joondalup Tunnel caught my attention.  Although I had lost my place for the central carriages, I joined the stragglers just as the last door swept toward my flat comfortable-s.

The unsmiling silent wave surged toward the precipice, eager to rest their feet or continue sleep.  We were swallowed with a whoosh.

All around people take off their Sunnis and don clear glass, casually opening their oft-thumbed pages: Time magazine, corporate handouts, New Idea, ‘Bondage – a love story’ the latest Patricia Cornwell…

I am starting my own new adventure – a new life.

No husband ~ he’s decided to share his bacon with a younger model.

No children to care for – they’ve all moved out, no-one who needs me, just me.

So I’m dealing with the empty nest, taking my new life into a different direction ~ a city job direction.

The first day of my new life: new job; new me.  Is it obvious?

No one speaks, except the odd un-sophisticate, who broadcasts gossip as if it elevates them.

I lose myself in Harry Potter and block out the other occupants, cocooned against intimidation.

Priority Seating.

Chivalry’s not dead.

Young man offers an older

person his seat, but

not the young lady. He stands

silently, matching her sway.

 

Freeway Sprawl.

relaxed – half asleep

compassionately floating past

overheated motors crawling

without air-conditioned silence

forced to queue as road workers

widen a future path.

Frances Macaulay Forde © 2013

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