Monday, 18 April 2016

what's the weather doing out there? (poem)

painted grey box on the end of our old street; Ravelston Street, Tainui, Dunedin

what's the weather doing out there?

Today my ESP is so high-speed
it's practically fibre optic. My doctor and I
are in perfect tune.
Everything she said, I'd already thought.

Avoid sugar and animal fats. Flu jab? Yes, please.
What's the weather doing out there? she asks.
I tell her about how cold the wind is
leaving out the deep bits

like how the dark-grey clouds
shaped like nautilus shells
remind me of the burden of time.
Blood pressure is good, she says.

Bloods result are good too.
Winter, we decide, is making its inexorable approach
(except neither of us uses the word 'inexorable').
The doctor and I are keeping to the rules

of engagement when indulging in small talk
and only using words of less than four syllables
as well as sticking to plain terms of reference;
even when naming prescriptions

or commenting on the betrayal of bodies.
I have noticed that today I am so smiley
with everyone I come across, it's becoming a worry.
Soon I will need to be watched.

Kay McKenzie Cooke

Dear Reader,

I was congratulating myself today on remembering on my walk back from an appointment at the doctor's, to whip out my phone where Tainui Road and Ravelston Street (the street where we used to live) meet, and take a photo of the painted, grey box (I've forgotten their proper term) there. It's got to be my favourite of these paintings that are popping up all over town.

The old seventies' bus brings back memories of catching these pastel, diesel denizens with their hanging straps and creaky, leather seats. I associate them with rides from St Clair into town on frosty, winter mornings, to the book shop in Princes Street where I was working at the time; when I was young and slim and that part of the city of Dunedin was lively and vibrant. 

There are moves to make this part of the city lively once more. The large four-or-is-it-five-star? hotel in the old Post Office, for example. My sister and brother in law from Wellington were very impressed with it when they stayed there recently. 

I am all for bringing back the lively. Breathing life into. Resuscitating. The older I get, the more I realise how rare is this art of new life.



Avus said...

I enjoyed that poem and the whole post, Kay. Nice, too, to see the old Austin 1100 alongside the bus in the painting (although they were still in evidence in NZ along with other '60s British cars when we were there in 2004)

Sue McMillan said...

A wonderful post, Kay. I really like your poem - so true about the small talk at the doctors. I'm enjoying all these painted boxes around the city too, and this one is one of my favourites. I loved those old trolley buses. :)

thecartoonmoon said...

"Oh, there's one of those painted grey boxes over there."
"Um, that's a vending machine."

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