If facing the paper, your thought is 'I am an artist', you have no clue what to do. If the concepts of your function are, 'I am a shape maker, an entertainer, an expressive symbol collector'...then you have an explicit road map. Edgar Whitney

Monday, December 27, 2010

waiting for a lover on Rabbit Island

This poem was published in The Press, Christchurch, 24 December 2010

love knuckles up
in knots of bulbing young cones
on pine branches beyond
yearn and reach

the sea hurls  shells
at the roots I collect
them my flaw is patience
I bury and wait

my flaw is dauntless and
alone in the thick scented
pine forest perfectly
still salt water covers my
feet shells bob nudge
and whimper for embrace

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Gap Filler

Following the September 4 earthquake, we have gaps in our city scape. For me some of these places were special. 'Through the Keyhole', on Colombo St was one. The entrance had the original cobblestone paving, the weatherboard stables intact. It was once a staging post on the arduous journey over the Port Hills to Lyttleton. A piece of our heritage.  TTKspecialised in antique and vintage salvage.   I spent many blissfully happy hours rummaging in the back rooms for keys, pressed metal, un-identifiable objects and shapes that spoke to me and might use one day use in mixed media jewelry. The building is gone now, the site leveled, no trace remains. It was heartbreaking to see.

Gap Filler is livening up some of  these sites with film, poetry readings, music, food and more. I'm happy to be a part of it as a reader and urge all those in Christchurch to go and have a good time. Celebrate life, our beautiful city, the vibrancy of the arts.  The site is 832/834 Colombo Street, previously South of the Border restaurant and Denis Moore Auto Electrician. Enjoy summer at Gap Filler.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

love letter #1

I felt the lack of simple things today,
of animating when I tell them aloud to you.

It was a breezy sunny spring afternoon and the poets
told this day like an abacus bead,

I buried my face in sun-clean towels
the day captured in the cotton.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Poetry News September 2010

September has been an exciting month. Two more poems have been accepted for a forthcoming issue of Takahe, I'm a Tuesday Poet on Mariana Isara's blog, Type What You See and published in Shot Glass Journal #2 .

Takahe #70 is out and it's been a very good read. It showcases the work of established and emerging writers. It's excellent value, you can download a form from the website and subscribe to Takahe.

Shot Glass Journal #2 features New Zealand poets. The journal is dedicated to short poetry, great if you need a quick fix. Short poetry is tricky, how do you capture and convey an idea in under 16 lines? There are some admirable poems in this issue. Three poets in particular caught my attention. Sean Joyce, his piece warmly humorous and nostalgic. Mariana Isara, masterful in her brevity. Reilly Smethhurst, each line potent with image and rhythm, the poems unsettling, I find myself coming back to them and reading again.

Thursday, September 16, 2010


This poem was published in Takahē 69, 2010

the cold fireplace
saw her play it coy

she threw her
boots in and

tried to blind it
he sprinkled them

with soot
and lit a match

a fist of flames
pushed out

years of
silk shawls

lace undies and
fans stuffed up

the chimney
the roar

a throat open
with confession

Thursday, September 2, 2010

shadow puppets

a man falls through
dressed in a paper suit,

he folds himself into
a crane and scatters
with a rattle of paper wings,

alights on her palm, unfolds
and says, "in a reflective way
I cry for...I don't know why,
you do that, you know."

his hands ache.
she oils them, warms them.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

at sea

perturbations from you my love
tip me on my axis

I re-align when I break bread with
a crouch of moss green stones and
meditate with tide pools

when I complete one orbit you will have
flung yourself in space I lift
a starfish -

in a palm full of deep water

Friday, May 7, 2010

Poet's Land

To paraphrase Joan Baez, it was a happy April for this happy fool. I loved the focus and intensity of NaPoWriMo and the autumn season of poets in performance at the Madras Street Cafe. The month was drenched in poetry and I find it hard to let go. To keep the momentum going I am taking Joanna Preston's series of classes, Reading for Writing at CPIT, starting soon. Thanks to all who commented and cheered me on in April, it was such fun!

