Monday, August 28, 2006

Time and Distance

the theory of relativity

I am a year of light from the sun away
and older than the wrinkles on rocks.

I don’t understand what you mean
you say.

Though we are the same age,
you are a seed pod of green
to my sun-gold leaves.

Trying to explain
is like discussing Shakespeare
with a toddler.

You think the rain has no choice
but to fall upon the ground
I know it falls
to stop the flowers dying.

You think there’s a prize
at the end of the rainbow
I know there is a step into God’s eye.

I’m so tired of nursery things,
ABC’s and bouncing children on knees.
I have an uneasy feeling
more and more these days.

An awareness of flesh engines
creeps uninvited.
The alien network of cells,
bones and electricity that prowls
behind words on a screen.

The dimension which thought travels
a separate plane from that which it uses
to manifest itself.
Grey matter
the slimy vehicle of conduction.

I sense my own being pushed
by something ghostly and unbidden
outside of myself.

I wonder whether this light that grows daily
is natural maturation
or whether it’s an aberration, peculiar to me.

I see espers of aura;
trails of smoky vapour from fingertips.

I have no answers, only questions.
And no possible way
to explain this to you.

Writing a Hillside

You ask what things
inspire me to write.
They are like leaves of grass:

The woman who waits in her bed,
prays to the plastic Jesus on her dresser,
through her treatment torture
with its symphony of pills,
for her cancer to abate.

All the drunks in bars
crying to be saved -
and how can they be saved
from themselves?

The way I scrimmage
to garner my living,
penny here, dollar there.

The fear of swallowing an apple seed
and having a tree sprout from my belly button.

The berry taste of my lover's mouth.

The white she-wolf who pads beside me.

The moon beneath her hood of night.

Every life stolen by a bullet.

An atomic mushroom blooming
along the horizon.

The secrets of the universe
unfolding on a screen in front of me;

political prophecy on the wall
of a motorway viaduct.

Bono's face, described in 3D

Willow fingers rhinestoned with ice
wafted above the steaming July river.

Water dancing with light,

light breathing in darkness.

The need to finger your heart -
yes yours -

to roll your heart over my palm
and between my fingers -
like the blue stem of my pen.

I write so that someone may read this
and recognise me.
I write so that I may learn
to recognise myself.

I write to bind you in narrative threads
and reel you in

and to cut through
the shadows on my sister's face.

I write the flute of wind
through blades of grass
along the hillside sheep tracks
of my homeland.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Slip Knot

The deed was done
and they were undone
all in one, like a string
tied in a bow,
slipped loose with a single pull.
Like grass in its ritual of growth -
so easy.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

a few poems for Kora

Your Lucky Green Cap.

Across a field of raspberry grass
your trail spins out. Stars light
tips of my hair and swirl
behind your absent face,
suspended in crystal sugar sky.

Love sits on my head, like your green cap
twisted back. My happy thoughts
in the peak, bereft of you,
your residue residing in the sparkle
on the dew, and in the echo
from this favored shell
that cloaks my memories.

How can I believe you
when you tell me you are dead?
When you are here with me, so real,
and I can touch your smile
inside the floating espers of nostalgia
that melt their slender tapers
into shallow bowls of loneliness.
A fat and sluggish waxing
of forgetful flame.

It’s not the same I know,
but the pain destroys my freedom
and confines me here. Across this field
a warm wind blows and teases through
my quiet wounds, blood still fresh.
The bitter howl of empty air
passes through bones you left;
this cap, a ball, a thumbprint
on your bedroom wall.
I can’t believe you’d leave me here,
alone after all.

Loose Mooring

Tears slip beneath my skin.
My sorrows sail there
in little boats.

The doctor says when the leukemia’s
white fingers reach far enough
into my mother's brain
she will go unconscious

when I think of it
all my little boats go into a frenzy,
run pennants up and sail in circles.

The woman with two-colour eyes
and the dark northern woman
will join hands with me.

We will cast spells,
weave baskets to carry shells,
with my mother's music carved in their grooves.

We'll sing the ocean and shore
where she can run barefoot
and send our messages to her in bottles,
float all of our sorrowful little ships to her.

Pines Beach Domain
March 2004

Pines needle the sky
along the edge of the domain.
I sit on a bench
in squinting sunlight and think,
if you were here
we’d giggle about Zac last night,
telling me girls at school
nicknamed him ‘teddy bear.’

I’d show you the poem I wrote
and you’d make me feel
like Maya Angelou.
We’d talk about story ideas
and you’d pretend to frost your words
with lilac tints, all the while
the flame tips of your phoenix feathers
reaching up so bright
they’d make the sun seem to dim.

But a cool draft shimmies the dunes
as though someone left the door open
and the seat beside me is gray with ash,
gritty on my fingers where I sit
trying to create feathers.
I should have gone with you.


I’m watching you go,
feeling you fade.

Clutching tight
with both fists,

still you slip
through my fingers
like afternoon sunlight.

Dark Flowering

death is a dark rose
that blooms only once
the petals fall forever

The Breakfast Shift

Elton is playing Your Song –
piano tinkles of glass threads
adrift on the breeze.

A woman in front of me
gives Eftpos instructions to her Mum.
I keep my eyes down so she can’t see
the saltwater sparkle in them,

a wave that suddenly threatens
to wash small villages of freckles
from my cheeks.

They watch my fingers forget themselves,
stumble over everyday tasks,
as small-town New Zealand rolls past
to purchase toast and orange juice.

I weave my way between tables
once weighed with plenty,
now laid to waste, and remember
last night’s dream –

a ghostly mother playing
my son’s toy keyboard,
a song she used to play with him.
The sounds are sharp, like glass threads
snapped in the breeze.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

The Back Stairwell

At the top of the stairs
is a door with cracks of light
around its frame.

At the bottom
there's no way out,
only darkness, dust,
and the possibility of rats.

All alone, thirty seven and a virgin,
in this wreck of stones
where the walls have caved,

she twirls in front of a mirror
on the landing; stardust falling
all around her like a ballerina trail
across a stage. Like a key
under stones.