Inside out

Some poems and reflections on life

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The marmorated stink bug

The marmorated stink bug is causing significant concern to New Zealand. It has been found in some cargoes and if established would significantly harm our agriculture industry.  It is already causing a lot of harm in the US and Europe.  If you see one, report it to MPI immediately.  Meanwhile, enjoy this slightly tongue in cheek poem.


The marmorated stink bug
is eating all our food;
chomping through our fields
‘Oh how, very rude!’;
A small, brown bomb of stench —
all our crops are screwed.

The end of the word was supposed to astound;
Nuclear war, plagues,
Earthquakes, tidal waves
From god on high the trumpets would sound!

Not a slow, quiet death of starvation;
as one butt-ugly bug eats everything in creation.

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How can I tell you?

I wrote this in response to a radio interview, where the interviewee talked about how little her Jewish parents would say about their experience in World War II. My father served at the end of the war in the New Zealand army.  He was involved in the recovery and clean up after the fighting was over in Italy and Japan. But even so, he was very reluctant to talk about his experiences. 

How can I tell you
about my pain?
The horror I faced
to relive it again
Buried deep inside
I can’t explain.

To tell you it to give them
power and life once more,
To remain silent is to let them
die within for sure,
But they are not dead
just sleeping at the door.

If you do not know,
then you will not learn
You will miss the signs
when they return
And think that your world
could never burn

But I should tell you also
about the others
Who stood beside us
like sisters and brothers
And risked their lives
to stop the horrors.

To tell you is to give them
also power and life once more
To remain silent is to let
die for sure
Forgotten heros
nameless as before.

You need to know
so that you will learn
You are not alone
when they do return
There are many who will stand with you
and not let this world burn.

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The storm

Laying in silence under the bed
Waiting for the roll of thunder
Counting the seconds since the flash

One thousand and one

Day has turned to night in 30 seconds
Bright sun to dark, damp air
Bristling with static charge

One thousand and two

Stillness was replaced with wild wind
blowing from no particular direction

One thousand and three
One thousand and four
One thousand and five

A distant rumble
another bright flash.



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Hurihuri te ao

Hurihuri te ao
[trans: The world turns]

A man strides down the street
Wearing important clothes
And very important shoes
Off to make important decisions
With very important people
His shiny new shoes slip
In a dog turd and
he swears.

Hurihuri te ao

A girl sits eating her ice cream cone
Racing the hot sun to
Get to the bottom
Before it all melts and leaves
A sticky liquid on the ground
She stares at it sadly
The dripping mess
She never got to eat and
She cries.

Hurihuri te ao.

A dog sniffs along the road
Finding tidbits to fill his skinny frame
Marking a lamp post to show
The world it is his own
Licks up some melted icecream
Then squats down to
Take a crap and
he wanders on.

Hurihuri te ao.

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Magic Jack

He stands and shuffles down the street
muttering and cursing to no one
shouting incantations and casting
spells on the mindless crowds
that rush from somewhere to nowhere

His words transform the world
reading the faces as lines in a book
directing the players to take
their parts on the stage

Reality shifts and turns as
his words shape the world
We think we are going about
our own business
oblivious to the control he has
over all of us

He rummages in our left over rubbish
Looking for our discarded talismans
Pocketing the objects that he will later
align on the shelf in his small room
finding order in the chaos.


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Meet Geoffrey

Geoffrey stands at the side of the road
A fine, frosty morning
Enjoying the quiet solitude
As the sheep across the fence ignore him

A car screams down the road
Coming to a stop by the drive way

“Watch out for Geff”, she calls
“For who?”
“For Geoffrey”

Pain explodes in my chest
The ground rises to meet my head
I look up to the sky and see
A large goat staring down

“Oh, hello … you must be Geoffrey.”

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Sound surfing

Noise crashes onto the shore of my being
Random, rainbow coloured sounds
Words escape, jump free over the waves of dissonance
Escaping momentarily into the sunlight of comprehension
Then dive back into the ocean of sound

I sit sipping my coffee,
observing and unobserved
As I plunge into the waves
Waiting for one to carry my thoughts
Before crashing me back to the shore.

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My life is a dream
I fell asleep many years ago
The world just faded into gray
I don’t remember how or when

It just slowly went out of focus
Walking became harder
I laid down and slept

I wait for one kiss
A kiss to wake me out of this non-existence
A kiss to draw my blood to my face
A kiss to make my fingers tingle and my lips tremble

Just one kiss … that’s all

A kiss

Dry, cracked lips press onto my mouth
Stale breath fills my nose
I am pushed down as my mouth is invaded
By a fat, sour tongue

How dare you come into my room uninvited
Invading my sanctuary
Waking me with your clumsy, fumbling hands

A scream dies in mythroat
I am too weak to fight back

I am awake.

to be continued …


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Going home

If I had it all over again, what would I do?

I stand in front on the house where I played,
My older, future self looking in
How could I ever have imagined my life to be,
way back then?

I remember a time that I cannot return to.

Lying on the floor listening to records
Riding my bike across to the next town
Mucking around in Dad’s workshop.

I struggle to remember what once was.

The main street is now paved with brick
Chewing gum covered asphalt is gone
So too the seat where we ate hot chips after school.

Some things still remain, frozen in time.

The paint on the old church peels away at exactly the same spots
The town hall remains unchanged but no longer shows movies
The school, the park, the pool are just like when I left

And yet it has all changed

New shops, cafes on the high street
Houses fill in the paddocks I once crossed to school
The pub, where fathers got drunk on a Friday night,
is now a boutique hotel.

If I had it all over again, what would I do?
Would anything really be different?

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I see you

In the distance, a fleeting shadow
between the trees,

Deep leafy undergrowth
covers rotting leaves

In the corner of my eye
I see movement

But when I look – you are gone.

I search for signs of your existence
Footprints in the soft mud
Excrement carelessly dropped

I stand still, waiting,
holding my breath.

I see you standing, waiting
there silently

Looking intensely through
the thick growth

I move cautiously behind the trees
Camouflaged in shadows

But you still stare straight at me

A dangerous invader of my territory
Your scent wafts over the breeze
A rancid stench of unwashed clothes

I stand still, waiting
holding my breath.