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Time has washed our faces, our lives

We bear its crags and gullies;

Our eyes are bright then empty;

Our step is joyous then halting

And always it beats: it is the slow clock,

The hours in a hospital room

Waiting for the worst news;

It is the rush of the sea – thrilling one minute,

A drain on the spirit next.

It seeks us in the long nights

Where we toss and worry; imagine

The worst to see fears fade in the sun.

It is the low serenity of Nina Simone

Who wonders, as we all wonder,

Where the time goes; we see it

Escape in decades of tumult,

The joyous and sad Christmases

Where we wish once more for the crepe

Hand of a grandmother; the spilling

Sunshine laughter of a gone-too-soon child,

And we wonder, if our time is coming.

We are reminded as we see a frail frame

Struggle for breath; see the thin arms,

The face draw in and we know – we all know.

So we mark time, thinking, thinking,

And it takes no heed: it marches, and

Then we see it on our own face,

The little signs, and we press closer to see

That it is almost too late,

That the song has almost played out

Mothership & Country

I have been counting time in flags
flapped ragged at the Daycare

at the rate of two or three a year.
The country disappears; then it’s mother ship;

a provincial union franchise. You can drive by
and see them waving, the toddlers, banging

on the cut square perspex in the corrugated fence
below the poles. The mountains showing Stillness

that it doesn’t have to try.
Like the poem, it is not about decay

or representation, and personality,
although it grows out of us, is not final.

Or at all accurate; the diverse reaction
of babies among children exposed,

or experiencing the same, is personality?
Or character?  Or chemical lack due

the absence of breast milk
or, more controversial, the proximity

of your bedroom to a cell mast.
Much of us expires in practice, what the flags

flap away awhile in wears all of us down,
on the poles unimagined escapable as we fight

in our roles, at work, with the wife, a man unmade
as a husband as he ages. A societal freeness

in gender arrangements, and I see
no change in the rate of the fray.

So the flags flap away, and the children.
And I continue annoying myself

with hard hours of pleasure in the ruts,
the small milk of conditions I have accepted

to further Comfort—predictable pole tied
wrestles, with no real wish to be blown up

tangled in the brambles among the Pines
grown angled up the hill behind the Centre.

What a flap I’ve put into myself, a symbol
on the non-being pillar— one must

be so the other…Is needs the
Isn’t or is neither.





Symbolic Uneasy

The Dial’s swung round again:
the Taupata autumns in berry clusters,
tight bunches in flawless contrast,
fire-orange in a roundness of green
at the window, where the neighbour’s
enormous grey cat climbs the step-ladder
in like she lives here. Summer is three
days gone, but the southern midday
heat has weeks left, and if I do not
do it soon it will be Spring before
the next break. Art has poured out
and still comes on, I feel it backed up—
I have only a little of the Fisherman’s
enthusiasm left for the catch, the hunt:
the skipper now plans to do deeper
searching, his new thing in, while I
have more of a walking on water buzz
clustering, catch poems, and coins, hauled
from a net set tidily on the boulevards.

And I give to you now, who is me, don’t
set out alone on the rough seas of the heart
if you’re not a confident swimmer. Read
the stars. Read the clouds, know when
it’s time leave. And, like the bigger cat
eating young Max’s snacks, check first
if there is not something pinching you
at the root of authentic desire. This is
the poem’s meat, it’s protein source. The
back is sore, and it wont uncoil better
fishing; the graveyard is full of that surety.

I stood here a year ago, after surgery,
at the window the berries fire from, saying hello,
change!, like a wedge!, lift up and go!
Just to get the thin edge in…I must get
to my son’s bookcase and find out
what happened to the train that got off
the rails to play in the daisies and butterflies
behind the Controller’s back. Adventure stories,
too, where the sailor was rolled to and fro
for months with the teaspoons of dawn
condensation to drink over his red raw lips
with the miniature pages of onion skins peeling
open and moving in the breeze like a well loved book.





east, the moon

      east, the moon



a wavelet

an hour till


in such
a light
a silver
to close

1, 2 august 2015
eastern beach

pistol shot rap

pistol shot rap
“Relationships have all been bad,
mine have been like Verlaine and Rimbaud’s”
from ‘You’re gonna make me lonesome when you go’ – Bob Dylan

a cool cat
hot-headed as
an ocean sun
burning poems
to breathe in
their touch of
opium watching
rails for the
slide of sun
cursing the
mother f brother
verlaine for
love neither
could handle
a pistol shot*
the best
it got.

10 may 2013

*reference to the the two poets’ famously tempestuous relationship which ended with verlaine firing two pistol shots at rimbaud, one striking his wrist.


Curious and green,
I feel these babbling brooks in my bones,
They tickle and play on the nerves,
A quiet hum permeating skin.
What organised madness,
An environment of the Pagans
and I catch my breath at
the sunset every time.
I am forest after all.



The wolves trailed through the black back door of the wintry forest

Led by scent that gave true meaning it sealed their continued existence

The score beating unequal temperament as they passed the river

Faster a lack of moral conventions they were about to feed

Their tracks danced amongst the night images

Spoken with imprints against the icy cold snow

Hunger for blood of their soon be prey.


Sometimes the air is still;

The light loses its clarity.

This is such a day: immovable.

It slouches; it is lazy and petulant,

And ripe with indifference.

Today it calls and calls.

We are veined wet fallen leaves;

We are rills of loss and regret

And we can not explain:

It is a sense of loss,

Of not belonging, of never –

Of being the outsider. Looking in.

Walks offer no cure, nor kind wishes:

It is set deep, beyond the eyes,

And it has learned to burrow.

