Sunday, April 18, 2010

Off the Cuff 14: On Revisiting Waiheke Island & A lifetime in & out of love for Melbourne Ch 2

APAD 14   prompt: "___________ Island"

On Revisiting Waiheke Island

At Onetangi, the shade is black
the shade as deep as sleep, the tree
I'm under makes deep and cool
black shade, the table and seat
an old tree smooth-edged, worn,
chiselled by restless teen hands
or men debating another drink
another woman / a different trouble.

Before I am caught by sleep
I leave the shade, retreat
to the beach-front cafe, and sweat.
Waves shove at island's pale rim
gather for half-hearted dumps
sparkling and glittering yet
speak of repetition rather than
of being wet, refreshing.

Six young men play football
take a second for distraction
as four minimally wrapped
young women - beers grasped
by the necks - saunter toward
the water, neither restless
nor soothing, yet  something
to aim for, somewhere to go.

Where I am, energy arises from
inexplicable laughter, the clatter
of trays, car doors slamming,
a startle of crockery being stacked.
I sit for an hour to see what changes
to sink into leather, to drink
Weeping Sands red, to wonder
about the islands like cardboard

beyond where the ocean makes
a dark blue line, ruling off a page.
I imagine the Pacific shrugging
and squirming, setting off tsunami.
Arrival of the island's bus reawakens
interest, but Oneroa by four pm is
deserted, shut down. I am ferried -
exhausted -  back to Auckland.

A Lifetime of being in and out of love for Melbourne

Chapter 2: 1965 - 74

Parkville, Clayton: places
of learning, yearning.
On the footy field, He
appears beside her; hormones
flood body, brain; they tryst
on homebound train. He alights
at Alphington so she loves
that name. No ideas of global
travel yet, all journeys
on the same rail and tram tracks.

Preston, Rosanna, Upwey -
Clayton, North Caulfield - Prahran
East Malvern - each suburb a superb
setting, and song, plenty of dramatic
tension there: in summer, glaring
pavements make eyes water;
trees and birds make well-controlled
appearances; the house in Christine Street
is the first in a new estate, a long walk
to the railway; leafier older places

smell of rancid cooking oil,
generations of slaving by women
you do the best you can to furnish
and decorate secondhand.
Across a party lounge, eyes lock.
They live together, marry
(Oh, the wantonness, the nonchalance:
six in a VW beetle, three pavlovas
for the wedding on knees, cigarettes
held carefully and high, windows open).

It's Cheltenham and Burwood for aunts
Rye for the grandmother, Syndal, Caulfield,
Malvern, Clematis for friends.
Kingsbury and Burwood Heights provide
work and colleagues. Holidays interstate
and out to country towns please.
But they part after she climbs a high peak
senses the secrets of long-distance views.
Now the urge to join a diaspora, to act
and live globally, becomes a driving need.

NaPoWriMo 14


  1. I like both of these very much. Re the Melbourne one - is there a Chapter 1?

  2. Oh yes of course - went back and found it. :)