Tuesday, March 31, 2015


Now I know you lost your tail and are terribly, terribly clever to balance on this thin ledge without it, looking like butter wouldn't melt while doubled up and over in concentrated prayer, asking for forgiveness, BUT, if you don't stop urinating on my bed, through the duvet, sheets and underlay, every second day and twice on Sundays, we're going to have a problem. You hear that, Missy? I don't mean to be harsh. I'm sorry. I know it can't be easy. Please forgive me. Can I get you some tuna?   

Saturday, March 28, 2015

All children sing

Yesterday, in the changing rooms at the baths, a young girl of four or five, while waiting patiently for her mother, sat on a bench singing her heart out non-stop for a good fifteen minutes. No lyrics, just a sweet melody of some popular tune, she sang over and over, like a bird. The tiled walls amplified her voice such that the whole room chimed with the sweet melody, and any talking of the women in the the room gradually hushed then stopped. She was an Asian child, singing a Western melody.

Later in the day, walking my beach, as I do, whatever the weather, which on this occasion was grey and slightly drizzly, halfway along I met another young child singing, standing at the water's edge in his swimming trunks. Singing to himself but with good projection and volume, was this young boy, of similar age to the young girl, though of Maori and European mix. His bare brown chest, and dark wet hair, suggested he had been for a swim, but was now content to sing for the sea, as the drizzle set in and he found himself with some time on his hands to play with and get to know his freedom.

All children sing. What happens?

Sunday, March 22, 2015


Last night I didn't get much sleep on account of my husband waking me in the early hours for wild and passionate sex. As the day broke through, so did he...

At least part of that scenario actually happened. But that's not the most interesting thing about it, as most sex scenarios told in print are fictionalised in some part, if not all parts. Who cares whether it's true or not (it is true, but who cares? Other than him and me, of course -- at least I hope he cares...).
What is interesting, or more interesting about these words, is that being written by a woman, from a woman's perspective, although a man is centrally involved, if published beyond this blog they would almost certainly be classified as 'chicklit' and summarily dismissed to the back page of the book section, as trivial girly writing, while the guy writing is taken seriously as literature proper and given, as is the case here, in The Weekend Herald (NZ) magazine "Canvas", precisely ten times the amount of coverage. Two 'man books' and authors get two full pages and five 'lady books' and authors get barely half a page. And the injustice doesn't end there.

While the 'dicklit' books, as I will now refer to any book written by a man, are classic 'man' books, one with an all-male cast, the other with a surreal, mostly male cast, with one female character who is mute -- ah, if only! -- and plenty of darkness, pain and punishment, the 'chicklit' books cover a wide spectrum of topics, including one where the main character is a man who 'transitions' to becoming a woman. The 'dicklit' books in other words are narrower in what they deal with than the so called 'chicklit' books, yet because they are written by men, written with a dick, you might say, they and their authors are taken so much more seriously than the books written without a dick, or, you might say if provoked enough, with a brain.

I think for every derogatory sexist term invented to keep women in their place we need a counter male term, just as we need 'Ms' to balance "Mr' as terms or titles that promote respect. If we can't manage equal respect, and we really CANT, then equal derogation will have to do. So 'dicklit' it is for me, for all male authors until further notice, except for Dickens, which is a little ironic.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Order of the day

First order of the day...

A blood drained house just outside Puhoi, NZ

Wash red blood from white tray

Second order, fry two eggs

Third order, hang with pegs

Fourth order, free the cat

Fifth order, regret that

Sixth order, remove and stack

Seventh order, go back and back

Eighth order, eat pears

Ninth order, who cares

Tenth order, butter buns

Eleventh order, ungrateful sons

Twelfth order, time out

Thirteenth order, lose count

Next order of the day

Nothing more left to say

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Reflections on the last days of summer

Officially, the Southern hemisphere summer is over, but the weather doesn't necessarily know that. Nor does my husband. He's still swimming in the sea, as I should be, but instead, I'm taking photos, like this one. 

This is the expansive front window of one of the grand houses that live at the entrance to our local beach, reflecting the pohutukawa trees that stand, protected by law, between it and the view. I don't much like aluminium joinery, but I quite like the juxtaposition here of the thin, hard-lined, fair-skinned aluminium against the thick, dark, entwining branches of the native trees. And I guess it's better that no trees of any kind were felled in the making of this view. 

Summer might be over, but the pohutukawa lives on.


Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Glimmering gem

“I want to do this flash fiction challenge to get exposure for my blog, but you have to use one or more of these ten sentences that are just so uninspiring and or strange I couldn’t possibly engage with them and would have to totally contrive something, which I don’t want to do, not even for my blog” I said, turning away from the sea to look at Em as we were walking together along the beach just before dusk, Em not swimming for the first time this year, as the summer draws to a close.

