Miss Cashier 1955

Young woman working a pneumatic tube cash carrier at Marshalls department store, date unknown, public domain
Young woman working a pneumatic tube cash carrier

I had a holiday job
upstairs in a cubby hole
fielding metal capsules
reading every message
putting change
into cylinders
like vitamins

whacking that top lip
feeding that hollow brass snake
with change
to be pooped
on a customer
two floors down.

I loved this job.
I was trusted with money
catching live grenades
counting pills
feeding the needy
and playing those tubes
like an organ.


Poem by Rachel McAlpine CC BY 2.0. Photo public domain.

World: just the words


For the first time, I’ve just recorded a poem for this blog, Poems in the Wild. But it’s not a poem, it’s a song, spoken, so it sounds kind of strange. This is one of the songs in Shaky Places, which will be performed on Saturday 12 November in Auckland by the Auckland Youth Choir. (Yay, by the way!) I can’t rightly record any of the other lyrics in Shaky Places, which is a suite of New Zealand poems set to music by Felicia Edgecombe — they’re wonderful, but not mine own. Luckily, World is what it’s all about.

Now, how do I do this…?

Recording of World, written and read by Rachel McAlpine

Oh, I did it. My iPhone SE, Griffin’s iTalk app, iTunes, and WordPress made that so easy, I may do it again some day. Better, I hope.





coming home after absence
home from away
feels like nothing
in the nicest way

I’m ambushed by spaces
a room full of sky
exotica squats
on the path outside

tick tick tick
I do this, I do that
unpick, unpack
and all the while

a cloak of mauve aloneness
slithers closer
you’re here you’re here
you never left