clothes hangers


To find employment and the truth
I read the classifieds in tea leaves—

symbol seeking an equation
clothesline seeking washing
objectified stranger seeking life

I’ll try again tomorrow,
investigate the websites in the clouds,
where my skill
at staring into light and dark
might be less superfluous.


In the yard, I stretch my arms with a singlet
and pegs, pointers east and west,
a washing basket waiting at my feet.

The rotary clothesline sneers.

And what about the north and south
to which I daily send my greetings?
I’m a home to spiders, a perch for birds.
Don’t act so smugly just because you’re sentient.

Pride emerges from my pouting mouth.
We made you, Clothesline.
Your creator stands before you.
A little humility wouldn’t go astray.

You address a spinning solar conduit,
a drier of the wet,

an acolyte of Ra.

He rotates countersunwise,
a fraction of a radian.

I know that your humanity, your disguise,
is an ornament for the benefit of strangers.
In your heart you don’t believe you’re human,
you’re made for hanging clothes like me,
nd after all,
you’re talking 
to a clothesline.

I couldn’t disagree.

And by the way, your hidden shades of night,
your affordable fashion
in underwear,

is staining your tattered
business shirts

osmotic green and purple.

I washed my clothes in George’s River
when the ducks were passing by,
to add a little agitation from their paddling.

But now I think I’ll find a quiet pond,
contemplate the fire of the dawn,
scrub my disguises
one by one,
and shop for a tumble dryer
when I’m done.

a little known fact—although modern garments generally have twitter accounts, the expression ‘on-line’ originally referred to drying clothes on a line.

artwork  the first dawn

47 thoughts on “clothes hangers

    • Glad you enjoyed Frank. Yes, inanimate objects are responsible for a lot of problems in the world. People cause the occasional problem too. To be honest, I’ve never really thought about underwear fashion, I just stick with the green and pink polka dot boxers. 😸

    • Thanks Vanessa. You are very welcome to say anything. A little Vogon Poetry perhaps?

      Oh freddled gruntbuggly,
      Thy micturations are to me,
      As plurdled gabbleblotchits,
      On a lurgid bee
      (D Adams, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy)

      Sometimes when I’m in a say-anything situation, I think “it might be poetry” so I write it down. When I look at it later, I can’t read my handwriting so I throw it away. 😜

    • Oh my, I haven’t read that awesome book in so long.
      That last paragraph made me laugh out loud. So relatable, and such a lovely and succinct description of human nature hahaha

  1. Love this! Don’t own a dryer and always laugh when someone on FB posts pictures of the “old days” with people hanging their clothes captioned “Remember this?” Spiders, ants, all part of my dried laundry introduced to the inside of the house. All part of nature. Besides, the elastic from the underwear lasts a lot longer 😀

    • Thanks Clarissa. Hahaha, the old days. 🙂 I prefer that the spiders leave before I put the clothes on. A lot of Australian spiders are not very friendly. In spring (ie now) the St Andrew’s Cross Spiders manage to connect the line to the nearest tree (several metres) and weave enormous webs during the night. I either walk right into it or a wind springs up and spins the line, and they have to rebuild. 🙂

    • I know what you mean! Florida is loaded with Recluse spiders who are dangerous, but I’ve been “bitten” so many times that aside from being able to creep up the sides of tall buildings due to the venom, I’ve discovered the efficacy of Plantago major (plantain) and have saved myself ER visits. Do be careful, though…

  2. Too funny. Even though I normally prefer stuff that doesn’t rhyme, I found it very satisfying the way the last 4 lines ended with a rhyme. Nice touch. I love the whole thing. Lighthearted, but still as profound as ever. I don’t have a talking clothesline, just a drying rack. So far it hasn’t said anything. Spit some socks off once. 🙂

    • Thanks BG and for noticing the rhymette. 🙂 Don’t know what the drying rack was trying to tell you. Maybe it’s bored with its work and wants to do something new. Or maybe I’m projecting. 🙂 I’d pretty much written this piece when I suddenly realized “Oh, I’m talking about identity.” 😯

  3. There is so much relevance and indeed reverence in the so-called ordinary. As someone once said, the Devil is in the detail…well done.

    • Thank you. I agree, we have ‘ordinary’ beliefs all around us in the media while the highest attainment in Buddhist is an ordinary mind that sees things as they are, no more no less. A difficult millennium. 🙂

  4. I love this! heheh .. You, my friend have a very interesting mind ehhehe.
    I even clicked my computer to speak so I could just listen and chuckle. Clothes lines have always been a favourite of mine as well. Some years back I painted a series of clothes lines across landscapes and mountain tops. I think it’s so sad that many cities here in Canada will not allow clothes lines. It always throws me for a loop when I hear this. It’s like having a law to not wear blue on tuesdays.
    I will now read your next poem for I was saving both for my sunday morning read with coffee. 🙂

    • Thanks, pretty sure your computer doesn’t have an Australian accent 🙂 which is for the best. Clotheslines: interesting, I didn’t know that. I suppose it depends on your point of view. I love nature but I’m very much a city person, and in a crowded city when I see all those clothes hanging, with buildings jammed together, it’s very human and I find it beautiful. My mind again I suppose. 🙂

      Thinking of your landscapes, using the sun to dry and not fossil-fired power helps keep the sky blue. Maybe that’s not a concern in the places you’re talking about. 🙂

    • You’re very welcome Artemis, and I appreciate the feedback. My mind is a mystery, it never tells me what it’s thinking. It does go on strike quite often, it wants holiday pay.

      By the way, I noticed your site has quite a magical touch. Maybe you’re doing some spell casting as well as good writing. 😀

    • Thank you sir 🙏🏼 … hehe, spell casting is quite possible. I’ve heard it said that’s where the word spelling actually originated… we are all casting spells with our words then 🙂 May they indeed be magical!

    • Thanks -Eugenia. Sometimes I don’t pay attention and accidentally wander off the path into the jungle. I can’t find my way back and there’s no-one around –days and days without food or water, being bitten and stung by insects. And just as I die, I think “Why didn’t I just switch on the GPS on my phone?” 🐒

  5. I like to hear Australian place names in literature so the reference to Georges River in the surreal clothes-washing duck dream sequence was particularly welcome.

    • Many years ago, I sent a story to Aurealis, and they required a connection with Australia. The story, which was set in Brazil, was rejected. The reviewer said that the Australian character was completely unbelievable, and it read like they were an add-on to satisfy the requirement.

      The character, who was a researcher from São Paulo University, was basically me, and most of the details came from my own experiences. I learned an important lesson— avoid reality, no one will believe it.

      On the other hand, a row of Buddhists in brown robes walking beside the Georges River at Lansvale have a slight resemblance to wood ducks, and they do talk about the ‘clothes’ we wear. Thank you, Demosthenes.

    • Hello Jim.

      You sent me a copy of this comment from “athletes” who has only just discovered the mad workings of the mind of inconstant light. So I went back and checked it out. Mine was the comment above so I assume that you sent me this in error?


    • It is the wood ducks who are mad, they’ve as much as admitted it. I think that you might be following the comments on this post. Someone is. Unfortunately I can’t unsubscribe you, but no doubt it is possible with adorable WordPress.

      BTW, “athletes” sells ironing stuff and probably found the post by keyword searching. Luckily their comment was not classified as spam. That’s the internet for you.

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