Poems, Imitations & Translations


Ancestral Voices (2001)

brief 16 (2000)

Ancestral Voices

Auckland populations rely little if at all on sexual reproduction, but … grow into small replicas of the adult worm, within the parent’s burrow.
– Morton & Miller, The New Zealand Sea-Shore

[AUCKLAND – Monday, 12th February, 2001:]

The invasion starts with the eyes. When you find yourself pecking and rubbing at them, attempting to remove the source of discomfort – look out! Your bondage has begun.
First, the colours go: the intricate shading of a field of grass turns spring-green, as in the BAYLEYS real estate poster. Then go nuances of detail: skin becomes hairy or smooth, tan or cream – no tracery of lines and blemishes. Finally, the horizon lowers to eyes and watch. You find yourself consulting it every second moment, using it as an arbiter for how long things should continue. No time to eat a plum, or throw a frisbee; time to hurry on instead.

For Louise

Worshipping the sun-disk we proceed
land on the horizon
city of our Lord
Amenhotep’s son and seed

priestesses submit
their Bodies to the Promptings of the Rod
the feral North
packed pellet snow
darkness in the pit

outstretched hand-hooks
of the sun-disk
framed by angled light
this street old times old friends
the films I read old books

Jeremiah 31: xv

For fear the grass should offend thy feet
thou buildest footpaths
(Spent a summer once
constructing wooden bays
for concrete)

Cheers! The polo sports bag
takes its leave
backed up by body
& legs

A voice was heard in Parnell
weeping for her children
and would not be comforted
because they are

[AUCKLAND – Thursday, 8th August, 1996:]

Coming up, soon, to the two months’ anniversary of our break-up – or, rather, of Marianne’s unceremonious dumping of me: “Time to pack, Jack;” “Take a walk, dork;” “No time to floss, Ross;” “I’m moving on, John.”
My mind is pullulating with ideas, most of them somewhat unconstructive, I fear (i.e. drowning myself off Mairangi Bay beach; crossing Hobson St a bit too slowly). I recall listening to hours of other people’s break-ups: Ali Lum for one, Bruce & Alison, Lisa & Murray – no-one seems too anxious to reciprocate for me, however.

It’s Friday now, & the last class of the week is coming up. Too much more of this job would drive me crazy; I’m halfway there already. On Tuesday I lost my temper & slammed a door & threw something because my afternoon class sat there immobile & wouldn’t help me go and get a chair – or two – or three – for the classroom. Not a great success. I doubt that getting fired would be the best of moves just now.

[brief 16 (2000): 62-69]

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