Friday, December 12, 2014

Hemmed In

I sit in our small car
while all around us
great lumbering  SUVs
gingerly inch back and forth
trying to fit into carparks
made for the likes of us.
It is Saturday so the ritual
abasement at the alter
of consumerism is happening.
Headache inducing signs
encourage us all to buy THINGS
and make our lives better.
So that when we die
we'll have a bigger pile
than that of our neighbour.
Whoever that guy is
I think he's that old man
with the little car,
seems unhappy all the time.
Look at him using his phone
 what a brick!
Phoning my children
to see how they are,
I have to leave a message
because they're at work.
On a Saturday, which is just
another day, now. The rockstar
economy we have
waits for no one, it
will leave you rolling
in the tide
of the rising
if you stop to think.
© Hamish Mack

Sunday, November 9, 2014


We are at the shopping mall,
in a big box store
killing time,  walking aimlessly,
when I think that I see
Chewbaca down one aisle.
So I go back to look
because it probably isn't him.
It is a young man all in
flouro accented black clothes
a young woman very tightly.
Her long, honey coloured hair
enfolds them both and
lies along her arm over his shoulders.
And fake fur on her jacket
made the illusion I saw.
He is a big solid guy and she is
stretch fabric slim
but now she is the strong one,
 his posture is one of
defeat and he looks bereft
and she supports him.
I have to look away,
 the tenderness is too private
to be stared at.
Then a little later
we are buying fancy soap
and I see the person who
pushed me to the edge of breakdown
in a workplace a long time ago.
She is limping and has put on a little weight.
She does not see me because
she is gazing up into the face
of her partner who is supporting her
as they slowly shuffle past.
There is real joy on her face
and red patches shine on her cheeks.
It looks like this may be
the first time she has been
out of bed for a while.
I watch them go and feel nothing
beyond an appreciation of
the bond between them.
I do not wish her harm
life will scar us all

Monday, October 27, 2014

The Cats

The cats in my neighbourhood
are all on edge this morning.
Climbing up trees with
no backward look except
 to tell me that they
haven't the time to explain.
Or pacing the street,
counting out something
under their breath.
Walking straight past,
no stopping for
chatting today.
Black and white cat
protests that she's
lost her place because
of my yapping and
really she's got
somewhere else to be.
Tabby cat usually
so dainty
and easily led
is climbing up here
and has no need of me today.
All on edge, all on their way
to their positions, because.
Something is up.

Saturday, October 25, 2014


The house that belongs
to the man I talked to once
is being renovated.
It stands now, open to
the weather, no outside walls
just a roof and internal walls
with no coverings. the
bare bones of that place
showing as though in an x-ray.
He told me that his wife
and him liked historical houses
which interested me
because his neighbours house
is very grand
and I thought it must
have been the landowners house
in the past.
He agreed and said
that his own house has
the old horse stable
at one end and showed
me the gateposts of
the former driveway.
So all this history
is in that bare bones house
underneath the coverings,
on the beams and
Two by Fours we can
now see. 
The house, like a life,
gets added to
 just by living in it.

Monday, October 13, 2014

The Word For My Generation

The word for my generation
has to be depression.
We've had it or know
someone who's had it
or got it and whatever the
relationship, we'll
never be the same.
It's not just our minds
that are involved.
It's the whole economy
which we tended for years
and years like it was
our own nest, our
own eggs. Only to
have it turn on us
 and leave us behind
while it accelerated away.
No looking back, eh?
And all that we did wrong
was to believe what we were told
that hard work and honesty
would see us through.
While we were disassembled
and restructured and
even repositioned to
a brighter future.
And as we left amid
the tears (and jeers)
there was no talk of
depression waiting down the road.
No talk of anything much
because, anyway
they wouldn't hear.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

The Coot

The Coot stands in
the same place
every morning
to announce that
she owns the pond.
"I am Coot of Coot's pond.
Do not try to take it from me
or I will drink your blood,
eat your eyes
and the wails of your young and
the cries of your mate
will be my lullabies!"
Her haka is the fiercest
and my son calls her
Aggro Coot.
I have heard the squeals
of a water rat who got
too close to her chicks
 and have seen her in
stand offs with ducks and even a swan.
Her obsidian eyes glittering
as she swore at them
full of menace and rage.
Yet with her chicks
she is the mother of dreams.
Calling them all 'cheep cheep"
and covering them with her wings
as they  fit into her nest
on a log, in the pond.
Yet it is the metre long
 silent submariner eel
who has the last say
with her cheep cheeps.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Future so Bright

