A Good Story

My friend likes to find things in skip bins. I don’t have time to list all the things he has found. Put it this way – when you drive past one, you have to stop.
      The story, as I have heard it, is that he once found a girlfriend in a skip bin. She was scrabbling around looking for things, and when he climbed in, they met. This was before she met the banjo player and the drummer. But this is just the story as the drummer tells it, and he may not necessarily be trusted. He has this way of smiling when he talks that suggests he could easily be lying. And he has been known to eat daffodils. The truth doesn’t move people to do things like this.


A tandem bicycle is sweet but impractical. I sit on the back, my pink skirt billowing out around me. Wobbling across the tricky intersection, down Cuba Mall through gaps in the pedestrian traffic. Out onto the waterfront where the sea breeze makes my attire even more ridiculous. ‘That chick’s tailgating hard out,’ says a passing youth to his friend. We stop and sit for a while, our conversation fractured. Fantasies never really come alive. There is always the chain catching your clothing, and the feeling that your feet are being turned by someone else’s pedals. And the sea – well the sea always looks like that, is never truly sympathetic.



Someone has just pulled the plug. A South Island river system is hurtling down the pipes in the wall behind my head. Water heated by the churning of other water. Nothing is done sensibly in this country. Take the sun, for example; the sun is simple, but pie in the sky. If money flowed in rivers – well, nobody would care. Banks would be places for lonely fishermen. Green ripples of notes nonchalantly flowing to sea. Lovers brushing stray dollars out of each other’s hair.


The Library


The library is full of people looking for love. At the sound of footsteps approaching, a boy turns around with a meaningful glance, and casually slips a pencil behind his ear. Girls pause on the landings, clutching armfuls of books to their breasts. Sometimes, you feel sorry for these people. You wish this wasn’t happening. All you want is a book, and all the shelves are filled with eyes of longing.



All the boys in the world are wearing the same perfume. A scent like the flatness of the sea on a still day. Like tea at dusk. All the boys in the world are wearing the same leather jacket, slick as power lines. They lean against bars and don’t say much; their boots say it for them.
      All those boys, where are they going, smoking away their airfares. Whose beds do they lie in. Be gentle with these unsung hearts.


Airini Beautrais is a poet, amongst other things, who lives in Wellington. In 2005 she was an MA student at the IIML. Her contribution is part of the work she completed for her thesis, a book of prose poetry.