Sometimes when the rain comes,

It washes in joy and laughter;

Sometimes it builds a slurry,

And it clings to thought and life.

To pull us ever further

one day the poet will die…

One day the poet will die and the flowers

on his grave wilt, unremembered.

The bearer of human longing will falter

under that weight and fall or wander

one night, and reappear after dead years,

a pale image home from the war. Some days

I too would lie down after long walks

and stare at the clouds or the cracks

on the wall, beaten. I have felt stone-hard,

and nothing; but love mostly, and longing.


One day the poet will die long suffering

the blows and the cracks from inferiors;

disrespect, ironic stares, and mock

wonderment. I will live on I suppose

vicariously, grieve; wander narrow

streets at night, fall into reverie

swayed by distant music on the breeze.

Intermittently, my thoughts are with you,

and at each stride I envision what to do;

and with my feet beat time as I would you.


14 October 2015


to a fisherman & pukeko

to a fisherman & pukeko

to a fisherman
with his rod whipping
back I thought to ask
‘what, friend, do you
hope to catch late this
last day of the year?’
the sun of this summer
day just a cool glow now
in grey going out on the
west the low tide
still running deep in
its channel dark with the
coming evening,
before i asked i already knew
‘the next year at least, the
only sure thing, the only
sure catch’.

walking on up along
that road out to the point
i asked the pukeko
‘what, friend, do you hope
to catch late this last
evening of the year?’
it turned its head toward
me the one foot lifted
stilled in mid-step and
told me ‘nothing certain
last day of the year or
not, nothing certain’
and plunged on into
the wind-knocked hay
of that high field

31 december 2015
Te Naupata, Musick Point


When I moved in to the large, narrow terrace
house, a flatmate was midway through the East
Sydney College Acting course, and, as a musician,
he said, in the pale yellow walls of the red-floor
kitchen, ‘the people are better in theatre’.
I auditioned successfully at the next intake;
and with a poem like this, based on the memory,
propelled on the need to revisit the time, the literary
expectation is that the poet will have filtered
out his nostalgia,for the quanta of mead,
through early drafts, finding the piece its heart,
the quicksilver fluids of reflection, emotion
without the embarrassment of display,
the unselfconscious shinny feeling waves
thespians parade to validate their cause,
but I haven’t got time for that, there are paintings,
and payed work, and a boy approaching puberty,
who comes over and shares my apple.
mead is made of honey, and in these words
is the pollen for you to make your own fermented drink,
and unless you’re in the ‘network’ no munny comes of poetry,
so no one pays attention: but I’m glad I didn’t fail
in Success, not having any actual time where I succeeded.
Drama started up though, shadows of the spotlight
which could have come, I brushed shoulders
with the known, featured briefly, on a list of maybe so,
yet I walked away unknown, but I understood
the Craft, saw, like those four and half years deckhand
on a commercial fishing boat ‘got’ what it takes a man
to work the sea. I filmed well, was pretty young, bi,
and large enough on stage in various roles,
and if you put the world’s perversions on a dartboard,
and sent the dart in unaimed looping arch, there’d
be something you could compromise me with,
by which I’ve now implied in Fame I could be owned,
plenty of mead popped pollen in my taste buds,
bent towards expulsion from the norms, luciferic
by the moors presumed conventional, but I wasn’t
into that sort of thing, circles intersected, as they will,
everywhere, being more of a philosophy
than a religion, a theosophical consideration
for how things actually happen to move
from the Will to the event manifest: the
greatest show on Earth
is what you will do
next, when your eyes have
stepped on and
then off this last

from Rehab Walkabout

‘it’s the terror of knowing what this world is about.’

                                                               Queen, with David Bowie.


Watching, the body feels human, but the mind
won’t take a man’s world seriously
as Sunrise, brightly, from the summer
left over in the leaves, Autumn
has the bristle broom
sweeping Summer’s soft touch
through the chopped arch windows
where originally the pews
of the churcHab dining room sat.
This is of the hardest part to take
apart and spread out on the table
to marvel, and then to reassemble:
the sermon, and the sunlight,
the leaves, so promisingly lemon
green when I arrived, collecting browny
in the cat bowl in the door corner
of the Smokers’ patio, where some insist
a hedgehog is feed; none of these without me
have a meaning—Aning…that’s nothing, not even
Again. I’m up each dark beginning, before the withered serfs
have slept off the morass helium
of their medications: bristled and soft, they seem sunk
down with the burden of the sun upon their back,
I am lifted every dawn, and it’s only here
I brag about this—the sun, shining harder, better
colour than the power-save bulbs, these
slow starting, dubious twisty heavier,
more expensive, cold & difficult to dispose—
as the man behind these words, I reveal
a paranormal suspicious disposition,
justa regular serf; that’s all— of us, here
put Rehab, in a spinning come to rest
within this shed, this glory-box for the dead
god with the best funding men Fiat about in.
I don’t want to build a boat, or a Business,
sink a million into I.T. futures, or use The Secret
for the wealth. I’d like pure water on tap
in every house: Man’s world!, seriously,
it’s an anxious animal, you never know when
it will turn if you are not performing the basics
well enough. Through the bold silicon of this
new watchful dawn, under pressure hum the Queen
and Bowie song. Understanding has a long trellis
table, one for 13, or twenty odd converted
islander to fix their lifted floors, but our numbers
have diminished, we are failing in the courts,
we are groping gangbangers, loners, whore-boys,
glorious in sunshine, glamour-sack of star light,
is her body, in my person, I would kiss her in the shower,
with the water running over our two skins,
joined at the Addict till the water starts cooling.
Bodies: the watering Mirror’s faucet.




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