Boarding Call (2009)

My Wörterbuch, my kiwi flag,
Socks and sandals, just like Dad,
My summer dress, my lightweight cardi,
Photos from my leaving party,
Names and addresses of distant rellies,
Marmite to treat homesick bellies,
My bulging backpack, my hiking socks,
Pineapple lumps, combination locks,
Camera, notebook, sunscreen, togs,
Glenn Colquhoun’s book ‘Playing God’,
My tiki T-shirt, student ID,
Presents for all my friends-to-be,
Toothbrush, toothpaste, dental floss,
Metro Mag for all the goss,
My passport and my boarding passes,
My crayola felt tip washable markers,
St Christopher necklace from my mates,
Instructions to the boarding gates,
My optimism, my trepidation,
My welling pride in my home nation.

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What Lies Beneath

Whispers of whale oil
And promises of 28 minute self serve dry cleaning
Adorn brick walls
Proudly proclaiming the wares of history
And urging the audience to
‘Protect your investment’
With a lick of paint.

This paint’s long dry,
Buried behind designer developments
And the promise of a brighter future
The signs decay
Until one day
They are awoken from their slumber
As walls tumble
With an almighty crash…

Come September,
They find a different world
With cents, not pence
Where nothing makes sense
Anymore.

Grandpa is a Scarecrow

Grandpa is a scarecrow
He guards our peas and corn
And greets incoming visitors
From his place out on the lawn

While straw is sorely lacking
He has clavicles instead
And seasonal blooms to decorate
The sockets in his head

Grandpa’s out there all year round
His bones are bleached all white
He stands out in the garden
Giving errant birds a fright

Our neighbours won’t come near him
They think it’s rather odd
That we should use a skeleton
To guard our turf and sod

But Grandpa, he’d be happy
He always used to say
‘So long as one’s a gardener
He’ll live to see another day’

For Magritte

the day sounds lullaby blue
and fills the mouth
with horizon

through the
hush-hush of the lapping water
the wind is holding its breath
quiet
serene

faraway silence
thickens
in the summer noon
everyone is sleeping
(waiting)
just a moment in time

a leaf comes to rest
gentle
on the windowsill
time a looped
de ja vue

and She
still as stone
Madrid Red stains her temple
Salty, tepid

She,
alone in the blue

After

That night she slept naked and alone,
waking to a diluted sky
and swollen eyelids where mascara should have been.

Double duck-taped and boxed in the corner,
shelves full of memories
The lives between the pages fading sepia,
draining colour year by year
as time sped up.

The walls were bare
yet the ghosts of building blocks,
of family bickering and of laughter filled the space,
stifled the room and she had to open all the windows
just to make room to think.

If only all ghosts were so easily banished
But her worry dolls had gone missing in the shift
And with no one to talk to the words ate each other,
Ate themselves,
Then ate up her tongue

And The Rain

And the rain, it keeps on falling
And I listen to the beat
As I shelter in a doorway
Drawing circles with my feet

Drawing circles, like the madman
By the corner store who cries
That all life is just a circle
With imagined things inside

I imagine I can see you
Glasses pattered by the rain
As you stumble to the underground
And run to catch your train

And this train, it takes you blindly
To a place out by the sea
Where you’ll dive into the ocean
Make the city leave you be

All the city-papers sitting
Orphaned on your desk at home
As you float about the water
Drawing mermaids in the foam

And the sun, it drinks the ocean
Turning water into cloud
And though the wind does batter,
The sun will not cry aloud

It will not give the ocean back
The salt as stories come
Adrifting down the river
From the land of ever-glum

One by one it gathers them
In its basket in the sky
Until it just can’t hold them
And then it starts to cry…

Water rains onto the city
Refilling empty eyes
And it soaks through all umbrellas
And I see you in disguise

And an old man with a walker
Squeaks by, battling the stream
And the smile in his eyes tells me
It’s never too late to dream

In Service

Today the flags flew at half mast
under a tempestuous blue sky.

We did not know for whom
they were lowered
as our car crawled over
the arch of the bridge
and they were mentioned
but in passing
as we indicated our lane change
and carried on our way.

For two families tonight,
a faraway convoy
means a flagpole
will never look the same again.

Heat

The day TV went digital
I sat and watched the fire,
Intrigued by the battles of the flames
That could rival any Kardashian divorce
And the stages of character
As wood turned to ash
Like sand through the hourglass.

The kindling provided its own commentary,
With a hiss and a crackle
And the convoluted demise of each chunk of wood
Was anything but cut and dried
Playing out an ancient storyline
Behind glass, beneath my eaves.

Hey Diddle Diddle

The dish and the spoon have absconded from my pantry
One can only assume it was an orchestrated occurrence.

An elopement is a novelty in this day and age,
Unfettered love set free into the big wide world
To skin its knees and learn the hard way
With no care for the matching crockery and stiff upper lips
That come with a white wedding and exorbitant make up bills.

A bone china complexion needs no adulteration
To be exalted in.
It’s refreshing.

I’ll make do with a fork tonight to eat my tea.