The Great Hunger

In a flash, at a trumpet crash,
I am all at once what Christ is, ! since he was what I am, and
This Jack, joke, poor potsherd, patch, ! matchwood, immortal diamond,
Is immortal diamond
– G. M. Hopkins, “That Nature is a Heraclitean Fire and of the Comfort of the Resurrection”

As you approach your turn-off, the urge to drive down it, towards your malodorous flat, dwindles to naught. Instead, you swing the big car north on Sunset [… the little Mazda west on Jervois Road …]. A green arrow deflects you, beckoning you down the dark canyon of Curran street, the Harbour Bridge approach.

You drive past the Westhaven breakwater (not without a sigh for those dark waters of the bay), and then you are racing up the bridge, rewarded by a brief dazzle of light as you crest its peak and see grandstanded before you Devonport, Bayswater, and the whole North Shore. Down on your left, the double pillbox promontory of Fisherman’s wharf looks curiously tenantless. Even the styley restaurants must be closed at this hour.

Once there were tollbooths at the ends of these lanes, but no more: instead, there is a speedway of competing trajectories as cars comet along, jockeying for position on the northern motorway. Not now, though. There are no more than one or two other vehicles in sight as you race past the Takapuna turnoff, Esmonde Road – home of old Frank’s fibrolite bach.

Past the golf driving range (a landfill seeping into the mangrove swamps of Shoal Bay, pukeko-haunted by day), and up the hill towards the Northcote turnoff … No, the road is calling still. You don’t turn off, but continue, past Tristram Ave (neon garishness of Wairau Rd), past Upper Harbour Highway, and down through the intricate bollards and barriers guarding the next, unfinished leg of the motorway.

And now into Albany village. Traffic lights interrupt you here, but you’ve found a late-night channel on the radio, and the music lulls you from thinking.

Thiss iz howee bardee

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