Sea-craft were out in force on the calm, silvery grey water, kayaks and canoes criss-crossing each other, windsurfers in training (because there was not much wind), stand-up boarders, long and stick skinny in silhouette, and even one of those jet skiers that you don’t see around so much anymore; people wanting to be near the water to prolong the summer, but not so much to be in it.

His face as I turned towards him was only half listening, the other half either on his work or his music, or maybe the sea – anything but me…

“What are they?” he asked, surprising me a little so that I didn’t immediately recognise the question, busy wondering, as I was, how much of my babble about words and blogs and writing he actually hears.

“The sentences. Give me an example of one of them,” Em said, reading my hesitation exactly.

I felt put on the spot then: “I haven’t memorised them, I only glanced at them today, but they’re too weird to memorise. One of them, hang on, one is: ‘A glimmering gem is not enough.’ See what I mean? What can you do with that? And then there’s: ‘An old apple…’ no wait; ‘The old apple revels in its authority.’”

“What does that mean, the old apple?” he said, fully engaging now.

“I know. I told you. It could be something Christian, I guess, but I'm not writing about an old apple, whatever it means,” I said, happy to have Em’s full attention now.

As we kept on walking, our shoes off, the sea’s thin hem nudging our toes, I reeled off the rest of the sentences, finding I had in fact memorised them, almost word for word. The ‘Abstraction is often one floor above you’ sentence, produced the most satisfying contortion of Em’s face, followed by a wry laugh.

“Jesus! Watch out!” he said then, just in time, before I was about to step on the biggest, ugliest jellyfish I’d ever seen, beached up onto the shore, right in front of me, a blubbery, transparent spaceship with all its internal controls on display, ready to trip me up as I was busy explaining to Em that the ‘Sixty-Four’ is singular and capitalised, so it has to be a name rather than a number.

“Oh, my god!” said I, my turn for a contorted face, as I leapt back out of the blubbery thing’s reach to stand and stare, just close enough to marvel at the ghoulish sight of its strange, colourful innards exposed beneath a glassy, glimmering dome, everything a quiver, as if with life, but Em reckoned it was dead.

I am not good with ghoul, but I couldn’t look away. I’d never seen jellyfish innards quite like these before. Inside its huge dome there were several clusters of solid yellowish matter, suspended in a reddish-brown swirling substance that might have been blood, while the clusters resembled brain matter almost exactly, except for the colour, which was more like those witchetty grubs Aborigines eat. The thought of eating those nobly clusters, whatever they were, turned my stomach to the point that I almost vomited all over the jellyfish, which wouldn’t have been very nice, for either of us. But still I stared…

“That’s not its brains, surely?” I decided to ask Em, who was also staring, but with a much calmer face than mine.

“It looks like brains” he said, half laughing, “but they don’t have brains” he added, not so much in a telling-me voice, because he knew I knew jellyfish didn’t have brains, more or less, but just to finish his sentence.

“I knew that, but what the heck?” I said, moving off with a shiver, picking up pace to almost leave Em behind, keen to put some distance between me and that bizarre blubbery beast that seemed not only to have a brain, but a heart that beat with greedy life and eyes that stalked me as I hurried away, not so close to the water’s edge now, nervously watching my feet.

On the way back, he wasn’t there. Had the tide come in and taken him out? The beach is not that long; it didn’t seem more than twenty minutes since we’d left him. I couldn’t figure it out. The more I scanned the shore for his distinctive dome, the less anxious I became to avoid treading on it and the keener I was to find him.

“Where do you think it went to?” I finally asked Em, adding “the jellyfish” when I could see from his face that he hadn’t been thinking about that.

He stopped to look back along the beach.

“I forgot about it. Are you sure it wasn’t there?” he asked, turning back round to continue walking homeward.

“I didn’t see it, and I looked. hadn’t forgotten it,” I said, catching his eye so that he knew what I meant; knew that I would not have missed it if it was there.

“Perhaps the tide took it. Or perhaps it wasn’t dead after all and took itself off… Look out!” he said, after a short pause, giving my arm a tug while pointing at the sand in front of me.

“You bastard!”, I said, shoving him away, when I’d recovered from my heart attack, before laughing too, because it wasn't such a bad joke, as look-out jokes go.

Friday, March 6, 2015


Night breathes black                                                

Wind breathes
its name: 'ooooo'
into the night

Insect wings
amphibian sings
breathe busy        
out of sight

Husband close
breathes through his nose
I don't have the heart
to roll him over to his right

I breathe too
quieter than the night
all the better to listen
to this breathy thing called life.

Monday, March 2, 2015

So you think you can dance

'I would believe only in a God that knows how to dance.'  

― Friedrich Nietzsche

I've been a dancer most of my life
I was even paid for my pirouettes
once upon a time

Yet no one would ever
mistake me for a god, why?

Because I cannot piss
beyond my toes
or grow a beard
that flows and blows

IF we all learnt to dance
god wouldn't need to.