Tuesday, April 30, 2013


A man lops a branch with a whiz-bang saw
Sounds like cutting bone
Another waits below with his chopper

Another serves ice-cream around the corner
To kids in a low row
Looking up

A woman cuts hair with a clip-clop clatter
Another shifts behind the till,
Smelling smokey, sounding croaky,
Makes my appointment

Buns bump backs on the baker's shelf
Chewing the plump white fat
Half a dozen for school lunches,
Thanks for that

A woman and a man hand-in-hand
But for an old bag handle,
Arms' length between them
A bendy bus for the straight ride home

Lying back on the grass
A man and his mobile
Take a long lunch loosely

The grass hangs onto the hill - longer still
As the wind plays tug of war tickle with my temper

Monday, April 29, 2013

China girl

We share the same shampoo
Though our hair couldn't be more different
Hers is long and slick and straight
Mine curls short with prepared impatience

She reads letters that make no sense
To me they look like riddles
Mathematical formulas
I was never any good at

She reads while waiting for a friend
Hair dripping on the page
The noise of women washing, dressing
Not even a blink of distraction

I read in a bone dry silence
A rain drop makes me flinch
In this teaming, steaming bathhouse
Our matching shampoo brand provides reassurance

Her friend arrives chatting
More discordant coded chaos
The book remains obediently open
Impressed by its master's concentration

Sunday, April 28, 2013


I want to write write write write write write write -
Like breathing, or running, or punching a bag
Until there's nothing left to come out

I want to kiss kiss kiss kiss, 
Breaking all the records of Guiness
To hold onto a hug till there's nothing left in it

Not even the memory of memory

I want to be younger and younger and younger and younger
Til I'm the oldest child on the planet
To fly through the sky, straining with speed
So that even the bullets can't beat me

I want to know when to stop and stand still as a rock
A door stood ajar forever
In a darkened room removed from the moon
So far from the light to see in it

I want to start again and again and again and again
Until to begin no longer means to begin
I want to remember this wanting before the wind changes

From forever to hardly to never

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Letter to a 'fundamental' friend on the mother of all thorny subjects...

Dear J,

Okay, so you're not a "fundamentalist". I apologize for the assumption, though it was not exactly an assumption, more an interpretation of your expressed view that artistic creativity implies the existence of an original (Christian) creator.

To my way of thinking, this view is in some degree a fundamental position because it does not allow questioning of the very basics of your faith, namely that which denies the science of evolution and the well-established history of where humans came from. To an extent, this denial suggests to me a blindness of the kind that you say you are opposed to. I'm not sure you can have your cake and eat it too on this matter.  

But 'fundamentalist' is a loaded term, which, especially these days has lost a lot of its useful meaning. I did not mean to be condescending in using it, anymore than I'm sure you meant to be condescending in implying I was being blind to the nature and origins of creativity. It's just, like I said, very difficult, if not impossible, for those who believe in an original creator, and those who believe in the science of evolution, to believe in each other. I think the honest approach, so important to good creative endeavour, is to admit this fundamental divide.

The Life if Pi deals with the basic issue well, I think, as it takes the subject of all religious faith and shows, quite effectively, why to make up a story that adds purpose and hope to our lives, especially in the face of death and despair, makes practical sense, and is preferable to knowing the harsher truth. Trouble is, though, that if you don't believe in the story, or have faith, you can't be reassured, and if you do believe, and are taught to believe from a young and impressionable age by your parents, society and church without being told it's a story, you are the victim of brainwashing, even if of a well-intended sort. Faith in the story might help you to live a cleaner, more focused, even happier life, but it won't help you to become an effective creative artist, who must begin at least from a premise of understanding - of self and society - not faith.

Better to believe...?
To me it's a question of faith or truth, and an artist must err towards finding and forging the truth, however harsh and disarming that is. An artist must fight to find real reason to hope - because there is real reason to hope - in the grim realities of his/her times with the most open and courageous mind possible, which means a mind removed from preconceived ideas and prejudices (easier said than done, of course). But this is the essential artistic challenge, as far as I can see, and to my way of thinking religious faith hinders, more than helps its realization.

That's all I wanted to say. No condescension intended.


Friday, April 26, 2013

Fighting for the Moon

A positive post today...

Yesterday, here in New Zealand, as in Australia, was ANZAC day, the day both countries stop work to commemorate the 1915 bloody battle of Gallipoli in which Australian and New Zealand soldiers fought side by side, with many of them wounded or killed.

