David Hopkinson

My Beautiful Laundrette

Affixed to the wall
Below my flat
Is the welcoming sign
Of the laundromat

Come rain or shine
Remove life’s stubborn stains
$4 a time

Invisible mending
Of love’s bullet holes
Spiritual cleansing
For odd socks
And lost souls

Flathunting one day
On Glebe Point Road
I spotted this bijou
Upstairs abode

Apply within
I saw the sign
And the light
And moved straight in

10.00am Sunday morning
I’m up early and bright
To enact the ritual
Washday apartheid

Separating the coloureds
From the whites
In fragrant bleach
Of human rights

The latest gossip and scandal is there
Displayed for all to view
Cosmopolitan / New Idea / Marie Claire
Dated May 1992

At night the mighty neon smile
A warming glow does spread
A fiery sunset through the blinds
A blaze of blue and red

Magically bathing my bedroom
In a tasteful brothelpink hue
Prompting a string of male callers to ask
If credit cards will do

The world famous aromatic Hopkinson socks
(They can kill at 50 paces
They’re known to induce comas and cardiac shocks)
Now just walk downstairs unaided

And hop right into the nearest machine
First adjusting the settings required
Adding extra industrial strength strychnine
Meanwhile all around have expired

(The poet’s personal hygiene
Leaving much to be desired …)

Scrubbed to perfection
Purged of sin
Devils expelled
On the final spin

Grime doesn’t pay
The tie-dye is cast
I’ve abandoned old ways
They belong to the past

Clean living at last.

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