This is just it,
the actual thing.
While we are quite correctly
concerned about
surveillance and spooks
pawing through
our lives.
The rest of the
don't give a damn.
Are happy for that
ploughing up of their
home paddock
the mining in the dark
tunnels of
whatever they call a soul.
As long as they
have a big TV
and sugary beer
 to numb the pain
of a life stolen
when it can be
from corporate overlords.
They'll keep voting and voting and voting
for a used car salesman
of the old school
who guides your  hand
to the dotted line.
So it was us
with our high minded
democracy talk and
thoughts of equality
who were wrong
about this country.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Moment under the Moment

I am travelling toward my hometown
With Ruapehu to my right
looking like it is etched into silver
as the sun catches it at such
an angle that it shines.
Ahead I see Taranaki
through some haze looking
like an ancient picture
painted on rice paper
so that it is translucent
yet its perfect shape
is recognizable even from here.
I have Dylan and The Band playing and
they are asking me how long
can a mountain exist so
that I wonder how these mountains
 looked before there were
people here and do the
sheep in the fields now
realise that those peaks are there.
But by the look of
the lambs in there now
 they do not see much past
the udders of their mothers
right now.
And the realisation comes to me
that this is one of Russell Hoban's
"Moments under the Moment"
and my heart sings.

Monday, July 28, 2014


Death came in today
sat down in the corner chair
 took out his fiddle
made of bones
 and started to play
 the saddest tune.
Which is why
he played it because
you have to know
he is there for him to be there.
He wants you to realize
why he's around
as if the skull
and the eye sockets
did not tell you enough.
As if the keening
wind at his back
did not chill
you to the bone
And who is he here for?
Why it's you,
some day, maybe not
this one but there will
come a time
on a corner taken
too fast or
on a pills and
 alcohol afternoon.
When he'll step
out of the corner
remove his hat
and say "Show's over
 man, time to move on"

© Hamish Mack

Friday, July 18, 2014


My friend writes that
words leech into paintings.
I think he means leach but
I wonder about the other
because maybe the words
 do wait around looking
for pictures to attach
themselves to.  
Growing fatter on the canvas
as they assume more and more meaning.
Combining with
the brushstrokes to make
more than the artist
first thought.
I wonder if back
out on the Serengeti
we walked swish, swoosh
through the long grass and
words attached themselves
straight to our legs
so that we picked up
"bush with nice fruit" and
"place with water" and
"the piece of darkness that kills".
We are too mature
for words to teach us now
and they must wait for
the artist to lift them into art.
And enshrine them
in the frame.

©Hamish Mack

Sunday, June 8, 2014


The one Bob
Dylan, is in my head
telling me that
it's all right.
But something
is wrong and
I don't feel
good enough
any more.
I shouldn't
be breathing this
hard from such
a short walk.
Heart shouldn't
be so raced.
And I have issues
about being
 not achieving
enough or
much at all.
And on those
terms Bob's
not much help.
But I think
I can fake it.
Which is
probably not
healthy but is
the best
I can do.

©Hamish Mack

Sunday, May 4, 2014

John Lennon's Master

It is not supposed to be like this
not out in the open,
 on Bridge Road, Melbourne.
 A metaphor unfolds
on an absolutely normal day.
Yet there it  is, a man on the other side
of Bridge Road, washing a Ferrari.
He is wearing a suit so is
being very careful and restrained
while the car is the very
definition of red, sharklike power.
Over here on my side of the road
A old guy sits in a doorway
he has a grimy face except around
his eyes, so he looks
surprised all of the time.
He has a once white little dog with him
and they watch the people going by.
 I am all right with the world
so I buy them a sausage roll
and a muffin and a cup of coffee.
He says thanks and introduces the dog.
"Here is John Lennon' He says
"He was the best of them, you know"
I agree and we watch John
  eating his sausage roll.
Washing man is now
talking into a phone that glints golden
at us. He is jabbing the air
 with his finger and we hear
him say "You had better deliver".
We watch John a bit more
and the old guy eats and drinks.
Then John sneezes, coughs and farts.
The old man starts to laugh
and then I do and John is
barking embarrassedly.
Car wash man glances our way
gets in his car and
heads toward the city.
I say goodbye to
John Lennon and his master
and wish them luck
It is not our world
it belongs to the others.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014


I am talking with
Twig the Wonder Kid
 who is telling me
what is was like
when Jerome walked
 out and left him.
His shaking hands
lay out the
bare, bleached bones
of the relationship
so that I can't
help reaching
across and holding
both hands.
Which wakes the
spider in my heart
who unfolds
and laughs at me.
And details my
actions when two
boys were caught
kissing at school.
"Weren't so caring
then, eh?' it says
and scuttles back in.
Which is true.
Stupid, narrow minded
provincial boy
scared of love.
Because it would
open you up
like a pipi.
Which is what
it did eventually
so that now I can
hold hands and
 walk arm in arm
 with Twig.


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