Generally speaking I am not inclined to make more of war than absolutely necessary, which these kinds of commemorations often seem to me to do. But as an Australian living in New Zealand I kind of feel a special  attachment to this particular war commemoration day, especially since our two countries seem increasingly inclined towards a reciprocal, and not so lighthearted animosity.

Anyway. That's just to mention the day, and to express the hope that for the centenary of the bloody battle to come, in just two years time (2015), our two countries might make more of an effort between now and then to get on, and get past our somewhat silly squabbles - especially in sport!

To mark the day here, our family did nothing sporting or warring at all, quite the contrary, in fact. We went  in the evening to see an inspiring documentary about ballet, of all things (First Position). The last film we saw as a family was The Hobbit, so this went some way towards a gender balancing of sorts, although two of the six dancers featured in the study were boys, and remarkable boys at that. The film was really about the passion to pursue your dreams, and the cultural evolution of a traditionally elite, and quintessentially 'white' art form. I recommend it strongly.

Leaving the cinema, we were met by a full moon in a black sky. The white disk, so crisp-edged and high resolution, looked more two-dimensional than three, which made the sight all the more remarkable. I don't know why, but the beauty and the clarity of this image, so timeless and yet extraordinary, brought the corny thought to mind that it is beauty in its deepest and truest sense, and the freedom to appreciate it that we are ultimately fighting for. Last night's moon seemed to know this.

I hope we can carry on the fight in the future - without weapons. Fighting for the moon...

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

A Heavy Coat

Rain melts down the sloping screen
Like skin sliding off

Keeps on coming - running
Joining the never-ending race
Of rats on the slippery slope slog...

I keep on breathing in, breathing out
Filling fog in the dry, druggy chamber
Thickening the glass,
Quickening the heart
Until a door must be opened to let the foggy fug ooze out.

Melancholy came to visit this morning
She didn't say for how long, or from how far
She'd come to stay

She wore a heavy coat I was saddened to see,
A heavy coat means business.

Now I sit with her beside me
A pen in hand too heavy to hold

Fat and swollen silver like a bullet - only bigger
A bullet with its gun on the inside
A Russian doll invention

I slice the bullet pen open like an old frog
No inky blood runs out - instead
One shiny silver tooth shoots - bang!

Digital data storage
Masquerading as an author

Is it a pen, is it a doll, or is it an empty chamber?

Or is it just a blunt, doubled-edged sword?

Frustration turns foggy
Hurries out the door
Seizing his freedom by swallowing it whole

Melancholy remains
Too heavy-coated to hurry.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

"Plumbers don't get plumbers' block"

Long live plumbers' block!  

Oh but they do! Plumbing's all about blockages...

But the point is not a bad one. If others don't get 'blockages' in their work, then why o why do writers get to make excuses for non-productivity of the 'blockage' sort?

Writers' block is not a thing, so say the authors of a writers' blog post I read this morning. And even if it is real, better not to believe in it or it becomes kind of a self-fulfilling prophecy, a bit like the reverse logic applied to god.

As one of these authors rejoices in the name of "Hiscock" - I kid you not - I can imagine that for her at least, motivation to do anything is not much of a problem. If I had a name like that, and not a name so ordinary (Jones) that it might as well be Ordinary, then I'd be brandishing my pen about like the proverbial burst dam. Writers' block would NOT be a problem for this Hiscock.

Still, with my ordinary-as name, I don't go in for writers' block much. Writers' agony over deciding which of two painfully similar words works best, yes, but block, no. There's a difference.

Man it's raining here like someone left all the taps on upstairs...

There's flooding further south,
After such a long and whiny drought.

Might have to call the plumber...

Writers' block
Water water everywhere, but... 

Monday, April 22, 2013

Ode to Love in Law

A homosexual rabbit

Hello bloggers

Of late I don't seem to be able to stop myself from writing poetry, and rhyming couplets at that. But there's no accounting for some people's tastes, which no doubt goes double for bloggers.

So here is my latest rhyming rant dedicated to the legalization of same-sex marriage passed in the New Zealand parliament last week.

Ode to Love in Law

From left of centre field did come, an Opposition challenge
Bravely drawn from ballot hat, a homosexual rabbit.

A multi-coloured mega cause of same-sex rights to marriage
A real life rainbow pot of gold, tickets to Cinderella's carriage.

Between a man and a woman once, we pronounced them Man and Wife
Then followed timeless bloody battles of ball and chain and strife.

The Family Court of friction fought, till death do us part
Even if he killed her dead, the vows maintained the farce.

