new zealand electronic poetry centre

Michael Harlow

online works


Cucumbers and Mad Apples’

        Let us peel with our hands cucumbers and mad
apples, you declare, planning to live forever inside the
unshakeable nature of your dreams

         In the lockup cupboard, security, you will find: item,
shoelaces one pair, one belt (black), item one toy whistle
(no sound), various monies (currency uncertain), item
one address book (empty), item one greenstone
polished by generations of women

         Tumbling, batlike and quick into your room, lamp-
black with shadow, the light is wrapping up your body.
Already, there is heavy traffic in the dark. When a glass
falls, stop-time, on the stone floor you don’t hear a

         You say that we live in a time of ‘too many words
without wings’; that magic is a great hidden wisdom,
why is it inside reason we live out the nightmare at
both poles of the world? Sharpened at all hours is the

         I can see why there are shivers in your wrists; why
you shout against walls for unaccountable life in things
themselves, the running water hemline of your skirt a
songline of sorrows

         It is only before sleep, I hear rising on your tongue, a
small song: ‘of the dark you would make luminous,
every word once a prayer was’. Speechbearer, I believe
you when you say that you would like to appear, and
right now, as a constellation sailing in a southern sky



From Cassandra’s Daughter (Auckland UP, 2005)
Michael Harlow

Last updated 24 March, 2005