To my cousin Maria, who likes yellow

(And it really is a spiffing colour…)

Buttercups, lemons and Vegemite jars
Raincoats and Bic pens, garden bin lids, butter –
A maple leaf slapped on a tumble of white
Someone dumped old shelves on Esplanade road
Soggy leaf piles make a perilous coating
on the black stone steps cutting steep down the alleyway –
Collisions of fire and rust; yellow and red

Bite into yellow in pineapple lumps
or slosh it down, tingly in fizzing lemonade –
Juxtapose it with grey for sober banking
or mix with sunshine for nasturtiums and gorse

Bananas and grapefruit, hobbit front doors
Fire hydrants, saffron and those lines on the road –
The grandparents’ car, as cheerful as a bath duck
lets you know where to find it in dark airport carparks
There’s a squirt of it in the dishwater and a dab of it on a penguin –
a flash on a mohua and a dash on a gannet
That myna’s been dipping its beak into the paint again!

From the bright of book spines to the pollen from daisies,
shining, happy yellow trails sparks across our lives –
pricking, poking and erupting
like a feast of fireworks; friendly as a fruit shop.

The Council has Spoken

There are just too many of us. Time to grow up, be civilised and live in apartments.
The city is like Sophie’s bedroom –  we’ve used up all the floor space in cunningly arranged jigsaws.
3D, now, is the only solution –
Wardrobes on the ceiling, houses in the sky.

The birds will teach us – The sparrow that has a home in an old heating vent up Valley Road spares me a moment to give me some pointers.
“After all”, she says, “our kind have been doing this for so long it doesn’t bear thinking about. If you’re considering high rise you could do worse than look at the phoenix palms”

So, on her instructions, off I trot to Horoeka Ave. Sure enough, the wide girthed tree is a veritable condominium for birds.
In the penthouse on the top, pigeons rrrooo coooo –
They wiggle their bottoms, waft gracefully in and out, swap gossip and groom themselves like ladies in a Spanish hairdressers.
Extended families of sparrows have occupied the cheaper units further down the trunk.
Grey stubs of fallen branches make perfect perches and cosy nesting holes.
Cousins squabble and dads fly in with useful twigs from Bunnings.

Rumour has it that kingfishers also find old phoenixes commodious, but I didn’t see any. Competition is fierce in the big smoke and maybe the sparrows won.

For myself, I think I’ll keep my feet on the ground – or escape like those kingfishers – unless I can really live in a tree…