The white-gowned virgin walked, up to her diamonds in debt
Down the aisle so urgent, trailing whispers of regret.

Then 77 in favour, and 44 agin
The rabbits joined the rat race,
Now let the true magic begin!

Equal rights don't need a veil to seal the deal of love
To say those simple words I do without the fatal rub,

I do believe in marriage,
I do believe in love
But equal rights to love in law,
Now that's a magic dove.


Saturday, April 20, 2013

A T-shirt day

Saturday is a T-shirt kind of day. All days should, perhaps, be T-shirt days, but Saturday makes the best T-shirt day, IMO. And clearly the person who had this T-shirt made up (it wasn't me) felt the same. Celebrate Saturdays in style casual, I say.

I have really bendy thumbs (and no head)
From the moment you wake up at 5:45 to let the cat out the bathroom window for a poo, to the moment you fall asleep with a tranquilizer some eighteen and a half hours later, Saturday is a mode casual, T-shirt kind of day. Anything goes, so long as it's casual.

This Saturday I did disturb the casual vibe a bit by cleaning the kids' bathroom after discovering it, in a WTF! moment: brown and orange and pink and black and green all over, and not blue and white as god intended. It only took an hour. I wore my Saturday T-shirt. I felt casual.

Husband M did put the washing out seconds before it rained so hard it was like a lake turned upside-down, and the internet did mysteriously go down - and not in a good way - for the rest of the day, but hey! Because it's Saturday, we're keeping calm and casual about it. Wearing our T-shirts and pressing on.

Being up so early I did end up drinking twice the recommended daily intake of coffee before ten o'lock in the morning, but on Saturday that's okay.

The nineteen-year-old does STILL have his irritating cough in the next room that's worse than a dripping tap with anxiety issues, but that's okay too, because it's Saturday. On Saturday the doctors are closed so even if he did want to get off his long-suffering computer chair that no longer has oomph enough to swivel (and who can blame it!) and go to the doctors to get himself checked out, he wouldn't be able to, so that makes it much less annoying for me.

Family breakfast - ah! Now there's something. This morning we ended up talking about swearing. Each of us picked our favourite swear word then we got the kids to use theirs in a sentence.They did very well. Then we shared favourite swearing moments. Effing (with two effs) on the Scrabble board from the five-year-old in a game with Nana, was a highlight. He'd forgotten all about it. Repressed memory. We reminded him. It's important for kids to know where they've come from, even on Saturdays. Especially on Saturdays.

Cat crap at dawn, kid grime mid-morn, wet washing on the lawn, repressed memories reborn, internet scorn and coughs that go on and on and on, over eggs and bagels all gone - in a T-shirt soon to be torn! That's Saturday. Seriously.

Keeping it cool and casual,

Sacha on Saturday
(Written from the future on Saturday at 11:10pm)

Friday, April 19, 2013

A dog-shit day poem (no offence to dogs)

A dog knows not what it does
When it do-dos on my shoe
When it chooses my path to let off
And the rain makes mince-meat goo

Yesterday was a dog-shit day,
And the day before that was too
That will teach me, you would think
To tread more carefully through.

But it's my right to rush and ramble
Without the need to look
At every turn, with every step
What lurks underfoot.

It's my garden path you see
And I don't believe in walls
To lock you out and close me in
Makes prisoners of us all.

So to those doggy people now
I would like to gently say
If you let your canine off the leash
Be watchful where he stray.

Otherwise walls will up
Police and laws will come
To make a crook of you and he
To spoil and soil the fun.

For all the trouble of some care
To watch out for your friend
To keep your canine close or else
Dog-shit days - and dogs - might end.

The End
Have a nice-dog day.


Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Beyond the bubble

Okay, that's quite enough poetry for now. Poetry is all well and good if you want a word kiss or kick. The power of the poem is to express a mood moment, like a kiss or a kick. Of course, the best poetry expresses much more subtle and complex mood moments than a kick or a kiss can. Still, if you want to express mood changes and complex emotional developments, you need prose, not poetry...

Now, you see what I did there? I spoke out of my arse, off the top of my head, and from inside my bubble. In fact I know very little about poetry, having barely studied the art form or written very much of it myself.

Much of my inside-the-bubble thinking on poetry comes from reading Sylvia Plath's prose and poetry and deciding that, compared with her prose (The bell jar), the poems are frustratingly floating without context, while at the same time tied to a particular mood and emotion, despite also thinking that Plath's poems are the best poems ever written.

