The Boy Next Door

Six years ago I moved into my
little flat at the end of the
driveway ending its eight week
solitary vacancy.  Some in the
neighbourhood had exploited
this lengthy vacant solitude.

Stepping out my back door one
sunny afternoon loud shrieks
metallic crashes resounded down
the pathway under our clotheslines.
I had sent away children crashing
their scooters over the clanging
manhole cover. Their Gran had
allowed it. I didn’t after being
nearly flattened. I scolded
loudly for her benefit.

Now the boy next door with his
friend came crashing down our path.
Bad timing on the part of all,
I was bringing in my washing.
The boy next door was just my
height but he was only twelve.

Six years later we neighbours
met last week on the kerb around
an injured cyclist. The boy next
door is now eighteen, over six
feet tall, and very solid build.

Fortunately he rides a bike
not a scooter these days.

The Boy Next Door

28 thoughts on “The Boy Next Door

      1. Wait a minute…What is a wetas? Is it a rat? And to just let you know there’s a show on Netflix I watched once about the horrible living situations for renters in New Zealand and they were showing all the things that would move in when no one was about….gave me the willies…

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      2. I have seen a few documentaries about them – as in scientists looking for them, finding their habitats, which have all been in remote countryside. So here “browsers” would refer to browsing animals, ie sheep, cattle, deer, goats, – and marauding pestilential feral rabbits introduced by my very thick European ancestors.

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      3. I had no idea what they were talking about…We just have crickets…Much smaller usually black in color and very noisy. When I read there were 70 different varieties on your island…I thought aren’t you special. They do look very prehistoric. They remind me of lobsters here.

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      4. They are very special, and very prehistoric. We have crickets too, small black noisy creatures. they are now protected – where possible. I posted a few poems about the tabby hunter hunting them back in 2016.

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      5. I started posting on WordPress 25 November 2015. My website is the most basic there is, I wouldn’t know if it is possible to draw posts back from my archive. But I do record dates of posting. So: “Weta” 3 Jan 16; “Weta On The Carpet” 15 Jul 16; “Weta On The Foot” 17 Jul 16. Also cats hunting wetas: : “Cat Flap”; “Wilful” 29 May 16.

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      6. No I did not start writing or storytelling until after I retired. As a primary school teacher I could hold the children’s interest in telling them about what I was teaching them – that may have been storytelling. I also had a ton of reading and writing to do as a teacher so I looked for other interests outside school hours. But we had much unemployment here so in the last few years of my paid employment I taught English in South Korea, and primary school in England until the government there slashed funding to local bodies for education, health and social services. At 65, eligible for NZ superannuation – ie OAP – I came back to NZ and hoped for part time work to boost my “OAP” income. There was very little available so I settled down to live on that alone. But I still needed some mental stimulation, so I did creative writing papers at our local university for a year. My writing is not sufficiently “literary” for the elite writing, so I stopped trying to get on with those groups and moved on to Tumblr – 6 months – then settled on WordPress just over three years ago.

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      7. Ah..I wondered. Sometimes you reminded me of a teacher. And one of your poems talked about the Korean kids waiting for the school bus..Wow to be able to move around with your job must of been really interesting and hard at the same time.Did you learn to speak and read Korean while living there?. I thought your comment of the writing elite..also interesting…Sometimes I think some of these writers aren’t even that great at writing. I also wonder what the editors were thinking and why it was even published. I met up with a group of writers for a while …I just found they weren’t really supportive to other kinds of writing. I felt intimidated. Oh well. I’m glad your writing. It’s another point of view. Sometimes when I read your poems …it’s like I’m in the room watching the cat getting pushed off the sofa.

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      8. Do you mean the long reply you sent me last night? If it is …I sent you a reply as well…
        I hope you can find it…Have a nice weekend. Oh P.S. if you find any wetas roaming your flat …gently urge them outside to enjoy the sunshine….

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      9. Reading through all our replies to each other I think I have replied to everything. I have just replied with my preference for wetas rather than cockroaches. If I have missed something, please send it again.

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      10. So between a wetas and cockroach which do you prefer? Luckily in my little old house I’ve never seen a cockroach …but one apartment I lived in I could hear them at night walking across the wood floors…and they were always on my counters in the kitchen when I came home. I think it was because it was an old brick building. My house was built in 1887 so I guess it really isn’t about age…Just luck.

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      11. I prefer wetas. They are clean living and live in the vegetation in our gardens. We get the occasional cockroach from their nest of the carport locker at the back of flat 3. This place is 43 years old so goodness only knows who encouraged their arrival.

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      12. Wetas can give a nasty nip if threatened. Much worse are the three barbs on each of their black legs. These evolved over the millennia to help the weta hold on to the vegetation as they clamber over it. but also to hold on to human flesh if it intrudes on the weta’s path. (See “Weta On The Foot).

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  1. it was useful to be able to take my job to other countries. Teaching in England was very similar to teaching New Zealand. Teaching in Korea was weird, all work books and rote learning, nothing creative or innovative, which was difficult at time. Korean kids just did not respond to methods used in the western world. No I did not speak Korean. The school administrator was on hand to translate when necessary, but South Korea has had a big focus on learning English since 1995, deeming it necessary in order to get ahead in global markets and financing etc. This does not mean they like native English speakers, they just need their fluent native English speech. But it was easy to find an English speaker in larger stores and businesses.
    I was quite surprised at the elitism in creative writing among “literary” and academic writers. It certainly is intimidating. I studied English literature for my BA in the mid to late sixties, then stopped reading much English “literature” until I went back to university in 2013. Not all elite writers join in this elitism, but I do find it very restricting. It is so focused on navel gazing, and many writers exclude everyday details, children, old age, and animals. I think poetry should be all inclusive of human experience. I have moved away from “literary” groups, and am happy with my writing interaction on WordPress. I am certain that views on different poems is purely personal, and that editors make their choices on purely personal grounds.

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