birthday cake

who will sing for us

hear us

in love

with ourselves



no-one cares

if we live

if we die that’s



friends we never had

speak for us

say such


& such

which is worse

than nothing

but I didn’t


want to talk about that

tonight I

want us

to think about




is it good



beard in-fancy #2


the shock
of the
is my new auto
the poetic interest
is anthropological.
the personal need
is a difficult night
to overcome.

we are the ripples
on the surface
of Sleep, giving
very little
of why the water rose

40 some seasons
of rent paid
without a price increase
at a third of what Realtors
charge, and now,
in a new
dwelling, I pay the
Market prices,
upped with the earthquake,
and the crisis
in housing.


everything works
for something else:
the person whose
manifest covers several
thousand employee
works for Customer: and Trees,
designed solely
for the sound they make,
cast cool shadows.
we are feel-capsules
in search of compadres
to express the infinite

this poem
is about the difficulty
of finding where it is
we emanate from,
and the task
of these words
is like air
like rungs
I trust
hold my wait,
paused between this
age, and habitat
as I climb from
a night
of sleep closed
like a fist within
my mind, white knuckled
in its grip
around a living star.
a source restricted
shine. the move,
performed alone,
with a trailer and a van,
went so damn smooth
it had to be right.


the dust
restrained had turned
to dirt behind the oldest
abstract paintings, while
the wall, its power
socket I hadn’t seen
for eight years, revealed
the dinosaur stickers
beside where our
pillowed heads
in the comfort
of kindness
kept lawful
by shared parameters
and Mingus first asked about gOd,
all wonder and freedom,
sat between my legs
in bedtime reading
before the closed-eye
mystery of Sleep.


it is I now
who wonder
who I am, in the memories
made in our children,
their phrases and progressions
carried in their finger paintings
& craftwork lionising us
on Father’s day, all moved, the
important toys
found as I evacuated
the old studio, peeling back
the layers of paintings
like archaeologists
revealing solar activity
the deeper the drill digs,
I’m finding work
I’d forgotten I’d painted, works
I don’t remember
painting—the slashed articulate
cravings leading into Rehab,
a fifth of what
tenth of
none of it required,
all trivial, but for every
mark on the life growth
chart, half in child’s writing,
as we dated his ascension
directly on the wall
panel, this, with the landlord’s
blessing, was removed;
the single prize possession
a potent memory board
moved to a new dwelling, shifting
more than I tell.


Wordsworth’s scholar-gypsy, turning
his back on, the wind in his face, on
the gracious blue of the lakes, returning
and knowing that everything goes;
Basho, in two robes, leaving his snow
-fall indentations
in the white beginnings
of another Winter; after all
the purple-orange leafage
twirlings, the dust left to settle
on the curtains
I was going to hitch to Auckland,
busk the ferry
ticket, return all Savings
to a locked, Interest-bearing account,
and live off the hat—
this was the plan, thought fully
through, originally,
when the bulldozers were ready
I was to going
to reduce and smooth back
into the van: instead —2
hundred & 80%
more rent.

Night and day

In our night-soaked bed we wait, wondering
Will these dreams dissolve into clear day
Afire with sunrise and hope
Or remain ghostly with us for hours.

Touching yet still not close
Our bodies ache for what may come.

She says, ‘We will see’.

beard In-Fancy

beard in-fancy,


from behind, in photographs, there is a balding
moment when I do not recognise myself;
I’m driving, under the speed limit, a work vehicle,
towing a green trailer slowly being loaded with refuse.
it has two compartments for the Recycling,
and a coffin-size lidded box of chemicals
and equipment for toilet cleaning.

I talk, into the left hand holding the device,
notes, for this poem, about reimagining
my avatar, the weighing of Obligation
with Necessity, getting out to myself
the message of what to stop, so OldAge,
unable to support the irresponsible
adornments a flesh-groomed Ego thinks
it needs, wont collapse in the beautiful
crisis of vanity disappointed.


the shore-misted blue of the mountains
has changed as the Day ages,
as the sun burnt off the clouds.
clouds behind the ridge line
silhouette the podocarp
and the gauzy valley mists of moving rain
accentuate the depth, the sense
of awe for scale and place and time.
I have stooped to scoop a dripping
mess of maggots, rice and meat, in the cold
odour of milky take-away coffee
as a bag falls out of the bin, onto my feet.
it is both a cloak of honour and a badge
of some defeat, awarded in front
of a high heeled woman, in view
of the travelling bohemian
europeans in their station wagon
and a teenage netball
team on an away trip.


picture the day otherwise: in homeless
fingerless gloves, sat, on a folded cloth,
on the smooth mars black supermarket
entrance, fingertips touching eucalypt,
eyes counting coins, heart expecting
sympathetic invitations to mourn
the Tomahawk and Hindenburg
smuggled in the lethal privacy of societal
security and freedom.

