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Sport 42: 2014

Finding this story

Finding this story

I have a friend I have known,
if I can put it this way, since we were bumps.
When I moved towns, we wrote to each other.
As years went, longer and longer.

We’d roam Karangahape Road in the school holidays,
buy plastic flowers, laugh at oversized knickers.
Our lives’ object was to make things into art.
We loved the sheds of the elderly, and the inorganic collection.

At school, my friend was in awe
of a bunch of punks, hippies, and goths.
She deduced, from the patches on their jackets,
that they were anarchists. Too shy

at first to talk to them, she sat in the library
at lunchtime, set herself essays,
on topics such as ‘Should anarchists vote?’
Yes, for the most fascist party,

whose government will be so awful
the revolution will come sooner.
Or: no, they shouldn’t. They should, instead,
protest the system outside polling booths.

The Asia-Pacific Economic Conference
was held in Auckland; the city crawled
page 85 with protestors; cops with batons
and riot shields. My friend made a flag

from a bin liner and some red fabric.
Went with a buddy through the streets,
got batoned, got in with the cool kids.
Talked police brutality as the bruises slowly healed.

She sent me a poster: ‘Guy Fawkes—The only person
to enter Parliament with honest intentions.’
She put stickers on her envelopes: ‘Ban the filthy car’
and ‘Peter Kropotkin for President’.

‘We are having a picnic,’ she wrote me,
‘to commemorate Neil Roberts Day. He was the anarchist
who blew himself up outside the Whanganui Computer.
Have you heard of him?’ I hadn’t.

One night, in Auckland, my friend and I
went to a meeting of the Anarchist Federation of Aotearoa.
Her mother took us there
asking for directions at every intersection.

These are the memories that tell us
our mothers love us: that they will deliver us
to the addresses we give them, and believe us.
She was never on time. Her love drove us.

A man named Snake was climbing up a ladder.
‘The meeting’s cancelled,’ he yelled.
‘You don’t have email, do you?’ Against the backdrop
of changing communication

we went for coffee. Those were the years
of manicured beards, of scattered cushions,
the boom years of hospitality. I ordered espresso.
Short or long? I couldn’t decide.