Bill thanks lovely picture -memories P
From: Poetryetc: poetry and poetics [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Bill Wootton
Sent: 29 October 2013 20:21
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Slipping in (title tentative)
Aware of being on the edge of change;
The Moon landing being slipped into British
History as an example of modern colonisation.
Doing Geography projects in small groups,
presenting finished product on coloured A3 paper;
negotiating up from being responsible for The Heading.
Ribbed long socks and pale yellow cotton girls' sports tunics;
Annette's wiry red hair and freckled arms clashing with all that
paleness. We boys trimming the bottom isosceles of our tan ties.
Rock Lunch Club: voluntarily opting to sit at desks after The Bell,
egg sangos and fruitcake splayed from brown bags; Cocker Happy
jaunting on the school's stereo, wall-mounted Wharfedale speakers.
Double desking with Felicity in Pure,
while chalked formulae accumulated on the smooth blackboard.
Waiting for her thigh to shift; the times she allowed nestle.
Frosty mornings, slinging my Malvern Star up, front wheel
latching between spokes on the high hook in the Bike Shelter.
Mouse's inert red 500cc Suzuki gleaming below its pedal cousins.
Room 32, the dour Test Room, in its own isolated block, sometimes
doubling as a drama room; pretending to not care when my part
in a play was rotated to Jovan, who later died in a car accident.
Noticing my hand being the only one up, responding
to a question about The Merchant of Venice, the penny
dropping: the maths/science elites really didn�t know.
Mrs Sikh who wrote maths solutions with both hands on the board
at the same time, not to show off but because she found it efficient;
Mr Bodley, insisting post-PE shower doors remain propped open.
Muffled laughter in the Breezeway, from behind cupped hands:
catching the word 'period', clearly not denoting subject session,
knowing there was stuff I didn't know and couldn't ask about.
Tough Macca dropping dead after an inter-school footy game.
Guest speaker Danny Spooner singing 'The Famous Flower of Serving Men'
a cappella; the hush in the hall at the tale of portents and transformations.
Collecting signatures on a petition for which I wrote the preamble,
proposing a Form Six student smoking room in the Physics lab; posting
it in the mail in a stamped envelope to squeaky-voiced Principal Perry.
Summoned to 'Head' office as number one signatory,
being treated warily, respectfully, by someone in power
for the first time. Permission denied; a watch put on me.
Ned Wilson Beatling his straight hair vertically over his forehead,
running the black comb teeth the full width of his head just above eye
level, never taking eyes off his image in the long mirror in the boys' toilet.
Hearing instructions in French over the PA for a senior class;
ignoring other bulletins over the PA, not even knowing that
The Pirates of Penzance was a musical, for the whole of 1968.
Failing woodwork in form two and my father a carpenter;
Pop Quizzes in Science trotted out by a rotund American;
matching terms with precise definitions his brainwave.
Reversed polarities in steeply tiered Room 15, desks perched
on scaffolding-supported floorboards, designed for cooking
demonstrations, enabling looking down on vulnerable teacher.
The rumbling of pulled down continuous cloth �blackboards�
to expose virgin dark green - or remnants of an unscrubbed lesson.
Yardstick rulers resting on the wall, outsized wooden protractors.
Feeling woozy in metalwork room; each boy at lesson's end, standing
to attention by his vice, silent, stared down by grey dust-coated
Mr Mir's chocolate eyes above wiry black-grey moustache.
The wooden seat of my chair coming adrift, thwacking to the floor
as we inverted them in unison at day's end in Art, laughter;
accepted for the first time on the other side of the Yarra.