When’s the music gonna stop

Fuck Recycling

I’ve grown up believing
that the environments problems
were mine, that as a consumer
I possessed the answer
I believe that was pure bullshit
I believe that the environmental issues
that we all face are a matter for government
and the state
to make the difficult
hard decisions
that need to be made
They are not mine, individually.
But ours. And we’ve elected successive
gov.’s that have failed to engage constructively with
the issues. Just tredding water
passing the buck to the next one
who does the same,
well, when’s
the music gonna stop

I will keep recycling
though I hate it
cause you’ve made me do it
and I follow the logic
What else could we be doing.
Will it really make a difference
Show me the difference
in a way that is like show me all those who
profited from 9/11 and then blow up a building,
in terms of making the difference a tangible real
was a connection able to be made
If not.
Fuck your environmental guilt

I’ll eat plastic shit if I want to
and derive enormous pleasure from
trashing it in your pristine forest waters skies and eyes
I’ll take dumps in your lives with brightly colored packages
It’s my expression of freedom
you do it. Or better yet
pass a law that makes real pollution
go away.
Make the poisoners of our environment
go away. Stop
Cry a little. Then stop.


I’m here for the burst of rains that score trails across

the silences, ‘til my bowels give out or some more

spiritual need intercedes, flowering my insides: heels

on the street, the memory of her skin; any minute


I expect a vision pressed against the glass, looking in.

I’m in the mood to conjure up, everything; cracks

against the sky, lightning strikes; strive to understand,

like the first man to rise from the protozoan slime.


All things can tempt me from my bliss – colours, for instance;

the spectred trees, hands to the sky, on the other side

of the rainbow; temporal worlds, apparitions like stone

peripherals, half real; love, politics…Anything



no other

no other
      for Keikei

i take
a love poem
in arcane
the whisper
in candled night
of a man to
his distant
wife, caught
away on business
at the edge of
a crumbling
empire and he’s
worried for her
worries if they’ll
meet again before
the season turns
to blood on steps,
i take such
a poem and feel
that ‘you’ he writes
to, could have been
‘you’, who i love
in this day’s light.
those in the know
say any love poem
ever written and
worth its salt will
give you this feeling
the ‘you’ of then
is your ‘him’ your
‘her’ of now
i write this then
to say that these
words are for no
other lover, no
wife or loved one
who ever was
there in their
own time
here in ours,
i write this
to say simply
these words
this heart
is for

july 2017


There’s some time when there’s birds,

insects. Weather. Then, flies.

Nothing more. This

is the end. Germs & such,



Although just now a car went past,

I hear nothing but the micropods

cruising the silence, cracks in the

pavement, blades of. Past this,

I can’t go.



our dad would
tell us his
mother held
him in her
arms i wonder
what sleeves
what frilled
cuffs telling
him that star
out there a
kerosine lamp
in god’s hand
on the dark
of the invercargill
night was
haley’s comet
and he would
remember it
he did
we do

the comet
goes on
us too
i believe
the turn
of a life
in its
out and

a ‘dad in arms’
i smile

october 2011


*my father was born in 1906. He remembered his mother holding him on the balcony of their house in Invercargill and telling him that the brilliant star out on the night was ‘Haley’s comet’ and that he would remember this moment his whole life. That must have been the comet-sighting in 1910 meaning he was four at the time. The comet returns every 75 or 76 years, and he passed away in his 76th year.

Press Lane

Steam and stains

pave the way

for the late man,

whisky breath,

yesterday’s hangover.

He has been out

hunting for headlines.

His are buried in doubles,

grasped with a tremble.

He is sought – now.

There he is, in the lane

where hustlers hide

in the falling cold.

Snap the red door,

get up the endless steps.

Front pages come this way,

squiggles and lines, tatty pages.

They are dressed, primped.

The late man does that.

A rye eye on the words,

a flick of the wrist