Friday, August 11, 2017

Missing Brass

The music, the voice,
the words, friends:
a pleasant evening
at The Old School.

Then the bassist
puts down her guitar
picks up her tenor horn
and takes me back.

Back to the kitchen
way back when,
preparing dinner,
chop off the bottom
chop off the top
what there is left
you put in the pot,
and down the hall
the muted trumpet,
or the saxophone
playing scales
up and down
over and over....

Now, in the semi-dark,
tears seep through
despite eyes
squeezed tightly shut.

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Taking Life Seriously

I came home from Raglan's Word Cafe really hyped up. The opening night with four poets got me keen to get back to writing poetry regularly, and Jackie McRae's writing workshop emphasized the need to take writing seriously.

This resonated strongly with something else that's been on my mind lately: many people have been congratulating me on my weight loss, and on reducing my blood sugar levels to the point where my HbA1c test result stated, "If used as a screening test, diabetes is virtually excluded". Almost always, people say of my extremely low sugar (a small amount of fruit only), virtually grain-free diet (added to already being vegetarian) with, 'I couldn't do that!' When the other option was deteriorating health, increased chances of heart disease, strokes, blindness, gangrene / amputations of extremities, and earlier than necessary death, I chose living over boring diet. I decided to take my health seriously.

I realised that I need to examine myself and decide what is important to me: easy.

I realised that I need to take life seriously, and all of the things I value. Not so easy.

Last night I decided that I would get up an hour early and do a few stretches, 10 minutes meditation, and half an hour of writing.

Having made this important decision, I took myself off to bed an hour earlier than usual, and slept the sleep of the innocent, I slept through the alarm, I slept through Mac getting up, showing, getting dressed. I vaguely remember him saying goodbye as he left for work, but promptly went back to sleep.

I was only five minutes late for my yoga class at 10.

Seriously? I don't think I'm cut out for taking life seriously, but I will try again tomorrow. Seriously.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Winter Solstice: 4.24pm 21 June 2017





the yellows, orange and reds
are almost all gone
fallen, curling, drying,
decaying on the ground
the bare bones
grey and brown
starkly naked
but for an occasional
determined leaf
and left-over nest

look more closely
there are hints
of yellow and red
and furry tips
promising new
and continuing life
and violets
in the long grass

Monday, June 12, 2017

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Ruru / morepork / owl

Towards the end of the Mindfulness half-day workshop, we were asked to go for a walk in the retreat's gardens: to allow our attention to be drawn to whatever it naturally was drawn to, for just so long as it held our attention; to observe it, and to notice how we felt, and to alternate those noticings between external and internal.

Are the gardens at the retreat particularly special, or is it mostly in the noticing? I was overwhelmed by the beauty of it, but I looking back I think the beauty was, indeed, largely in the noticing.

The trees. The evergreens, robustly alive, some with new tips of lighter green or even yellow. The deciduous trees, some with the last of the autumn yellow and reds, some hanging on to their dry brown leaves, some stripped to bare bones, showing off the beauty of their bark, and the exquisite, abandoned nests.

The seedpods and berries. Orange and red berries.  Karo pods burst open, black berries shining. Seedpods of all shapes and sizes, standing upright om stems, dangling loose in the breeze.

Leaves. So much variation. Serrated edges, smooth edges. Wildly varied vein patterns. So many shades of green that I feel a severe lack of vocabulary.

Lichen on bench seats, moss on the path under the trees and where the bush path met the lawn, a row of bricks mark the line between wild and manicured, and the moss declares its intention to reclaim its space by filling the six neat, round holes in each brick.

The birds. Fantails and sparrows, twittering and wittering. A tui streaking past, some urgent business to attend to. A pair of blackbirds having a domestic dispute. The row of mynahs sitting on top of the old round barn two paddocks away.

And the ruru who got up early to fly down through the trees to sit on a low branch just a couple of metres away from me and tried to stare me down. For ten minutes we stood, eyeballing each other. Each time another bird came near, the ruru's head swiveled around to assess the situation, then back to me. As the moments went by I felt the awe and joy welling up through my chest, my throat, my blood, until I knew with absolute certainty that I am much, much bigger on the inside.

When another human crunched along the gravel path, the ruru gave me one more suspicious glance and flew off  back into the darker place in the garden.

I will hold this memory of bird and joy in my heart. I will strive to live as it does: completely present in the moment, yet alert and aware of endless possibilities.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Stars and Lichen

Yesterday evening,
while driving into the city
I thought how easy it would be
if I lived ten minutes walk
or drive from everything
and how, as a city dweller,
I could go to Nivara Lounge
every week or more
to listen to music,
and visit art galleries
and walk in parks
just down the road,
without the trek in
at the end of the day,
without the trek back
sober, because
'don't drink and drive'.

Last night,
after the party,
I drove home in the dark,
squinting through the fog,
singing along to old favourites
the Stones, Billy Joel and Cake,
trying to stay awake,
being the sober driver
and finally there we were,
beneath a black sky,
the Milky Way spilling
over our home
more stars than
city folk can dream of,
and this morning
sunshine and chickens,
lichen on the fence post.


Saturday, May 27, 2017

Missing Coffee with Violet

I was wanting a coffee
the other day in the city.
I passed by Machina
in London Street
and carried on because
I miss you, Violet,
and we used to meet there.

Driving across town
to Hamilton East
I could have stopped
at the Grey Street Kitchen
but I knew that too
would feel empty
without you, Violet.

I miss your wit and vulnerability.
Those conversations cut short
by the needs of children
yours and mine.
I miss your courage.
I miss your poetry,
back in those MySpace days.

Today I saw the horrific news
and saw your daughter say
it happened just one
block from your home.
I am afraid for you,
immigrant in a violent land
and, I miss you, Violet