Brief Encounter

Never trust a poet;

his recitations transport you

to places no steam engine can;


while the fog of things

he never quite utters,

but offer in images,


alliteration, adjectives and atmosphere

swirl around you,

like candyfloss.


Deliciously, he starts to satisfy you  

that passion and poetry are, like old movies,

better in monochrome.


Then he drinks with you,

telling you his saddest story,

certain it mirrors your own.


You await some connection,

but each stanza he discloses

only delays you more.


Too soon, he kisses you,

then walks away, a distant fluttering

of fingers, a hazy adieux.


Tomorrow, you'll return to your rendezvous.

You'll await the poet's tender verses,

but they'll never come.


No, never trust a poet;

one kiss is all he needs

to break your heart.



Tips on Leaving Wellington

Whisper your farewells

to the southerly,

and to the school-boy

playing hooky, dreaming

as he ogles your legs,

and to the grey-faced drifter

who lugs his life each day

through Lambton and Willis

predictable as winter fog,

and to the guy with a maniac's eyes

whose cuff (Patrick Bateman-style

Armani suit) brushes lightly against you;

you're on the edge

of telling everyone,

Au revoir, haere ra, see ya.


Board the five-dollar flyer

and let it wing you

through the Pirie Street underpass,

dark and narrow as an escape chute.


And when you make it out

to Lyall Bay, skim through

the pages of something suitable -

Ricketts' How to Live Elsewhere,

Bland's Sorry, I'm a Stranger Here Myself   -

whilst you marvel at the moon-white crest,

the single surfer and the arc taken

around the rim of the runway

just as NZ420 takes off overhead.


Don't scream

if they cancel your flight.

The hours you waste

watching plane after plane

leave you behind

whilst you wait to depart,

allow you to remember

you're in the land

of No Worries now.



The Other Woman's Car

It's something sporty

(like you've always wanted),

kakariki/green as a grass-snake

plenty of torque,

starts up like a siren,

and it's automatic

judging by the speed

with which she pulls you away.

She'll never have a breakdown,

she can promise you that.


Unlike me,

she'll go forever

on a thimbleful of fuel.


And as she does so,

you stare back at me,

momentarily, through her

smoky electric-windows.

I'm comforted

at seeing you trapped

and looking like

you're not enjoying it.


In the hour you're absent,

I avoid the grapple and thrust

of imagining

the sculpted contours of

her bodywork;

your fingers toying with

her instrumentation,

glove box and cup-holders;

the two of you squeezed tightly

into low, leather seats;

and so forth.


That way,

when you return, smiling

and in the driver's seat,

I can seem easygoing

as I ask you  

when it'll be my turn

to take you for a ride.

poet's biography ->