Thursday, 7 July 2011

10. Dear Christmas Warehouse

Dear Christmas Warehouse,

With your lights and reindeer and mistletoe, trees, Santas, sleds and snow always on display – no matter what the time – effects and ephemera inscrutable to the clime, shooting forth tendrils of tinsel, kitsch-besmirched wall hangings, yard statues, mobiles, dioramas, singing penguins, of course singing penguins, because that makes sense.

Oh! Christmas Warehouse, you incongruous vessel of festival fakery forcing festoonery on flavourless homes, as husbands and wives argue about how much is too much to spend on a kilo of lamb while pasting up decorations for Christmas in July.
(Eventually, they will hate one another and separate and meanwhile I can’t even get myself unhappily married legally).

Oh! with lurid leers you taunt them, displaying your wares unaware that they have other homes, houses without Christmas every day. Or are you all too aware in your bedraggled finery of the frigid austerity that will soon embrace them?

Oh! Christmas Warehouse, plonked on Botany Road as people zoom past on their way to the airport or work or anywhere, anywhere but to the glistening warm hearth you promise on this blustery blue July day.

Oh! Warehouse, you are an emetic to all ho ho ho humbugs



Saturday, 9 August 2008

9. Dear Man Over There

Dear Man Over There,

From my desk tucked in behind my wardrobe, I can see your balcony – which is almost as big as my shoebox apartment.

I can see all the balconies of all the apartments on this side of your building.

Robinson Crusoe island

Did you know, Man, that you are the only inhabitant of your enormous tenement?

I thought I should let you know.

Do you never wonder why you never meet anyone in the lift?

Never pass anyone in the hall, or nod hello to someone as they walk past you when you’re fumbling your key in the lock?

No banter about “Hey, you’re going to the ground floor? Me too.”

You never meet anyone at the letter boxes to complain about the junk mail.

- which makes me wonder is the junk mail piling up in all those letter boxes? -

Does the postman bother reading the envelopes, or does he just put all the mail in your box?

The sole inhabitant of your beautiful new building, you are to me a Robinson Crusoe with your feet up on the rail of your balcony.

For a moment last week I thought you had neighbours – but then I realised that the owners have furnished two of the second floor apartments in wan hope of more castaways.

You yet remain marooned alone with your magnificent view of the rear windows of my building’s shoebox apartments.

I remain,

your gawking neighbour,


Monday, 28 April 2008

8. Dear Running Shoes

Dear Running Shoes,

I used to have dreams where I would run and run for hours.

Sometimes in my dreams I would lean back, and at a particular angle I could take my feet off the ground and yet keep on running.

Sometimes I would think to myself – on a nice day at an empty beach, or at a park walking the dog, or rambling along watching the shadows of the clouds on the grass, or in the rain – sometimes I would think that if I just started running I would never stop.

“Here comes the bus!” my friends would say. “Lets run!”

“I don’t run,” I’d say, and it became my catchcry.

“I don’t run,” and I would walk briskly for the bus.


I walked across Wales. I walked the length of the Thames. One day I will walk the Pyrenees. But I don’t run.

And still I had those dreams and still I thought to myself if I could just start running I would never stop.

But everyone knew – Me doesnt run.

I don’t remember exactly how it happened but one day I did it; I went for a run.

I ran for two minutes and then I stopped and walked. And then I ran again. And walked some more.

I bought shorts and a t-shirt and a sports bra and strong hair elastics.

And then I bought you, Running Shoes. My very first ever.

When I start running I can’t run forever.

But now that I’ve started I know that I will run forever.

Your first and only owners,


Sunday, 6 April 2008

7. Dear Antarctic Wind

Dear Antarctic Wind,

You cant beat Wellington on a good day, they say.

Wellington can beat you on a bad day, they dont say but they should do.

Wind, you harass me through these almost-modern streets, launching chip packets and my own hair into my face, whipping me, blinding me.

