Sunday, January 30, 2011

the final stone (aros 31)


                                   In Aotearoa
                                   I'm first to see the dawn
                                   on the final day of
                                   a river of stones

                                   my fledgling stone has grown
                                   and now set free
                                   will find its way to fly each day
                                   and if it doesn't reach the stars
                                   the moon is no mean feat



Saturday, January 29, 2011

the penultimate stone (aros 30)

                          here goes
                          the penultimate stone
                          (there's an end of term feeling
                          about it)

                          but it's cast now
                          and sends ripples far and wide
                          that become part of the bigger stream
                          the deeper river
                          the ocean of creativity
                          that's out there  

long weekend (aros 29)

                                sitting at my usual table
                                outside my favourite coffee shop
                                I watch visitors in transit
                                ease stiff joints and aching backs
                                from stuffy cars stacked with
                                weekend stuff

                                I'm glad I'm not going anywhere    


after the storm (aros 28)

                                       the sun shines

                                       knee deep ponds
                                       of fresh rain water
                                       become swimming pools
                                       for children still on holiday
                                       and seagulls traumatized by Wilma


Friday, January 28, 2011

Cyclone (aros 27)

                                        Wilma passed through last night
                                        bad-tempered bitch



walk the grid (aros 26)


                         where has it come from
                         this puddle of clear water
                         making its home on my carpet?

                         last night's storm and a drip on a light fitting
                         suggest a break in
                         too much CSI viewing?



new paintbox (aros 25)




                                        you are nothing as yet
                                        just a box full of possibilities


Monday, January 24, 2011

small world (aros 24)

                                       I saw an alpaca today
                                       sharing its home with a
                                       goat and two sheep

                                       funny the creatures you meet
                                       in a small world


Saturday, January 22, 2011

King Tide (aros 23)


                                  the Pacific Ocean
                                  creeps into my garden
                                  heads straight for my door
                                  check measurements
                                  check timings
                                  check sandbags
                                  check floor

                                  then the wind eases
                                  boats swing on their moorings
                                  the tide turns...
                                  calm reigns once more


Friday, January 21, 2011

lunar luminaire (aros 22)


                                       the distant moon
                                       lights the shortest route                            
                                       from your door
                                       to mine

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Sunrise (aros 21)

                                   at this point in time
                                   there's nothing to be done
                                   save sitting and watching the
                                   spectacle unfold

                                   for how long can you hold the day at bay?

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Hibiscus (aros 20)

                                   'Look closely,' she said. 'What do you see?'
                                   Cirque du Soleil in a crimson marquee.


nana nap (aros 19)

                                                      why do I insist
                                                      I must resist
                                                      the ubiquitous nana nap?


Tuesday, January 18, 2011

dicksonia squarrosa (aros 18)


                                                    tree ferns
                                                    lacy parasols
                                                    natural protection


cyclones (aros 17)


                                           two cyclones converging
                                           better than one they say
                                           whatever... it's a grey day


Monday, January 17, 2011

A book worth talking about... The Known World

The Known World, a first novel by Edward P. Jones, won the 2004 Pulitzer Prize and the 2005 IMPAC Award. It joins a long list of novels about slavery, the slave trade and life on the plantations of the southern states of America. The Known World differs from others in this genre, however, in that the slave owners are black and former slaves themselves.

At the start of the novel the reader is introduced to a great many characters in a few pages. You wonder how you will keep up. Especially as these characters confront you with their price tag intact. By stealth, Jones attempts to persuade you to view humans as property... legacy... a commodity that is insurable against accident but not really against age and wear and tear. Where lash marks on a man's back may reduce his potential price by $5 a scar, necessitating other, less visible forms of punishment. You find yourself doing the sums. You can visualize the accounts book. Give a bit here, take a bit there. If that involves splitting up a lifetime partnership, well so be it. Marriages can be inconvenient. The books must balance.

This book is not an easy read, but well worth the effort. Using multiple narrators, many tales are told by different people, so very different points of view are juxtaposed. Time is fluid and, in the manner of oral story-telling, moves back and forth. The reader needs to work a little.

The most startling revelation, that a black slave owner can end up owning his own parents and siblings, shifts the familial dynamics in ways that surprise and shock. Black slave owners inhabit two worlds. To be taken seriously as businessmen and women, they must be seen to be working within established systems. The Abolitionists are making progress, yet the move towards freedom is fraught with moral, social and political complexities. For the slaves, their known world can feel safer than the new one on the horizon.

