Loving in the New Year

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Loving in the New Year

 

Father to son deep in lake

water barely brown torsos

tattoos, matted chest hair

a plastic red cricket ball

to and fro, one-hand, both

hands, catching, missing

 

mother in blue with you

the new daughter-in-law

breast-stroking, baby

in utero floating, laughter

only after do we recall

the algae bloom scare

 

later in the camping ground

fuse gone no hot water

the woman from the store

empties her colostomy bag

into the outside drain

says sorry, I didn’t think

anyone was about.

 

father-in-law jokes – have

you got wine there – and we

all recollect the ice-cream

cone we ate that the old woman

served, the extra scoops, the

green peppers indelibly inked

 

midnight nears with fireworks

close to dry pine trees and

our retro 50’s cabins with

possibly Pinex walls, and

bathroom taps that require

several turns to dribble water

 

we watch the Bee Gees briefly

but differing generations mean

music is not a generic pleasure

any longer and the cheap

Italian sparkly falls flat and

then, finally, so do we

 

to be woken at midnight

by neighbouring campers

a woman who wishes to

express her undying love

for her whanau and us too

Wake up, I fucken love you

 

The expletives continue

beyond midnight – with

lulls as family appease this

foul-mouthed loving woman

who bullies her family

into loving her back

 

for the sake of peace

we lie silent praying

for silence afraid

to enter the fray, hoping

the expletives are lost

in translation

 

hoping that this woman

who loves so much will

soon tire of voicing

such confrontational

family affection and fall

asleep, so we can too

 

From tussock grass to

Tongariro, Hobbiton

(Some of us reluctantly)

To whanau in Auckland

our last stop south of Taupo

New Year’s eve

 

the surest thing in hearing

others seem to fail is humility

for your own family imperfections

and a brief and grudging admiration

for a drunken stranger’s love.

 

 

 

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