My uncle. The gangster.

i am a criminal, an outlaw indeed. born with no morals but values of greed.
inherit my leathers, abide by the gang. a wicked young man with steel in my hand.
blood means nothing. my family is false. i ride for my brothers we share the same pulse.
now i belong to something so great. i earned my own stripe. enforcer of hate.4

leading the front. new lands we had claimed. earning my brothers their fortune and fame.
corrupting the young sickening their minds as long as i earn the longer i ride.
convince them with me, there is meaning in life. their loyalty kept crystallized in a pipe.
i am a criminal, an outlaw indeed. turns out the police had thought the same thing.

i kept to my pact and mentioned no names, so my brothers could keep their fortune and fame.
years had gone by so close to be free. no word from my crew, not one single peep.
the day is here, i can taste my good freedom. but these bars remain closed, i will not be leaving.
sergeant in arms gave life for the gang, repaid me with charges and left here to hang.

betrayed by everything i gave so much for, they gave me the weight worth life and plus more
here i now sit, a man without pride. i write to my mother who’s love i denied.
a letter returns, i opened with haste. too see her reply an empty blank page.
i’ll die in this cell, nobody will care. a sad broken man shedding my tear.

i was a gangster, my life i have wasted. my legacy nothing but surely has faded.
feared by the worst and richer than most, and here i now tie this sheet to a post.
i was a sergeant, learn from my mistakes, all you young soldiers seeking fortune and fame.
i am a criminal, an outlaw indeed. ill die with no morals because of my greed.

1 4 E 9
L 7 7 Q
Q T 8 I
K l L 3

This was a poem written by my uncle the day he took his own life in prison. I wish to share this to help our youth in aotearoa turn away from the gang life, but unfortunately i am unable to fully express my support without contradiction as i have also followed in my uncles footsteps, but after i saw this my footsteps will be changing direction.

prayer to anti-self

and me fallen, which is the worst thing that could happen

to a man like you but better; with the weight of everything

on my shoulders.

 

I’m like you, as a man resembles another,

fly, a flower…etc – from behind: I have

 

eyes, your personality…etc

fixed for good, nailed: I get

dark joy at our suffering, which isn’t

your fault or mine,

 

bitch. Degenerate. You could try walk

my heels, you know,

 

study the multitudinous forms that flourish

in the bower, the fish bowl you’d disown

if you could.

 

See what happens when I tune in/

turn on for so long, stuffed

in my sodden hole.

 

I shut my eyes to my situation;

all the better to enjoy you,

the filth of yr creation.

FROM MY WINDOW

And from my window I can see

So many things that call to me

Trees and shrubs, spring flowers are there

Birds are darting everywhere

Busy nesting come what may

From dawn until the end of day

 

And from my window I can see

The ocean and it calls to me

Waves breaking gently on the shores

Their whispers turning into roars

On windy nights when gales blow

Their billows shining white like snow

 

And from my window I can see

A grassy bank and in its lee

Sea-lions lounging out of reach

And rolling on the sandy beach

One or two, with bodies great

Just lonely males without a mate  

 

And from my window I can see

the river flows beyond the trees

I follow as it starts to wind

From distant hills that lie behind

And just before a rocky ridge

Trains clatter noisy on a bridge

 

The low hills rolling far and wide

Far mountains standing side by side

Backdrop to vistas that I know

Sky above with clouds below

And from my window I can see

So many things that call to me

 

Good Bugger

I won’t pass judgement on those hands.

For a start, they knew work.

Opening and closing the sprung blades of shears,

hefting escaped ewes over fences.

He was driving, but I saw the tendons ping;

I saw him in a hot shed, head down,

sweat trailing across a wool-grease floor,

back pen-knifed to flick back the pen gate –

– aiming for the big tally again today –

plunging a crowbar into frosted ground,

stopping only to say: she’s cold today, mate.

Yet here he was, up a winding river path,

a good bugger, voice as gentle as the wind

reflex

I get a measure here of solitude when the street turns in

& the night is soft & distant.

 

I hear the blue light of a siren dying, & in the silence,

the corrugated iron clawed by the cold fingers of the plum tree.

 

This is my table in the corner, photographs, postcards

bought on holiday; the body of Christ

 

post crucifixion; de-nailed, tender – it’s queer

to think of him that way – & other memorabilia:

 

a Madonna, for instance, presented after a funeral.

I remember because i’m swayed now & then,

 

believe for no reason. Even Immoral things.

