Skip to main content

    The Crack Container

    The yellow Volkswagen
    by the blue green sea
    has someone in the back—
    they’re fast asleep,
    dreaming of the Japanese
    order of things.

    The sea has a dark green ring
    where the horizon starts
    like the outer edge of the eyes
    and after the horizon, when it’s dark,
    like the pupil at the centre of the eye,
    stars will appear, furthering the air,
    expanding space, a minimal
    comfort in the van, with the woman
    asleep, the side door open
    dreaming of the light
    which doesn’t need dark,
    a light that has always been there.

    Too long awake
    and you crave the dark
    the dark which can’t be disturbed
    or dismissed as something bad

    people want; and the dog
    on the chain
    by the corrugated fence,
    rattles his links
    from the poll the mallet
    has put in the ground.

    Has knocked his water
    bowl upside down.
    He can’t find shade,
    his owner isn’t home.

    The dog pants hot,
    is about to give up,
    one more lunge
    and his collar comes off

    and he’s over the fence
    and onto the road
    and off down the street
    to the stormwater drain

    where the girl is
    snoring on her back.
    The stars are there
    so an I exists.

    On closer inspection,
    your waking face
    has the same horizon
    in the blackness of space,

    the curves, the colours,
    dramatic sense
    in the bright lit

    of patents pending
    for weather control,
    the atmosphere conditioned.

    The crack cannot
    describe the glass.
    There is high end
    order to the chaos cast
    in the patterns of light
    caught in the fleeing drops
    as the dog shakes dry;

    if you go down
    upon your knees,
    and look in close
    at a spec on the grass,
    the size of that field
    and the fields of stars;

    Galaxies cluster
    like grapes on a vine,
    and the big vast nothing
    between things, Time.

    Yes, she knows,
    waking in noise
    the crack cannot
    exist without form.
    The separation,

    is where
    Time comes from,
    she says, mysteriously
    dramatically, alive
    to this, waking
    at the cracking sound

    of a dog’s head chasing
    her salami around.
    He is caught in the bag
    with the bread and cheese

    the cask of wine
    the strudel slices
    it could be a crisis
    as he runs in blindness
    onto the road

    by the carpark under the pines.
    And the risk is now, with these
    characters down, the loose
    dog free, (coaxed with meat)
    a travellers’ van,
    the chain on the pole
    with a collar on the ground,
    the upside down bowl
    with the sun on the steel,

    the poet’s task is to take their real
    for granted.
    The dog dislikes
    where he is tied
    there’s a beating waiting
    with a new tight collar.

    And the girl had a dog
    who died of old age
    the month of her 16th birthday.
    She kept his buckled leather.

    Will anyone notice, anyone
    who matters, see
    the girl
    leave town
    with a dog
    on the passenger

    And later at the beach,
    fishermen, a fire,
    the sky going dark
    being driven outside
    by the waxing moon
    to cast the reef

    the depth of the black
    and the reassuring flames
    the horizon fading
    and the seaweed crackling
    the driftwood melting
    in the physics of it all.



    koh samui
    an island its
    round of beaches
    the blood-warm sea
    grazing the dark
    of evening
    with her her sister
    we were sitting under
    the thatch looking out
    to the mainland
    unknown line from
    which we’d come
    watching the clouds
    hatch dry lightning
    light stitched across
    seconds of sky
    i wished myself
    there in the lightning’s cut
    where things like
    disappearance invisibility
    self in a new coloured shirt
    a ghost’s hand on your
    shoulder happened
    a rain of bright tree frogs

    another storm
    weathers blown out
    of order trashed that night
    in memory
    all others like it

    she her sister
    i once knew now unknown
    somewhere else i
    see the dry storm
    in a summer sky
    far from where i am
    wish myself there
    in the shattered light
    where things happen.


    for love

         for love

    when my aunty
    heard the news
    her grandson
    her ‘boy
    she’d say
    killed head-on
    just starting
    to fit the frame
    of a grown man
    she stopped
    dead in her tracks
    two days on.

    she had lived
    though years
    of rationing,
    long silences
    out on the farm
    moving to a
    small town
    with a park on
    the edge of a
    pine forest the
    state highway
    tore by
    everything a
    marriage did
    and didn’t bring
    could take it all
    yet couldn’t
    take this.

    she died
    for love.

    september 2011

    I look to the emptiness still

    I look to the emptiness

    still; the pool rippling

    like jewels in streetlight.


