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[Deziner Folio (2003)]


This is an anthology of poetry and fiction contributed by students and staff in Stage One Creative Writing at Massey University's Albany Campus (Auckland, New Zealand).

The work is all copyright to its authors, but I'm sure they would welcome any feedback or suggestions you have.

There's a "comments" section at the foot of each page.





[Hyakurin Sori: A Beach at Sunrise]


Poetry

2013:


2011:



2010:



2009:



2008:





[Eddie Campbell: Graffiti Kitchen]


Fiction

2013:


2011:



2009:



2008:





[Guillaume Apollinaire: Calligramme]

Friday

Sarah-Jane Holton: Poem (2013)



[Tea Dress (1895)]


The Dress-Up Box



She twirled in front of the mirror admiring
the beautiful velvet dress with its swirling skirt
made by Great Aunty Pat with material
from her quilting box.
Glorious sterling silver chains, and pearls
dripped from her slender neck
just as they had from Grandma Joyce’s
60 years ago.
She clacked across the floor in black high heels
which she’d coveted forever
from her mother’s wardrobe.
As she spun into the lounge she was met with
a smile of approval from her father and
a tear of
admiration
from her mother.


That day seemed so long ago.
Arriving at the ball as a princess and
leaving as the Ugly Sister.
Fleeing the pitying eyes of the popular boys
and the snickers of the pretty girls
with their rouged cheeks
and lips outlined in dark red pencil
whose shop-bought dresses floated
elegantly from their mannequin bodies.
She’d never told her family how she’d felt that night
But when she remembered that
single tear
she suspected her mother knew.

- Sarah-Jane Holton


Thursday

Sarah-Jane Holton: Story (2013)



[Mother and Daughter]


Memories Forgotten

7.30am.

It was a day like all others.

She awoke as light found its way through the gap in the gaudy pink and orange and blue-grey curtains hanging untidily from their rail. For a moment she had to make herself remember where she was. She sat up and moved to the edge of the small bed and her cool feet slid onto shiny carpet, her toes feeling for the familiar comfort of sheep-skin lined scuffs. She slipped on a worn dressing gown and wandered down towards the dining room for the usual chewy toast, spread thinly with margarine and vegemite. A cup of milky tea in a chipped china cup accompanying it.

Thoughts gathering she made her way back to her bedroom to get dressed and decided on the blue frock with small white flowers, the sandals with polished metal buckles and the apricot cardigan with just the smallest bit of pilling on the sleeves.

She applied a smear of bright red lipstick to her small thin lips, a swipe of pink blusher over each high cheek bone and five pats of nude powder; forehead, cheek, cheek, nose, chin. A quick blend taking the powder beneath her sharp jaw line. Blue eye makeup lifted her soft, grey eyes from their shadowy hollows.

Her one and only handbag, leather, faded, cracked, with short round handles was pulled onto her forearm.

8.55am.

Time to make her way to the bus stop.

Her narrow shoulders showed just a hint of roundedness as she set off. Her gait was quick and her steps short. Her eyes were focused slightly into the distance and she almost failed to see the man with wispy, white hair walk in front of her. “Morning Sadie”, he mumbled towards the ground as he adjusted the walking frame he leant on, “Nice day for it.” “Yes I’m off to catch the bus,” she replied in a spirited tone, the corners of her mouth lifting into the beginnings of a smile. Pushing the handbag towards the crook of her elbow she nodded to the gent and continued on her way.

Rounding the corner a young woman with curled, blonde hair waved in greeting. “Hi, Sadie. You look as though you have somewhere to be.” “Off to the bus, lovey”, she trilled back as she continued steadily on her way.

Thoughts of what her day was to bring gave a slight spring to her step. She imagined the comfort she would find from the visit she was to make. The warm, familiar, perfumed smell as she hugged the brightly made up woman who would be waiting at the door to welcome her. The smell of hot scones wafting down the dim hallway, the promise of tart plum jam with the stones still in it, and cream whipped to perfect peaks in the white scallop-edged bowl it was always served in. Two glass tumblers would be set next to a cloudy jug of sugary lemon cordial.

The oak table would be adorned by a finely crocheted cloth, arranged in a diamond shape over the centre of it. Six lovingly crafted chairs framing it. To the side a bowl of green apples promising the sharpness that would make tongues curl for an instant before the juicy sweetness overtook tingling taste buds.

Flowers would be placed just so in the heavy crystal vase on the sideboard. They would have been gathered from the front garden before the morning sun hit it so as to preserve their freshness.

She thought how good it was going to feel to kick off her sandals at the door and toss down her bag as she passed along the dim hallway with its plush, patterned carpet. There was almost a skip to her step now as she anticipated the afternoon ahead.

11.53am

Turning left she bumped into a large brown-skinned woman, dressed in pink. “Sorry, Sadie” the woman exclaimed. “You’re in a hurry!” “Bus to catch”, she called as she kept on. Things were busier now as she went past the next bend. There were more people to navigate and she was losing track of her thoughts as she clutched the handbag to her.

“Bus to catch. Bus. Bus. Must get to the bus,” she repeated to herself.

Another corner and she hurried round. Head down, each step taken in time to a chant. Bus. Bus. Bus. Bus. Bus. Her sandal caught the edge of a wispy-haired man’s walking frame. Her hands went out as she fell forward. The apricot cardigan snagged a table as she tried to stop herself. The handbag slipped along her arm and dropped to the floor. She found herself crumpled next to the wall. The contents of her bag had spilled beside her. A dried flower. A photo of a young girl and her mother. A piece of cold toast.

7.30am.

It was a day like all others.

- Sarah-Jane Holton


Guy Saker (2011)


[Brushtail Possum]


Way up High in a Tree



Every night he would come over to talk to me. We would talk about all kinds of things me and my friend Jake. He was a good listener. No, he was a great listener. I never had to watch my P’s and Q’s with Jake: the way I dressed, the way I acted, the way my long hair would sometimes look like a hundred thousand anorexic travellers who had no sense of direction, some even trying to head back to their roots. My favourite was the way he didn’t care if I fell all round laughing when he never got the joke. I guess everyone wants someone like that to hang out with.

We had this connection Jake and me, almost telepathic I think it’s fair to say. There were times when we did things simultaneously, like looking up at the night sky to the moon and the lights of the fallen; sparkling the same way they had for millions of years before looking back at each other with knowing appreciation. Jake understood what it all meant better than me. He could trace his ancestry way beyond my Celtic roots, beyond the Greeks, beyond the Egyptians, beyond even, the first light of human history. He and his people lived and died by the ancient god in the night sky beaming down upon his nocturnal world; mine too I guess. Yeah, Jake was my mate alright, the best I ever had really. Boy, did we talk some shit. Perhaps that’s not entirely accurate. I talked most of the shit, while he listened. I’d tell him about my life, trying to make sense of it all, warmed only by those Queensland nights on the Gold Coast.

