Journal » Trout 16 » Drama [Janet Charman]
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Janet Charman

a scullery kitchen beside the dining room
heavy with paneling our mother painted mushroom
kauri schmauri
you're not the one who stays at home
it lifts the gloom

a day comes when off to walk the town
on our own it is so good
once only i ask
if she is concerned about us getting into trouble
no she thinks we are responsible

which is true
but still there is a weird euphoria about
gobbling up a bowl of strip noodles and savoury mince
tipped in with simmered frozen mixed veg. the same delicious hotchpotch
she produces every Friday night before the caravan departs

we are my brother and his mate from down the road
and me
and a girl from the motorcamp
who roosts there for a year with her brother and sisters
while her do it yourself parents construct their new house

alone in the communal kitchen
most evenings she stirs up an illicit sludge of fudge
and should her mother return to check the dinner preparations
drops it pot and all for later retrieval
into the foliage out the window

how glorious is this
my friend used to be on the other side of the hill
near the smartest girl in school
now she lives around the corner
and visits like a sister

no one denies us as we march the coast
skim the shops
meander the skein of parks
timing it so whatever else happens
we arrive prompt at seven for the drama lessons

my brother's friend maintains it's funny growing up
trips us at every slapstick
even as we enter the leaf tunnel where the white haired woman sits
cross-legged in a grass nest with stockings lowered from her flesh
and when she sees us twitches her skirt to cover up she has a paper-bag

of alcohol Mum says don't
look to the sea park where roll all your fortunes
one long slide takes you down but the king tide lifts us
over the tedious commercial precinct
unless we stop to hanker after pearl nails and film stills

then for those unafraid of falls
it's the walk the pipe
across the Waiwhakaiho Stream
or chicken take the long way round until
we get to the boys

school baths their tiered banks with shelves of grass for spectators
and trees along the ridge
allegedly hide boarders
who watch the girls' school swimming

here the stream divides the paddock
its carved clay black tea pools
iced in the valley where the water goes bush
trailing supplejack
in feints at ropes we don't swing on such

dangerous exploits forbidden to all but delinquents jumping off
Tarzans we see only once
or twice
never on the early walk among the rocks
and we won't talk to them because

we're virgins
who arrive at our suburban theatre
in a prolonged and matchless

and yet
one afternoon the sea at Belt Road arrives
en masse
drowns the pools
and the kikuyu grass

heaved above
the sharps
with my friend
i swim the rocking tide
no play as good


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© Copyright 2010 Janet Charman & Trout.