Sunday, March 11, 2018

Town Hall Dance

I only went the once –
          an expat's visit,
claiming a rite of passage
          I thought was owed.

Nineteen sixty four, sixteen
          kitted out
in all the right gear –
          stove-pipe trou,

winkle pickers, car coat
          (collar up), white shirt,
thin black tie, Brylcreem
          Old Spice.

Hoping a girl from my past
          remembered me,
liked me enough to dance –
          no such luck.

So I joined the bunch
          of wallflower boys,
caught up on goings-on –
          who was seeing whom,

watched the rock'n roll
          extroverts perform,
realised my chances
          of emulating them

were hostage to Peter Posa,
          'She's a Mod',
and a faded avatar of
          my Papatoetoe past.

While I was sourcing images for ‘No One Home’, I reconnected with Jenny Clark – we were classmates at primary and intermediate school. Jenny is now a mainstay of the Papatoetoe Historical Society, who provided me with images of the old St Georges Anglican church and the Wyliie Road orphanage, which I converted to sketches for my book:

At the same time, the Historical Society was putting together a display of memorabilia relevant to the Papatoetoe Town Hall, which is celebrating its centenary. I wrote the 'Town Hall Dance' poem for inclusion in the display, which the Society then photographed and produced a set of four postcards from – see the post card with the poem in it below. if you would like to order a pack (or more) of the postcards at $5 a pack, contact Jenny at

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