In the evenings he would emerge from his rooted timber home to have breakfast under the night sky, munching on food I had left out. He loved takeaways, a regular of ours. Apples were also a favourite. I never forgot to leave one out before I crashed out. In spite of this, just like me, nothing seemed to make him permanently happy. Part of this was boredom; the curse of all routine that falls short of becoming ritual.

I introduced a bowl of walnuts onto the menu. To this day, I swear he would go into ecstasy over those nuts. Each night, before heading out, I would get in the mood by having a beer sitting in the deckchair under the moonlight. Jake would join me, sitting in his squirrel posture, his bushy tail moving like a feather duster as he crunched on the walnuts. After he had devoured one, his eyes would dart around wildly then freeze. Suddenly, out would come a squeal as if he had just had an orgasmic experience. He would immediately grab another feverishly devouring that, then another. His teeth moved at such a ridiculous speed, I wondered if it was wise to keep refuelling his engine. One impatient look from Jake was all it took to reload the bowl.

The nuts had become such a treat that it didn’t take long before Jake would leave the apple, wait until I emerged from my bedroom, then put on an Oscar winning performance. I got the nuts. If I was not up at his eating time he would deliberately get noisy outside my window. If crashed out on the sofa, after failing to make it to my bed, he would somehow find his way inside to check to see if I was okay; at least okay enough to get to the nut jar.

I would always get up to join my best friend. We even composed songs together when I pulled out my guitar, even if his vocals were an acquired taste. Whatever we did, our long evenings would end when the morning light was close by. Jake always headed home long before I searched for my shades or drifted to the bedroom to lie down, staring up at the ceiling endlessly until my intoxicated imagination settled down. Sometimes I wondered if the drum inside me might stop beating to end the rhythm of my life. I don’t know why this thought never bothered me, the way it should have. Perhaps it was because I was already dozing off at the wheel that steered me through each day.

It was not unusual for me to sleep all day waking up well into the night. At other times, I would be in a daze half asleep, half wide awake, just as the last rays from the sun were slashing their way through the trees like light sabres. It appeared almost spiritual, well at the very least, pretty cool to look at. Jake and I didn’t really believe in any of that stuff, but we talked about it, mulled it over as you do, just in case, if you know what I mean? It always made me wonder why we human beings can’t just let go of all that life and death bullshit. I had been stalked by ghosts all my life. Living was far more scary than dying. Anyway, why be so afraid of losing something, already lost? Funny, but it never seemed to be an issue for Jake either. I envied the way he was so at peace with himself. His life was so uncomplicated. Home, food, water, shelter, having fun, these were the only things he cared about, I thought. I guess that’s why we were such good mates; we both loved the same thing - escaping, way up high.

Then something strange happened. I woke up late one evening to discover he wasn’t in his usual spot on the deck table. The apple I had left was still there. This had never happened before. A large exterior light about three metres up off the back deck lit much of the native forest trees that caressed the garden. I looked across scanning his favourite timber giant: no sign, not even a sound. It was not like him to miss our regular meeting. Then I spotted him. His head bobbed up from behind the trunk. He was high, very high.

After sneaking a peak at me, he bolted further up the tree scampering across another branch before coming to a stop. He turned his head, staring back at me with his night eyes giving off that spooky glow. “There he goes like a meal on wheels”, a tree python would probably say. He was pretty safe. I hadn’t seen a snake in my backyard for over a year. I noticed he had some leaves clutched in his hand. He had slept far too long that’s for sure. “Perhaps a narcotic was in the veins of the leaf”, I would think to myself, as I watched him scamper back down one of the arms of the tree. The first night he missed our meeting I didn’t think much of it. As usual, I went out.

The following evening the same thing happened except the food I had left out was gone. He was easier to spot this time. I found him kicking back on a branch that overhung my deck eating more of those leaves. He was keeping his distance. I still hadn’t figured out why. Suddenly, he raced up the branch, slammed on the brakes, making his ears erect, listening for sounds disguised in the breeze. His nose began to sniff the air frantically as if he had just picked up an amazing forest perfume. He started bobbing up and down on his hind legs, rotating his bum clockwise, then anti-clockwise, fanning his backside with his tail as if dancing to music that only he could hear.

Of course I had seen Jake having fun high up in the trees many times before - this was different. Had he completely lost the plot? My best mate was having a personality morph. I called him to come over, even asked him if he wanted a beer. I thought I had his attention with this offer. I was mistaken. In an instant he was on the move again, with great urgency. He was having a ball scampering around the trees, sniffing everywhere. Maybe I was just jealous. At one point, he clawed his way up the vertical trunk, stopping under a branch to snap his head back around, eyes glazing down at me. He paused, before disappearing into his home again.
By the third night I was beginning to miss him. True, he was still there. I could see him, at least when he wasn’t hidden by the darkness. He still kept his distance. I missed our conversations. I missed my best friend. At least he was having fun way up high, away from the real world down below. It was a good place to be. When I looked up, I would try to imagine all the things he could see, that I couldn’t.

A few days later I crept outside to see if I could catch him unaware. I spied him. There he was, off his tree, sitting in the garden just near the edge of the deck. He was chewing on some rather strong smelling buds. I sat quietly watching Jake eat. He was in another planet totally oblivious to the world around him as if he’d forgotten all the forgetting. I wished I knew his secret. After awhile, I was sure I could see smoke wafting from his rear end. The resin smell was unmistakeable. I tried to focus my eyes. I wish I hadn’t. Steam was coming out of his tiny ears as if he had become one of those novelty teapots with a fury warmer over the top. Even his tail was curled up like a spout. All I needed was a cup. I began thinking to myself, “What was my best friend turning into? Was he in fact an alien who could mimic his world?”.
I wanted to go and help him, to grab him, make him come back to the Jake of old.

I looked up at his home. It was the first time I had noticed it. The problem was right before me, a giant timber bong thirty feet high. Why hadn’t I noticed it before? Holy crap my best friend was living in a giant fucking bong all this time but I was too shagged out to notice! So that’s where it all started. That was why things had changed. So now I knew. Why couldn’t I see it?

Searching the many blow pipes that spread like tentacles from the trunk off the bong, to my horror, I discovered that Jake had found a new friend as well. I had been dumped. Dumped by an alien novelty teapot, living in giant bong, dancing his ass off all night long, sniffing the air, getting high up a tree!

