river nurse

river nurse
for Claudia, Bethie and all the nurses in
whose care we come & go

she had
lifted them
into coming
the wet
the just
to breathe
she had
seen them
off the old
the broken
with a
hand gentle
down over
their eyes
she said
she knew
whenever we
talked of the
river there
was just
one and
we could
only run
into it
never out
only go
and if
we knew
how well
we were
made a
gut like
filigree of
autumn leaf
all through
to the smallest
if we really
knew how well
we were made
a perfection
we did our
best to
we should
have wept
at our piece
of shine in
the river
the shine
that was

to a

august 2017

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Yellow Petals

Sometimes, those left alive,

they are bound.

Sharing an odd sense of relief

and slowly, together,

wading through their grief.


And others, the others,

they are torn apart

Become possessive of their pain

a pain so big, they cannot share,

because they think it is so unique,

it is theirs and only theirs.


And then there are the ones who

Make it their mission

to forget.


So I take the pills prescribed

Take the pills that are, somehow,

meant to replace the people

who are still alive,

but no longer exist.

The medicine you take

when the compassion leaves

along with the funeral car.


So I take the pills to dull the feeling

that someone who was once there

can no longer look me in the eye;

Fearing the sight of their grief

staring back at them,

the pain they’re trying so

hard to deny


They’re too scared

and too tired of trying to be fine.

I know and they know

that a longer glance could mean

being lost in that dark mine.


So I take the pills

and listen to the doctors

And wait for those that lived,

for them to come back to me,

one day.


The petals and the ashes fell,

long ago,

But I am still here,

I am fighting.

And I refuse to fall too.


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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.

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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’.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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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

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Without a skinned nose,
ostriches – the lucky
that reliance has not graced
upon staggered
lines of feet,
the worm-like
the warehouse
road front
where the humble waits,
and fear
becomes the heavenly home
you leave.

Go on and roll the tints up
in the window, block the embers
losing glow
for unforeseen

There’s oblivion
for comfort, hope, for not yet
zero self esteem.
Even after
it is
5 O’clock
there is no dream,
and there is

© A2Kdavis (K Davis) 2017

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the sum
of love
is never
death tears
the page
the simple
symbols of
its gathering
tear kiss
and hand
the heart’s
forms to

the sum
of love
is never

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The Last Bridge Home -draft

She thought she had better race home beat the incoming storm
The lightening struck her a bolt from nowhere
Knocked her from her bicycle
Jolted as a bucking horse does its wrangler
She bounced into a car coming in the oncoming traffic
Slammed in to a brick wall leading on to the bridge she had to cross home
The bicycle twisted spokes impaled her spine
She lay paralysed by sciatica in the gales of wind and oncoming rain
Her feet felt cold
Broken spokes impaled into her spine paralysing her everytime she tried to move
Even to lift her head piercing agony
The mangled bicycle lay a strewn
She lay starring blankly at the people over top consoling her
Deaf to their words
Her head bleeding profusely
She was never afraid of his darkness
She saw the demons dance round his eyes
Momentarily she believed he was still alive
Slaps to her face she made out an ambulance was called for
She lay on the road beside a stream beneath the overhanging willow trees
Gustily bracken trees
The cold crept from her feet into her torso now
All she could do was lie and wait
Breathing and exhaling gulps of blood and crucifying pain
Slipping away
She now understood her fate
She knew it was moments left to live…..

11th Feb 2016

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