Selection of Poems


‘You have a big head,’
said the sun conversationally,
‘and a big heart for
someone who is only two.’

‘My prediction for you –’
(said the sun, in a casual kind of way)

but already the baby had closed
his eyes, shutting them down
like cool Venetians

for although he was only
two-years wise he knew that the sun
could, occasionally, be unreliable

and also that it was easier to grow
undazzled by other people’s

From Love in a bookstore or your money back

Love in a bookstore or your money back

I stood
in a bookstore
successfully picking up
poet after poet,

even Frank O’Hara
and T.S. Eliot who had
always attracted me

Their spines felt good
in my hands

and suddenly I realized:
this was a guarantee.

Love is always to be found
in bookstores.

From Love in a bookstore or your money back

To Waitemata Harbour

You have such
clever hands.

You hold the islands
on the tips of your
fingers, lightly so

you never submerge
them. Firmly enough that
they don’t float away.

If a person could hold
another person like that –
well, then

there would only be

From AUP New Poets 1

Catching up with family

The three girls stand wearing
ponchos in varying shades of brown
that their uncle has brought them back
from Peru.

(one of them is four)

They stand in varying brown poses
against a faded brown fence made from
long pieces of photographed wood.

(one of them is a heart surgeon)

Their faces are screwed up against
the sun in varying attitudes of decay against
a burnt-out fence criss-crossed with long shade.

(one of them has survived skin cancer)

The tallest one has flung her Peruvian hand
over the knitted neck and shoulders
of the smallest.

(all of them could be under six)

They are lit by fringes of llama wool
that has been brought long distances
from the glaring white slopes of the Andes.

(their uncle has since been caught in an avalanche)

They stand on the kitchen window sill
in a surprising state of symmetry
brought about by a trick of photography

(one of them might possibly be dead)

faces screwed up against the sun

backs to the defensive

eyes wired open
to stare down


From Love in a bookstore or your money back