Yep, I missed Jake. I missed him waking me up at night to share a snack while I talked about life. I missed writing songs together. I still remember even now, how we used to share a laugh all through the night, until the moon was ready to pass the baton to the sun. It seemed he never missed my company. Not ever. I continued to watch him running amuck with his new friend over the next few weeks. I never forgot to leave food out every night. Sometimes the apple would be half eaten. Occasionally Jake would try to get close. When he did, he would screech at me as if he was not happy about something. I couldn’t figure out what it was. To this day I have never forgotten that sound.


On a Friday night in late spring, I was driving home in the early hours of the morning through one of Queensland’s notorious tropical downpours. I was nearing my house, when from out of nowhere, an animal bolted across the road through the beam of the headlights. The breaks slammed hard. It must have been instinct. The car snaked across the wet road before coming to an abrupt halt. After collecting myself, I slowly got out of the car.

It was only then that I saw him. On the side of the road was my friend Jake. He was staring up at me through the pouring rain with a look in his eyes I had never seen before. He was soaking wet. I smiled. A sense of relief flooded through me. I had missed him. He was okay. All of a sudden, he started screeching hysterically, jumping up and down. At first I thought I was just hallucinating. I slowly looked down at the left front tyre. Blood was running down the bald rubber. Just underneath the front bumper were two bodies; a mother possum, with her baby still clinging to her back, both lay dead on the road. I looked back at Jake in horror. So now I knew. Jake’s new friend up the tree was his girl. I had killed her. I had crushed his child, killed his best friend, his real family.

I don’t remember how long he kept screaming at me only that I slumped down in the gutter in shame with my hands over my ears trying to shut him out, trying to find that world inside my head that I always escaped too. Not this time. Not even the rain could drown out Jakes screams or wash away what I had done.

Then just as suddenly, he stopped. I took my hands off my ears, slowly turning to look at him. His expression had changed. It was no longer accusing me, no longer full of anger and hate. It was far worse than that. I had seen it before. Not from him. His expression was one of a friend who had finally given up on me. We stared at each other for a long moment. The heavy rain was hitting his face hard. His gaze never blinked. Not once. I began to feel there was something more hidden behind those wise ancient eyes, something I had missed all along. In that moment I realised I had been wrong. All that stuff about life and death wasn’t bullshit after all. Jake ran the gauntlet of life just as I did except, he had no choice. I guess sometimes we never see what others see, way up high in a tree.


© Guy Saker


Tuesday

Chris Tupaea (2011)


[Primary School Girls]


You Lost Me


Years ago I wrote a note to the girl who made me blush
I slipped it into her desk while others were improving their handwriting
A clandestine note was the code to be followed
The enigmatic code unsuccessful as she was thankless of the gesture
Reading aloud to her friends in the corner
My feelings for her were exposed
My feelings, deep feelings now tossed around for volley
As she let it be known that a boy in this very class had written the note,
A boy that had the best handwriting
And didn’t practice to improve
Your ice-block stained lips, your chocolate eyes, and hardened manner
Your brace-free white teeth, your new haircut
That you say is ugly
Is more beautiful
Our eyes are equally deceiving
That girl with the forced smile
Who I thought I knew
The boy with the forced smile
It was destined to be…
The audacity to read aloud to your friends in the corner
Your friends that are boys and easily riled
What girl has no girl friends to share and giggle?
Me the unfortunate boy with handwriting near perfect


© Chris Tupaea



Sunday

Vera Lynne (2011)


[Tea Party]


Malt Biscuits



I never really did like malt biscuits all that much
you can have them with milk,
or on their own
With a scraping of butter they’re not so bad,
but I think they’re boring,
I don’t like them as such.

The lady down our street,
she was ever so nice
My sister and I, we visited her house one day
She sat us down at her table beside the window
and we supped like princesses on cakes,
so elegantly iced.

We were too young for school as yet
but like royalty we drank from fine bone china cups
We sat graciously at her table
It was beautifully laid
I was too young to thank her
This I regret.

Playing make-believe,
we felt so very refined
She was a kind and gentle lady, ever so mild
Never before had we eaten such fine treats
It was a tea party we’d remember always.

She was a lady more elegant than the finest of lace
We sat at her table and happily sipped the hour away
We felt at home, though there was not a malt biscuit in sight.


© Vera Lynne



Tuesday

Felicity Heaven (2010)


[Z-fame: Grudge by Nightmare]


Gothic Poem



her lips draped in sexy red
hands lifeless hanging low
she whispers something near your ear
her breath like freezer ice

the light is dull the candle burnt
warmth has left the room
the gentle sway of life calmly rests

the bed is soft the sheets satin black
pale skin surprising creamy
her eyes the colour of smoky black

the dreams of her fade daylight breaks


© Felicity Heaven



Thursday

Sue Wilson (2010)


[The Ring]


She Cries



Put your arms up

slip on the gown

take off all your clothes underneath

everything

who brought her in

she was dropped off by her father at the door

a cardboard suitcase

a letter of referral

she doesn't eat

she's a cutter

she doesn't speak

she's underage

someone will have to come back

to do the paperwork


© Sue Wilson



Monday

230.001: Translation Exercise (2009)


Marten Van Valckenborch I (1534-1612):
The Building of the Tower of Babel



This is the Creative Writing Exercise which students in 230.001: Bridging the Humanities were invited to do:

  • You'll be put into pairs. Each pair will be given a poem in a foreign language unknown to either person. The poem will be accompanied by a literal translation.
  • You'll also be given a picture: a landscape of some kind.
  • I want you to write me a poem using these two components.
  • It can be a translation (as free, or literal, as you like) of the poem you were given.
  • Or it can be more obviously your own poem, though it should incorporate some ideas, words, lines or concepts from the original you were given.
  • You can produce a joint poem or a poem each - whichever one suits your group best.
  • Write it out on a large piece of paper, and towards the end of the class I'll pin up the results for you to look at.


And here are some of the results (not all the students signed their names, so I've been unable to identify the authors of all of them):

Labyrinth
(After Henri Michaux)


Labyrinth, life, labyrinth, death
Labyrinth without end,
Says the Master of Nothing
Every door is broken in, nothing liberates
The suicide is reborn to eternal suffering
Each prison opens onto a prison
Each corridor ends with another corridor
He who believes he is unwinding the thread of his life
Is unwinding nothing at all
Nothing emerges out of anywhere
The centuries also live under the earth,
Says the Master of Nothing.



Storm
(After Eugenio Montale)


A siren bleed
the stranger split
ignorance in full effect
a burning cold
scarring told
of our imprisonment
as jealousy creeps in
gazing longingly
at the obscene mob
hustling for their freedom



Last Dawn
(After Octavio Paz)


Sleeping next to me, so peaceful like a dove
You goddess of my soul, lying on our bed of love
Your hair all tangled and wild
Your feet touched mine, so tender and mild
In your dreams I am the king
Your dream fits this room, like your finger into my ring.
Like the sun stealing the beauty of the dawn,
Our last moments fly away, like the wind they are blown.
The river will flow away
But it's our memories that'll stay
Forever ...
Will tomorrow be another day?


by Laurence Nacario & Dilini Goontaillake



Old Winter
(After Salvatore Quasimodo)


I desire your touch
in the dim light of the flame
Her hands smelt like oak and
of roses
and the death of an old winter
The birds searched for food
but there was a sudden hail of snow
It sounded like the words
a ray of sun, an angelic halo
the fog among the winter trees
we are like the air in the morning breeze.



