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We have a sophisticated style,
a sophisticated smell
of coffee and mint.

We are cleanly shaven or with a hipster clip,
straight out of the (VOGUE) magazine
on the marble coffee table.

Photographs of cityscapes
dress the smooth white walls
of our studio apartment.

So white, so smooth.
You would think they had never suffered
a fist between the studs
straight to the pink batts.
But the coffee-mint scent scarcely masks
the stench of #fcf7f0 champagne paint
or drycleaning solvents
used to cleanse the red velvet
chaise lounge.

We suspend a Moooi ball
from the ceiling, throwing all
into sharp relief.
Skirtings to architraves. 

We dine daily
on delicacies.
We take insta-worthy
snaps of super-foods.

Harmonies languish, loiter
in the lightly-lit recesses,
antithesis to the electronic
ecstasy of before.

The patterns of our lives
repeat and repeat and repeat
to the metronomic clicking
of our nubuck brogues
on ebony floors.


And again I see the cabbage tree totems.
And the little shoal bay, where kikuyu blends
into the expanse of rippled mud.
Hemmed in by pōhutukawa and mangroves.

And the tide in sinusoidal retreat.
Fleeing the detritus-strewn strip of sand.
Leaving mono-hulls, like beached whales
among sleek cats, and trimarans.

And on the sand, seaweed
lures mucky-muzzled mutts,
an unpleasant echo of flax flowers
giving pollen-halos to fine-beak tūī.

And almost like tar-seal waves in the road, the
judder                 bars
as always, punctuate our parabolic descent
then ascent through the bay.

And the revs rise before us
leaving the view corridor of
bush, beach, bridge
behind us.

And up, we whine past the walkers.
Their calves quads glutes, groaning.
Our engine, whinging, shifts down
as we go up.

And we glide over more
judder                 bars.
They serve to upset boy-racers who hoon
winging wheels over road-waves.

And after the last
judder                 bar
              tick-tock            tick-tock
we swoop and dive.

And as we glide down the drive, kōwhai
welcome us, whilst tōtara threaten us
with lacerations
and a trip to the panel beaters.

And again I see the flare-orange door,
signalling our arrival.
And tūī, kererū, fantail; titter, woosh, flutter,
while cicadas salute us, salute summer.

And we reverse round.
We reverse round into the resting-slot,
until the electromagnetic sensors flatline,
in the architectural car-port chill.

Toni Schollum is a Kiwi who loves hunting wilderpeople in New Zealand's backcountry bush. In 2018 she is spreading her wings and taking a gap year as an au pair in France.