Kiwiwriters Cafe 2006

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Anne Curran lives in Hamilton


Heat of the Kitchen

Borne to the kitchen, court attendance at trendy cafe scene,
Breeze in from the flicks, floral shirt, zip boots, faded jeans,
Latte first cup, latte second cup, city schmooze and be seen,
Frivolous talk, urbane walk, gypsy souls dance painted walls.

Watch tireless mother, recipe books burst ripe at the seams,
Perch on pantry stool, sate branded appetite of family esteem,
Mother revs up black and white mixer, ventures hopes a la creme,
Crispness of check tea towel, gold of pumpkin, jam, and cream.

Depart provincial kitchen, embrace Moto, Masque, Akko, Mi,
Home of high diplomacy, shyness shoots keen chameleon roots,
Modernity of black and white tiles, rich leather spanking chrome,
Patronise teriyaki bar, socialise small hours, tributes to chef.
A decade later, waitress heat of the kitchen, flaming cafe floor,
Fiefdom of ebullient chef, preen and prattle business networks,
Slip on black t-shirt, tie on apron, swap names, get to work,
Display open, square attitude, shift mountain of tables and chairs.

Double-edged blades spread conversation, camaraderie of glance,
Whoosh of cavernous dishwasher, sociable gush, spiralling steam,
Apprentice craft of construction, spare technique, presentation trim,

Deliver menus to tables, sweet 'n' sour banter, clear tables again.
Return to retirement kitchen, refresh garden view lemon and green,
Apprentice father cooks ethnic, mother persists sweet governance,
Drenched in habit provides dinner for adult sibling on corner bench,
Savour berth of beige armchair, succour temptations Viva magazine.

Serve hot and cold in ice cream bar, customers queue back of beyond,
Chinese waitress sighs, it's busy, Maori waitress rotates sassy ass,
Customers politic flavours, chocolate top vanilla, jellytip come jaffa,
Grandparents close in, droop of jaw, drool on chin, inchoate mumbling.

Retreat to mine kitchen, cocoon of time and space challenge my mind,
Open fridge, open cupboards, decision of movement engenders deadline,
Indulge companionship of dishes, histories, patterns, colours, forms,
Intrigue of politics trips frame of mind, snares thoughts, sullies time.

Pirate Girl

My one earring dangles when I leave the café,
And, this lopsided look makes me feel
adventurous and eccentric like a pirate girl
Who skips treacherous wooden planks all day long.

I remember the trays I load full to the ceiling,
The ice creams I serve in orange, red, and lime,
The lady with a calliper I escort to a table,
The children counting out grimy monies in tens and fives.

I think my earring might be under the freezer,
washed down a plug hole with sauce and spaghetti,
When my boss says goodnight, a right molar glints.
It celebrates a birthday on top of chocolate cake.

My one earring dangles when I leave the classroom,
And, this lopsided look makes me feel,
Adventurous and eccentric like a pirate girl,
Who skips treacherous wooden planks all day long.

I remember the aye aye captains I share in the staff room,
The students I cage when they mimic like parrots,
The treasure we ransack with metallic swords,
And, the wisdom I hurl into the depths of the ocean.

A damsel finds my errant earring in the staff room
and returns it to my ear like Cinderella’s shoe,
she works a small miracle and seals my fate for a series
of tomorrows to walk a thousand planks, a pirate girl.

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