Black Rocks in Oriental Bay, Wellington

Black Rocks in Oriental Bay, Wellington

Could stillness be converted into rhyme
and age become a rhythmical address,
with weight a simple synonym for time,
darkness for that lacking emptiness,

I could then do no more than wish my days
encompassed by this eloquent repose,
enabling me to contemplate the ways
I might have chosen, and the way I chose.
Categorized as Poems

When you have slept

When you have slept

When you have slept and I see you wake,
your limp and lovely body lying there,
my senses girdle up to undertake
the prospect of your lemon scented hair.
The picture of you dressing stirs me so
that all my skin is somehow set alight;
see visions of the urgent to and fro
partaken in the crevices of night.
For there, in shadows, I could feel the heat
the friction of our flesh materialised,
with you above me reaching the complete
abandonment of all we've rationalised.
   Then I myself awoke and daylight shone
   upon the empty truth that you were gone.
Categorized as Poems



I've been attending work for fifty years.
I started slightly damp behind the ears.
I've hardly changed from first to second gears.
I've never been ambitious.

I've seen the climbers jumping through the rings.
I've never liked the bosses panderings.
I've kept my counsel for the peace it brings.
I've never been ambitious.

I've spent my life not wanting to be seen.
I've seen the signals change from red to green
And back to red to stop what might have been.
I've never been ambitious.

The bosses come and go, pass through my sight.
They've ranged from fearsome to the merely trite.
To see the backs of them is my delight.
I've never been ambitious.

Ambition, I have seen, eats up the soul.
Invisibility has been my goal.
I aim to congregate where tapeworms shoal.
I've never been.
Categorized as Poems

Losing Things

Losing Things

Remember how our bodies once were thin
reminders of our later flaccid skin,
my paunch cupped in your lovely lap.
Our liver spots co-mingle, creating
a small universe of moons setting
where the bed's edge collapses in shadow.
A perfumed candle illuminates
our illusion of youthful coupling,
your taut breast, now a pachyderm,
offered gladly to my unfilled mouth.
And now we find that losing things
rarely causes any pain,
for what we've also lost, along with youth,
is the need to, every time, succeed.
Categorized as Poems

Sensing You

Sensing You

If asked how to smell you
I'd say
move in close, touch if you dare,
ignoring the danger overwhelming your
reason, passing through brief
states of ecstasy.
I'd say
take but the slightest breath,
inhale the fecund fragrances,
the deep aroma dances.
I'd say
move just a fraction away,
see the sweet sensation
fleetingly on your face,
hear soft exhalations of relief.
Categorized as Poems

Mill Town

Mill Town

Spun cotton casts a web upon the town.
Dust arising from the yelling looms
infiltrates the workers' living rooms,
the soot filled smoke slowly settling down.

Across the terraced houses, ranged in lines
on cobbled streets, they hear the hooters blare
signalling a change of shift, the hardware
of machines are worshipped in their shrines.

The mills are like cathedrals of the cursed
louring over Rochdale in the rain.
They hear the manufacturers refrain,
From labour, we get profit reimbursed.

Yet during the American Civil War
they refused to work with cotton picked by slaves
and wished plantation owners in their graves,
though they were hungry, out of work and poor.

The towns of Lancashire were built by mills,
the labour of the spinners toiling there;
their ghostly voices permeate the air,
rise from the plains into these Pennine hills.

La Viree de Galerne October 1793

La Viree de Galerne, October 1793

There were at least thirty thousand of us armed,
not to mention the hangers on coming
along for the craic, a gaggle of everything
you could think of, lads only half grown
and beardless, banging on incessantly how
they'd screw the Reds and fuck Robespierre.
Kids too and tarts hitching their skirts
when we wanted it. We'd fought through a dozen
towns and killing makes you want cunt.
And the old men there to make the soup,
ladling it into cupped hands as we marched.
Bread we stole and wrung hens necks outside
peasant farms, plucking on the move.
We crossed a river, the Loire someone said,
through Normandy and, up ahead, Granville.
The Brits should have been there according to
Monsieur Henri but, shit, they weren't.
We'd been suckered and then we were surrounded.
We beat back, forcing the pace, the fucking cold
killing half of us. The rest were hunted down.
The civvies were butchered in thousands, kids, women
and the old ladling men mown down, great pools
of blood, brown as their soup, crusting the earth.
Christ, it wasn't human and the end came
finally at Savenay. We came out
of the woods at last, screaming our surrender.
The frost melted as they shot fifteen thousand.
For two days the guns were never silent.
Mercy is not a revolutionary sentiment.



If ever I explain to you
how roses leap and dolphins bloom,
don't think the things I say untrue.
The framing of a small conceit
is offered as a gift, a treat,
a tiny piercing of the gloom.

There is little that I understand.
I try but words seem to defeat
attempts to name these grains of sand,
to find a single, telling phrase
that means exactly what it says,
a gift to you that lacks deceit.

There are ways of staying in the light,
there's sanity in things that craze,
blindnesses yet always sight.
Accept this gift I offer you,
these leaping roses dancing blue,
these bloomin' dolphins flowery ways.
Categorized as Poems

Gone Viral

Gone Viral

The corona virus, Covid 19,
attacks all the organs including the spleen.
The splenetic response of the government teams
is making it not what it seems.

External threats are always required
to keep us in check, making us tired
and sick, not from virus but hypocrisy
and capital's complicity.

The bastions of privilege slam down their gates
to keep out the proles and other ingrates.
They're scared they'll succumb to a horrid infection;
"Give us vaccine; a crooked election!"

The disease that they fear is not the corona
or other like virus that apes it's persona.
No, it's more a political, alien schism,
Democracy and Socialism.

So whilst we, the people, look out for each other
and treat all our neighbours like sister and brother,
the oligarchs, those who live over the tracks,
are busily watching their backs.

Yes, they'll launder their cash to beat back the threat
of a small revolution designed to upset
hegemony that is stitched into their spleen.
Nowt to do with Covid 19.
Categorized as Polemicks



For Samuel Richardson, 1856-1897

What damp day was it that drove you out of
Randalstown? What ground out your dream to
fly south, as far down the world as it's
possible to go without eating ice?
Who suggested that there was a place
no short sight could see, sewn into blue seas?
Aotearoa, land of the long white cloud,
beckoned you to her, young and filled with hope
of green land, swapping colonies to see
if England's hard hand would hound you there.

Perhaps that wasn't part of your thinking,
just a romantic connection I've made
to lionise you, lying in my heart
like a slow pulse searching for rootedness.
Maybe you were brash, basking in the
whole planet. You put it in your pocket
and went, surely walking, not sailing the seas.
Fair weather or foul were all one to you
who wound fate around your finger
pointing down a hundred years to me.

Heat pours from your grave high on Wyndham Hill,
migrating north until I feel you in
the rising sun riding the stage out
to Fortrose, carrying people and post.
Smell the southern winds, they are full of you
wrestling the reins along metal roads,
steaming, like your nags, with correspondence.
Your genes have carried to me more news.
It tells me that I'm older than you now.
What great-grandad could die aged forty one

and leave me here to reinvoke you straddling
the wide world of your dream rich heart?
I hear you singing songs guiding me home
through dead years keeping us apart
and strangers still. I shall return to Randalstown
to disinter what made you tread round half
a globe to gallop horses on Southland's plains.
I'll dig up your dreams and let them fly again
to far lands under mute arrangements of stars.
I shall still your ghost by grappling with it.
Categorized as Poems