No Disposals


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Harry Ricketts

We’re Just Rehoming Some Books

“We’re just ‘rehoming’ some books
—600,000 or so.
“We’re not vandals or crooks;
we’re just ‘rehoming’ some books.
It’s not the shambles, it looks;
it’s a really ‘cool project’, you know.
We’re just ‘rehoming’ some books”
—600,000 or so.

(First published in Newsroom)

Indirect Popcorn 2

This agreeably battered and foxed copy
of The Pill Versus the Springhill Mine Disaster

(Jonathan Cape, 1970) was given to me
by the painter Karl Maughan. According

to the flyleaf, it had previously belonged
to Peggy Dunstan, whose capital D resembles

a distant sail suddenly filled by the wind.
Alongside is the price $14.

I’d vaguely assumed that no one read Brautigan now,
that he had disappeared into some time-warp,

where they still roll up to Hangman’s Beautiful Daughter,
say ‘trippy tray’, lounge with the shine of youth.

But when I asked Karl’s wife Emily, who’s a novelist
and teaches creative writing, she said that some

of her students read Brautigan and particularly like
‘The Revenge of the Lawn’ and Trout Fishing in America.

Phil, an Aussie friend in Hong Kong, was a fan
of The Hawkline Monster: A Gothic Western,

used to read out bits while the sun,
a bloated leech, slid behind Lion Rock.

On page 75 of this battered, foxed copy
of The Pill Versus the Springhill Mine Disaster

is a seven-line poem called ‘Indirect Popcorn’
and, underneath, written slantwise in black ink:

Just a little
thing you’ll
find sometime.
I hope you’re
with love


Harry Ricketts teaches English Literature and creative writing at Victoria University of Wellington Te Herenga Waka. He has published over 30 books. Selected Poems, Victoria University Press, 2021. Poems are from Winter Eyes (VUP, 2018) and Newsroom (2019).