This Road

The cabbage trees, it is said, were planted by Maori

to guide them inland from the coast, but here,

they are markers on the undulating blacktop, firm

against the wind, passing fronds to the earth.

They are beside a road beside a paddock beside another.

They are anchors, rooted deep, to say to all:

We are here, we have stayed yet you have left.

You have carved up the land and filled it green.

There is no bracken, no towering beech.

So we drive by, to the hills, songs in our ears

yet hear nothing of the land’s song.

We do not see the crests of up-pushed land,

nor the little natives fighting to survive

the pouring on of water, the might of the mower.

We see only man’s work, feel a false pride

On The Track

The tracks run west past the duckback,

its at-attention hyacinths,

the tin mill and its rusty flanks

and curves past the golfers (shot, sir)

until it finds its own rhythm,

thrum of steel wheel and nature

carving up the countryside:

pines and gnarly gums, the plain

widening until it tricks the eye.

In this heat, you can smell the leather

and those who took this little trip

feel the chromed luggage rods,

shudder at the jolting pull of the engine

and, best of all, draw in the smoke.

They close their eyes as the driver

adjusts his navy cap, snaps a little lever


When the light dipped we knew the southerly was coming:

the dog’s nose spread, the clothes pulled at the line,

then the sky went pink and mauve and branches were black switches

sweeping an enraged sky filled with leaves of bright yellow, and the

half-night boomed with thunder and a great light broke out behind the hill.

Then it was gone: Nature’s wild minute, and the best of the day

state highway 4

state highway 4
mangawhero river

this road
lifts you up to
the sky drifting
apart in sunset
sails you down
in armfuls of
curves to
the stone-cracked
river below,
the roar
of night
in its

mangawhero river
december 2016

old guard

old guard

where are
the old guard now?
going through
cutting down
girlie magazines
glossing in
an awesome
fight near the
long after
the old guard
whose faces were
like playing the
same hand again
and again in
last card
where are the
old guard?
what was
should always
have been.

may 2014



Silence called

yet did not stay.

I seek its


to close out

noise of day:

the nothingness,

the moment before

sleep’s grasp.

It is softness,

a floating;

kisses and

soft breath.,

It will


Then the

mind slips

to a warmer,

floating place –

please, now –

the soft

bed of



Only then

Can I hear

when you talk, i listen

I shook like a flower

in your hand.


i was


. in spirit                                  i was


. what

i                                               was

. but a shake of the head,


a nod.                                      not really


everybody says I’m like           your

playground companion.


When you rise I fall,

like flies on death.

The Shoes, Sir

He is speaking but I can’t hear him.

Not in any real sense.

Elections, god you hate them.

Three years is not long enough

to cleanse the senses; to throw off

the reams of promises, the taunts.

This politician has a suit.

It’s so Saville Row. Or Merivale.

You never know nowadays.

He raised his voice several times

and cliches rattled out.

He waved his arms to scatter his truth.

I noticed he forgot something.

His shoes – always

a big mistake.

That’s what my mother said:

check the shoes; the quality, the polish.

It was clear, then.

This man, by my mother’s measure,

was nothing more than an oaf.

work shorts

1. I’ve Never Known Anyone

she walked onto the weigh-bridge carrying four black rubbish bags
and I said it’s cheaper if I weigh you, stay there
but you have to make the sound of a car.
and she did, and the noise she made was like a bath toy,
and I thought: what would I have made? and I did
my noise, after she had paid and gone away
and it sounded like a mis-idling truck,
and the psychological correspondence will not be lost
on some. she was a good sport, to make her car sound
on the wide floating steel plate, two plastic garbage bags
in each of her hands, and I loved her
that moment, English Jane, child of engines,
monarchy, and rain; loved all of us born into naked children
in the waters of a world un-peeling before us, the unknown
design of Space, believing just enough
to keep from sinking. I’ve never known anyone, less
convinced that what they think is all

2. Avoiding Outlines

during the morning bin run
where I drive the urban sanitation
contract for the council, I found, in one
larger bag, a dozen empty tobacco packets
with enough for ten thin smokes.
when I arrived back at the depot
I emptied the crumbs into a single pouch
for some of the guys at work
who are always scrounging and re-rolling butts
during the last days of the pay period.
I hadn’t handled any tobacco for 8 & 1/2 years,
and I didn’t want to put it in my pocket, or even hold it
in any way in which it could look like mine
so I carried it to the smoko room by the corner,
by a thumb unconcerned and a finger disassociated
because I didn’t want to give Time any ideas,
didn’t want to put into his hand the crayons
of my living hours, presumed it, like holding a bag
of dog turds, something you had to carry but didn’t
express any indication it was going to reappear
as a regular set of actions through the telltale
templates of biological geometry.


Twilight paths move among the brown and green of is and been

Many last light flight is neither heard nor seen

Darkness folds it’s soft close o’er tree and stream

and I Am in-between.

dissolutions in the morning 3

the skin on my finger tip is,

rubs against your in-



dry & your smile is

thin. Had a feeling you’d


be gone. Saw it clear, some-

where when I shut my

eyes in


daylight, saw

red & when

I passed on

almost, black


. There’s a knock

& I can’t get to the door before



I’m at the funeral

& I can’t hear a word

of it & there’s nothing

like death or your mother


to kill the buzz, the

crack, your cock between her wide

thighs snapped tight, against

the grain & you fill her good

like that grave/digger

shoving the dirt back in. I’m/

a machine|Not-thinking \ just­­­­/ ff____


____fucking because. What else

is there. I’m sure yr/ man doesn’t mind,

because I’m/ family &/ (shh) – my/ mama just died ___________