Saturday, December 30, 2006

Dear reader,

I’ve selected a sheet of pale lemon paper and my favourite blue/green pen. I’ve never met anyone from your country. The islands I live on are lands of mist and myth. The culture here is young, borne on ancient islands where the last dinosaurs roam.

You and I inhabit the world of Internet, rubbing against the many strange edges found along a frontier. Golan’s Hair, Bad Girl’s Hotel, or Coq Roc, are border towns we can visit together if we desire.

I remember reading a story in a very old book I found when I was a child. It was titled, The Dawn Shops, and was about a child adventuring parentless in a foreign land who came upon these shops that mysteriously appeared at dawn each morning. The rest of the time they didn’t exist. Strange people inhabited the shops and the child went on many magical adventures there. The Internet is a little like this for me. A portal that appears in my bedroom when I switch on my P.C. which exists only in the moments when the switch is activated.

I want to write to you how the nor’west here wakes me from a sound sleep when the wind changes to that direction; to write of clean mornings like today with gulls harping overhead; and how the pines stand bleak and black on the cemetery hill behind my house. The cemetery sprawls about, dotted between blocks of housing, so that the house I live in is encircled by the dead, and beyond that, by sea and estuary where the land opens to the water, as though the aches in its bones can be exorcised by the saline backwash. I want to write something that will share with you in some way the feeling I have for my homeland, but none of these things have done that. If you have a place you think of as ‘home,’ maybe you'll know something of what I’m trying to say.

Moving into Uncharted Land

The sun rests in yellow dust
upon the black wedge of Mt Thomas.

Wind rattles tambourine branches
and rubs taniwha scales across roofs.

The silhouette of a man waits
with the glow of dusk behind him.

Half his face is blank,
carved in lines by rain, dying
in the hard circles of deserts.

The other half folds evil
between creases of mirror symmetry,
bound in a binary dichotomy.

See how life clings to him
and eeks, drop by drop,
through the slow death of light.

Friday, December 29, 2006

This is a NZ possum. They're considered pests here because of the damage they do to native bush, animals and birds. They're hunted for their fur which is thick and soft.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Eden's Poems

each verse so precise

like apparently random
windings of vine
and flower

shaped to form
a small

a miracle of creation
and inside it another
and yet another

Morning Triptych

A satin angel unfurls his wings,
interrupting the sky,
brushing a feather fringe
along the horizon.

As wings drift down
and begin to recurl
they fold, enfold,
like the cradle of a mother's arms.

When you lean over the bed
to kiss me goodbye
your face falls into wrinkles:
where I find softness,
where my lips merge with skin.

You are rueful about signs of age
but I find infinite forgiveness
in the smoosh of flesh;
the reassuring permanence
like the stone giants that rise from plains
and shape the land.

Our morning bower
is like a cell of honeycomb,
filled with amber light,
small nuzzlings,
and the vague recollection of honey,

till the grindlebear starts his rumblings
and urges us out in search of berries.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Sale of a Birthright

Standing at Land's End,
the luminous ocean washes
frames of broken ships
and seagull feathers
against my feet.

There were people here once,
till they stepped off the edge
into the round tower of the castle
reflected beneath the white balustrade -
moved on to other places.

There are bones of giants,
legendary nephilim, half buried
in the silt. Their huge hands
hewn from stone, lost now
to the touch of man.

Were they hands of angels?
We search for them by candlelight
but all we find are negotiations
for real estate deals
scratched in the sand,

words we cannot read
through the silk folds
binding our eyes.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Frying Pan Dreamers

We lie like two fat sausages
glistening in our wrap of blankets.

I hold you in a frame of light
against the shadows, and you hold me -

safe from all sweet terrors
of the lord of dreams.

A twist of salt flavours us,
sizzles white the sheets,
like a bed of purification.

And when the pan is too hot,
who will jump first into the fire?

Monday, December 18, 2006

'tis the season

There's tape around the community center playground
marking the fallout from the weekend's frivolities
and seasonal imbibing.

A woman sits on her couch as her children sleep
and adds her bills. Bank statements spread,
she waits for her man to come home
from his work break up, Christmas pay dissolved
into alchoholic fume on his breath.

Domestic tragedy spawns like spores from a mushroom,
scattered the way a family scatters when the mother,
whose memories fused them all together, has died.
The way a similie is like another similie,
the way an evil fairy ring is seeded
as the black queen turns her card.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Where We're At Now (Christmas '06)

Dave opened his second jar
of lime marmalade today at breakfast.
Is it a sign of commitment on my part
that I bought a second jar,
or is it a continuing drift of indecision?

I've been reading the words of a dark overlord,
words that shimmer like a skein of silk
spieled out across a table.
Each line, soft and fine,
articulates inside my head.
Makes me wonder
at my own lumpen, misshappen offerings
that no one seems to 'get,'
though they are so clear to me.
Makes me wonder
where my head is at,
that no one can decipher ...
am I so far left of arriving?

Maybe that's why I keep on and on.
Thinking if I try long enough,
with enough variation,
someone will understand.

On another front the cobweb woman
is flying from Oz on the backs of reindeer.
It's the season when skeletons must be confronted,
or at least endured for the duration of festivities.
But the tinsel sheen is not enough
to gloss over the smudge of dirty fingerprints.

I attempt to make peace for the sake of my dead mother,
and to pull together the tattered ribbons of family.
Though now my father has remarried I'm ostracized again,
but from a different quarter. Proof, I suppose,
that the universe holds a balance.
This is the harvest of a life unadventured -
sheaves of rust.