Black Stone on a White Stone
(After Cesar Vallejo)


I will die in Paris in the rain
A day which I already know of
I will die in Paris and it's not a lie
Perhaps in autumn on a Thursday

It will be a Thursday
Because it's my best day
These verses I have lost
Painfully and never as much as today
I have come from a long way to see as myself alone

Cesar Vallejo dead, they nailed him down
While he did nothing to them
They hit him hard with a stick.


by Ahmed Al Musabeh & Krish Shankar



Haiku Winner (Open Day, 2009):




Massey University Albany

(Saturday, 12th September, 2009)


Haiku Competition

Be in to win an 8GB iTouch!


The competition rules were as follows:

A haiku is a Japanese poem in three lines.

Furu ike ya
kawazu tobikomu
mizu no oto


Old pond!
frog jumps in
water’s sound

Originally the lines had to have 5 syllables / 7 syllables / 5 syllables and contain a seasonal reference. Modern haiku poets in English seldom bother with the syllable count, though, or even a mention of the season. We are asking entrants to write us three haiku about Open Day.

  • Find three images.
  • Turn each one into a 3-line haiku, trying to portray the image itself as vividly as you can.
  • Each poem should convey a particular feeling: joy, sadness, humour – something you want to communicate through the image.
  • No titles.

Entry forms will be available from the English Stand in the Round Room of the Atrium Building on Open Day. Completed entry forms must be submitted by 1pm on the day and will be judged by poet and author Dr Jack Ross with the winner announced at 2 pm! The winning haiku will be published on the Massey University website.





We had a number of fine entries, but the clear winner was Kathryn Neale, of Westlake Girls High School, who seemed very happy to receive her iTouch!

This is her set of three haiku:

An explosion of light
Fireworks captured in a frame
A smile to last forever

Tolling pierces through the silence
Tangible in the still air
A pleading call to pick up

Silver syllables ensnared on screen
Lies trip on the tongue
The truth is caught in a moment


© Kathryn Neale


Kathryn hasn't chosen to follow the 5 / 7 / 5 syllable convention in any of her poems, but then the competition rules didn't require her to. It's worth remembering, in this connection, that Bashō himself wrote to one of his disciples:

Even if you have three or four extra syllables, or even five or seven, you needn't worry as long as it sounds right. But if even one syllable is stale in your mouth, give it all of your attention.
- Matsuo Bashō, Narrow Road to the Interior and Other Writings. Trans. Sam Hamill (Boston: Shambhala, 2000): xxvi-vii.


There were so many other wonderful poems among the entries we received, however, that I can't resist posting some of those as well:

Fun but cheeky game
Gleaning pens from every desk
Thank you for this one!!


© Stephanie Jones


human nutrition
stall making me hungry
where is the food court?


© Amber Holyoake


Anthropology.
What has made you what you are?
Where have you come from?


© Amanda Sanders


Students lurking here
We are invading their turf
It’ll be my home too


© Monique Warder


& finally:

So many options.
My future looks bright.
Look out, here I come!


© Caitlin Smith


Mark Smith (2009)


[WINZ office]


Redundant



‘Hello love’ I say ‘How was your day? Would you like some Coffee?’
Jacqui nods and looks away from me, an unwanted atmosphere permeates the kitchen.

‘Why? Why the hell is it me that loses my job again???’
Tears mix with rage on her beautiful face — woebegone floods and incandescent furies combined.
Anger rips around the room like a rolling crash of thunder.

‘It’s just so bloody unfair, they’ve given me no chance; how can I prove myself to them in two blasted months? Christ almighty, what have I got to do? WHAT???’
A breath; ‘FUCK! SHIT! FUCK!!!’
The coffee cup splinters into shards as it hits the wall.

Thank God it’s empty.
I make sympathetic noises, while wondering what to do next.

‘Oh for God’s sake stop being so bloody patronizing, it’s not your job you’ve lost. I don’t need your fucking sympathy ... I need my job!!’

I back off; keep my distance taking my cup with me, not wanting its death on my conscience. Bewilderment, I’m not at all sure how to react.

‘Sorry love, I know you mean well, it’s not your fault. I’m going to the gym. I’ll feel better after that.’
CRASH — the front door smashes shut. A quieter echo follows as the car door slams taking a turn in Jacqui’s self prescribed therapy.
A shriek of anguish reaches me as the car’s engine screams to the limits of her pain, the tires shriek as they leave long black memorials to her fury on the concrete.

Suddenly

peace
quiet
silence.


Stillness reverberates around the house.

But what the hell are we going to do?


© Mark Smith


Catherine Marsden (2009)


[Southern Laughter Lodge (Queenstown)]


Born in a Backpackers




One might be inclined to note that Queenstown has converted its small maternity hospital to cheap, temporary accommodation for those who are passing through. Interesting ...

I was born in that backpackers, mate.
spat out between the thighs of a 16 year old
who’d been given the mushroom treatment
- kept in the dark and fed shit, you get me?

they call it “The Black Sheep”
which suits me fine.
I spend my time with my rhymes,
worry little about the reasons - ha.

from those tiny pink fingers and wide staring blues
I emerged, PTO ( if you don’t mind),
as a twenty-something with thirty-something moves under her belt.
where I might have been in-between is of no consequence, and huge interest.

sometimes I go back
to torture myself with that strange beginning.
look over that small building on excess grass
think about grazing there for a few days…

I never do, though. My way is to move on with those odd glances back.
so I won’t come here with my husband, children or, heaven forbid, grandchildren.
I hold that home is where the rump rests,
pack up, and carry on my way.


© Catherine Marsden


Michelle Hedges (2009)


[Shaun Roberts: shadow twin]


Twins



‘Where’s Mummy and Daddy?’ was her first thought, as the nauseating smell of disinfectant washed over her. It smelled like Grandma’s toilet. Lizzie opened her eyes and squinted in the insipid yellow light of the single bulb; she looked around the pale green room. Thick hard leather straps cut into her wrists and ankles. It was at this point Lizzie began to scream - a high-pitched child’s scream of pure terror; and in they came, wearing their white coats and hats, trying to calm her with their needles. After the needles the darkness came to claim her away again. There was peace in the darkness far away from this terrible place, where the grown-ups in the white coats and hats with their needles couldn’t reach her. This was where Lizzie fled to when the light became too bright, too real; this was her sanctuary, where Tom was.



