Title: Songs of My Life

Author: Bill Manhire

In: Sport 11: Spring 1993

Publication details: Fergus Barrowman, November 1993, Wellington

Part of: Sport

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Sport 11: Spring 1993


He asks me my dreams.

Canterbury plains, inland from the Main North Road, straight line beside pines, hills and mountains on the left, 100 mph, resting his forearms on the top of the wheel while he strikes a match—Swan Vesta, you can’t even buy them now.

He asks me my dreams. 100 mph and he’s on about my secret life. But if it was there I don’t remember. I never remembered. I just woke up recalling something about a recording studio, tapes slithering round and round and sometimes I could hear a long low sigh of relief.

‘Probably a crime,’ he said. ‘Guilt about something. But I’m tired of the externals, tell me something.’

By now we were home again, sitting outside on the lawn. Long conversation, noises from the stockcar rally in the distance. Sprinkler working away in the early twilight—half an hour each evening we’re allowed round here.

‘I’m sufficiently informed,’ I said. ‘I have access. But anyway,’ I said, ‘it’s you does the songs. I thought you were supposed to tell me.’

‘I’m on compassionate leave,’ he says. ‘As of tomorrow.’

He looks at his watch, midnight already.

‘As of now.’

He walks round the side of the house, guitar on his shoulder, heading for the moonlit hills. There was wind in the garden then, Maria singing something and we went inside.