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    Symbolic Uneasy

    The Dial’s swung round again:
    the Taupata autumns in berry clusters,
    tight bunches in flawless contrast,
    fire-orange in a roundness of green
    at the window, where the neighbour’s
    enormous grey cat climbs the step-ladder
    in like she lives here. Summer is three
    days gone, but the southern midday
    heat has weeks left, and if I do not
    do it soon it will be Spring before
    the next break. Art has poured out
    and still comes on, I feel it backed up—
    I have only a little of the Fisherman’s
    enthusiasm left for the catch, the hunt:
    the skipper now plans to do deeper
    searching, his new thing in, while I
    have more of a walking on water buzz
    clustering, catch poems, and coins, hauled
    from a net set tidily on the boulevards.

    And I give to you now, who is me, don’t
    set out alone on the rough seas of the heart
    if you’re not a confident swimmer. Read
    the stars. Read the clouds, know when
    it’s time leave. And, like the bigger cat
    eating young Max’s snacks, check first
    if there is not something pinching you
    at the root of authentic desire. This is
    the poem’s meat, it’s protein source. The
    back is sore, and it wont uncoil better
    fishing; the graveyard is full of that surety.

    I stood here a year ago, after surgery,
    at the window the berries fire from, saying hello,
    change!, like a wedge!, lift up and go!
    Just to get the thin edge in…I must get
    to my son’s bookcase and find out
    what happened to the train that got off
    the rails to play in the daisies and butterflies
    behind the Controller’s back. Adventure stories,
    too, where the sailor was rolled to and fro
    for months with the teaspoons of dawn
    condensation to drink over his red raw lips
    with the miniature pages of onion skins peeling
    open and moving in the breeze like a well loved book.





    east, the moon

          east, the moon



    a wavelet

    an hour till


    in such
    a light
    a silver
    to close

    1, 2 august 2015
    eastern beach

    pistol shot rap

    pistol shot rap
    “Relationships have all been bad,
    mine have been like Verlaine and Rimbaud’s”
    from ‘You’re gonna make me lonesome when you go’ – Bob Dylan

    a cool cat
    hot-headed as
    an ocean sun
    burning poems
    to breathe in
    their touch of
    opium watching
    rails for the
    slide of sun
    cursing the
    mother f brother
    verlaine for
    love neither
    could handle
    a pistol shot*
    the best
    it got.

    10 may 2013

    *reference to the the two poets’ famously tempestuous relationship which ended with verlaine firing two pistol shots at rimbaud, one striking his wrist.


    Curious and green,
    I feel these babbling brooks in my bones,
    They tickle and play on the nerves,
    A quiet hum permeating skin.
    What organised madness,
    An environment of the Pagans
    and I catch my breath at
    the sunset every time.
    I am forest after all.



    The wolves trailed through the black back door of the wintry forest

    Led by scent that gave true meaning it sealed their continued existence

    The score beating unequal temperament as they passed the river

    Faster a lack of moral conventions they were about to feed

    Their tracks danced amongst the night images

    Spoken with imprints against the icy cold snow

    Hunger for blood of their soon be prey.


    Sometimes the air is still;

    The light loses its clarity.

    This is such a day: immovable.

    It slouches; it is lazy and petulant,

    And ripe with indifference.

    Today it calls and calls.

    We are veined wet fallen leaves;

    We are rills of loss and regret

    And we can not explain:

    It is a sense of loss,

    Of not belonging, of never –

    Of being the outsider. Looking in.

    Walks offer no cure, nor kind wishes:

    It is set deep, beyond the eyes,

    And it has learned to burrow.

    Sometimes when the rain comes,

    It washes in joy and laughter;

    Sometimes it builds a slurry,

    And it clings to thought and life.

    To pull us ever further

    one day the poet will die…

    One day the poet will die and the flowers

    on his grave wilt, unremembered.

    The bearer of human longing will falter

    under that weight and fall or wander

    one night, and reappear after dead years,

    a pale image home from the war. Some days

    I too would lie down after long walks

    and stare at the clouds or the cracks

    on the wall, beaten. I have felt stone-hard,

    and nothing; but love mostly, and longing.


    One day the poet will die long suffering

    the blows and the cracks from inferiors;

    disrespect, ironic stares, and mock

    wonderment. I will live on I suppose

    vicariously, grieve; wander narrow

    streets at night, fall into reverie

    swayed by distant music on the breeze.

    Intermittently, my thoughts are with you,

    and at each stride I envision what to do;

    and with my feet beat time as I would you.


    14 October 2015


    to a fisherman & pukeko

    to a fisherman & pukeko

    to a fisherman
    with his rod whipping
    back I thought to ask
    ‘what, friend, do you
    hope to catch late this
    last day of the year?’
    the sun of this summer
    day just a cool glow now
    in grey going out on the
    west the low tide
    still running deep in
    its channel dark with the
    coming evening,
    before i asked i already knew
    ‘the next year at least, the
    only sure thing, the only
    sure catch’.

    walking on up along
    that road out to the point
    i asked the pukeko
    ‘what, friend, do you hope
    to catch late this last
    evening of the year?’
    it turned its head toward
    me the one foot lifted
    stilled in mid-step and
    told me ‘nothing certain
    last day of the year or
    not, nothing certain’
    and plunged on into
    the wind-knocked hay
    of that high field

