Midsummer Noon in an Australian Shopping Centre (2 days before Christmas)

Write a poem about your own experience of a hot Australian summer’s day. It does not need to be set in the bush!

“Are you leaving?” I hopeful ask
A woman laden with food
She pretends not to hear me as she pushes her trolley
No need to be so damn rude!
I roll up my window to keep out the heat
Of the burning inferno outside
I lap the carpark seven times
I’m slowly losing my mind
I fluke a park and brace myself
For the crowds, the noise, the battle
The cacophony hits me like a stampede
And I join the herds of cattle
Mariah Carey is squawking and Satan’s spawn are screaming
It’s a nightmare but I’m not asleep
My head starts to spin, the faces become blurry
Like faceless flocks of sheep

Jayden get off that now! Clang clang clang out of control trolleys coming at me.. tinsel tacky tinny tinsel.. all i want for Christmas is you.. heart’s pounding.. ho ho ho shut up stupid santa!!.. attention shoppers.. hyperventilating… muuuuuuum!!!… toddler at my feet GET AWAY FROM ME… camera flashes.. waaaaaah..was that a goat? I’m hallucinating..I’m dreaming of a white…i smell donuts i’m gonna puke… just breathe.. Jayden I’m not telling you again..so dizzy... breathe… I can’t breathe

Hands shaking violently I open Spotify
Headphones on, I close my eyes
Kurt’s screaming Stay Away, I turn it up full blast
I find a smidgen of Nirvana at last
I’m not here for presents – this atheist don’t do festivities
It’s drugs that have brought me to this hell hole
I go see my dealer… he thinks he’s a doctor
And load up on sedatives, painkillers and salbutamol
Woolies have ice cream at half price
I stock up for the new year
At the brain-dead robotic cashier

The sliding doors open – the swelter hits like a tsunami
The exodus collectively groan
“Are you leaving?” someone yells at me
Ignoring them I mumble “leave me alone”
I slump in my car and unburden my sweaty aching feet
The air burns my face like a blow torch
I grab the sun baked seatbelt and cry out in pain
I’m branded like a bovine scorched
My hand blisters ingeniously, my air-con is shot
While two cars fight over my parking spot
The air burns my lungs, I try not to breathe
Dizzy and wincing in agony, I burn rubber as I exit the parking lot
So to Charles Harpur I respectfully say
Enjoy your peaceful lagoon
Cause I’d like to see you spend an hour or two
In this shitty carpark in Penrith at noon.


5 thoughts on “Midsummer Noon in an Australian Shopping Centre (2 days before Christmas)

Add yours

  1. Good use of literary technique! I really enjoyed reading this and had a few giggles aswell.
    Just a few little things: 1. “Are you leaving?” I ask a woman hopefully, who was laden with food.
    2. Maybe ‘I circle the carpark’.
    3. ‘A fluke! I find a spot, park, and brace myself for the crowds.’

    Good read 👌


  2. Hi Julie, 

    What an astounding original poem! It hooked me from the very first line. The uniquely Australian slang and references – such as the “IT IS IN THE FRIGGIN BAGGING AREA!” – made me relate to the stress and emotion when shopping at Christmas time. I enjoyed your references to the country and nature, even though it is a suburban experience, with lines like “I’m branded like a bovine scorched” and “the swelter hits like a tsunami”. It makes me wonder if you have spent time in the Outback?

    Your use of increased vowels with the likes of “waaaaaah”  and “muuuuuuum”  really encouraged the charged emotion felt in the poem. The alteration and repetition with lines like, “Clang clang clang out of control trolleys coming at me”, added to the overall anxiety and out-of-control nature of the shopping center. I too have endured that same car park and especially liked the last two lines, “Cause I’d like to see you spend an hour or two /In this shitty carpark in Penrith at noon.” 

    I only wish the 5th stanza had been verse rather than prose. However, the prose does increase the sound effects and your ability to create the cacophony of noise within words is one-of-a-kind. Ultimately, I really appreciated your poem, “Midsummer Noon in an Australian Shopping Center (2 days before Christmas)” and hope you continue to pursue poetry. 

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Laura, thank you so much for your excellent and constructive feedback. I really appreciate you taking the time to read my poem as it’s the first poem I’ve written. It is encouraging to hear your thoughts. Best wishes, Julie


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