I have one ear always cocked for a knock at the door,
in case it's fortune and I miss her call.
Like the cat, in her innocence/ignorance,
forced to watch my every move, soft black curl
shuftied between my feet,
in case there might be food involved.

I've developed a delusional rapport with dustbins
where lost souls collect memorabilia:
outdated Christmas, birthday and I.D cards,
bits of string and empty cat-food tins.

The knot seems to have slipped from my finger
and now I can't remember whether I was trying
to remember anything.

I've taken in lodgers from Saudi Arabia
and I wonder if that's a dangerous thing to do,
or disloyal? I wonder if they know about hot water,
and the magic spell necessary to make the toaster work.
But they seem confused and embarrassed
when I try to explain.

I watch the days drift by
like snow past my window
and imagine my house in a glass globe,
a child tipping it this way and that
fascinated by the small circular storm,
then setting it back on the shelf
forgotten till next time.

I wait for the shoosh
of a reindeer-powered sleigh
on the roof.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Blindness and Poets

Milton wrote of Paradise
while the weight of flesh
bound him in purgatory.

The thing with being blind
is that wind through trees is felt
with fingers. Blue sky is the taste
of sunshine on lips. Daylight
an increase of motion, night
a rendition of equality.

A blind poet writes the pause
between indrawn breath and silence,
the milky sponge of fog on his skin.
A blind runner paces the curve of applause,
the voices of well wishers.

Darkness draws marrow
from the bones of the sightless
and leaves them hollow tubes of ivory.
Polished and brittle like a bird's,
they covet the secret of flight.

Sunday, December 10, 2006


She moves within her bone frame,
world painted across her skin.

The ocean is a saltine bouillabaisse,
but to her it is a warm current of dreams.

There's a mother of pearl koru
about her neck, but to her it seems
she wears a spiral of light.

There are moments when she seems European
in a market in Marrakech,
or on a street of orientals.

Those who pass her avert their eyes
and shift aside.

This could be the portrait of her life,
or it could be a dustbowl -
what passes for a lake
on the surface of the moon.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Sand Writing

I had to record this one. It's so lovely to read.

powered by ODEO

Writing a Hillside

You ask what things
inspire me to write –
they’re like leaves of grass:

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

powered by ODEO


With the lisp of water over sand
her voice awakens the sleeper
to a gull-blue day.

Gold and kohl lines the creases
around her eyes and her toes
carry the russet dust
of Africa's trails.

Her fingers linger
over shallow hollows
of inner elbow,

her voice makes patterns
in the mind of the sleeper
like waves upon sand,

today's paper awaits

powered by ODEO

To Oara M

Heading north by north east
into the nor'west,
all my ghosts
horde behind me.

The dusk is pink dust
rolled over the ocean,
the sun is a torch flame
licking the hill crest.

Everything seems serene
in the hot wind huff
along the shoreline,

but the black rainbow
bleeding down from the clouds
cannot be ignored.

My dead mother's voice whispers
from the brown plastic bowl,
the blue and white tin bread bin,
every fibre of carpet and curtain,
every glisten of paua
and curve of driftwood
in our old batch on the coast.

The moon peeps a blind white eye
through a chinked lid of sky -
like memory
it refuses to die.

powered by ODEO

Friday, December 01, 2006


Passed my final exams and FINALLY have a degree in English literature!

Onwards and upwards!


Dave says, Look at all the gold
says I.

There, says Dave. Look
where the wave has run back again.
It's all gold glints.

That's not gold, says I.
That's little glittering bits of broken shell.
Glittering shiny sand.

Oh. says Dave.
I thought it was gold.

And I wished I had thought it was gold too.

Sand Writing

I'm finding my voice,
and the clouds are in a hurry today.
Unconcerned with anything I might say,
taking the day along
pinned to the underside with grey:
glowering, looming, silky, and luminous.

I'm searching for my voice
and remembering you saying
it takes a long time for a writer
to build a reputation.

I read others for the first time,
getting to know strangers on paper,
one-dimensional bleeding from edges.
They seem like foreigners
who will never be friends, too clever
for the likes of me. Not false modesty,
but clinging to the tendrils
of my privacy.

I have a voice, but where will it take me?
I sing for free, on damp sands,
to the percussion of a rolling sea
where clouds cut loose from continents.

I harmonize with shells as they echo back
the murmur of a mermaid's murmuring.
There are friends for me and sounds for me
beneath the rushing clouds,
before the shushing sea.

I roam the shorelines where waves glissade
and sea horses prance up and paw the shingle
and would carry me. I'd love to go
but here I write and chant chansons
until the water smooths my letters flat again.

I seek a sound in rhythm
with the falling rain
the rising wind
the creeping sea
the rippled sand
and dimpled rock,

I seek a sound that's only found
in me.

It's not the ...

It was the Brady family life
I wanted, and that's what I mourn.

I wanted the husband who brought home
flowers gathered from a neighbour's garden

and stuck funny little notes on the fridge
for me to find when I awoke.

I wanted the one who thought I was beautiful
and funny and fascinating,

who couldn't believe he got to talk to me
every night in our rosy nest of sheets.

I wanted the husband who went on picnics
and played frisbee on the beach with our kids.

But you never liked those things much.
You wanted to go and listen to the latest bands,

and someone had to stay home
and look after the babies.

You were building a career as I sat alone
in parent teacher interviews and school plays.

And I understood all that. But I wish
you would have learned to make my toast

the way I liked it, instead of me
learning to like my toast the way you made it.