Jun 23 2017

Toi Ora Notes 23/06


Tongue. Young. Well hung. Resonate, mate. Great. Real breeze. Script or two. Here for you. Please stay. Nosy. Rosy. Everlast. Blast. Asking. Flask.

Tree. Back yard. Home was burnt down. No one’s interested. Job done. Passion satisfied. Cliff juts into space.

Home is where space resonates. Top grade. Hot summer day.

Everything is local here. Head. Carried home. Don’t belong. Damp. Bright car. Intermittent crumbs. Kindness.

Homelessness. Dragon. Glue Pot. Cameron. Tongue cranes. Love. Black eyes. K’ Road aftermath. Old cow.

Gold feather. Mask. Sequins. Bus sighs. Scripted lies. Dyed black. Derelict building. Workers. Dirt.

Crunchy footpath gravel. Iron roof. Greengrocers. Thin paper ticket. Chrome. Framed. Ash drops like fallout.

Bottlebrush. Decrepitude. Fascinating dirty secret. Rocket ride. Old vinyl. Ozone.

Tea. Coffee. Sandwiches. Red toadstool.

Faux Middle Eastern exotica.


by the Friday class


Jun 16 2017



Footprints lead me everywhere, somewhere, nowhere.

Sunshine shoots gold into my aura.

I’m chosen – on a mission.

Shredded tights. Late nights.

Aftermath debilitating love being a lunatic.

No rules. No expectations. Being naked. Freedom.

Clothes cumbersome and earthquake.

Sand. Slip-sliding hard to fathom

my life will be containerised one day.

Just ashes in a box

as my fragmented soul

blows in the wind.


by Joanne Thumath

Jun 9 2017

Letter to the Human Rights Commissioner


Letter to the Human Rights Commissioner,

To the big leader who is in charge,

To whom I am a shifting speck in the mass of the masses,

Even though these days I am another piece of dust,

I here should, I must, I feel the urge to speak to you. Please forgive me.

I have artificial testicles. They are spheroids made of silicon.

There were two reasons for this, and I’m not trying to be clever or to humour you with a funny pun.

Radiation and cigarettes. Lovely, oh such lovely cigarettes,

I’m sorry, please don’t chop off my head.

I can live after castration, but not post-decapitation.

I know you are so powerful and busy, yes of course so busy.

If you would play the cause and consequence of this world,

You may find time in your busy schedule to take pity on me?

In this lens of recollection of my time in the universe under the stars,

There was a door which led beyond to stones and I was hopeless.

Ah, but I’m sorry. I was writing. I am only a poet, your worship.

The curving increase of radiation in a dictator’s airplane did it to me.

I know you are not one to be cajoled or condescended to

By niceties such as rank and personal power being mentioned.

I am not a transvestite or a sex worker or a porn star,

I do not accept payment for services rendered.

I wear trousers not dresses. I lived in a hospital.

I have even been put into an atomic coalesce-r to put my molecules back in shape.

My DNA has been melted by Jerry and his bomb.

I’m sorry, I’m ever so sorry. Please don’t put me in prison.

There was an historical editorial in a magazine,

I know this sounds pathetic. Perhaps I should play a game of football instead.

Yes – I think I’ll do that. Football.

Would you please forget I ever wrote?


A speck of dust.


by David Grierson

Jun 2 2017



Steel pole casts shadow

upon road pointing direction of

dusty city where concrete buildings

line up filling space and motor vehicles

go in between streets.


The golden glory of

rising sun wraps up

fields where seeds once sown

and now time of harvest shows

an ocean of sweet corns

covering like skin.


by Anne Ho

May 26 2017

A Small Registry of Births and Deaths



The whole palace moaned.

Your door stayed closed.

It is as if the three of us were delivered.

A car was a reborn exhaust pipe.

To see life steadily and to see wholemeal bread.

I will pass the noticeboard.


Work habit. Hard to breathe.

Echoes of Love. The Doobie Brothers.

Sand bags. The lotus eaters.

Manuka honey. Winnie the Pooh.

Guilty one. Guilty once.

