Category Archives: poems-Dunedin

The ending …

I feel like a beached whale
With a cramp in my leg
And stiff knees
Washed up on the shores
Of a former self
Trying to reconnect
After a holiday at Surfer’s Paradise
Theme parks and swimming pools
And child minding.

It is a still night with moths
Bumping at the windows
Seeking the light.
Are we so foolish
Attracted by the glitz
Of modern day middle-class life?

I remember somewhere vowing
I would rather die then become middle-class
— And maybe I have
Without realizing it.

Dunedin, NZ — January, 1994

On being a guru

It is much harder to be a guru
These days.
Leading an impeccable life
Is no longer enough.
You have to know about E-mail
The latest GCG software
Gene-jockeying and transgenics.
You can no longer ride
Knobby-kneed on a bike
Clothed in a home-spun hand-knitted vest
With a begging bowl.
You have to own a huge HONDA
And a time-share.
Success in the market-place
Is as important as the sound
Of one-hand clapping.

Maybe that’s why there are so few of us.

Dunedin, NZ — October, 1993


The usual rites of arrival
Are a dram of whiskey
And a long gaze into
The distant hills and the sea.

This time three workman are clamouring
And hammering at the guts
Of the crib.

Questions of how high
Do you want the shower?
What lighting do you want
Sheets of iron and old timber

After dealing with the minutiae
Of renovations
I was ready for a long walk
Along Long Beach.

Purakanui — March, 1993

The look

Sometimes I look at you
And see anxiety
Written on your body
And features —
Sad memories of times passed
And bitter experiences.

Sometimes I look at you
And see a wood nymph
Disguised as a corporate woman
Putting on eye make-up
Dressed in a power-blue suit.

Sometimes I look at you
And see a Catherine
Of the wispy mists
Wandering among wild flowers
And sunny meadows
Looking for her lover.

But always
When I look at you
I see the eyes
Of a woman in love.

Dunedin, NZ — March, 1992

The Fates

Twitch, twitch
Wiggle, wiggle
Scratch, scratch.
The prelims to falling asleep
With my arm around you
My hand holding one of your breasts
Fitting together like two spoons.

Sometimes I see a sadness
In your eyes that we didn’t
Have those twenty years together
To grow, to dream, to share.

Sometimes I see an anxiety
That the Fates may
Conspire against us.

Dunedin, NZ — February, 1992

Images of Sarah

A petite person trying to control
The whole world
Stamping her feet in frustration
And shouting the odds.

A tired seabird at SeaWorld
Placing one foot in front of the other
Like a long-legged flamingo with a handbag.

A happy dolly-bird riding the bus
Blue eyes flashing, lips painted red
Her long fluorescent legs being stroked.

A caring mother writing postcards
And buying T-shirts
For a son,
Counting the dollars once again for Catherine.

Sitting at a table for two
With sushi and sashimi
Retelling tales of old lovers.

These and other images being bound together
By the chemistry
Of primeval lovemaking.

Surfer’s Paradise, Australia — January, 1992

Goodbye 1 Hyde St.

Although I have owned you for 10 years
I did not form any bonds
There are no voices on the walls
Or ghosts in the cupboards.
I was always fond of your double-brickness
And your classic villa style
The double cable roof
And wrong-iron frieze entrance.
But you were always for the children
Who used and abused you.
And now even that has come to an end.


I see the builder has been in.

Dunedin, NZ — December, 1991