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Sport 42: 2014

A nice night

page 86

A nice night

What went through your head, Neil,
waiting at the Stratford bus stop, for three and a half hours?
Did your dog, Umbrella, sniff something gone awry,
nosing your steel-capped toes? Dogs know.

What went through your head,
putting Umbrella on the bus to Auckland,
seeing the Whanganui bus pull up?
Doors sighing apart. The future, opening up.

How did you feel, in your rabbitskin vest,
buying a battery, asking the cashier
to test it for you? ‘I put a screwdriver
across the terminals,’ he told the papers,

‘and it sparked quite nicely. He seemed like a nice guy.
The last thing I said to him was “Have a nice night”.’
You drank your last can of drink.
You went to the cinema, bought a ticket

to a movie half-over. Cradled your pack,
its unseen contents. Did you watch the action
on the screen, or just sit there, passing minutes?
You must have had a time in mind.

What went through your head, Neil, leaving the cinema,
moving through the back alleys of the Old Town?
There are lots of blank walls there, they echo well.
What went through your head taking out a spray can,

writing on the wall? The text strikes me
as having been written with a steady hand. Also,
it was a fitting choice of quote, then and now,
though written in 1809, in the Junta Tuitiva.

page 87 La Paz, peace, must have been in your mind,
when you added ‘Anarchy: Peace Thinking.’
Some might contest the connection.
‘One day,’ writes my friend Sam, in a zine on anarchy,

‘it may be unnecessary to begin
every piece of writing on the subject of anarchism
by pointing out that anarchism
is not about violence and chaos,

but about organisation and cooperation.
Somebody please give me a yell when this happens.’
What went through your head, Neil, crossing Bates Street?
Did you look at the building, or at your feet?

Were there lights on in the windows?
In Willie Keddell’s short film ‘The Maintenance of Silence’
we see an actor’s legs, from the knees down,
walk the carpark, a pair of hands place a red knapsack.

I was struck by the similarities
between my imagined scene and the film,
except that in the film the footsteps ring ominous
and Keddell’s bomber crouches side-on to the building,

while I imagine him facing the doors. What went through your head,
stooping there? Did you know about the men,
two of them, on the other side of the armoured glass?
There wasn’t time to talk. Did you know about the six

sitting at terminals? What went through their heads,
working there? What I wouldn’t do for a beer.
What I wouldn’t do for a couple hours more sleep.
BANG! The explosion sears through your head,

molecules rearranging, structures unforming.
I have a dream in which I hear the sound
of body parts landing. They make a small noise: blick.
An ambulance arrives, but it is much, much too late.