Thursday, July 21, 2005

Night of the Mandalay

They’re demolishing the building
Not loved for its beauty;
The sudden collapse of roof
Behind brick façade
More tangible than
Tired New York images.

Under streetlight, passers-by
With strange fondnesses for girls
Kissed beneath laminated beams,
Gaze with unconcealed fascination;
Revisiting school balls, overtaken
By affection only history can afford.

We squat on the pavement,
Destruction the vehicle for acquaintance;
The man who made your Turtle casserole
Unexpectedly at your side
Smoking hand-rolled cigarettes
Down to the butt and then some.

We discuss all manner of things:
The Wanganui meetings that never were,
Len Castle, Barry Brickell, Jim Greig,
Even your mother’s name;
The weaver becomes part of the weft,
One more thread in the night’s cloth.

With companionable acknowledgement,
As if to underline the fantastic,
A late night goods train salutes us
Through a gap between two buildings
While stoic young men gather up orange cones
Into big-boys toy baskets.



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