Ginger bread man.


by Lisa Joy Barben

May 19 2017

“Thus the Glory of New Zealand”


for Colenso


wishing to do good

for the welfare of subjects

no civil powers

good will be futile

always ready to restrain them

expressly for your own good

down low, small, a worm, a crawler

no, no, no – my land has gone

let us remain as we were

come forward and interpret for me

they say a great deal which does not translate to you

others were afraid to show their nose

those fellows and creatures who sneak about

sticking to rocks and to the side of brooks and gullies

may not have it all

no, no – go back, stranger, man of yesterday

hawker and pedlar

foreigner, up and down

our lands are all already gone

this, my friends, is a good thing

I am sick, I am dead, killed by you

remain for us: a father, a judge, a peacemaker

convulsed with laughter

in plain clothes except for his hat

and unaccompanied by any of the officers

allow me to make a remark or two

quite children in their ideas

it is no easy matter

I well know

to get them to understand

I consider that I have

discharged my duty

we are now one people

there were two blankets

and a small quantity of tobacco

for each signatory to the treaty


by Daniel Larsen

Sep 12 2016

Childhood at Kai Iwi Beach, by Jim Campbell


Swimming gently along in the lagoon dog crawl style my wake rippled smoothly away behind me.

Out there it immersed itself in the bank, where long seed headed grass and bushy white and mauve headed Toi Toi dipped under azure blue sky. Reaching and reflecting opaquely into the warm brackish water, the growth forming the border of the lagoon stretched two rugby fields long, in a kind of oval.

Dragon flies zipped across the smooth watery surface, randomly disappearing out of sight above the foliage, sometimes in seeming straight lines. Until my eyes caught up with them, they were not there, then they were.

Ahead rising prominently out of the encompassing circumference of hills, a rock face. Stark and bold in white/grey colour. Its head protruded above the verdant flora. At the top into the sky, that I knew reached far north above the curve of a mighty long bay. Out there Mount Taranaki stood, sentinel over the land and the seas.


© Jim Campbell 2016

Jul 17 2016



I am walking down a dark street. It is just after midnight. The new day has just started. The night never seems to last as long when you’re up that late unless you’re a true night owl. There are no variations to take up the time as in the normal day life. I am walking down Ponsonby Road. There are still people hanging out at the cafes. It seems like a dream as I’d usually be sleeping at this time. The electric and neon lights glow is so strong here in the city that it covers the whole sky in a reddish dull glow. The stars are very dim. Only the stronger glowing planets like Venus can really be seen. It makes me remember the Planetarium when I was a kid. Now I am out and free as an adult. I don’t go to work; I don’t go to school. I have my own life. But I’m not really aware, I am overwhelmed by my mental illness. I have a feeling of the tides of life flowing in and out. I can’t explain it any more than that. Something like Janet Frame. I don’t know what’s real and what isn’t. I don’t know if I’m real or not. All I can feel is some basic reptilian instinct underneath everything. I don’t want to take a risk and just enjoy what I am, right now. I’m full of fear. I just need to be a bit braver.

Soon I turn left onto K’rd.There are lots of ladies of the night out here.I blend into the scenery in my jeans and coat. I am the only one without a miniskirt and platform heels. I don’t really want to be here.But I have to be here to get home. Everything seems garish in the streetlamps. Like the 18th Century- a painter like Toulouse Lautrec who frequented the ladies of the night, the courtesans of this era and tried to portray their lifestyle in oil paint. Or like Van Gogh who focussed obsessively, incessantly on cafes where everything could lead, inescapably and dangerously to a dim underworld of escape and yet madness. There were the trannies, much taller with wigs and exaggerated make-up, but still in the requisite dress code of platforms and minis. I passed strip clubs. I didn’t know if l anyone would think I was a working girl or not, I was scared they would.

People came in and out, men with girlfriends or call girls. I walked at a medium pace. As I walked I thought that this was a timeless scene, it could come from anywhere in the 20th,21st or 19th centuries.

I turned the corner, looking at my watch –the only one of my18th birthday presents I had not given to a taxi-driver. It looked, also something that could incongruously come from the 19th ,20th or21st centuries.

It was cold and a breeze came up. I wanted so much to get home to my own bed and ran down Queen St to the old Manor house hotel and walked through the front door past the buzzing bar upstairs and down the steps to the rooms. I let myself in through the door. Dumped my clothes in my suitcase and crashed into bed, turned the light off. I replayed the events of that night in my imagination and slowly drifted off to sleep, pulling the warm covers around my cold body. Dreams of Toulouse Lautrec and night-time streetwalkers played through my mind until I was drawn in the rip-tide under the waves of sleep.

Jul 17 2016

Future World by Liz Higgins


The day dawns with its usual coolness and quietness. But nothing is usual in this future world. Dawn is sudden, not gradual like it used to be. The coolness is short-lived. With relentless predictability, the air warms. The heat returns. Auckland used to have four seasons—summer, autumn, winter and spring.


