'Cheer up, Capt'n, buy a flow'r off a poor girl’.
My Fair Lady
The cockney flower girl, dirt-clean holds to her breast a splintered basket with a cactus and shredded violets. A collective individual, wind-swept to stand on cobbled stones, complete with cracked carnal lips.
‘enry ’ riggins waits in the shadows. Enraged and delighted at the sight of her, this spectacle, who presents before him as a stained paradox.
A creature swept in
by the storm
away from The Gap
and the fallen comrades
who now soar
She is me and I am her
'All I want is a room somewhere
Far away from the cold night air'
We join 'enry here, on his attempt to transform this deliciously-low-draggle-tailed guttersnipe
The Duchess of Plums
'I've a right to sell flow'rs if I keep off the curb.'
Eliza protests in vain.
You can wager a bet
Be the voyeur
Kick back and bask in the relish of 'enry’s experiment.
You can take his side
By estimating her worth
For she is nothing more than a fleck of working class dirt.
You can have fun
Buy her for a small sum
To see if you can
Get her to speak in the manner in which you want her to be heard.
Wait. An argument erupts.
Surely tuppence for this squashed-cabbage-leaf is fee enough?
'They'll take away me character and drive me off the streets'
ricochets-soundlessly into empty-space
Football-pods from the cacao tree,
dry-moist soil gives the taste of original -sin
what minor passions
running in the undergrown
of poor people’s lives will burst out’….
'Lots of chocolates for me to eat.'
Clean her Factory
try sandpaper fermented.
if it won’t come off Clean-sort dry-grate
burn her clothes, order new ones, press-pound, thwack, apply
wrap her in brown paper extreme-heat, roll into
we don’t want any slum-prudery. the breaking-chamber until
Wallop her if she gives you dry-brown-brittle nibs pop
any trouble, she has to learn to behave. and release the aroma of chocolate
'Ahyee, e, iyee, ow, you. A, E, l, O, U.'
Drizzle, pour and surge through Silos, evaporating towers, rollers,
protruding brass rods 'The pounding, vibrating,
ejaculating to a streaming conching. Conveyor belts,
gush of warm rain extruding salt
flowing milk encrusted
'My God I think she’s got it,' announces the Honourable Professor Henry Higgins.
Silhouettes of top hats and walking canes. Footsteps on stairs. Pink-satin bodices, lace-trimmed corsets and ripples of French tulle.
Venus throws out its white sparks to reflect off the bay. Carriages clatter, bourgeoisie chatter with the crackles of reservation and breathlessness. Silver service and the scent of freshly drawn tea being poured into bottomless cups.
Eliza has been cleaned, smoothed and gift wrapped, her transformation is complete. No longer can you hear her proletariat tones but
she still possesses
a revolutionary thought.
All text featured in italics is attributed to My Fair Lady, with the exception of ‘who can tell what minor passions running in the undergrown of poor people’s lives will burst out’ which is taken from Christina Stead’s Seven Poor of Sydney.
© Sharon Willdin 2015