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come dusk

come dusk
to Franz Kafka at Plana nad Luznici*

come dusk    come dusk    come dusk
you’d step out with the landlady’s dog
for a long walk first to the luznice river
then across to the woods beyond the fine villas
the shrubs on empty lawns like a waltz
around them paused in mid-step
the quiet of the evening now the best
of what could be had in the darkling
through your bitter lungs, on that bench
at the edge of the trees gazing to the river
that dragged its cold deeper on
through the lowering dusk the river
leaving with its slim freight of gleam.
times you’d go further downstream seeing
the farmers trudging back from the fields the air
thick with country joke as though shot through
with swallows headed for their evening table
of rough sacramental bread,
poking your head into the damp
rondel of a waterwheel at the mill
walking on to find that spot where
one slow turn on the heel could take it all in
the evening now holding deep in the undertow
far off Tabor the town and castle* you wrote
endlessly around and never into.  you’d head
back thinking how good it would be
to live this side of sorrow
this side of the river
where evening would fall harmlessly upon you
come dusk    come dusk    come dusk
and what mattered most would be the stars
the zodiac of farmers’ weathers

february – march 2014
nelson st, howick

*The setting of this piece comes directly from Reiner Stach’s biography of Franz Kafka, ‘The Years of Awakening’, specifically pages 464 – 465, on which the course of Kafka’s evening walk is described while staying near the Luzince River at Plana.

*allusion to Kafka’s unfinished novel, ‘The Castle’.


it is the pulse between..

2 strokes, a man dying or closing his eyes.

to dream –


his death, the gap between spasms:

yes, yes. it is, i guess,

the absence which makes

what it is

distinct. or this


(the metaphysic is sick

but isn’t): an infinitive

(i mean infinite)


void in the midst of

contradictory postulates.


i’m stretching this a bit so I leave you with this.

i can ‘t say what it’s about but it is, I think,




White noise       


The event

had to happen.



might happen.


These meditations

produce nothing substantive –


two images



birds in flight

some wild



birds nesting

after dark.

Black and Blue

Black and blue

Black and blue

Is my heart

Like the bruises

you left behind…

Scarlet red

Scarlet red

Is my head

Like the blood

you took from me

in kind…

Do you ever

think of me?

And wonder

why I left you?

As you burn there

in the hell

you have created

for yourself…

I hold my head high

I feel no shame

I know longer

take the blame

for the many hues

of black and blue

that ultimately

became you…

What is Red?

What is Red?

I am


I am


I am

a risk…

Are you willing

to take it?

I am


I am


I am

rich and juicy

Are you willing

to taste it?

I am


I am


I am


your senses…

Are you willing

to allow it?

I am


I am


I am

pulsing and pumping

your heart

Are you willing

to feel it?



is Red?

In her heart a maiden

what does it matter come the day
it’s only chatter what they say
she’s had her life, she’s old and grey
mad as a hatter anyway

she turns her head with with muted cry
to hear these words as they pass by
she knows how fast the years can fly
how all lifes plans can go awry

her winter feet now feel the chill
all steps become an act of will
but she can bear life’s bitter pill
while in her heart a maiden


You exist in the poor length

of my second toe, our lip and Irish eye

that pinks upon the island air.


I’m bored cleaning corpse from

empirical floor.  I pack jaws

that don’t speak, at doors to centuries.


Sing – give us wars that ring

in your elbow, sting of injury,

and porous nuance.


I heard a man tore you once

and told your whanau in desperation.

They stood, and taught him to carve.


It matters, in the new-bled day

that pours out of sun or piddles in the rain,

I learned a wing healed upon the plane.




Note- plane as in planing wood.

poet’s path

you’ve gotta kiss a lot of toads
before you find your prince
you’re gonna write a load of dross
read lines that make you wince
but there’ll come a time 
(one hopes)
some day beyond the clatter
and croaking of false frogs and toads
you’ll find some words that matter 

side of a river

side of a river
for Keikei

on riverside ave
the estuary waters
brimming to
the field’s edge
lapping under
root and grass
we called the
sea upon us

on riverside ave
we crossed the
the bar, the bar
of shadow that
would see us
parted and apart
with no compass
of heart to help
cross and find
each other
face to face
we crossed that
high sea bar the
sharks of fear in
swarm around

on riverside ave
we stood together
saw the turning
boats like leaves
the tides cannot
unloose and
knew the sails
set within would
take us into nights
we might enfold
each other in

on riverside ave
we did kneel for
summer blood
erupting through
on riverside ave
we became each
sweet other’s

december 2016
riverside ave

Me; Orator

Tell me, stranger

–  your eye amplifies me –

Are my words away though,     as I hear them?

blown out      damp as the night air.


It’s owned in my brain; tight

until I speak             and ooze.

An ear of mine cranes, in exile – a dog.

It can     not    near    the master’s voice


that creeps    and climbs    and peaks

at the white hair of your temple.

The Waterfront

I watch all night.

To see the moon dance on oil,

The shadows grow and twist,

The little boats tip and yaw.

Sometimes there are footsteps –

Quiet and reasoned – on the planks,

Hands cupped and faces turned.

Sometimes you think that all life is here;

Men and women and creatures, poised

Under the blackness of the rolling tide.

Here, there are moaning horns and the rattle of diesel,

The slow slap of a yearning sea caught, now

In the harbour’s restraining arms.

It is only here, when night is at its darkest,

That you know deals are done and restless men

Roll and twist in their pressed-in bunks.

This is where the seabirds wait,

Dancers on one leg, to see the colour of the day,

Where there is every sound – the grinding of steel, the snap of rope – and there is no sound;

When it is just blackness and salt, a vastness








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