Six years, she reflected standing in the secured waiting area; she had come as a terrified 12 year old six years ago and now she was leaving. ‘Cured’, the doctors had said. How do you define cured? How do you fix something that was never broken in the first place? Her anger at the injustice still prickled under the surface.

“Ssh,” Tom whispered gently calming her. She could smell him.

The sun filtered weakly through the dirty barred windows, drawing Lizzie’s attention to the vase of brightly coloured flowers on the coffee table. The flowers were an obscenely cheerful lie for the benefit of the families who came for duty visits with their relatives. Lizzie waited for the heavy steel door to slowly open. The past danced close by, as memories of this particular door flooded back ...



Her parents had stood by the door, while the men in white uniforms had dragged her screaming through the opposite door. Crying and begging her parents to take her home, she’d tried to make them understand why she had done what she’d done. No-one listened, no-one understood, everyone had condemned her and they locked her up to be ‘fixed’.



The loud buzzer jolted Lizzie from her reverie and the door swung outwards into the sun-lit reception area. The taxi stunk of lemon upholstery cleaner and a faded pine tree air freshener dangled from the mirror. An occasional whiff of something gross filtered out of the carpets.

“All good, love?” The taxi driver’s teeth flashed white in the rear-view mirror.
Lizzie felt her head nod.

The taxi slowly rolled away from the kerb as Lizzie stared numbly out of the window at the redbrick building with the white bars across the windows. The building looked almost quaint from the outside, completely belying the hideous infractions on human rights which took place inside. She watched as the building that would always haunt her nightmares retreated into the distance.

Lizzie stared unseeingly out of the window as the taxi made its way through the bland grey labyrinth of the city streets.

“You must be looking forward to getting home,” smiled the taxi driver conversationally.

Lizzie stared at the back of the man’s head. “Yeah,” she grunted.

She’d had lots of practice at telling people what they wanted to hear. Tom had taught her how to do that; it had been a way of surviving the last six years. Lizzie sighed, ‘home’ felt like a giant black maw, open and ready to suck her back to her parent’s cold empty world. She shrugged, so be it. The darkness would always be there for her she mused as the taxi stopped at a red light. She regarded the empty-eyed nameless people waiting to cross the intersection - like dogs at a starting gate waiting for the rabbit to appear so they can rip it to pieces. The street buzzer sounded and the great unwashed mass of people moved forward as some seething writhing many-limbed monster jostling with itself for first place. Lizzie leaned back and closed her eyes. No, the darkness wasn’t so bad at all. Tom was in the darkness with her. She felt the taxi jolt as it moved forward, her mind drifting to the past again ...



The orange light in the hall flickered and dimmed, casting shadows through the little window in her door. The light across the green hospital linoleum made it look a putrid shade of mustard. Lizzie felt the tears prickle the backs of her eyes. She hadn’t minded the light before, but now she knew what it meant when it darkened; its energy source was being drawn away. The light only did that when the people in the white coats and hats were doing bad things on the ‘special’ table. A chill rolled through Lizzie at the thought of the special table. The one that made your muscles bend and twitch in excruciating pain. The orange light dimmed again, Lizzie whimpered as she huddled in the corner of her room under a thin blanket.



The taxi eased past the road works as Lizzie stared at the bored face next to the stop/go sign. The dark eyes held her gaze as the taxi accelerated. She remembered another set of dark eyes, imploring dark eyes, beseeching her to help him. She could see them now, the eyes of her twin brother staring up at her from his thin white ghost face, imploring her to help him stop the horror growing within him. It did not matter how many years passed, her brother's eyes still burned in Lizzie’s mind. It was the eyes that had made her do it, she thought, as the past wrapped around her once more ...



An evil septic thing had taken up residence in her brother’s young body, feeding off him, slowly draining him until nothing but a shell remained. His eyes were the last thing she saw as she placed the pillow over his face and gently laid her small body across it. A single sob wrenched itself from her lips as the tears poured silently down her face. She felt his grip tighten on her hand as his body tensed and his legs kicked out. This was when the darkness came to her and swept her away from her own anguished screams of utter despair which brought her parents rushing to the room the twins shared.



The taxi hummed along the motorway heading north, carrying her closer and closer to her parent’s house. Lizzie contemplated jumping out, an extreme way of avoiding her parent’s eyes she thought. An image of her mother’s look of horror swam before her. She couldn’t remember exactly at what point she had seen that look, but there were traces of it still in her mother’s eyes, just as an empty haunted look dogged her father. She was so grateful that she had Tom to help her be strong. Her parent’s grief had blinded them to a perverse gift Fate had bestowed on them six years ago; but no matter how much Lizzie had tried, her parents and the doctors would not listen, and then the shadow had appeared . . .



She screamed for mummy and daddy when she saw the shadow flicker out of the corner of her eye for the first time. The shadow terrified her and she pointed and shrieked as the strong thin woman with the cold bony hands held her down. The shadow shifted in and out of focus, like an elusive wisp of smoke as she felt a sharp jab of the needle in her leg again. A wave of nausea hit her and the room swayed wildly as she saw the shadow drift closer to her. The darkness came then and once again enveloped her and sheltered her.

The taxi veered onto the off-ramp and the driver swung the vehicle towards Lizzie’s parent’s suburb. There had not been so many changes in this quiet part of town, and Lizzie felt a pang of regret as they drove past the small corner block of shops the twins and their friends would meet at, laughingly exchanging lollies and gossip before dawdling to school. The past called Lizzie’s attention again as memories washed over her . . .



The shadow had been appearing to Lizzie for about six months when one night, as she was huddled in the corner of her room, it appeared by the door. Lizzie shook with terror as the shadow, a thin wispy grey mist, had drifted slowly towards her. No-one heard her screams, or - if they did - no-one came to check on her. Lizzie could feel the darkness hovering beside her as the shadow drew closer and closer. Just as the shadow reached her, the darkness once again comforted her in its inky embrace.

“It’s all right, Lizzie,” said a familiar voice in the darkness.

Lizzie trembled, “Tom?”

“Yes, Lizzie, it’s me,” said her brother. She could feel his presence pressing in on her.

“Tom, what’s happening?” stammered Lizzie.

“Come on Lizzie, move over, there’s room for both of us,” said Tom.

Lizzie felt a jolt. It was as if she had been shunted to one side within her body. She suddenly felt cramped in her own body. “Tom,” she wailed, “what’s happening?”
“I’m here, Lizzie,” said Tom’s voice through Lizzie’s lips. “This way we can always be together.”

Lizzie’s heart gave a momentary flutter and a faint sheen of perspiration covered her palms as the driver turned the taxi into the old oak-lined street of her childhood.

