Inside out

Some poems and reflections on life

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Owed to perfection

Inspired by reading “The 7 Secrets of the Prolific: The Definitive Guide to Overcoming Procrastination, Perfectionism, and Writer’s Block”  by Hillary Rettig


Perfectly you stand, in glory
Astride the sea-wall gates
A colossus guarding all who enter

No one can ever measure up
Nothing will ever compare
All will fail under your shadow

We wait in dread silence
For the muse to strike
For that amazing inspiration we need
To propel ourselves over your wall

Faint praise damns us to hell
Good enough is never good enough

We lie stuck in the stench of our own self loathing
As giants stroll by not realising
That all we have to do is
stand up

So get up
Strut your stuff
Damn the critics
Damn the reviewers
Damn that voice inside that tells you you are not worthy

Run naked down the street
in all your flabby glory
Get out of where you are
And tell everyone your story

Not because it will be the ‘next big thing’
Not because it will get applause
Not because it will bring fame and fortune
Or not even because it will make this sorry world a little brighter

Tell it because it is yours to tell
Tell it because it is our story

Rough and ready – full of wholes
Written badly is better
than not written at all.



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Under the city


Tracks lie in semi-dark,
soft illumination highlights
a shadow of a train

Fine dust covers the platform,
lies deep as sand on a beach

The ticket collector waits
patiently for passengers
who never come

The train travels silently
down the track;
an empty remnant
of a half dreamed project


Down a passage – through a door,
cigar smoke fills the room
as cards are shuffled and
vodka shots poured


Fleeing down a winding stair
lost in the labyrinth,
an underground network
of tunnels and rooms

Shadow reflection of the world above

Dark corners hide
secrets long buried


Stooped over a bench of dials and gauges
a man reads off numbers;
signs and signals of the world above

Wizened and hunchbacked,
he scurried down the corridor
passing messages
of great importance
and enormous secrecy


Water drips from the ceiling,
broken tile gives way to
natural rock

Caves formed by a stream;
transparent fish school
in the shallows

Abandoned remains of people
who once sat

Before the city was built above.


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Matariki 2016

Matariki is the Māori name for the cluster of stars also known as the Pleiades. It rises in mid-winter – late May or early June. For many Māori, it heralds the start of a new year. Matariki literally means the ‘eyes of god’ (mata ariki) or ‘little eyes’ (mata riki).”

“Don’t the overwhelming majority believe that mankind is the crowning achievement of Creation, that man is better than everything, even things we haven’t yet investigated? And don’t those people who aren’t able to escape the bonds of their own ego think that the entire Universe, even the countless worlds of outer space, is just a backdrop for this ego? And yet it might be quite different.”
Adalbert Stifter (1805 – 1868), Indian Summer  – quoted on Views from the Edge


A star rises in the pre-dawn sky
A marker for new beginnings

Against this majestic backdrop
We argue and fight for glory

Who will win? and
Who will lose this time?

The world hangs on a thread
waiting for the outcome of a vote

While millions wander homeless
Cast out by war not of their making

Justice alludes us again
As guns fire and knives stab

Tirohia atu nei, ka wheturangitia te pō
Akuanei, ka pūao te ata

Engari, i te tino wā nei …
titiro  … whakarongo … whakamiharo …


[Look – the night sky is adorned with stars
Very soon, dawn will break

But in this very moment …
Look … listen … wonder …]

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To escape your love

Sand shifts under my toes
Waves crash over each other
Racing to knock me down
Tide sucks me under

I race for the mountain top
to escape the wrath of your love
climbing higher than ever
to find myself
at the bottom of the abyss

Fog swirls envelop me
in quicksand sinking down
in my own shit up to my navel
where I gaze wondering
if I am to be eaten alive

Sinking down in ooze
I fall freely through time and space
landing in soft cushions of dust
scattering into clouds
shooting up my nose …

I sneeze … Tihei

I live … Mauri ora.



Moments of joy

Sweet juice dribbles down my chin
Sticky residue of the first bite

Bright sun reflects off the clouds below
As we stand on the mountain top

Soft blankets block out the cold
I snuggle into your warmth

Care melts away into nothing
As I lie in the one spot of sunshine

The first sip of warmth awakens
Deep within my soul

Vibrations penetrate my being
Music fades into memory


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A post-modern psalm

Smoke cloud dims my view in front
I see you walking in the distance

Seven billion angels dance on a pinhead

Water swirls deepening red
Our pursuers cry out from the deep

Seven billion angels dance on a pinhead

Shouts of agony rend the air
You wrap your arms around me

Seven billion angels dance on a pinhead

A promise of hope is given
A land we cannot enter … yet

Seven billion angels dance on a pinhead

We raise up our greedy wealth
Melted into a golden beast

Seven billion angels dance on a pinhead

We build walls to keep ourselves intact
And slaughter the enemy before us

Seven billion angels dance on a pinhead

Our life is on borrowed time
We eat tomorrow’s bread today

Seven billion angels dance on a pinhead

We are not satisfied
We strive to be divine and end up less than human

Seven billion angels dance on a pinhead

Where do we look for hope?
Where do we look for life?
Where do we look for tomorrow?

Seven billion angels dance on a pinhead