Sport 29: Spring 2002
Phill Armstrong — A Symphony for Two Voices
Pshaw, a symphony for two voices, can't you better that?First voice.
It is, for all the bits and pieces hanging from it and clinging to it, better than my second choice.s.v.
And the second best? Let me in on it.f.v.
Serenade. I pursed my lips and squinted at serenade.s.v.
Aha, a beast-legged, horned, hoofed, pig-ugly Pan, drawing in on elements to carry on thin cold air his serenade—new age. New new age. Ten-thousand-year-old age.f.v.
Something like that. Karl Stead will understand.s.v.
You're sending him this? Mars is not yet within the square of your window.f.v.
No. But of mornings, through early mist, through the trees, the house next door is taking on aspects of a little home on the prairie, and I've thrown like old rags the zucchini on the dungheap.s.v.
So you are using tricks of light and shade to generate revenue for NZ Post. Are you sure he'll understand?f.v.
Karl's a good guy—of that I'm sure.s.v.
Good guys also need to sleep.f.v.
We can all give each other a little time from sleep.s.v.
I'll assume that's true. What's the story.f.v.
So this should be labeled serenade after all. Candles in the wind. A small distant figure half-hidden by decayed masonry, away from the main party, piping out another's fall to the pandemic, piping in another dawn.f.v.
Bugger you. I reassert my heterosexuality, but add ‘and yet’.page 86 s.v.
And yet? Even ‘and yet and yet’?f.v.
Just one ‘and yet’ would do. There was Leslie—he was beautiful in the way a girl is beautiful.s.v.
I'll be kind to you. You just superimposed nubility upon him. We've all done that.f.v.
Or the mother he left behind. She must have looked a lot like him. In my mind. Or somewhere in my mind she stands apart, isolated from the vale of years.s.v.
You knew his mother? His mother an attractive woman?f.v.
She remained in England. He spoke of her, young: even for a small boy his mother was young and pretty, untidy, home-lazy, except for her (for him off limits) boudoir—a room of monstrous mismanaged gaudy artlessness, a room of mystery and terror where she entertained Cold War warriors from an American base.s.v.
A lady of the night.f.v.
I'm inclined to think of her as a goodtime girl, but hey—someone picks up the tabs. A lady has to live.s.v.
From a psychological viewpoint it would be in order to transpose a mother's perceived comeliness to a grown son. Was he also slovenly?f.v.
No, he kept his home as he kept himself—neat, tidy, and ever so little bit scented.s.v.
You were in his home?f.v.
Only to help him change a vanity top that had iscoloured—ultraviolet damage. He never gave copper-staining a chance, but the sun's discolouring was morethan he could stand.s.v.
Come now, did you love him.f.v.
We are told to love, each and every one of us.s.v.
I mean a mouth-watering love. Did he bring forth in you an urge to pollinate or be pollinated.f.v.
It's more than I can remember. But to this villager me, a man who in this way versatile is this way page 87 Brummie. Buckley was more lustful. He had their nights worked out in a verbal, open and carnal way for when they took their skiing holidays together.s.v.
Buckley; there were two of them. Was he also dandy?f.v.
Buck was a ragamuffin who neither washed nor shaved with any regularity; who sold his issue boots and work clothing and redecked himself from kerbside bins. And I know what you are going to say—beauty and beast.s.v.
Without one there cannot be t'other, but were one or other of them men of letters?f.v.
Leslie was a man of considerable natural culture. Buck, when he wasn't writing filthy anonymous letters to Management, studied small-holding niche-marketing, growing edible dock, bee-keeping, the housing and husbandry of pole cats, soil type and categories to be sought or averted. He was a postal student to an agriculture college. One of his papers was pertaining to tree planting and frost fencing to achieve a micro-climate.s.v.
A right pair! Is my imagination running away with me if I see Buck wearing a stolen roadman's orange boiler suite on the skifields, and sweet snow-bunny Leslie in rollneck fluffed wool jersey, part-open snug fitting jacket, and cream cords?f.v.
And to think I was going to title this a symphony for two voices and a reader! You missed fairisle, toggles, top-line, brass-tinted snow goggles, lined kid leather gloves, and clip-tendril chunky over-mittens. Buck. Buck's scrounging only bordered on thievery. He would have seen himself as Mr Glitzy in third-world bulk imported quilting.s.v.
A reader would have given it dimension.f.v.
Oh to have dimension——While I comprehend Noel Coward calling Marilyn Monroe a poor creature, understand where Coward was coming page 88 from, I'm straight and adventurous enough when pushing an empty trolley back at Countdown to ask a pretty lady if she wants a truck.s.v.
Not pronouned twuck?f.v.
I'm still mindful of Policeman Plod.s.v.
Policeman Plod and the fear of a well-swung handbag doth make cowards of us all.f.v.
And why I wear my badge proudly.s.v.
My wife and four kids badge.s.v.
Badges can be made from plated plastic.f.v.
Plastic badges; in the end how important can a fine line be? In our hearts we realise that, and make sex the butt of a million jokes. A drowned man's pride is but a small meal for a Gull.s.v.
And if he should die on the slopes, on a fast downward run on Mount Hutt. Stain snow pink, would you weep for him?f.v.
Tears are unpredictable. I'd be saddened by a life lost—and by her loss, an aging once beautiful lady who could well regret her night noises that had once struck terror into the heart of a little boy.s.v.
Get a life. No—one more question. Were either or both of them married? Did either of them wear a badge proudly?f.v.
Both were widowed without children courtesy of the divorce courts.s.v.
Hearts on sleeves.f.v.
Buck married a fool and knew she was a fool from the first few minutes of their acquaintance. He successfully kicked her out without her making further drains on his resources. Her parents never encouraged her to seek what would have amounted to emolument for her suffering. They saw themselves as ‘class’ and were just happy to see the last of him. Leslie was never quite x of his x. Remained a soft touch for her. Set her up in a home equal in mortgage page 89 to their former home. All in all remained at her beck and call keeping both gardens in shape, seeing her woodshed full, repainting, that sort of thing.s.v.
Well, get a life.f.v.
I have a life, for I have seen the seasons change, kept the reasoned company of books. Walked a wild shore in wonder, held a crab's claw perfect. I was seen upon a landscape, felt a wind-pressured shirt upon my breast-bone. I have seen the vapoured mist of new day unfolding, seen the coppered light of autumn, seen cock starling in courtship finery, and bright within my mind stenciled, a butterfly not yet in tatters.s.v.
No, a life lived and a living life.s.v.
Recital, that's what this should have been dubbed. A recital for two voices, there are not any appendixes to the word recital.