“It’s all right,” said Tom in her head, “just like always, if it gets too much for you, rest in the darkness and I’ll take over.”

Lizzie nodded as the taxi slowed to a halt.



That is how she had survived the treatments at the hospital and the times she had spent on the special table. Lizzie had sheltered in the darkness while Tom had endured the pain as their muscles writhed and twisted. After the treatments, Tom would find solace and healing in the darkness and Lizzie would suffer the people in white coats and hats with their needles.



She paid the driver and climbed out. Standing on the sidewalk, she saw a shadow move across one of dark empty windows as the taxi drove off. Slowly, achingly she moved up the path towards her old life. As she reached the door a large shape appeared and she looked into her father's face. He attempted a glimmer of a smile as his hollow eyes regarded her.

“It’s good to have you home,” he said, his arms falling loosely around her for a brief moment.

“It’s good to be home Dad,” lied Lizzie. “Where’s mum?”

“She’s just out picking up some groceries. She’ll be back soon. We kept your room ready for you.”

Lizzie nodded and began to climb the circular stairwell which graced the entry hall. The plush carpet cushioned her feet, absorbing any noise of her passing, and a slightly ozone smell from the air conditioning lingered faintly in the air. At last she reached the seclusion of their room. To her horror she realised her parents had kept the room exactly as it had been six years ago: a sick memorial to the twins as they had once been. Lizzie felt the darkness once again flutter next to her, a comforting familiar friend as she stared at the toys, the books, the dolls and the cars that sat neatly in their places waiting for her and Tom to play with them.

“It’s all right Lizzie, you just rest. I’ll look after everything,” said Tom as she sank gratefully into the darkness, leaving Tom with the body for now.


© Michelle Hedges



Rowan Gardiner (2009)


[Ambulance]


He’ll Be Fine




You are 13 years old,
So you shrug it off
And turn to your room, your haven,
As your father stumbles to his.
‘Heatstroke, maybe’, he says
He’ll be fine

You are riding in an ambulance;
It would be fun,
But you are alone
With your father in the back
He’ll be fine

You are sitting next to a hospital bed
Clutching a clipboard
You try to focus on the form,
And when your father does not answer
You are surprised
He’ll be fine

You are 13 years old,
So you shrug it off
Even though you father is still away.
He lives of course,
You were never quite able to imagine otherwise,
So he’ll be fine
Won’t he?


© Rowan Gardiner



Sunday

Tracey Slaughter (2008)


I cut my son’s hair and it falls like wheat.

That is what I’d remember.

The teacher in autobiography class says you choose what you remember, you make up your life like a story and select the details to set in your mind. When he says this I think: if this were true my mind would just be wheat now. My mind would be as clear as a window, but something with feelings … a bowl of skin … and through it there would only be the lightest drift of fibres. I’d see nothing, feel nothing but my baby’s hair as he let me cut it … the first cuts dropping in stems of moisture, the lighter, drier pieces floating, glittering over the damp towel like grains. Like seeds.

But already there’s a detail, there’s the white towel below us. There’s more than just wheat.

I’m a mother. We live in the details. I’m still a mother.

So I follow the detail back, to the piece of the day I can stand going into. We’ve just come from the shower and we spread his damp towel over the floor. We’ve trimmed his rustling head before and so we’ve left ourselves naked; we know when we finish we’ll have to jump back in the shower. There’ll be prickles and feathers caught in our mouths, in the folds of our throat, our elbows. Our belly button will be a cleft of dust and if we don’t wash it out our skin will stay awake all night, wriggling.

I knot my towel over milky breasts and he sits in the shadow of my legs. His little warm white spine trickles down from his hair. We put the television on and let its pictures wash past us, but we turn down the sound so I’ll sing to him instead. Sometimes he hums to the songs I make up against his ear, against his shoulder, little inside-out tunes that I murmur about his body, his name. We can stretch and rhyme whole operas out of his name, we play with it like a ribbon, winding it in and out through the alphabet, making a net of days. His name: the lonely vowels, the jump to open. I’m helping him know who he is … the sound of my mouth is the edge of his body. I’m hoping he’ll remember this.

I’m hoping he’ll remember this forever. Or at least one day … as he cleans his face when it belongs to a man, as he brushes a man’s darker hair. Or perhaps as he shaves and the motes of his own hair drop from his body without him noticing.

Forever is never as long as you think it will be. It is only a clipping of wheat. It is a frond of light, and it falls. It falls.



Golden, I would write: golden. They don’t let you write golden these days. Look, just look at the shape of it on the page, the teacher tells me: soft, overblown.

He writes it on the blackboard, golden. I want you to look at this word, he tells the class, I want you to study it. This word represents every cliché that I want you to cut from your language. This word is poeticism.

It is a demon in cherubic form. You must cast it out.

My son’s hair was golden. Let me write golden. Let me write golden.



My other son, my oldest son, comes home from school with a note from his teacher. She is a trainee teacher, and the note is young and stupid and brief.

It says that my son has refused to take part in the school science topic of bees. Bees is highlighted for me, with a dark, a capital B. When my son is encouraged to participate he produces deliberate mistakes. Please find enclosed a sheet where I should observe the kind of sullen errors she means.

On the sheet there are fat cartoon bees, some looking like puffy cherubs, some looking like burglars with masks on their eyes and shady hats. Stamped in each of the cloudy bee bodies is a word that my son was supposed to use to fill in the gap in the sentences. Instead he has used one word repeatedly. The word is eye, and he’s written it into most lines: Bees work at building the eye, gathering nectar to make the eye and protecting the eye from robber bees. The Queen eye works the hardest. She doesn’t eye until she dies.

The only time he hasn’t used the word eye is in the correct sentence: She has a baby almost every time you blink your … in this gap there’s a whole list. WINGS, EGGS, ANTENNAE, EXOSKELETON, my son has written. He’s cut the words into the page in jagged black strokes. He’s written them in a spiky shell so the letters start to look like an insect.

She has a baby almost every time you blink your POLLEN, I read.



It was golden as we watched it darken and come off our skin in fringes of water. It was golden as I picked up the towel and shook it into a breeze from the kitchen door. It’s golden as I get out of bed and go down into the living room and switch every light on and even get a torch and crouch where I cut his hair down on the floor. It’s golden, golden in my mind, although I can’t find a shred of it there, where I lost it. Not a seed, not a lash. Not a thorn.



I think of the policeman who had to take my son from me. I think now, as I thought then, this is the first time he’s picked up a child.