I react i think to rational politics, the nightmare

 

of production-production:  i’m for the risen Christ,

the soft night; the flashing blue light in the distance.

of roman parchment

of roman parchment
 a Marco, poeta e traduttore

i saw
a wind of olives
clung to the
mountain
heard the
leaves a rain
of finest silver
come through
the dark greenness
along the branches
splaying out
like broken roads
that traced the
empire
i saw you,
mother, in the
time of lords
and ladies the
pheasants grooming
down the air
with their
trailing
feathers
you wrote me
a letter with the
quill of one
a simple letter
of tears and
golden
signature
and wished
me well.

june 2013

lines by the water

her stars align.

fortuitously.

each line

 

*

discrete

has something like

blood    stone

torn       limb

skin        prick

 

a flesh wound that actually

hurts

 

kick-starts her

heart     some part

of herself            half

known

 

 

*

so she was

here      her syllables

clues missed

 

by the meticulous

casuals                  in blue

 

on the sand-flecked

floor for instance              her

back room

at the end of a long

hall         for instance        the

 

sun-tipped straw              o the wide

round of days days          long

sky         the riverbed

 

grey       a face

in water               her dress

weighed

by stones            that had lain

 

among the bric-a-brac

of the bank         sand

& flowers

 

she lay in the hollow

pool of shallows where

spectres bowed

 

disfigured            eyes wide

saw the line that

divides this world

from another

 

*

I need to be high like

this         at her feet. beneath

her skirt               I fell

on purpose         tried

all night to see

nothing but her white

 

stars head high &

the blue light of an ambulance

 

*

she was here one summer

& when she left I shook at the knees.

 

In dreams her hair’s

real short             her eyes

 

glazed                   wide

like strangers

 

in the night

cars on the highways

 

of your sleep

& when you wake

miles away

 

cows graze

fields

buttercups

of spring

worlds away

but you anyway are.

really there

 

*

in the curves

of her line

breaks  snake

hip          syllables

coil         slumber

sometimes

 

crawl. shed skin.

score bark. round

my neck down

the boughs & twigs

of my finger

tips

 

no big deal

but                         still

 

*

try me

she says               ok

 

I will

 

*

it’s winter.

 

tuesday. we had lunch

by the lakes.

the sun shone.

the sky was blue

& the water…

 

birds flew

both ways because it’s all so

beautiful

 

*

we met

in the cherry red

mirror between

2 brush strokes

 

Tweed Indeed

The man in tweed with his leg in the air is trying to mount
a tall steel horse
but his eye is on the cobbles and he’s falling
into a trap of his own making
silly bugger – and his cloth cap won’t save him
so we watch as he wobbles and wonder why
grown men wear silly clothes, especially
when they are not at all his colour –
grey indeed – and with his undercarriage in such danger

art school

I still play with blocks, roll

cars along the boards of the living room,

a horse on all fours I sing,

swing, slide, see-

saw at the park with my

friend; colour in within

lines, outside them to be,

expansive of course.

 

But you’re not thinking:

Does he really do this shit

or is it a metaphor for fucking

                                                art? are you.

cousins

 cousins

dedicated to Richard Morris Stoven Taylor, our ‘Uncle Morris’, and Jack Le Baige, who were cousins, and the journeys they took together

one a graduate in
dental science
known to all
as ‘Doc’
the other shrugged off
school at twelve for
a bank messenger’s job
that led to a farm job
and even his own farm
on a wind-blown coast
until the great depression
took it

remembering your talk
round our kitchen table
over scones, over sponge

i see you both on horses
riding along those black sand
beaches the sand blowing
round their hooves
like glittering streaks
of cirrus cloud
marram grass sketched
over with the sky’s glance
not talking much but of
only worthwhile things
boar’s tusks and how
it troubles the animal
when they grow into
a full circle puncturing
the coarse-haired cheek
shipwrecks and sandbars
the missionary great great
grandfather among
chiefs taking tea
with them spars and
white horses sea horses
and the rest.
ride gentlemen
ride to the dunes
sand coming off
them like turning
pages.

dunedin 2010

Großmutter und Kind

Hello, interested reader. The following poem resulted in my banning, for a period of one month, from PoetryCircle.com.
I can only assume they misread whom it was the protagonist endeavours to lure to his world?
I would appreciate any thoughts. Dean.

1

The Nana has the same
few grey among dark
as her granddaughter
has loose and sparse
foundation fur. Both share
the unconscious nudity of long time
naturalists. The child’s
nipples make shadows
above the abacus
ribs like an adult woman’s, and
when she squats to collect her
iPod, dropped off the earphone
from Oma’s’s tangled elbow,
I see her neatly folded like the
edges of fine cuts of veal.

2

Is the longing that she lights in me so wrong?
I’ve set a trap to get her near the van
with the music I have heard her mention,
I play it so that when she is alone
her interest will be channelled my direction.
I have alcohol and sweets, a omnibus
of Verse, a smile, and the barest
beginnings of an erection

for the tarpaulin
to block the afternoon
locals… Strolling
the copper ground underneath
the pines, here she comes, summer on
her square shoulders and grandchild
-free, to ask casually
if it is Stravinsky I am playing.