Alison Cassidy

Rookie (6th August,1945 / Melbourne, Australia)

Shopping With Charlie* - Poem by Alison Cassidy

And dad looked so cocky too,
standing there at the checkout counter.

‘That’ll be a hundred and twenty four dollars.’
said a chewing gum voice.

‘Shit. That much? ’

Embarrassed now,
dad had to put back some of the stuff.

Charlie made grunting noises,
screwing up his face
and rubbing his knuckles
into his cheeks.
He was wearing his new gorilla hat.

‘Sorry mate,
'fraid some of this stuff’s got to go back...’

‘Nuhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh
C harlie grabbed an armful off the counter
and pulled it on top of him.

‘C’mon mate. Up you get.
We can play Ninendo when we get home? ’

‘Nahhhhhhh nahhhhhhhh nahhhhhhhh
Charlie was shaking his head wildly
and banging tins on the floor.

‘Charlie stop that. Everyone’s looking.
Get up off that floor immediately. Do you hear me! ’

Charlie didn't hear anyone.
He'd folded up inside himself.
He always did that.

Dad went on yelling.
Charlie took no notice.
Finally dad grabbed Charlie under the armpits
(he was taller than dad)
and dragged him out the door.

The crowd that gathered
gave us pitying looks.

I felt humiliated
and helpless
and angry

with dad for being such a dickhead
and Charlie for being my brother.

How I hated them both!



*inspired by the 2007 Australian film ‘The Black Balloon’


Comments about Shopping With Charlie* by Alison Cassidy

  • (4/16/2008 9:16:00 AM)


    hahahha awesome. I love the stories you tell. You are fast becomming one of my favorite writers on here. Is charlie actually your brother, and is he retarted? Or is this just a fictional poem based on the movie. I agree w/ some of the other comments 'chewing gum voice is great'. (Report) Reply

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  • (4/4/2008 8:56:00 PM)


    This poem and the film compliment each other very well - to see is to understand. (Report) Reply

  • (4/4/2008 4:01:00 PM)


    A straight forward; no-nonsense poem Allison. I love this. 'said a chewing gum voice.' How great is that? The ability to portray an individual by a trait and then to make that trait the person is only something that can be achieved in poetry and only by a writer who is alert to the demands.

    At first I didn't like the end three lines, but re-reading it I couldn't really imagine it any other way. They not only make sense of the narrative but make sense of the manner in which the narrative is formed.

    I don't know the film and I am glad that I don't because I would have an inkling as to what Charlie is about. So for me that is not the issue. The emotion is and this is very well created.

    Excellent Ally!
    (Report) Reply

  • (4/4/2008 1:38:00 PM)


    There are those times when we just have to shrug our shoulders and wait for things to calm down, this seems like one of those, not easy though, but you have explained this well

    Love duncan X
    (Report) Reply

  • (4/4/2008 9:55:00 AM)


    Allie, you have done it again, injecting a bit of humour into a situation I have seen many time when I worked in a shop. A little monster who refused to do as he is told. Told with your normal brilliance. Top marks and thanks for raising a smile and sharing this my friend.
    David
    (Report) Reply

  • (4/4/2008 8:52:00 AM)


    I find this wonderful. You paint the awkward and realistic scene without a word wasted, with understandable venom injected to boot. Fab. t x (Report) Reply

  • Frank James Ryan Jr...fjr (4/4/2008 2:40:00 AM)


    And the hits just keep on comin', young lass! ...The storyline in itself is sheer brilliance....all the extra '''Allie Accents''', place the proverbial cherry on top of this Friday delight! Sterling Work, my dear!

    ~ FjR ~
    ..2008..
    (Report) Reply

  • (4/4/2008 2:36:00 AM)


    Telling something this close to one's privileged place is always difficult - yet you do it with an artist's eye and a subtle feel for the language. It paints a picture which would make a grown man (or woman) cringe. Damn, I can feel it prickling down MY spine! Whew... I'll need a beer quickly. Rgds, Ivan (Report) Reply

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Poem Submitted: Friday, April 4, 2008

Poem Edited: Saturday, May 31, 2008


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