Friday, April 30, 2010

29 and 30 April

Sitting down to blog my last two poems only to discover...I've left my manuscript at school. Well that's an anticlimax. I guess it will be Monday before I can show them.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Tuesday 27 April 2010

surviving a break up

swoon words drip fed
from old letters embolise

the palliative stone burns
like oxygen on my sternum

unsleeved pulmonary veins
form new tissue

Monday, April 26, 2010

Monday 26 April 2010

Island Home

I stray like a willful egg
the new zealand bird nudges
me back into the nest

I arrive like a spinning top
braids of water tangle
in my legs birch trees lean in
kiss me tip me blanket me
with upside down mountain clouds

I colour right up to the crinkly edges
a cuckoo afloat in a floating home

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Sunday 25 April 2010

Poppy Day

replant your bulbs
on ANZAC Day
right after dawn service
according to her grandmother

lay fresh flowers at the feet
of your hero's photo
his eyes bewildered
as the flash flares

his thoughts were
roast lamb
the shape of your hands
when you sew
the scurry of your heels
and hair blown back in the breeze
as you run for the bus

Saturday 24 April 2010


my determined flame
here you are I am

curious to see what you've brought me

I greet
the dry lake bed of you
turn and sit down
inside your absence

rise on warm
thermals of death
learn the new terrain

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Wednesday 21 April

no moon tonight

tubular bell stars
burnished silver pipes of light
extend endless into resinous night

you touch and upwards I fall
tuned to your gravity
strike the columns and call
astral music

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Tuesday 20 April 2010

Burlesque Act

A maple leaf drifts through the bars
of her window a perfect russet freedom
twirled thoughtfully in her fingers, she presses
her cigarette in and blows fragrant
scroll work through the hole.

She flicks the butt at the tattered feathered
remnant of a corset nailed to the wall,
and imagines it laced and squeezing the neck of
the fat producer, bowler two sizes too small
greasy red lips and greasy red jealousy.

Sacked for her shimmy over the orchestra,
violin notes flew up her garter in the last act
glued pasties on her nipples pinned on
kitty cat ears and toyed with him
and her pistol behind a lace parasol
high heeled lace up boots clack like castanets
she exits stage left, the exit hole squirms with smoke.

Arrested with the rest of the dime girls suspended
from street lamps she briefly wonders if she gathers
a love child to the otherwise cool expectations
of the ladies who hang from the straps of
trolley cars thrusting their breasts into the faces
of seated gentlemen, the women who pursue
adversity and applaud the sandbox of domesticity
and secretly plunge into plush lust with angular lovers,
would this life compromise her poetic truth?

She pleads her case in the rouge press couched
in the vernacular of cigars and already feels the
rough rope at her throat and hopes she will
have time to feel the void at her feet
when the trap door drops into indigo.

Monday, April 19, 2010

19 April 2010


you hang in sleep
like poppies on the cliff face
it's always Sunday afternoon

when I sleep and it's your turn
to be awake you put ropes
of glowing filaments and
limpid soup in my dreams

and I know you're asleep again
when I pinch the fuchsia leaves and buds
out of the fresh cuttings they leap
from my hands on antelope legs
and instantly sprout large pink skirts
with purple petticoats and run to the hills

Sunday, April 18, 2010

18 April 2009

Love Poem

I carry you draped on my neck
like a tape measure

a ribbon coiled
shiny side rolled out

a dimpled thimble
I thumb the indentations

my pocket is filled with
these bits of you

Friday, April 16, 2010

17 April 2010

The title of this poem is a quote by Marianne Lettieri, an assemblage artist I admire. Kieth Lobue is another, his site is stunning. The title comes from the book Art Making, Collections and Obsessions by Lynne Perrella, Quarry Books, published in 2007. Many of the pages in the book resemble my studio. I have a vast and ever growing collection of curiosities and trinkets. This poem is inspired by my never ending search for ways to store my junk.

'Pieces of string too small to use'

this book is about how to save things

flakes of text keep best in small corked bottles

bind together with twine impulsive wire spectacles and
their more conservative cases

wind rusted imperial tape measures
around grey palm pebbles

separate yellowed crochet castoffs
in pigeonholes of an old secretary like this -
lengths of lace : round doilies : lace edge lawn hankies

fashion humble twine into self supporting nests

16 April 2010

trial the third

A scaley white patch of desire in my groin is unsoothed by milk
and salt I scratch and bandage the waste alotment of skin
untouched and unhealed under the cliff of my belly spreads
the fissured bark of old man pine creeping towards my breasts
it snags my skin painfully taut each day I scratch it away each night
it blooms again like feeding coral until the day he flenses it
from my body with his curved whaler's knife.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

15 April 2010

I actually managed to finish something today. The tale continues and like all good tales, the heroine undergoes three tests. Here's a snippet of one of them.

Urgent cyclamen flutter their hands
and keen a professional mourning song for you.
Very clever, faking your own death
you merely sleep like critical water
released from a deep sea vent and
behave like a gas filling any container.
I believed you dead and it filled me.
It's only spindle sleep, when
I shake the bridal you return.