You could see it in his body, you could see where the knowledge was missing … those signals in the collarbone, the wrists of people who know how to pick up a child. He spent a long time kneeling in front of us, just looking at us. The other people in the room must have thought he was moved, he was giving us time. Perhaps he was, yes he was, I think, but even more than that he was solving a problem. He was studying our bodies trying to look for places we might come apart. He was examining my son’s legs, the neck that lay over my elbow, calculating the weight, the pressure, the words needed to break me from him.

It was a task, an assignment: to break us open where my bones held onto his bones, where my milk slipped over his ribs, where my hair and my breath and my fingernails kept asking his mouth to answer my singing.

To pick a child up out of that is no small act. What breaks milk, what breaks touch? He did it through pity.

He said, my sister’s pregnant, and then his breath was very quick and hooked because he thought he’d said the wrong thing.

But almost at once I answered him. I said, don’t tell her about this.

I remember silence. Then I remember looking at this man’s shirt and saying, I don’t want those buttons to scratch him. And he showed me how the silver buttons were on a ring which slid out through the pocket, and he held them down by the baby’s scalp where my hand was fixed through all his hair.

Can you hold them for me? he asked.

That was all I could do for him. I couldn’t move any further … just open my hand and let them fall in like stones.

We were a problem in gravity and he was the instrument that had to solve it. And I pitied him.



I take the note to my son’s classroom. When I enter I can’t breathe. The walls are hung with her life cycle, and down from the ceiling she floats from orange strings. She’s not a cartoon now, her multiplied bodies are glossy and jointed and accurate. She flies through the seasons marked out around the room and I see her in Spring, squatting, strands of gleaming egg split from her abdomen, her fur, her veiny wings. I sit down on a desk: in Summer she hovers on nests of waxy cocoons. Inside each oval egg there’s a pupa, its exoskeleton gathering on it like fingernails.

The teacher finds me. I’m sick in the cylinders of nectar the children have sellotaped from cut-down bottles. I catch it all in the water they have thickened with glue and coloured yellow, and when I am finished I pass it to the teacher. I tell her why my son will not be taking part in the science project. She shakes a little but she gives me a list of other topics we might select.

I look down the list and I see wheat.

Butterflies, I tell her.

But every time you blink your eyes there is pollen. The last thing I see when I leave the room is the light that throbs on the dark husk of the queen.



The teacher of autobiography splits the word into three sections: autos, bios and graphe. He tells us again to consider how each of these is constructed, how even before we commit our autobiography to paper we have processed our life story through choices of perception, pressures of what may not be said. Decisions to forget.

I point out that in the middle there’s something that we don’t construct, not always.

He queries. The body, I say.

He says, we construct our physical life through language, language filters the body. We remember our body only in terms of what our language can say.

I start to say, no, sometimes it’s the other way, the other way, but I can’t explain it.

He says, the fact that you can’t explain it is evidence for what I’ve explained.

But in the middle I see the sleeping thorax, the long clear wing. I see the atmosphere of my eye flushed with the grain of my son’s drifting hair. I hear the pulse of my baby’s throat as it pollutes itself, as it boosts its tissues … with what? … with water, with fear, with vessels of nothingness which close him away from me.

Into their blue nerves, into their dark blooming.

The teacher is right in one way … there’s no vocabulary for this.

But outside of language the memory still comes. It comes to the body.

I don’t construct my son’s mouth as I hook it and call and drag it with mine. I don’t construct the wires of milk that keep working down from my shoulder blade trying to cloud life through the nipple because his mouth is there, because the breast remembers. It knows the brush of light against his teeth.

This would not be part of my story. I would not remember this.

You wind and pin sheets around the milk but it still moves to the memory of him.

The body can’t decide to forget.



I would not choose to remember him the way other parts of the dream sometimes make me. Sometimes in the dream I’m in the shower and I hear his voice asking if he can come in. Maybe, some nights, I slide the door open and take off his clothes as they soften with steam. I count his buttons, which he calls bubbles, or help him find words for the parts of his body which pull out of the blue cloth, ankles, ears, knees. I feel him moving around me in the spray as he plays with the toy he has smuggled, the branch of his hand on my leg for balance, the feather of his hair against my hip. When he stops and leans against me the current of his humming brings my bones to the surface.

Other times I just shuck his clothes roughly without talking of his body. I don’t notice his body because I don’t yet know that I will lose it.

Sometimes I just say no. I’m tired and I don’t want to let him in. I hear his voice fill and gulp, but I concentrate on the sound of the water. I don’t see the clear print of his hand banging, banging the flushed glass. I’ve raised my own hands up to the water and I’m staring at it tracing my empty palms.



I should go to church, the young man says. I might find something there I could turn to.

The autobiography teacher has put us in pairs, to discuss early memories of books. The boy I’m paired with says, the Bible. Daniel, Jonah, the animals were what he loved.

I say, Where the Wild Things Are, the last book I ever read to my son.

The boy says, they thought there was something. They’ve wondered, the class. My grief is a rumour here.

He has a beautiful skinny face and his eyes are sexual. Along his arm the muscle of an older man grows in a plait. A vein rises, forks. When he says the word church, it comes out rich and lonely.

I tell him the Bible is just a book about dead children to me.



I go into my oldest son’s room. I sit on his bed with him, and tell him he won’t have to study bees. He opens a drawer and takes out fist-shaped papers. He’s crushed them with precision, but I see edges of hives, a head draped in net.

There’s a diagram which tells us of the hive wall, its algebra. I close this sheet in my bigger hand until we can’t see any of its symmetry, its shine.

I say, what about butterflies?

Crabs, he says. He wants to do crabs.

When I ask him why, he says he remembers being at the beach with his brother. They were paddling in the creek which broke off the hard waves into the shade. I remember what he’s going to say … that there was a white crab drifting in foam and he scooped it out, and the two boys opened its body slowly with a stick.

So he knew about crabs … because I told him, he says against my chest.

They listened to it creaking and they looped weed out of its claw. Then my oldest son took his brother into the shallows to show him the soft dark holes, the quick chisel of legs that sucked down into them.

We told him about them, I know we did, he says through my ribs. We warned him.

He gets out a page where he’s started on crabs. He’s drawn one with crusts and nails and bubbles. Under it he’s written, If they see a bigger animal they hide under a rock or in the sand.

You know so much, I tell him, and he leans back on me and we sit there.

Death is a bigger animal, and so is grief.



It was the same towel. It was loose and warm when I pulled it off the wash line.

I hear the small hook of sound as it plucked on the steel.

Perhaps if I’d been the kind of mother who folds things neatly into the basket.

But I’m not.

I shake things out inside. He’s always laughed when I’ve done this. He’s always shrieked and pulled a face at the flocking noise of cloth in air. He’s always laughed and grabbed at the hanging ripples of shirt, at the wagging nappies.

I watch the towel swell into the air between us. It holds for a moment, rigid, fragile … like a wing in the space between my knuckles and his.

