Takapuna beach, 10 january 2017

A glass and steel monstrosity is reclad apace
The buzzsaw’s steady drone provides a backing track
to the buzzing of the drones in backyards
Less well-attended black glass mirror windows
have been sullied by the sea.
Inside I fear neighbourly curiosity
has been obscured among smokestained walls
But someone is watching me through polished glass lens
I feel the disrobing glare of an infrared navigation system
assisted by four pivoting blades
and faster than you can say
it is I who has been smoked, a stain,
and the waves, those well-intentioned janitors,
who lap up the resultant alphabet soup.

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On being lonely, sad and, worst of all, irrelevant.


I am lonely, sad and, worst of all,


I am marooned in a nocturnal world

of precarious employ

and tumbling towards middle age.

But the people I wanted to become

the writers, dilettantes, the “creatives”

they’re still out there, being fulfilled,


counting the beats.


They spend their Monday night in a dusty Newtown flat

which is perhaps not in Newtown

but an equal suburb /

gentrifying and unknowable

At least one booming restaurant critic coined it

“dangerously hip”.

I spend mine exploring the back of the couch

with my too-long fingernails

searching for my son’s toothbrush

accumulating grit.


They drink endless cups of tea

And discuss the idiosyncrasies of their masters supervisors

Maybe get fucked up, brush their teeth with vodka

I finger the alcohol-free beer cans in my fridge

and in this case, my too-long fingernails are of no hindrance

and pour myself a whiskey, neat.


Hours later, marooned in my tumbler

in amber oblivion too far steep’d

At least one phony whiskey critic coined it

“medicinal peat”

I recall how hollow my 20th century

English literature lecturer

Elizabeth Wilson’s

promises seemed.


Then I recall how Mac Jackson

shiny pate and shaggy mullet

spitting, animated, swaying at the lectern

spoke of Waiting for Godot.

And then, it all makes sense:

the amber lectern, the spitting impecunity,

the vodka teacups, the painful fingering

the dangerous medicines,

the broken heart.

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I watch the Wookie

I’ve got a train to catch, because
I’ve got to get to work, but first
we need to talk about the Chewbacca mask:
it’s the hottest viral video of the week.
It’s supposed to be so life-affirming
and it allows everyone to get on board
and celebrate joy
but all I see is a contrived, morbidly obese, affect-disordered, narcissistic
I watch the Wookie
and I imagine an advertisers’ cheque
from youtube
in the amount of $632 dollars and fifty-two cents,
sharply declining revenues in subsequent months,
free flights to LA to appear on the Ellen DeGeneres show
and put on the fucking mask
on national television,
and a gift basket from Disney
enclosing a three-day golden ticket.
I imagine soaring sales for Disney Corporation’s Star Wars™ Chewbacca Mask
and I miss my train.
I miss my train.

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Hot tears of shame

Hot tears of shame.
The verb they use is “trickle”
to describe these rivulets coursing down
But really it should be “tickle”
because that is what it feels like.
Begging for your laughter,
a sympathetic pet that cocks its head in
confusion as its master sobs,
discounting your grief with that funny, itchy
prickly tickle
of hot tears of shame
running down your face.

21 January 2014

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Anzac Day Howl (2015)

As my nation turns to revere the ghosts of its war dead
(remember its somehow OK when we do it at Gallipoli, never, for them, at Yasukuni),
my thoughts move to the perversion of our Prime Minister deploying troops in Iraq
for a centenary edition of chasing phantoms in the wastes.
I remember, too, those who privately questioned the wisdom of attacking the Dardanelles,
but cowered before their colonial masters and surrendered to their fate,
who dreamt themselves heroes, raising flagons in the Kingdom of Valhalla, or else shahid,
and whose bones adorn a dusty ditch,
who stole beads from the tombs of Egypt and mailed them home
in exchange for knitted socks.
who arrived on the beach and charged Hill 60 with great enthusiasm
and found themselves cut down before the high-tide mark,
who made enemies of others
just to be sure of who they were themselves.
who invoked the name of g*d for power, asserting their right to stone gays, adulterers,
and deliver hellfire missiles to wedding banquets,
who lived for little, believed in nothing
and died for even less.
whose salty lips came together in the sea
only to find themselves spluttering in the surf,
who reached with their tongues for their lips once more
and found them searing, bubbling—or entirely missing—smattered with hot lead
in the vast desiccation,
who giggled through footage they had recorded on their phones
of brazenly-observed airstrikes on villag—militant positions—and swelled with pride
in their devastation,
who brought photographers to games of golf in Hawaii to stand, zombie-like in awe at their new colonial master—
look upon his sand-wedge-drive, ye lowly vassals, and despair,
who sat, themselves, in vast expanses of sand
watching the sunset, surrendered to utter powerlessness over their destinies,
who reached out for butterflies in the murk
and got butterfly-shaped holes in their hearts instead,
whose last sound was a strange, distant clicking, overhead or underfoot
and found apotheosis in dismemberment,
who spun biblical narratives about apocalyptic death cults
then stalked the deserts seeking converts,
who told the nation to “get some guts”
and spent the next years spilling them in Iraq,
who studied the lessons of The Past
yet still doomed themselves to repeat them,
who howled in inner, mounting rage and indignation
at the insanity of it all.

25 April 2015

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Fire on Self-Loathing (Apologies to Air on G)

Empty vessel
Fill the glass
In the corner
On your arse

Have a kid
Fill the glass
Glass half empty
Glass half full

Empty fool
More’s the kid
Fill him up
With parts of you

Kid keeps bucking
Fill the glass
It’s your wife
You should be fucking

Days alone
Your phone’s ringing
Boredom tingling

Fucking parents
Can’t use skype
Days spent thinking
E-mails typed

Kid’s a biter
Kid’s a ram
Won’t you have
Another dram?

Whiskey special
Just a snifter
In a hip flask
Like a drifter

Drift the city
Drift the streets
Can’t go home       now
Can’t get sleep

Nocturne’s neon
Cute girls wave
Lovers you
Will never have

When its empty
When you’re done
There’s no household
You could run

Run a mile
Run for life
Escape your strife

Or instead
Just fill the glass
You caused this
‘Cause you’re an arse

Whatever done
Don’t fill him up
What he’ll become    with
Love envelop.

11 December 2014

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