    Tonight there is no moon.

    But me, and you inside me

    beating still.


    The water is beautiful,

    and the air is still.


    My boots soon

    shall start


    the long steps

    to you. I will

    one night


    turn away

    those melancholy waves

    that turn this night

    so gentle, stir

    the black and bottled greens

    or die wandering

    the darkling trees.


    27 October 2015


    there are ways to walk,
    tread softly
    I would hear you speak in lilting tones
    there is hope displayed, in crinkling laughter
    the lines around your eyes, portrayed

    the mists of time cloak us, invite stillness
    where did we wander years ago?
    the sun ignites ,an earth is trembling
    moon draws ocean, on and oh

    the trees etch beauty in the landscape
    carpet, colour, catch, the breeze
    sway or bend, in dancing torrents
    rise and fall us to our knees

    In love with life, or just playacting?
    moods can swallow whole, our mind
    let the muse, lead  boldly forward
    backward looks will clocks define

    chime chime time

    Dark Lane

    In this sunless alleyway

    shadows slap damp walls,

    propped up by scissor legs

    beneath pouting slash smiles.

    This is the place to meet

    trouble and pretence, a packet

    in a curled hand, to feel the

    city’s tubercular heart.

    Slits of bouncing light

    seek out dusty corners,

    besmeared lips, the frosted

    coolness of glass.

    Linger, if you dare –

    to feel the lane’s pulse.

    Harlot’s lair, dealer’s den;

    a contract made, paid.

    Don’t leave now, son.

    Darkness beckons.


    I bear it more

    when I think of your

    suffering so,

    in love. Keep it,

    as you do,

    though it burns,

    that secret jewel.


    But I knew.

    Like veins cracks

    showed in the eyes;

    and the skin glowed,

    turned pale; and all

    of your fingers

    were broken.


    21 October, 2016

    songs for Georg

                songs for Georg
    Dedicated to & in celebration of the work of the Austrian poet, Georg Trakl 1887 – 1914



    the war
    and evening

    the shouting
    hung on wire
    cut stone and
    logs of darkness

    iron worn to a
    blade in the mouth
    bread that was
    to be flesh
    stars on the cusp
    of vesper told
    simple in stable

    and evening



    nothing commonplace
    in the late sigh of
    the sun enamelling
    everything royally
    in its place where
    none may sit
    the sky
    blue enough
    to raise up oceans
    of hill and lamb
    the shut latch of
    woods on the ridge
    the singer with
    flute of glass
    and morphine note
    moving the words
    of his songs across
    a paper on his
    knee writing on
    into the part where
    the moon tips out on
    the crest of earth
    massive over hollows
    the words now
    filled in at



    the word ringing
    large as it is,
    a tree in sunlight
    a cloud in sky
    lifting and
    you caught the arc
    of shadows
    the curtains that
    kept the table
    in dusk
    the still life
    the crust round
    on the tablecloth*
    as if
    nothing had been
    until you said

    *allusion to the imagery in the closing stanza of Trakl’s ‘Winter Evening’ (Ein Winterabend)


    on the edge
    of things
    the rim of the cup
    cloud on the ridge
    you found rest
    the wanderer
    endlessly returning
    to the brightness
    they laid before
    you to be touched
    in the frame of
    you took an arrow
    out over your
    drew until the
    sky bent back
    the arrow in flight
    was its arrival
    wherever you
    spoke the flags
    struck on the wind
    and the wind
    you hunted in
    the gentlest of




    there was
    theatre and
    theatre in
    the falling the
    rising of the
    day you walked
    towards your legs
    scything shadow
    on the wet
    theatre in the
    braid and uniforms
    the silk waltzes
    the salute bringing
    the foot to rest
    on the young
    man’s face down
    in mud eyes
    milky with
    the body
    shrunk in
    the barbs
    of that wire
    ravelling up
    the dead.