The dark body splits from it like an atom.

The bee is lazy. It lets death out with a shrug.

The laugh is the last thing his throat knows. He points and laughs as the cloth sky comes down to wrap him.



The autobiography teacher tells me I must cut, I must edit.

He gives me a story to use as a model. This is death, he says. Death comes with no adjectives. Death is in the distance between the body and the verb.

I tell him the policeman came back with an envelope of hair. But it was dead hair. I don’t want my writing to be like that hair, something cut from him after he’s dead. I want to find a language that moves on the page like he did, and sometimes I do hear it … something in an adjective that moves like skin. Something in a line that shifts like his head at my breast or his heel on my ribcage.

He says, a monument’s not a soft thing. Your language needs sealing, hardening.

He goes on, you can’t bury a child in a tomb of metaphors.

I don’t go back to class.



There are whole pages here for women like me. There are black prayers, Latin under plastic. There are leaves and curls set into a cross. My son helps me turn through the pages. He wants me to choose another picture, but he’s satisfied when I tell him the reason for wheat.

We watch the woman. She is orderly with the steamed tools, the long clean needles. Cut into her shoulder is a fairy with a stick of stars. It’s a woman’s parlour … no flames, no skulls, just the inking of loved ones, of lost ones. I open my shirt and she washes from my collarbone down to the core of my breast.

Can he get a crab when he gets bigger? my son asks me.

Yes, I tell him, if he still wants to, he can get a tattoo when he gets big.

The site is clean. The woman asks my son if he can hold back my hair. She prepares to lower the needle, pauses before she embeds the first black stroke.

Am I sure I know what it will feel like?

I know what she will say. Like sunburn, she tells me … but at its deepest, it may feel like a bee-sting.



‘Wheat’ was the winner of the 2004 Bank of New Zealand Katherine Mansfield Award, judged by Vincent O’Sullivan.

Jack Ross (2008)


[Photograph: Simon Creasey]

Coromandel

Es ist Zeit, daß es Zeit wird
– Paul Celan, ‘Corona’

bird stalks by
5-fingered sky
Sunday

in the rearview mirror
Autumn gnaws my hands
we’re friends

van reversing
past the
pharmacy

check out those jeans
swap spit
talk shit

don’t stare at
us
it’s

time she said
it’s time the asphalt
bled

it’s time


© Jack Ross
(26-28/7/03)

Anne Kennedy (2008)


[Photograph: Rob Good]


One of My Honolulu Sonnets



The most-asked question is do your cocktails have
umbrellas in them? It’s true that here we have learned
to make Pineapple Bombers. But no. That thing
on the rim of the glass is the sun going down
on America. When I first looked out from Waikiki
I thought I was seeing the Pacific Ocean
for the first time. People think we lie
under umbrellas at the beach all the time,

but no. Mostly life goes on just the same. I am
still planning my book, Talking Loudly: a self-help guide
for better communication between the members
of rock bands
. Seeing a need which has not diminished
with distance. I am reading narrowly just as I always did,
a sharp point under which there is no shade.


Mary Paul (2008)


[Photograph: NZ Herald]

Poem for Hone


Your hikoi from te wai o pounamu
Was not planned

Your descent into Papatuanuku not counted on
But you must’ve known they would make their own decisions

You’ve written of it often enough and you know that
‘Cremation is not the Maori way’

Sometime about 1am on the night before the afternoon we got there
Moana your granddaughter gave you a piece of her mind

I don’t know exactly the words she said but it was tough

Coming back up here to this old place
Makes you available for comment

Coming back to this marae, not your own but your people are here
Brings your whanau back too

They are humble but resolute, shattered still by your personal land march away from them in 1965

The tangi is for the man not only the poet
Your son mihis to his mother
‘You may have been a poet but she is the poetry of love’

The next day when by chance I meet her and Rewi in the Kiwaka café
She asks why people think being addicted to alcohol is so amusing
We smile

Later the idea of self-medication surfaces
And I remember a rambling conversation with my friend Peter on this New Years Eve
The thing that is most us is the part we have no control over

Your psychiatrist said you had a fetish –
wanting always the earthiness of our succulent woman bodies

You knew you longed for your mother
Though you issued that Kaka Point challenge

See if I care – scatter me here
Singing cockles and mussels alive, alive, oh

We climb the hill as the sun breaks out from its grey veil
And you are lowered beside her – someone regrets it’s not beside your sister

From your new possie you look North over a valley and hillside of bright bush
Grown up from ti tree since Jean went there with your sister 30 years ago

Hinemoa shelters us from the heat under her green umbrella
and we speak of everyone leaving and of how your fame didn’t spread here

Some things have changed since 1945 1965 1975 but not so much

But no-one should feel ashamed

Likewise for my mother who used to joke of ends and ashes with you
And my sister
They both lie in the clinging earth

At Akaroa
At Makara

We, like your family, are not as fine as them
But they are you, we are them

This was bound to be whatever we did,
but in taking you, carrying you, holding you,
embracing each other, it comes to be seen to be

Kia ora e Hone


© Mary Paul
(26th February, 2008)

Matthew Harris (2008)


[Robert Gemmell Hutchison: The Pathos of Life]


Pathoscape

[pron: pey-thos-skeyp] noun [Origin: 2005; 2006 for def.] Etymology: pathos
"quality that arouses the emotions," 1668, from Gk. pathos "feeling, emotion”

when revisiting a place significant to your childhood, or, as the case may be, a place
you used to frequent with an old lover, such as

+ scape "place, or scene," 1773, abstracted from landscape; as a new comb. element,
first attested use 1796, in ‘prisonscape’

The Eden Garden
24 Omana Avenue

1. the connection between a place or setting and an emotion
2. a feeling of being confined to an earlier time and place

you can’t distinguish between your present-self and the self detained in the past.
You’re neither. You need a new definition. One where your internals rhyme.


Grant Duncan (2008)


[The Shoe Project]


April without her



How blue-skyed April is
Golden leaves shine like curly hair

Still one cicada’s grating the peace
And a voice next door

or a passing aircraft
gives echo to a world out there

In this blue love
silence moves like a lure

April passes on brightly by day
bitterly by night


© Grant Duncan
(15.04.05)


Contents:



This is an anthology of poetry and fiction contributed by students and staff in Stage One Creative Writing at Massey University's Albany Campus (Auckland, New Zealand).

The work is all copyright to its authors, but I'm sure they would welcome any feedback or suggestions you have.

There's a "comments" section at the foot of each page.





[Okumura Masanobu: The New Yoshiwara (1745)]


Poetry

2013:


2011:



2010:



2009:



2008:





[John Tenniel: Alice in Wonderland (1865)]


Fiction

2013:


2011:



2009:



2008:





[Pen]