The Known World is a novel that creeps up on you. You feel inhabited by something sinister and unpalatable, but also unputdownable.

Pike River Mine (aros 16)


                                             look around your room and
                                             note all the items made possible
                                             by coal

                                             they're going to seal the mine
                                             they'll not be forgotten                                                                                    


cyclone coming (aros 15)

across the harbour
the hill has disappeared
trees do a synchronized lean to the left
godwits seek shelter
in the local coffee shop

Visiting Nellie (aros 14)

Eyes closed, she works her gums. Clasped hands busy stroking fingers that no longer straighten. Pearls caught up on the collar of her blouse clash with the bling broach fastened to cardigan caught up on the wrong button. Hair cut short for convenience not style. I push aside the walking frame and reach to stroke her hand. Half seeing eyes ping open. 'Oh, hello love.' Teeth go in. The room lights up with her smile.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Guide Dog Pup (aros 13)

                                       I can 'come'  
                                       I can 'down'
                                       I can 'sit' 
                                       I can 'stay'

                                       But when are we going to PLAY? 

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Monday, January 10, 2011

Weather (aros 11)

                                           Georgia USA snowed in.
                                           Queensland's disappeared under water.
                                           New Zealand has drought.
                                           Still raining in Fiji.
                                           Anyone getting what they want?

Big Bug (aros 10)

A bug walked into my bedroom last night as if he owned the place.
I crept out...
left him to it.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Forgiveness (aros 9)

She brings me chocolates and pleads forgiveness
this girl with the turkey laugh who kept me awake for two whole nights with her drunken antics.

A book worth talking about... Camping on the Faultline

Camping on the Faultline, a memoir by Marilyn Duckworth, is worth talking about primarily because of its resemblance to the celebrity gossip magazines we wouldn't be seen reading in public. I thought I might get an insight into the writing life of a well known and much lauded NZ author. Well, I suppose I did, of sorts.

A restless spirit, Duckworth claims she writes her best when she's away from home. That said, flitting between two countries, forty-nine houses, twelve schools, four husbands and many lovers, clearly contributed to her considerable writing output. This book, however, let me down. All I learnt was who, of the NZ literati, was in bed with whom throughout the flirtatious 50s, through the sexy 60s to the naughty 90s. They were all at it and Ms Duckworth holds nothing back.  They're all in there. All the writers we think of as being the core of the NZ literary scene of that period. I'm not going to drop names, but, Maurice Shadbolt is in there...  and Fleur Adcock running off to wed Barry Crump? Of course most of this was pre The Pill days and so inevitably multiple children ensued from the couplings of various combinations of spouses, lovers, mistresses and what have you. Too old to be considered hippies, they'd missed Bohemia by miles. So what drove them to leap from bed to bed, relationship to relationship? The word 'creativity' is tossed around and although there are references to several of Duckworth's books, there's no real insight into the creative process and nothing that significantly links the events of her hectic love life to that of her writing life. To be honest, I felt exhausted for her and not at all surprised that she needed to upsticks and leave, yet again, in order to concentrate on writing. Haven't we all felt that urge? However, after husband number four, I lost interest in these people. Ms Duckworth doesn't regret any of it, she says. And clearly, it worked for her.

Girl with the Turkey Laugh (aros 8)

Petite, toned body. So drunk she can hardly stand up. A laugh like a pregnant turkey. She has no idea what a mess she looks. Projecting coolness like... you know, like... ah shit...

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Community Service (aros 7)

The siren goes. The waiter puts down his pad and takes off his apron. Two men running across the road, tearing off green supermarket shirts as they go. The schoolmaster rolls up on his bike. Here's the postman, the real estate agent,  the builder.  City folk, holiday-makers, stand and stare, open mouthed, as the fire engine emerges. This is community service.

Blue Cheese (aros 6)


                                               if the moon
                                               really was made of cheese
                                               it'd be blue
                                               dark craters that smell of decay

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Monday, January 3, 2011

Croquet (aros 4)

Way down there there's a hoop. Small and very narrow. This ball... this red ball that's my ball... it'll never reach it, will it?

Saturday, January 1, 2011

New Year Baby (aros 1)

I'm participating in the 'river of stones' project for January... see link in my side bar. This is my first 'small stone'.

A young man showed me his new baby today. Tiny, it lay cradled in his arms. Wrapped in shop bought blanket against the sea breeze it clung to his finger. The young man beamed. Bare feet, surfer shorts, sun-bleached hair. No more than a baby himself.