    the broken
    peace of
    of the



    i looked
    for you on
    the avenue
    where the young
    women walked
    fine and just
    abreast the
    scope of their
    wired skirts
    you weren’t there
    though they had
    known you
    eyes of absinthe
    eyes of quartz
    they said
    a gentleman
    too bold for his
    i looked for you
    in the salons
    where drinking
    and turning the
    order of things
    on its head was
    the call to arms
    where art was
    pounded to bits
    and made into
    something stronger
    more of chance and
    just as blind so
    kept pure
    eyes of whiskey
    eyes of emerald
    they said
    a gentleman
    blundering ahead
    of the age
    i looked for you
    along the wind-break
    elders poplars
    drumming along
    the wind flashing
    like the river over
    shallow stones
    ruts of the
    far wagon
    lurching its
    load onward
    to the market
    of night
    in the day
    the driver said
    you weren’t there
    though the swallows
    knew you
    eyes of rushes
    eyes of painted glass
    a gentleman of
    the field and
    sacred hunt

    i found the breath
    of you only on
    the low afternoon
    inhaling the mist
    of view blued out
    toward the hills
    the mountains
    like ships of
    evening docked
    to the sun
    that itself
    was sinking
    down the
    the plumbline
    of its gold
    your eye
    that knew
    every single
    major and
    minor of colour*
    to its very edge
    every village
    to its black
    under star
    oh you with
    eyes that
    took full
    stone worker
    in word
    stone worker
    in frost
    visions lost
    to the moon

    *see note on Trakl’s use of colour below



    served your
    at the apothecary
    of the White Angel*
    mixing grinding in the
    mortar of your skull
    the quartz light on the
    wall behind the bottles
    the clumsy shadows
    of this side of
    the street cast
    on the other
    the snarl of a
    cat out the back
    the bell at the
    front door
    ringing curt
    that poor thing
    again paleness
    and gauze
    tubercular even
    a kiss on the
    back of her hand
    would draw all
    the blood out
    of it a man
    out there
    waiting for her
    in a carriage smelling
    of stale rose
    think of elements
    as colours* think of
    colours as the elements,
    yes, put a dab of them
    between the dry
    words, stain
    the line stain
    the whole stanza
    or should one
    place the colours
    first in mind
    the fade
    and rift
    between them
    believe whatever
    word is pulled
    to hearing
    in that
    you wrote a
    line that
    crushed blue
    and white
    like copper
    across the
    back of a

    *Georg Trakl served his apprentice as a pharmacist in the Apothecary of the White Angel (‘Apotheke zum Weissen Engel’) in Salzburg, his birthplace, from 1905 – 1908

    • refers to, according to certain critics,  his singular use of colour in his work as a ‘signifier’; others dispute any broad consistency in its use



    when were young
    you were the
    only place
    i could talk
    we would
    walk in
    common things
    that shadow
    of a fallen
    skirting round
    the sound
    of a stream
    a garden that
    never ended
    of thoughts

    you came
    again around
    me in that
    city* stuffed
    with its own
    you filled it
    avenue on
    ran drunken
    through it
    your stockings
    fallen to the
    ankle the
    skin of


    *Georg’s younger sister, Grete, the youngest of her siblings. The relationship between Georg and Grete, as alluded to in Georg’s work, is interpreted as incestuous by some biographers. She committed suicide 3 years after her brother died of a cocaine overdose, which was apparently also suicide. 




    the nail
    into wood
    the silver

    low gold
    to leaf
    her sleeve
    to touch
    the whispers
    of us
    on the path

    the hand
    to hand
    the heart
    to breast
    the hope
    to cruel



    were we forgotten
    in that stillness the
    moon weighed upon
    through the town
    those streets by
    day we played
    brilliantly through?

    were we forgotten
    left to the plots
    of garden trailing
    autumn through
    the lanes like
    brown paper
    tied to string
    the cat would
    chase and
    tear? the town
    swept up in

    were we forgotten
    in what we saw?
    what we felt?
    the depth of it
    floating off on
    first light

    were we forgot?

    from 6ome 6ixes In Hi6tory


    I Think, Maybe.
    Or it’s an App.