But who am I kidding? I've only read Plath's poems (and the Ancient Mariner); a fairly small bubble.  

I'm exaggerating slightly to make the point that it seems to me it is getting ever easier to be convinced by our own, inside-the-bubble thinking, and overlook just how self-serving these bubbly environments are. This is perhaps self-evident to many, but I think we can all do with a reminder of the limited, bubble-esque nature of our opinions and the need to think beyond the bubble as far as possible.

Or perhaps it's just me and my bubble. Perhaps I should stick to poetry and leave the bubble-popping prose to others who can better see the bigger bubble picture.      

For example, Ricky Gervais. Last bubble-pop word today goes to Ricky defending the "right to be wrong" about religion, and anything else, as a useful prompt for those of us disinclined to think beyond the bubble of our own religious/anti-religious convictions.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

The wild woods of adventure



Self-pity in the pool today
(Crying Woman by Ipalbus)

When others trudge
Through the wild woods,

Satchels lagging
Children dragging

It's an adventure!

When I trudge,
Toes rub and
Eyes blub

Today I swim
To get fit.

Chlorine smells likes shit!

Truth sinks,
Bottoms float
Misery makes a fleshy boat

Fit swims

Age shows

Simple truths
We hate to know

And nobody speaks underwater -
Of the wild woods of adventure

Monday, April 15, 2013

Never mind me (poem)

Oh, wonderful, wonderful rain!

Delicate drips from
Thin fingertips
A cabbage palm slips -

Giving back,
Trickling down
To the good ground
That feeds it.

Tiny tears of joy gleam
On the parched windows,
Crying out for a clean.

Even the wires overhead
Glitter gladly fed, with
Beaded pearls of power

After months and months on -

Its best blue behaviour

The good grey sky
Is allowed - at last -
To cry.

Exhausted from the all-day glamour,
The all-night sparkle,

The pre-menstrual

Never mind me,
My feeling free
Is nothing on the farmers'

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Yesterday, today seemed so far away...

Yesterday I was so pleased with myself I created a new word: "meeks" (plural noun). I liked it so much I put it in the title of my post. You have to read the post to understand what I meant by "meeks", though I wouldn't blame you if you didn't (read it, or understand).

Yesterday I thought meeks was kind of cool and clever, though the grammar check vehemently disagreed. Today I'm not so sure. Today it looks like a terrible typo likely to turn internet travellers away; should any ever venture into my world, which seems rather less likely today.

Now the American grammar check disapproves of my "travellers" double L - oh well, it's hard to please all the people...  

So much - maybe too much - can happen in a day. Clever can become corn, or cheese, or plain old crap, overnight. In a single day you can be reminded (by the first child you ever carried inside you) that you are an internet idiot and not a mighty meek at all.

Be careful what you wish for... and be cool about what you get
This, coming from the boy now grown to look, and sometimes act, like a man can stretch painfully thin all that thick skin protecting the raw flesh of self-doubt that hides on the underside of a fledgling writers' armoury - never mind a mother's armoury, wearing her womb on her wrist...

Yesterday I was a mighty meek, the world at my fingertips, the womb tucked away - neat. Today I am simply meek, exposed, womby and weak... (Oh dear, I seem to have made up another disagreeable word).

But wait! He coughs in the other room, as he once kicked from inside the womb, and I am reassured now, as I was then - though I do wish he'd get off the BLOODY COMPUTER and have that cough checked...

Signing off for another day, hoping you might come my way.


Friday, April 12, 2013

The meeks shall inherit the internet

I read this morning that the internet is undermining serendipity, that pleasant process of roaming about without clear purpose that allows chance free reign to surprise us with something unexpected and refreshing...

Something unexpected and refreshing encountered by chance outside my bedroom window this morning...

The net, so says this Guardian expert (http://alekskrotoski.com/), works against chance encounters of this kind by preempting and forging connections of all sorts between like things, providing the illusion of wandering, all the while moving us about its vast web like so many carriages on rails.  

Not so the technologically-challenged meeks among us, I can’t help thinking.

Being one such challenged creature, who moves about the web as meekly as a geek moves about beyond it, I wonder if the truth of the biblical prophecy that the meek shall inherit the earth is at last being observed on the internet…

I wonder if the meeks like me, finding we've missed the web train we were supposed to catch on account of clicking once instead of twice, or twice instead of once, or right instead of left, or up instead of down, end up tripping over some overlooked treasure trove as we make our meek, meandering way through this vast network, falling off the rails and missing trains left, right and centre, without the technical wherewithal to decipher the timetable.

