christmas pigs, or the perils of inviting a poem-writer to lunch

what is it about
christmas and food?

the pig in the pot
of the
wild hills of home,
or the pig on a spit
of the
kiribati islands?

here we are civilised settled, though
and call it ham.

but with good friends
and laughter
(and potatoes on the side)

it is a feast;

and more,
it is christmas.

[thank you menaka, bruce and ashan for a feast fit for a north-easterner!]


did you know that horses can't vomit?

This is not a land of mysteries. Like most places in the world, this was discovered before Columbus set his grubby feet on what is now called America. Kupe was the first here, they say. Then came Abel Tasman and Cap’n Cook. And now every blessed inch is freely available to view and critique on Google Maps. But inside, what about inside? Has Google mapped that too?

For most of this year, I have been cleaning shit. Yes the S word. Faeces. First it was horse shit, then human. Explain? What is there to explain? I was at the RDA, then at a special school. Doesn’t that explain it all? But listen. I don’t want to talk about shit, I want to talk about travelling. I want to talk about discovery and fear and flying. The knot in the stomach, the bile in the mouth, the insane spinning of the skies. Have you ever jumped off a cliff?

This began, as all journeys seem to, with the jumping off a cliff, a quitting of jobs, a trusting of fate to the winds. And what a journey this has been. Did you know that horses can’t vomit? Not that I’m complaining, mind you. Or that just like the rest of us, the disabled need care, not pity? That there are at least 22 Pa sites in what is now called Hamilton? That the koru of the Punga tree is also known as bush asparagus. That pine needles can substitute for straw when laying down strawberry beds. That you can be poor and happy. That normal is just what you usually do. That op-shops don’t sell just second hand clothes, but a chance to get away from the waste and pollution of half arsed consumerism. That riding a horse could be as good as riding a motorbike. That people who give freely of their time and money and energy need not be on the Left. Or rich. Or even young. That a funny song can make a point better than an angry poem. That the Japanese government is yet to acknowledge the ‘comfort women’ from World War 2. And that if you wrestle lions in your sleep, you probably can beat most things when awake. Did you? I sure didn’t.

And now, 10 months later, it is almost time to go discover another place. While I am a huge fan of Pearly and Cédric’s epic cycle trip through south Asia, I cannot shake the feeling that they went too fast. While Tasman’s name for this land has stuck, it is Kupe’s and Cook’s tradition that I am interested in- they stayed put for a while. And as we prepare to move again, I must remind myself. To stay put. For a while.

But it all starts with jumping off a cliff.

under the party tree

under the party tree lie
the carcasses
of ice cream cones
and the tortured remains
of a pizza

hell hath no fury
like a school on picnic.

the bottlebroke tree

bottlebroke has just gone international! (well, they always say that like it's a good thing). entered 'the bottlebroke tree' at this years trees at the meteor event. also saw some of the trees being prepared, and they are *brilliant! hope to see them when they are all ready.

the tree is an adaptation of the bottlebroke lamps, with the addition of discarded wood pallets and cycle tubes. it has been an exciting (and scary) time making this, as i have struggled with ideas, with techniques, with materials. and finally, i had to edit. in a funny way, the 'artist statement' helped me edit, and stop myself from putting in things that didn't add to the mix.

the bottlebroke tree is a meeting of urban inner city broke-as living, a number 8 wire mentality and a reduce-reuse-recycle ethic, dressed in the attitude and aesthetics of punk. hope does not grow in the gardens of the nice and pretty, it springs from the worm pits of despair. may you rage against the machine, this christmas and always.

i'm offering the piece for sale, to help raise money for the local group of amnesty international. any help much appreciated!

NOTE: much thanks to dee for helping with the pictures, the listing, and generally putting up with the grumpy artist-fartist at work!

almost tolstoy

whoopee we're all gonna die

and it's one, two, three, what are we fighting for
don't ask me i don't give a damn, next stop is afghanistan
and it's five, six, seven, open up the pearly gates
ain't no time to wonder why, whoopee we're all gonna die

(adapted from the wise words of country joe)

christmas smells

this christmas has a different smell.

none of the pine quickened
charcoal fires
of a biting winter night

or the pork-and-mustard-leaf happiness
the stench of tribal feasting.

this christmas is lush
fed by a swollen river
and shaded by the broad leafed trees
of tane's mighty garden.

and try as i might
i cannot smell a feast.

note: tane is pronounced to rhyme with the 'ne' of the english word 'net'. tane is the maori god of the forests.

strange spring

the sky
is a surly sodden blanket
the river
bloated with mud

strange spring, this
at the end
of a long dark winter
strange spring, this
dressed in autumn brown

strange spring this-
and what will summer

another grin!

got news that a few poems have been accepted for publication in a blackmail press ezine:

"blackmail press is a resource created to give poets, students and poetry lovers in New Zealand a site to read, submit and find great poetry. The impetus was to promote New Zealand poets and to provide an environment for emerging New Zealand poets to share their works."

rather kicked- i've been *really scared of submitting poetry to zines! i really like some of the
poetry on, and am honoured to be a part of this!