    I thought, between stars,
    the gaps
    of my knowing, we could

    argue that
    there is more black
    than light

    or to know 
    requires a flow
    from, by,

    the Knower, between two
    of which she is neither:

    not ‘off’, nor ‘on’
    but the faculty of ‘Venture’
    you may cross

    out Yahweh, and write
    instead: Minerva,
    the app will run; on Krishna

    or Jesus,
    you won’t lose believers;
    we’re all here:

    the lived, those to live, and the living
    our heads hanging
    over the hammock

    looking up at the cat
    turning her tail
    this way and that

    the illusion of Now
    in the stars and systems
    of stars above her

    nightfur, bone
    and the those
    hybrid eyes

    widened to a circle
    all present, all time
    in the State between

    the stare
    the stared at

    here in these words
    you looking, the
    milli, is it

    or nano, less
    even, of a second

    for them
    your meaning.

    Diminish As An Act Of Re-Creation

    Can’t find the words to link the verse
    so I get up off the compewta
    from the high-back brown three seater

    and return to the painting
    on the floor, not wet anymore
    I missed the opportunity

    to blend depth and a boundary
    but that’s fine
    I can’t decide where next

    it’s an abstract, best
    painted quickly
    and it’s close

    to finished
    and I’ve started thinking
    too much about a meaning

    so I go outside
    and lay in the hammock
    watching the flag

    on the neighbour’s pole
    an expensive heavy cotton
    in seaworthy excellent blue

    the demanding red of blood
    and the confident knowing of White
    it is after work, Thursday,

    and the heat this summer
    is old school, long into the evenings
    everybody has felt that

    large silence in people
    when we have no responsibility
    following only our own habits,

    sleeping and waking, eating
    and drinking— a huge

    behind the eyes,
    and the immeasurable distance
    between objects manifest

    and the formless
    energetics of Perceivers
    where we cannot see

    I had positioned
    the days like laying dominoes
    ready to fall

    then I changed my mind
    and reached ahead
    to tip over a few blocks

    to halt the momentum
    and went willingly back
    into paid employment,

    diminishing myself, turning
    down the silence




    on the land

    on the land

    Waitangi Day, how do we mark the loss, the dishonour,
    the disillusionment and the fierce shreds of hope
    hanging on the day?

    you never give up
    on the land
    the best of us
    come go
    blown to bloody
    pieces running
    to creep down under
    fern along the earth
    that reared us
    as if common
    yet you never
    give up on the land
    that will bury
    you one
    that your
    children will
    walk upon
    knowing you’re
    there holding
    them in smoke
    in song in the
    telling of our
    holding them
    where the heart
    touches down
    on the earth
    through soles
    of the feet
    must never
    can never
    give up
    on the

    october 2013

    Meet Again

    The years crawl

    from the shore-

    line clash like

    waves and cliffs.


    Decades now

    tumble down

    like a house

    of bricks.


    I’m hard still,

    a crab shell

    with a score

    of cracks


    on my back


    to the spray

    and saline drips,


    and the kicks

    of jandled feet,


    and it sticks,


    the nauseous


    of lines;

    my thoughts,




    jagged lines;

    my thoughts,


    vacant lots.

    The weedy words

    from nothing



    but the curls

    of fat worms

    that spawn

    what I call




    I’m reeling;

    scarred, sore.


    Some days

    I’m crazed

    with love

    and sure


    I live

    for good

    on cyclic

    seas, soar


    my ears

    to sleep and fear

    not to drown

    in vast years.


    I emerge

    on the surge

    of white waves

    and waves


    of pale

    honey girl


    real clear


    in blue



    you there –



    but frangible,

    love I too

    am there.


    19-20 October 2015

    Yes No