14 April 2010

Lessons in Gymnastics

The Dutch gymnast has a backward facing leg
her round off with a perfect pike finish
a fine example for the half a half-penny
moon girls up the ladder who dive
wild into the empty air.

I'm a disappointing acolyte flexible yet afraid
of her fearless tumbles even as she drags
her leg behind her. She mutters, " you're too old,
much to old the fear has a firm hold."

I'm older still the terror of revolving in mid air
owns my left leg and drags me behind.

Monday, April 12, 2010

13 April 2010

and somewhere towards the middle of the tale

several hundred thousand guests
at the table the doves coo endless need

and then you

I run around the house
a 35C caucus race
and collapse heat exhausted

with the turtles

I love you like a deluge
stop like teeth breaking
out of a cog

thumbprint the hem of your white skirt
like black beetles and
hug my deceit

I peel off your window
(you're in it) thread it a cats cradle
through my fingers

you tie your long hair around my burning wrist

for coolness

12 April 2010

Today, I wrote through my own poem. I wrote in response to 11 April and began to develop the other main character in my fairy tale. The working title is:


The peridot leaf lamps of autumn
declare the journey season come.
She's ready for a hero's test
with no ambiguous fruit.

She pays a visit to wild oat fields
pressing milk from green seed heads.
Stirs straw beneath the clucky hen
grasps the warm egg.
Plucks hanging grapes with her teeth
heedless that the trellised vines
fizz with drunken bees.

She's the copper luster of summer
frosted leaf edges of winter
the translucent shell.

Across the sea I am thirty autumns,
her aphotic yolk.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

11 April 2010

I did the 'writing through' exercise Joanna Preston suggested for my poem yesterday. Today I tackled part two. The characters I created in my wee 'fairy tale' have taken on a life of their own. This is part of the woodman's story. As yet untitled. It could well go on to be part of a bigger story.

I'm found licking honey from the thorn

I woke rocking
in the vagabond's caravan
rescued from mad pursuit of the illustrious object

I have become all crepitous bone and walking shadow
with the knocking of wood peckers in my ears

a pilgrim searching for ancient fibers of her

Saturday, April 10, 2010

10 April 2010

a time in the forest

and the woodman is indurate
sometimes he likes to sleep in Somerset
alone in the sand

on the other side of the planet
is a velveteen woman

they begin to walk
their steps rotate the world
never closing the distance

with her dressmaking scissors
she cuts the moon out of the sky

they throw it to each other
in endless relay
his smoke filled outline
begins to glow

for thanks
he leaves a trail
of thorns

the gathered punctures
bleed and tune
she adjusts the harmony
with each new wound

she bleeds out all music
and he has sole possession of the moon

he lifts it and sees
she has embroidered it
with French knots and grub roses
in threads of amethyst and bronze

Thursday, April 8, 2010

9 April 2010

In addition to this little piece of nonsense (shame the word 'vorpal' has already been invented) I tidied up the sonnet.

my left ankle

Geisha hobbled
pinned and plated

my foot curls backwards
without invitation

agony of fascination

the side of my leg
where nerves are severed
aches nothingly

8 April 2010

Sonnet for a Submissive

If poets scream then she will rip her throat
and fume the sky with lines of glassine verse.
Her voice is hoarse. Has she the strength to coat
her tongue in salt glaze fired in the first
impoverished flame? He throws her like a lily
vessel centered on his wheel, he flares
the pinch bowl mouth she offers willingly.
Intaglio incisions on greenware
graze her will. The brine soaked ropes that bind her
burn, brand and lacerate with devotion.
On the kiln shelf she's become a tawdry
relic of a once bright tungsten woman.
Dimness drips a sweaty deprivation,
his hand withdrawn, her final creation.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

7 April 2010

...just squeaked this one in today. Still frantically scribbling before the readings and between cups of flat white as the audience arrived at the Madras St Cafe. Lovely to meet Greg O'Connell. Congratulations to Joanna Preston who was 'People's Choice' for the open mic with a gorgeous poem.

Here's my offering for NaPoWriMo for today:

Plum Fall

I drop the morning as it gets to the good bit. The woman
asking for Julie interrupts before
the poet can reveal

how the space
between blue skin perfectly tensioned
over yellow flesh
and the sour at the stone
is the answer to long distance love.

I hang up the phone
and return to his comfort food
of creamy white words -

and find him as clueless as I.

I slump,


a bias cut autumn afternoon
comes in sideways with a fluid hand
and a soft drape that

skims my hips.

Monday, April 5, 2010

6 April 2010

Playing House

Unlike your dolls little girl
the man you left behind doesn't come to life
when you turn out the light.

