The Wrong Address index

The Boarding House
Reading Street, Wellington NZ 1973

 

There are corners in that dark hallway

Vaguely enticing. The old photographs,

Plastic flowers, the barquentine

In a glass case; women past their prime

Who giggle and vanish

Behind black, numbered doors.

 

I ignore the telephone, it summons them.

Jeanne's high squeaky voice answers, bleats.

Mary comes, decrepit,

Her dull foxy eyes swearing to heaven,

And with a cigarette trailing dangerously

On her lower lip, growls

Jim you old bastard !

Where the hell have you been ?

 

So Jimmy stumps in, wounded he says,

Fifty-five and five foot nothing in his only suit

That's as black as his boots

And Irish as the cut of his best mannered brogue.

Oiv bin t'hospital, says he,

Flapping the plaster cast of a wrist,

And his bulbous nose like a beacon; where else

Would a working man be ?

 

Here is Mrs Miller shaking fraily in the draught,

(How did you glow on this evening sixty years ago ...?)

Come in come in.

I wonder, she says, I was wondering,

You see I've been reading ...my minister says...

But perhaps you know ...that every religion,

Well there's truth in ...

I don't know,

I say,

Sit down.

 


THE WRONG ADDRESS 
Fragments from an Australasian Life
Thorold MAY
copyright Thorold May 1995 All Rights Reserved 
published by The Plain & Fancy Language Company ACN 1116240S Sydney, Australia
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