Aotearoa North Meets South

It feels a world away.

This jagged rock face

the dry, bitter winds

whistling through thorny Rosehip and Mataguri

over tussocks of yellow moss.

Air so cool and fresh in my lungs that it

stings my nostrils and pinkins my cheeks.

 

This place, these shortened sunlight days,

could not be more in contrast

to the sticky heat of the bush.

 

Linen off the line that comes in never quite dry.

Ferns curled as Kora

dripping with condensation.

A constant plume of flying insects following everyone, swarming on the golden beaches.

Sand in my shoes, salt in my hair.

Hot, humid nights, staring at the ceiling, trying not to move.

Early, curtainless mornings with the sun rising into orange hue.

After a seemingly endless day, the sun drops slowly into the blue ocean.

Crumbling clay banks coming alive with glow worms.

The dull ache of tired bones after a long summer.

 

So different now, as I sit amid swathes of blankets and cushions,

curtains half drawn

log burner bellowing dry heat

watching the steam rise from a cup of tea.

I look at the mountains dusted in snow.

The lake, glass-like, reflects that very same sky.

Friable.
A word used by the surgeon in a postoperative letter to me
to describe my insides.
I squinted at it, breathed out heavily.

Friable.
The soil crumbled beautifully between the prongs of the fork.
The smell of damp decay rising gently to my nostrils
‘You must be able to grow great carrots here’
I said
‘The soil’s so loose and light’

Friable.
Anger and confusion washed over me as I read the word. The bleached paper
ugly between my fingers,
clinical.
‘What exactly does friable mean?’ I had asked my father at the breakfast table.
He looked over his broadsheet, glanced at the ceiling.
‘Sort of disintegrative matter. Falls apart easily’ he had replied.

Friable.
My pale bare hands squeezed the clods of earth, broke up the chunks,
earthworms squirmed in the cool ground.
I shovel and shake the dark peat atop,
enriching the plot, nourishing the old.

Friable.
Not a word
for the hot red of my innards
where tendons and connective tissue lie, taught
like the skin on a tambourine.
Though
slowly falling apart.

Or am I more organic matter?
Lying between the turf and the clay, let me be.
I reclaim the word.
I am friable
the earth is me.

Home

Watching the days turn to nights
And the nights growing darker from my bedroom window
I think how I shall miss the little things of home.

The orange, crockery clad kitchen with a warm aga resting at its heart
The incompetent ‘bin’ in the cupboard, into which we play Jenga on Saturday afternoons with litter,
and Tetrus in the baking cupboard.
Mama never liked order anyway.

The creaky floorboards in the hall that tell you when someone pauses to gaze into the dark mirror, or stare into the glass bottle case.

The Christmas wrapping paper that has been used three times already and smells slightly of mould due to its storage in the under-stairs cupboard. Nostalgic, because its scent is also that of Papa’s Cinefilms.

The snug living room that has special long velvet curtains that hide French doors. Barely used.

‘The Den’, all blue, refreshing;
Dad’s room which smells of fusty books and pipe tobacco,
huge and ancient maps adorn the walls and the sound of swallows nesting outside pervade the room through large, sash windows.

The huge, hot shower in the bathroom has heard many songs and poems recited, like a recording booth.
The bath too, has healed many of my hurts.

The intimate nook in the garden
next to the pond and under the small willow tree,
where one feels eventually part of nature.

The range of obscure teas home has,
the colourfulness of home
the bone chilling cold of home in the winter when draughts blow between skirting boards and floor,
The whistling of the wind on the corner of the house outside my bedroom;
it feels wonderfully comforting.

I will miss these things of home
the familiarity and warmth.
I will miss home

Written: October 2013

July 2013

I gave you everything
I had and it
still wasn’t
enough.

I still think about out time
together even when
things get
rough.

I doubt you even felt me,
my deep and loving flow.
I doubt I even cross your mind
in the darkness
lost and low

I revel in the sadness
I touch the burning pain
I know my own damn madness-
it’s like standing in the rain

So now I must grieve for you,
not dead, nor buried and cold
but gone and tearing from my life
a huge and hurtful hole.

If I were made a river
and you- a deep blue sea
we’d forever be roaming on the earth
wanting to be free.

-BB

Spring

Silent oak trees
naked in the dusk,
still and watching,
breathing in smoky musk.

Pallid pink streaks
lay across blue, mottled skies
outside my window
bearing witness to unutterable lies.

Alone I wait,
for spring to break
from stems and branches
how long will it take?

For brown to turn to green,
for black, sleepless nights
to transform into warm, sparkling evenings,
for others to receive their deserved rights?

Birds swoop towards nests,
sheep move for shelter,
they know natures harshness
and outside they felt her.

People drive home for the day
exuding thick, grey smoke,
bustling, talking, consuming and ruling,
slowly,
we choke.

Written: March 2013

Greece

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In my head
I transport myself a thousand
miles or so
south.

To a warm breeze on my face,
the sight of crumbling
terracotta tiles.
The sound of soft rolling waves by day
and unseen Cicadas by night.
An occasional motorised scooter winding by
and the hushed buzz of happy people.

I think back to fresh tomatoes,
stonebaked bread,
Feta cheese,
and Mussles Saganaki.
The good mood food that makes life
that bit more vibrant.

The cats,
who could forget those friendly beggars?
Dying for affection
and a saucer of milk.

A SUPERMARKET
modestly sized, in every town
smelling of tobacco, postcards and
a freezer full of ice-creams.

Easy listening music plays in seafront bars
where drinkers gaze out onto turquoise sea,
and on the hilltop;
a monastery.

So clean and bright
blue and white stands
proud from the green bush and
dusty roads.

In towns,
I transport myself to cobbled streets and alleys,
gazing at menus,
gift shops,
a head scarfed Grandma sweeping her doorstep.

Never cold,
even at night, the hot glow of my skin
keeps me warm within.

How I long to be back there;
digging my toes into golden sand
and thinking life is simply grand.

Written: March 2013

Sick and Tired

It seems the more I learn
the less I want
to know
and I can’t believe
the front
people put on
and how they love to rant.

The pretentiousness,
talking of temporary infatuation,
consumerisation, the state of our
nation and constant mastication
with their mouths wide open.

Living everyday
as if they were a star
in a poorly written soap,
how will they cope
when they finally grow up?

The more I find,
the more I read,
observe, research, discuss, ponder upon, analyse, debate, create,
the less faith I have in humanity.

The future is full of uncertainty
but what’s certain is that there are two types of people;
the sheep
and those who care.

The minority.
Written: March 2012