Monday, January 31, 2011


He says,"I have no job
and people play with my life"
So I ask about power.
Does he feel connected?
"No" he says "there is no
direction for me to go.
And I don't see how
to get there from here.
Wouldn't that need power?"
I sense where this will go,
so I ask what he has learned,
which gets a short sharp
Underlining my problem
because how can I help?
In a pale green room
we talk, or he does.
Different people do the same
in the room next door.
Where, also,
nothing is happening.
He gets up to go and
says he likes our talks.
While in my head I shout
"I can't help you!"
But I smile, shake hands,
see him out and then look around.
At the other hopeful cases.


I am looking for something sacred
because a hill, in front of us,
looks like engraved silver
in the low slanted sunlight.

Fence posts become columns of light
illuminating the steepness
of that climb, and
the height of the summit.

And I wonder if this
is where poetry leads.
If you start to see
everything as a symbol.

Your view, overlayed
on the scenery?
So that everything is a spark
for you to fan into meaning.

Or is poetry more powerful when,
it explores the personal journey to talk about us all?
Trying to be analytical while accepting of all experience.
The poem as cold, solo reportage.

I am happy with no answer,
because I think that there is room,
for both views and poems are
us, in our complexity.

Widespread Damage

The reporter says
there is widespread damage
and someone is shown wailing
beside some rubble.

But they are right
about the spread.
Most of us are damaged
in some way.

And stand by
our smashed lives,
reduced to crying,
numbly in the rain.

Where we are jostled
by walking wounded,
all around.

Asking for help for
pity's sake.
Until you have to sob
"Can't you see I'm damaged too?"


An etched crystal moon
and shadow detailed hills
witness me at the market
parking so badly, there.

That Dad says
"You couldn't park your arse in an armchair"
Which, of course, unravels me, and the world.
Yarn spools out from all around.

The streets become clogged with multi-coloured threads.
Each one named. So that I can see each one
unrolling from me, undone
by a memory's remark.

Two years gone and I still
wonder about what went on.
What he meant and how mean I was.
And will it be the same for me?


I looked up to that smart young man,
who sang the angry songs,
that sliced up,
Thatcher's revolution.

But we grew up
and both went soft
occassionally sparking
in the dark.

Now I read online
that his personal life
is a scrambled, soggy mess
and he is an elder statement.

But the old stuff
pumps the blood as it always did,
and I love that angry, spiky
London kid.

Sneering his defiance
flattening their defences.
Burning down the state
loving with his hate.

A Break

We walk down to the estuary.
Raising clouds of insects
like smoke, with our feet.

We look for clues
in the sky or on the water
as to what has happened to us.

Not just who said what, when
but the death of that bright us,
that used to shine so hard.

Where now we 
are signal towers in the night
with no codebooks.

And the fog
around us is made of
deadening sadness.

As we wonder at
those other two.
compared to the careful, bored, lonely people

We are now.
With only
a desire to be done, in common,

Note: This a work of fiction

Safety Net

A safety net would be a good thing,
for when we walk the highly wired life.
Woven by friends, families, neighbours,
artist, writers and maybe even poets.
It is odd that a quality we aspire to,
is so feared.
The earth is not forgiving when
we slip up, up there.
Yet it is the slip down that does
the damage.
A cricketer  told me
Modern players are too
careless against
head high bowling,
because they have helmets.
And I wonder if a safety net
might make us careless about
But cricket balls are not
like the knives of self-contempt
we lacerate
ourselves with.
A safety net will not blunt those,
It might just slow you as you fall.

Corn Doll Life

This is your life,
this eight-shaped thing.
You thought it would be
a Corn Doll, but it's turned out to be
more like Raggedy Ann.

Stitches are burst or frayed
intricate threads disarrayed,
connect or end flapping loose.
With partial patterns as
priorities have changed.

The charcoal stick of memory
has worked with you, and through you
to make this scruffy whole.
But it needs no remolding.
No tidying.

It is your life which has been lived
and eventually comes to this:
On that day, on that beach
watching your kids play,
you thought "This truth."
"This is enough."


This story has stayed with me.
My foot caught in it,
stray lines stick to the sole.

I think that some of me is in there.
Because of the setting I used,
which has real and unreal places in an amalgam.

We go through those places,
having our lives,
leaving our marks.

While being marked so that
you can leave but something remains,
back there and on you.

Like pruning scars on an apple tree,
where life took its cuts.
While your life moved on.


My suburb with
the egg shell
painted sky.

And cartoon children
with huge eyes.
Speaking Te Reo.
While shadow cats slide
slickly over walls.
Then walk flinching on the lawns.

As low flying aeroplanes
buzz tree-tops
scared of too solid clouds.

Someone has kicked
the chocks from the wheels
and the world lurches drunkenly.

Egg Shell Mountain

I saw the shadow mountain.
On the horizon,
it looked fragile.
An eggshell portrait.
I wondered how this thing
of light and air.
Could stand for the eons,
that it has.
Has it looked like this before?
and what those who saw it,
then, thought it was showing them.
Because I thought it was a hopeful thing.
To say "look, there is still
beauty in this world
beyond your situation"
Maybe it is a mirror to peoples concerns
and they would see the translucency
as impermanence?
Maybe I should just
admire the beauty
like  water for my soul.
Not think that it's there for me,
As I then did.

Clearing out Trees

There had been a storm
and two great trees had been split.
So they were felled and sectioned up
and left beside the path.
Now I walked past straight after getting
that letter no worker wants to get.
But the scene stopped and held me.
Rain  had driven the fellers off
so all was still, tools in place
but no movement.
I saw the sectioned trunk
 recorder of the past, now
a massive square log
So impotent.
Off to one side some domes
of red showed fungi
at their eternal task.
With my own sense of being cut
and left beside the path.
I could not walk past and watched
in the winter rain

Tuesday, January 11, 2011


You see, he said,
I stood on that bend
the river sliding by.
And it's so quiet
and calming
that I feel lighter
in spirit
and in frame.

It feels like it's all new
there, only for me.
But accepts me as me
as it does for everyone.

The reflection
on the water
makes a kind of hall
Where I stand, he said
stopped in wonder
at what is happening.
And this is not like him,
this wondering
is something new.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Second River Trip

I travel by road now
with the river on my left
The pace this time is slower
there is time to absorb each memory.

I find that I need to see the river.
When I can't I fret, until I see
the big, beautiful, brown river and
feel it say: Be calm.

Oh, it is quiet up on the bank
birdsong the sole commentary.
Putting threads into the big story,
recording every day.

Trying to understand the telling,
we put symbols and beliefs on and in that river.
So that it waters souls and fields,
has a presence in hearts and banks.

I know that rivers flood,
it could take me under and
tear me up, unknowingly.
But that is just water.

 I am smitten by the river of my life
and have to go back now and then.
Follow the looping path,
struggle with the idea of the whole.
That is so huge but
is now a part of me.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

The River Trip

I went back up the river of my life.
Lightning fast and thunder loud.
My senses overwhelmed by the beauty,
the images  compressed by the speed

There was so much
Memory. Some of it not mine.

I could feel the storylines,
curl around me.
So that I was not only seeing it
but I was in it too.

A new story being made,
of how I went back up.
And felt the passage of time,
the path of the story
and how I was taught the words.

It can't have been like that
the first time I was there.
I would have noticed so many poems,
such thick branched stories. Surely?

They are there now, no doubt.
In and on that river.
Who let me back.
And only asked to fill me up.
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