He exists in stasis.
He needs the sunshine of your presence
to reanimate fluids in his joints, his head thorax abdomen
and motivate the beating of his wings.

You will replay these events waiting for
him like a doll in the dark.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

March Wrap Up

NaPoWriMo has begun and while I embark on that, I look back to the month that was. The highlight was my reading at the Madras Street Cafe on 31 March. I stuck to time, I stuck to the script and the feed back was good.

I forgot how much I miss performance, used to sing a lot and haven't done so in many years. From hearing others read, I've learned what works and what doesn't. There is an immediacy to a public reading. As a listener I don't have time to decode hefty scholarly works. Or am I just shallow? Anyway, I chose poems that have performance value and imagery I could bring to life with nuanced tone and interpretation, much as I would a song. I also thought about the structure of the set. Take the reader on a journey, balance long and short, emotionally challenging with levity and at the end set them down gently and leave them wanting more.

In March I also evaluated my work based on the critical framework I've developed with Kerrin P Sharpe and more recently, Joanna Preston. Two very important influences on my writing. I've slowed down a little, set things aside to view with fresh eyes at a later date. It means I wrote fewer poems, with more consideration.

Having said that, NaPoWriMo is in full swing and I'll blog as many as I can. These are not finished poems and I look forward to the comments and critque of others. Even better than writing is reading the work of others, following the trail of crumbs left in the comments from one blog to another, discovering some great writers out there.

That's quite enough from me, back to writing everyone.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

April 2 2010

on hearing Rodney Jones read

his voice reading rain crumbles like good sugar cookies
I think of petrichor and how a dry acid whitish-blue sky
turns blue-blue after the drought

I'd like a lover to write
down pour and hallowing on my skin
in his consonants I hear tin tin, tin tin
and think of the mud bricks we made covered
with sheets of corrugated iron

the house was never built so
we removed the iron and the bricks
dissolved back into the earth

I can't think of a city like I'm supposed to
rain on dry bitumen smells like oil
and bricks don't dissolve

sunrise might be promising but
the same sun at midday reveals shop girls
smoking in dirty allies and I retreat to the farm

the farmer was glad to have his top soil back
love does that too it retreats back into the earth

April 1 2010

The Road to Katrine

you got stoned and drove me fast to your farm
I recall it now as though through a monocle
of transparent golden toffee

your nose and mouth pressed into my hair
one arm hooked around my chest you inhaled me
my hair the heat the ripening wheat the

Patterson's Curse raped us staked us both out
in the tyre tracks of the combine harvester and
filled our mouths with purple blossom and broke
paddy melons on our bodies

although you died crushed in the teeth of the
winding road to Katrine you kept your pact
and five years later I woke panting in my bed
with melon seeds pressed into the sides of my head


NaPoWriMo is here. 30 poems in thirty days. When I tweeted this on my Twitter channel, one chap said it was a worse idea than NaNoWriMo. Since I can do without the negativity, I blocked his arse. I do love that feature on Twitter. It says something for the digital age that we can create our own personal wonderlands that prop up our egos, is that not so?

So here it goes, I'm having a crack at it. Feel free to leave your comments. I doubt I will block anyone, but I am not making any promises. Goggles down...

Saturday, March 13, 2010

In poetry news today...

February was a big month for me, in terms of publishing. Another poem appeared in The Press. Thank you to James Norcliffe who has kindly published 4 of my pieces in the last year.
In February Siobhan Harvey, poetry editor of Tahkahe Magazine accepted two poems. The date was also set for my reading for the Christchurch Poet's Collective: 31 March, Madras Street Cafe.

Perhaps the most important thing about February was the workshop by Joanna Preston I attended. Joanna was kind to all the writers, novice and more experienced, but I was itching to get some notes from her. I must have looked a bit wild eyed and over-eager (one of the reasons I tend to fail at interviews, ah well) because she invited anyone wanting feed back to stay after class. I rushed her and elbowed everyone out of the way, informed her I had all the ego pummeled out of me in 4 years of art school and asked her to go for it. In the follow up notes I have since received by email, Joanna has been incredibly generous with her time. Her feedback has been invaluable to me.

Kerrin P Sharpe is also a mentor and very good friend. In 2009 alone she was published by Snorkel, Turbine, and was selected for Best New Zealand Poems to name a few.

Time to return to scribbling.

Friday, March 12, 2010

on the death of a lover

my crucible
you are gone

you left me the alloy
ingot forged in your
bowl the colour

of apricots
with a lustrous nacre
deep as subterranean

Sunday, March 7, 2010

The Little Goat

I graze too close to the ravine

my distracted goatherd
you forget my clumsy cloven
lips lead me astray

and I tumble