Now there is a long period of summer, and a harsher winter. Autumn is a brief pause between summer and winter. Deciduous trees lose their leaves quickly, and leave a litter of burned foliage on the ground. Spring is a brief period of flowering followed by the fruits of the earth. But the flavour is gone—they dry out very quickly as the earth heats up. The world has changed dramatically in this new age.


Some parts of the world have become uninhabitable, and the Auckland of this future reflects this. The harbour has altered its appearance­—and people have changed where they live. More people have moved underground, to escape the heat. Rising temperatures are not the only aspect of climate change. Extreme weather is another aspect. This was already happening fifty years ago, but people ignored the warnings. Scientists’ dire predictions were disregarded, and fossil fuels ran out. Aucklanders also faced the threat of volcanic eruptions, but were well protected by civil defence warning systems.


Then the storms increased their fury. Nature began to fight back. Every hurricane was more destructive. Winter grew longer as extreme cold was the opposite of extreme heat. The population of the planet decreased as insect-borne diseases took hold in the summer, and the harsh winters took their toll. Life changed as some adapted, and others failed to adapt. Mutations between animals occurred. Plants took over the buildings that people abandoned. For a long time there was a process of evolutionary change. Gradually the world settled down and a new dawn ushered in a different world.


Those who had survived lived in small groups, and learned to live with a very different environment. Their technology was useless in this new world, so they created vast mountains of discarded gadgets. The plants grew over these rubbish dumps as well. People lived more simply—for a while. But progress happened again—only this time the environment was respected, as well as all forms of life. People lost one of the fundamental flaws of humankind—human greed. The planet spun on its axis, and night became day again. A better world had evolved.


My name is Mary Wright. I was young when the world changed fifty years ago. As an advocate of respect for the environment I was aware of the developing situation. Through many years I have helped people cope with the new world, through addressing groups and growing crops and farming. This became possible as the weather extremes diminished. We live more simply now, more like we did in times past. There is less conflict and we share our problems. As survivors, we have made a pact not to endanger the planet again. War and greed are things of the past. My hope for the future is that our children continue respecting and caring for the environment. We must never return to the world of fifty years ago.

Jul 17 2016

The more pork, the sky and me. By Keith Kemp


When I was small,

and lived on the farm.
I’d step outside,
then I’d run.
I’d go and touch the newly ploughed earth,
and break it in my hands.
The smell would rush to my head.
Then I’d run again,
and kick the clods with my boots.
A crop would push its way out of the same ground,
that I had ran across while kicking clods.

On summer nights,
I’d lay out on the lawn,
that surrounded the Homestead.
The hard ground would be my mattress,
and a pile of fresh cut grass,
my pillow.
The stars overhead would be my blanket.
The night sounds would then come,
and steal me away.
It would feel so good!
Especially when the more pork called.

I’d call back,
“Come, take me away.
Fly me up, as high as you can.
Up into the inky black sky,
set me free from this earth again!”

Then I’d say,
“I’ll be closer to heaven,
than I’ll ever been before.
I want to fly,
not run.
I want to soar,
not fall.
I want to go beyond that horizon,
where there are no buildings at all.”

Then I’d lay quiet and still.
I’d listen to the crickets, singing in the grass.
I’d say to one,
“I want to be the only one for miles around.
Except for you my little brother,
please stay.
You, and your brothers and sisters,
all make me feel so good.”

The cricket would smile a simple smile.
Then he’d say,
“Oh, little brother,
that sounds so good to me!”

Then the morepork would come,
and carry me away.
We would fly,
way up high,
into the dark silent sky.

He would fly me as high as he could!
Out into the darkness,
so wild and free.
Closer to heaven,
than I’d ever been.

I would then turn and say,
“I want to touch the earth.
I want to break it in my hands,
and feel it under my feet.”

The more pork would nod,
while looking straight at me.
Then he’d say,
“Oh my brother,
that sounds so fine to me!”

Then we’d fly down,
into my fathers arms.
They would nod at each other,
and my dad would say,
“Did you fly my boy,
way up high into the sky,
as far as you could?”

The morepork would reply,
“Yes I did!
Way up high,
into the jet black sky.”
Then my dad would say,
“Go, fly free.
See you tomorrow,
under the great makracapa tree.”

So off the morepork would fly,
to the nearest tree.
There he would joyfully call out,
to his brothers, his sisters and me.

My dad would carry me back
to my bed of hay.
To sleep and dream,
of the coming new day.

In the morning when I awoke,
to a clear blue sky.
I’d race to the makracapa tree,
and knock three times.
I know my more pork would hear me.