The rain in Wellington comes in several directions – down left

down rightDamn wind: wind dam, Russia (Chetwood Ass.)

down left right

and often up

up from the pavement

up left

up right

god damn up up up

harassing the clouds. They race over the clocktower faster than the second hand


like the boy racers on Kent Terrace

zoom zoom.

I wonder if their outrageous speed is partly your fault, pushing them, provoking them.

I find you very provoking.

I curse more than usual.

I say things like “god damn this god damn city!”

Sometimes I even blame the whole country.

You infuriate me.

And yet I am so happy when I’m at home listening to you howl between this building and the next one, when I am under the duvet with a cup of tea and a novel by Sir Walter Scott. But sometimes I imagine that I can hear our recycling tumble down the street, the cans disturbing the sleep of the rough sleepers, the glass shattering, the paper flying up Mount Victoria.

Oh wind wind you make me so uncomfortable.

I shouldn’t have had beans for dinner.


Tuesday, 18 March 2008

6. Dear St Patrick

Dear St Patrick,

I passed a man on the street yesterday who was telling a girl that you killed a dragon and saved all Ireland.

If he hadn’t been trying to get into the girl’s pants I would’ve stopped and corrected him.

Yesterday was your name day but today I have passed not one but three people wearing green.

I wore all green yesterday and today I am green under my eyes from too much Guinness and too little sleep.

I’m a great ambassador for your name day.

But I wonder if you would be pleased by how we celebrate. It’s all very Christian still. We share a hearty meal, we drink deep draughts of the cup, and we listen to uplifting music.

There is, it’s true, perhaps a little idolatry with the worship of leprechauns, but all the poets have taught us that the Irish are very attached to their gentle folk.

Of course, St Patrick, I must admit that we do not always show our reverence, calling the day instead San Paddys, or Paddys, or even, I’m a little ashamed to say, Guinness Day.

I’m not sure if you’d be pleased with the spectacular success of that Irish black gold all around the world on your day; it has reached places even the word of god has not.

I think, Patrick, that if you were here today you would have to slay a dragon and it’s name would be Guinness.


Thursday, 13 March 2008

5. Dear Aliens

Dear Aliens,

When you come visit from space and step upon our beautiful bountiful Earth you may look about yourselves and be agog at our fantastic buildings and magnificent vistas and compare them to the barchan dunes of Mars.

You may look at our hairy skin and the fur and scales of our animals and notice the differences to your own gnarled and ratchety exteriors.

You may wonder at our small front-facing eyes and our non-scent-susceptible central noses and our ears with white strings dangling out of them.

What could those white strings be for?

Perhaps your scientists will postulate that they are some sort of shielding mechanism to protect us from the harsh rays of the sun penetrating our holey ozone.

Or, noticing that they often terminate in our trousers, your biologists will theorise that they are a reproductive device.

A rebel group of social scientists may controversially speculate that they are drug dispensers, regularly tranquillising us and keeping us moderate.

Or maybe your alien anthropologists, commenting on their distribution, will deduce that they are symbols of wealth and are  used to attract a mate.

Aliens, when you see our dangly white things, I think all of your theories will be correct.


Tuesday, 11 March 2008

4. Dear Green Bus

Dear Green Bus,

I admire your waist to ceiling windows and I know enough about engineering to admire your structural ingenuity.

I like your red arrows which show which way is forward, and I like your green pants and wheels and hat.

But, Green Bus, I can’t help thinking that you’ve chosen that lovely lurid green to convince me that you’re environmentally sound.

BP did the same thing years ago.

I’ll bet, Green Bus, that your researchers found that some reasons why people switch to buses is to use less petrol, to save money and to be environmentally sound.

Green is a good colour for all of these.

It also means go.

Do you remember a time before marketing research, when people sold goods instead of packaging?

No, I dont remember it either.

That must have been back in the days before buses kneeled on request and when black people had to catch different buses or sit up the back. You would know, Green Bus, was there ever a time when women werent welcome on your seats? I suppose buses have been the prerogative of the white working classes and working class women have always had more freedom than classy women or black folk.

Green Bus, I’m no environmental fairy myself, but I dress the part so I can’t talk.

I am then, your fellow green mask wearer,