    31 december 2015
    Te Naupata, Musick Point


    When I moved in to the large, narrow terrace
    house, a flatmate was midway through the East
    Sydney College Acting course, and, as a musician,
    he said, in the pale yellow walls of the red-floor
    kitchen, ‘the people are better in theatre’.
    I auditioned successfully at the next intake;
    and with a poem like this, based on the memory,
    propelled on the need to revisit the time, the literary
    expectation is that the poet will have filtered
    out his nostalgia,for the quanta of mead,
    through early drafts, finding the piece its heart,
    the quicksilver fluids of reflection, emotion
    without the embarrassment of display,
    the unselfconscious shinny feeling waves
    thespians parade to validate their cause,
    but I haven’t got time for that, there are paintings,
    and payed work, and a boy approaching puberty,
    who comes over and shares my apple.
    mead is made of honey, and in these words
    is the pollen for you to make your own fermented drink,
    and unless you’re in the ‘network’ no munny comes of poetry,
    so no one pays attention: but I’m glad I didn’t fail
    in Success, not having any actual time where I succeeded.
    Drama started up though, shadows of the spotlight
    which could have come, I brushed shoulders
    with the known, featured briefly, on a list of maybe so,
    yet I walked away unknown, but I understood
    the Craft, saw, like those four and half years deckhand
    on a commercial fishing boat ‘got’ what it takes a man
    to work the sea. I filmed well, was pretty young, bi,
    and large enough on stage in various roles,
    and if you put the world’s perversions on a dartboard,
    and sent the dart in unaimed looping arch, there’d
    be something you could compromise me with,
    by which I’ve now implied in Fame I could be owned,
    plenty of mead popped pollen in my taste buds,
    bent towards expulsion from the norms, luciferic
    by the moors presumed conventional, but I wasn’t
    into that sort of thing, circles intersected, as they will,
    everywhere, being more of a philosophy
    than a religion, a theosophical consideration
    for how things actually happen to move
    from the Will to the event manifest: the
    greatest show on Earth
    is what you will do
    next, when your eyes have
    stepped on and
    then off this last

    from Rehab Walkabout

    ‘it’s the terror of knowing what this world is about.’

                                                                   Queen, with David Bowie.


    Watching, the body feels human, but the mind
    won’t take a man’s world seriously
    as Sunrise, brightly, from the summer
    left over in the leaves, Autumn
    has the bristle broom
    sweeping Summer’s soft touch
    through the chopped arch windows
    where originally the pews
    of the churcHab dining room sat.
    This is of the hardest part to take
    apart and spread out on the table
    to marvel, and then to reassemble:
    the sermon, and the sunlight,
    the leaves, so promisingly lemon
    green when I arrived, collecting browny
    in the cat bowl in the door corner
    of the Smokers’ patio, where some insist
    a hedgehog is feed; none of these without me
    have a meaning—Aning…that’s nothing, not even
    Again. I’m up each dark beginning, before the withered serfs
    have slept off the morass helium
    of their medications: bristled and soft, they seem sunk
    down with the burden of the sun upon their back,
    I am lifted every dawn, and it’s only here
    I brag about this—the sun, shining harder, better
    colour than the power-save bulbs, these
    slow starting, dubious twisty heavier,
    more expensive, cold & difficult to dispose—
    as the man behind these words, I reveal
    a paranormal suspicious disposition,
    justa regular serf; that’s all— of us, here
    put Rehab, in a spinning come to rest
    within this shed, this glory-box for the dead
    god with the best funding men Fiat about in.
    I don’t want to build a boat, or a Business,
    sink a million into I.T. futures, or use The Secret
    for the wealth. I’d like pure water on tap
    in every house: Man’s world!, seriously,
    it’s an anxious animal, you never know when
    it will turn if you are not performing the basics
    well enough. Through the bold silicon of this
    new watchful dawn, under pressure hum the Queen
    and Bowie song. Understanding has a long trellis
    table, one for 13, or twenty odd converted
    islander to fix their lifted floors, but our numbers
    have diminished, we are failing in the courts,
    we are groping gangbangers, loners, whore-boys,
    glorious in sunshine, glamour-sack of star light,
    is her body, in my person, I would kiss her in the shower,
    with the water running over our two skins,
    joined at the Addict till the water starts cooling.
    Bodies: the watering Mirror’s faucet.




    crzay mirror

    crzay mirror

    the funny fellow
    of nelson street
    with straw hat
    and beat-up shoes
    ‘poet of birds’ and
    ‘lord of snails’
    is walking to
    the shops,
    a wife and
    two cats whose
    faces change
    worryingly one
    into the other
    behind the
    screen door
    his bank card
    with a square
    hole in it the
    size of the
    bank of china,
    crossing the
    domain* he waves
    at the magpie
    always does
    has made an
    of it ‘waving
    at the magpie’
    like waving at
    life wondering if
    it’s waving back
    or just turns
    a blind eye
    he’ll purchase
    bananas in plastic
    and almond
    the funny fellow
    with his sack
    in the head
    of jumbles
    and jubes.

    howick domain, cornwall park
    14 december 2013

    *apparently the use of the word ‘domain’ to mean a ‘public space or park’ is peculiar to New Zealand English.

    first meeting

    first meeting*
    based on Reiner Stach’s description of Franz Kafka’s first meeting with Felice Bauer (see page 100, ‘Kafka The Decisive Year’s by Reiner Stach, translated by Shelley Frisch)

    only a few words
    yet enough to
    put you out
    to sea
    silly boy
    you liked her
    to the ‘point
    of sighing’
    you spilled out
    to others there
    and jammed yourself
    into the revolving
    door along side
    her to keep
    up with
    her in

    silly boy
    you were out
    to sea in a
    boat of
    pail and
    sailing to

    silly boy
    with the finest
    machinery of all
    in that head
    of yours

    silly boy
    a sigh is
    never a
    silly boy

    nelson st, howick
    4 october 2014


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