It’s a hopeful thought, at least, for all those meandering meeks like me...

Meanwhile, how fab is this flower growing in the rough and rubble of my neglected window box "garden". 


Thursday, April 11, 2013

The Elk is Up

A dislocated moose

Hurrah! The elk is up!

And by "elk" I obviously mean moose, and by "elk is up" I'm obviously referring to the poor dead dislocated moose head that Basil Fawlty had so much difficulty fixing to the wall of his hotel.

And, outside of North America and Torquay, a moose is obviously an elk. Obviously.

And by dragging this poor dead dislocated moose/elk into the mire here I am obviously suggesting that my log in a bog, which is finally up and running after a series of Basilesque mishaps, is some kind of poor dead dislocated moose...

Equally obviously, getting a blog up and running is the most exciting thing happening in this woman's world, though even that wasn't so much exciting as miraculous. Deciding on the background alone took three weeks; figuring out how to apply it took another three, only to be met with deep derision from the 19-year-old who said, and I quote:

"So you're happy that your blog looks like three million other blogs on the internet?"

Happy? No. Who said anything about happy? No need to mention the H-word around here.

Obviously this miraculous, common-as-mud log in a bog that I am far from happy about, is a work in progress - rather like happiness.


Still waiting for rain...  


Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Drought Breaker

No concrete was damaged in the taking of this photo

It is apt that the rain to break the longest, driest drought in NZ since eighteen-something should inspire my first blog. If only such a momentous event might be called something other than a blog – a log agog in a bog...

Back to the bedroom: I need my middle-age glasses to better see, and better believe the night’s rain on my grateful garden. 

Soft drops of sweet relief smile on the toughest plants - ah! The weaker ones look more surprised than relieved, like a person caught clothed in the rain, only sadder. They may not survive. 

We remembered to water, mostly, but sadly, could not remember to rain.

The cat TT (Tiny Tiger) or Mumma, on account of her broken tail and one surviving kitten, thinks I linger too long on the garden. She leads me to the laundry with her come along now meow: Time for breakfast.

Five folk and two feline (mother and daughter) live in this house. Two folk have already left for the city: one man; one grown-up girl. One to work, the other to study. Two boys, 14 and 19, still need to be mothered out the door...

Ham, cheese, tomato and lettuce on barely brown bread

A woman called Celia haunts my head - 
Though far from dead. 

My boys will grow up expecting women to serve them if I keep slicing this tomato and stuffing this lumpy lettuce into these Glad-wrapped buns, or so Celia says. Probably right too. They are old enough to slice their own tomato. But will they...? Not if you do it for them! 

Poisonous plastics, penned pigs and trans fats fight it out with Celia up there in the old cog. So many wrongs do not seem to make even a single right, no matter how old I get - drat!  

A glass jar is knocked over in a hurry – kerplunk! Clear liquid and two quarter pears gush-glug onto the tablecloth that won’t be washed today. Blame the rain, I say. Blame the rain and praise the child - out the door goes he. 

Women's dance class tonight at the Community House. Active Aging they call it. I call it my new venture -  into the past. Once was dancer. Not so my students, most of them. They struggle some to find their feet, but they love to feel the music raining down on their bodies, soaking into the bones, reviving them with movement and memory. 

Dance is meditation in motion, I sometimes say, right or wrong, I don't really know. I teach what I feel.

It’s a wonder my body remembers how to dance after all those sit-down books and carry-around babies. Just like the sky remembers how to rain, and the garden how to drink, I suppose.

But mustn't ramble on; leave the rambling to the rain. Bloggers don't ramble, just as joggers don't run...



P.S. This doesn't count as a ramble because it's a post-script. We get very technical about such matters in this blog. 

The middle of the night now, several days later. Mother cat (TT) sits on the printer, washing, as if it's the middle of the morning; as if this is not a room of my own indeed. The printer grunts because it too would rather be sleeping, but begrudgingly sucks in and slides out a sleek blank sheet of paper...

Not only did last week's rain fail to break the drought, as it turned out, but I failed to publish my first log in a bog. Why? First of all I couldn't find the charger for the camera to take a photo of my rain-relieved garden to go with the drought-breaker agog log. Then, setting up the whole log in a bog required more time and assistance than I had anticipated - just a bit - and once the charger was found, the garden had dried up and  I had to wait for the rain that didn't come, didn't I? I did. I was determined to have a photo to go with my first blog, just as I was determined not to ramble on....  

Welcome to my world...