Tuesday Poem: Eastbourne, Friday evening, winter southerly, by Pete Carter

moored boats waggle and strain,
shags huddle on offshore rocks,
steamed-up cars pick around the debris –
driftwood, seaweed and shells coat the road

the 81 rolls up in every bay,
spitting out commuters
who scuttle like little blue penguins,
to their burrows, away from the sea
to light fires
and clutch that first glass of wine

the ferry rocks uncertainly against the wharf,
the disembarking chatter is
high-pitched after a two-beer crossing,
the Pavilion glows

Barry the butcher makes some late sales,
the library lights are out,
pre-teens have been pushed off their perch
by high-school hoodies who jostle and hunch,
sip beer and suck on cigarettes
try not to catch the eyes
of their parents’ friends

the RSA’s pokies are warming up and collecting,
pints are poured and drunk, poured and
drunk, stories re-invented,
a humourless runner in a beanie shuttles
up and down the rugby paddock

envoys are dispatched to pick up curries,
fish and chips, just one more bottle of wine,
milk for breakfast, food for the cat

dogs are walked one last time,
windows peered through,
hedges bounced

at the end of the road, nowhere to go,
boy racers warble and wheeze,
smoke tyres and rollies, share cans of V

at the terminus, buses turn with the tide
to return to the city, collecting pre-loaded youth
headed for bright lights and chemicals

bedroom lights are dimmed,
books read
fires burn out

Credit note: “Eastbourne, Friday evening, winter southerly” by Pete Carter is published in It’s Your Dad (Mākaro Press, 2013) and is reproduced here by permission of the author and the publisher. Pete Carter blogs at http://petecarter.nz/.

Tim says: When I heard Pete Carter read his poetry on Poetry Day, I immediately decided that I liked his poetic voice a lot – and that voice is strongly present throughout It’s Your Dad, and also his second collection of poetry, prose and photographs, Buddy’s Brother.

You can hear Pete read the poem here: http://petecarter.nz/blog/eastbourne-friday-evening-a-reading/

I’ve visited the Wellington seaside suburb of Eastbourne a number of times – often with my Dad, to have lunch and visit Rona Gallery.  But I’ve never been there overnight, and I really like Pete Carter’s evocation of the changes Eastbourne goes through over the course of an evening.