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Worst poem ever of the day week



Might quit

what’s not any kind

of business. Cowboys,


Cowgirls! rein yr high

-strung horses

in, loose syllables. I


have a family

that can’t depend on me.




My last poem will look something like this,

but lean; a withering away

of the Self;



not this kind of rubbish.


from Common-On-Est.

The retrial started after
I’d taken a sleeping pill
when my son decided he wanted in
the same bed
after a frightening movie
of time travelling extraterrestrials
physically present on earth,
not frightening, in the horror movie
way, but deep, intellectually
complex, and because I had to work
early I took the tablet, and then
the mother said, as I was climbing
between them, ‘Why did you bother
if you’re not going to be alive
in your sleep?, no cuddles for me!’
So using that for my excuse because
I had a new artwork I’d finished
in the afternoon which I wanted to view
under electric light, I drove home,
not far that I would fall asleep
on the way, and when I got home
I stood looking and wondering how
a man with no art training
or even any early inclination
could produce and sell so many
painted surface artworks?,
and because the pill had started
working and it was like when I used
to drink and drug I thought I would stay
awake for as long as I could,
and I took down from the shelf a writer
I used to read when I wrote drinking
and read poetry drunk. I know Regret
is a lame horse, and I don’t know if
it was because the movie we watched
spoke about Language in relation to Time
and Thought as the conditioning agents
for being free or being caught— but even
though I’d removed the saddle
and stirrups and the reins
and had lead Regret, limping
to a small piece of lawn behind the shed
by the tyre swing, where the wood to
be made into kindling was stored
which were the kisses I didn’t take,
and the days I didn’t show up, the mistakes
Bravado allows, and expects; with the gun
in my hands, the knowledge
of Time, Emotion, the symbolism
of Memory, I still was unable
to pull the trigger…



City’s Secrets

A city’s secret

Up a steep stair.

A swing door

Kept shut.

Fusty light

Too tired to shine

Sits in corners

By faded florals.


Wary steps.

Come up.

(Mind the step)

I’m in Room 3.

Left at the top.

Bring your scent.

Your gorging eyes.

I’m in repose.

I’m in your head.


So evenly it sheds
skin, love –
a gentle slip
in symphony
to betray a leather
its new & true jacket,
in fresh venom.

I arch the path
of the latest asp
in hot ash, unravelled
along cinders of
our nebulous friends;

kidneys, liver, lovers –

those fallen organs
shape neurotic beds
for a living dead.

à la manière de Pound

Your lines, Aurelius,

are stiff; the age

demands a long-er

breath. The age



the unexpected

flare-up of vamparism. A reel

more disturbed than

genocide, even (which is,

the mass and systematic slaughter

of a people); some unusual

childhood, say – not,

at any rate, a mere exercise

in formalism,

or the sculpture of rhyme;


not, not assuredly

the strictures of dance,

metric  symmetry.

The age demands,


in short, freedom –


a home brand



Your lines, Aurelius,

are stiff; the age

demands a looser

grip. Les demandes







the light fixed
over the water
at night draws
them down
onto the mirroring
skin that bends
breaks under
their light-footed
claw or bristled
span of leg
and their
closing them
down under it
in long starving
breath legs working
in vain knowing only
back and forth
under the water
impassably taut
above them.

the insects
god’s lean poems
full of sap scratch and
stubborn strength
radiant or mute in
word of colour
that hang
kick off on the air
in hurtling flight
that tumble down
the air on
battering wing
tip over
on pebble
in labouring
scrabbling crawl.

they all throw
in their earthly
chips their aerial
bets with the
light on water
skin that holds
brief or long
their marvellous
weight until
morning lays
out the wreckage
of their hope
failed bets on
a false moon
some say.

a mantis pale
bloated green
hung dangling
under the skin
black beetles
still patiently walking
with legs levering in
the clear cool
under the skin
hours on they
hold out with
miracle pockets
of air in trachea
i reason so
only the ladybird
floating yet
unable to swing
open polka-dot
wing covers to
fold out
tissue wing
riding yet dry
on a drifting
spindly wing
loosened torn
from the
shoulder of a
another sunken
kind i never
glimpsed only
this life-boat
wing they bequeath
afloat there
times the beetles
who climb upon
each other become
balls in the
water circus
a carpet of moth
wing come apart
together plastered
on fluttering on
that smooth skin
bursting under

i told them
the long twig
i held out
to them i call
the tree of life
‘climb to live!’
‘climb to live!’

a consciousness
of poem in this
morning grief
things that lived
too close to mind’s
skin falling in
under it struggling
there breathing
out a last motion
scooped out
by hand onto
the page
things to be saved
things to be lost
only the ladybirds
still able to dry
off find a path
up leaf and
word stem
again and fly
on a warming
breath i blow
over those
fetching spots
on the roundness
of their backs.

november 2011


      for Keikei

you whispered
you love my cells
love to slide along
and into them
those cells in
my thigh my
back my chest
your cells,
you breathed
to me in a
folding of
the dark,
make your cells
shine like a
channeling of
moon along your
thighs make your
cells twist around
mine and take
them in
you love,
you wrote
with your finger
along my cheek,
the bits of me
those ladders
of DNA you
would roll
around yours.
i bit the
rise of your
hip to say
how i
in turn
love to lap
your cells
in touch
to lick
to breathe
your cells
a smell that
sears the
to arch
a windy
clear night sky
in them until
the sun lifts
in each and
every one
of them
and we are
burst apart
torn along
our cells again
back into

 january 2017

the hours

the hours*

the hours
of cicada
with rainbow
that crinkles
under man’s
brute touch
how they fly
in strength
upon us
from us.

morning, 29 november 2012
vulcan lane, auckland

*From Wikipedia: ‘In Greek mythology the Horae or Hours (Greek: Ὧραι, pronounced Hōrai, “seasons”) were the goddesses of the seasons and the natural portions of time.’

The Radio

My childhood is inside this box of noise.

I found it at the back of a shed,

Wires twisted and its coat enslaved in dust.

My parents bought this when they were poor.

Mr Fraser spoke from here. On the war.

And Aunt Daisy, live from Wellington.

How wonderful to hear her voice

Away up there, in the settling frost.

And dad and Dave – Lord, what a laugh.

So they said.

They sat around the dancing fire

Listening to the far world.

Thank goodness for the serials.

And the unvarnished truth:

It’s seven o’clock: here is the news.

A woven face and wooden lattice

To sift the voices of the land

A Path Home

But the gravel rash of another time stopped us,
Don’t take the road of rocks and stones,
But the path of long wavy grass,
Be thankful to the dark of night for the stars lead our way,
We survive because the fire inside us draws us home.

The Wallet

I have it now

The dimpled leather,

The crumpled tab.

It was in the drawer

With an old watch.

It was my father’s.

A cashless wallet.

He held it with his right hand,

Slid it from its woollen berth.

The skin of an animal

Protecting the money.

It was so comforting

To see it displayed:

It spoke of prosperity,

Assurance – and graft.

Now I want to give it back.

To see it in his hand;

See the blue eyes light.




Sunshine and Silt

I can smell my dog’s life

In the softness of her coat.

It is sunshine and silt;

Grass and rabbit runs,

Softness of surrender.

I know she knows

Pain’s shadow, hers, mine;

The passing hand of love.

In her heart’s beat

Is the joy of woods and willow.

Her soft eyes are story’s stories:

The day the wind lifted soil;

When we threw the ashes high;

The day tears dried on our faces.

All there, deep in her warmth

Yes No