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Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Pukapuka Poem #33 'Thursday Night' - Michael O'Leary

Thursday Night at the Naval and Family

Listening, looking, thinking and remembering


First, listening to the island band
            same old songs week after week
            the rhythm moves my feet
            and the drink and smiles
            make me feel like I’m sort of at home
            the voices and the words
            foreign and familiar

Looking out the window at O’Malley’s Corner
            and following with my eyes
            past other Karangahape Road neons
            up to the lines of old Auckland roof-tops and sunset sky
            then inside seeing 
            all the pretty girls dancing
            talking and singing and smoking cigarettes

Thinking why am I here and
            why do I keep coming to this place
            where some nights I’m the only local
            although I can’t see that
            and no-one else seems to notice
            and the foreigner I’ve been all my life
            doesn’t exist here

And remembering the Pacific Island music
            my mother used to play on the gramophone
            and the Pacific Island woman
            who shared my life
            and dreams for a short while
            - as the music wafts over me like waves
            I stare into my glass with anger at separation

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