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Arch Hill

The first time I've lived near the city
since I was seven, Newmarket Primary and
all that, but there is no domain, just
a tightly clipped field at the foot of
our street beside the North-Western
Motorway. Our backyard looks like the straw

of last week's big top, our neighbours
are seven young male students who've
just come over with beers they lugged up
Queen Street, along K' Road and the Great North
to get here, Bond Street. You don't know
how tough it is to carry four dozen

this far, they said, as I drank another
can. Hang on man, I said, this discussion
is incredibly esoteric and we're living
in one of the poorest areas of Auckland!
There are no barbies, or wooden fences
holding a uniquely landscaped pool

deck chairs round a cognac, latest lycra
fluttering from the line, John Dory and fries
wrapped in last month's Metro, where exercise
consists of practising tongue extensions
the imaginary acted prattle this Arch Hill resident
despises. And to the real? corrugated fences

that blow with every wish, daytime with
'The Bats', night-time with BFM at eleven, bass
guitar practice at three, five hours' sleep
with the bathroom locked, but we're better off
this way they sing. Our Polynesian neighbours
are very quiet -- the teenagers walk the streets

each night -- so now I feel a little guilty
the Samoans next door to us in Onehunga were so
loud and that we grumbled and gave them the evils.
Playing with my youngest flatmate's grouse
though, she can swing upside down from
the clothesline and sing row row row

your boat and I'm teaching her chess, and well ...
poetry. Of course the best advantage is that
I can visit all my friends from here.

 


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