new zealand electronic poetry centre


Sue Fitchett

Fugacity 05
Online Poetry Anthology


Ah memory, ah history how fragile

the world is dark & terrible
he says
last night's rain overflowed the gutters

she says
is illusion
a mist on the harbour
last night's rain only pools
mangroves embrace them see
a pukeko beside the motorway
pecks in earth damp & rich with worms

you always forget
he says
fire & blood
those secret corners in Myers Park
where people live rough
pick at Kentucky Fried trash

she says
only a bad dream
there're banners in Queen Street
the America's Cup
the beautiful sailors
will be here again soon
a million dollars will flutter down
the harbour's sea breeze

I've been up at the museum
he says
a shadow oozed across the moon
I heard moans in the wind
raindrops the shape of tears wet my hair
the grass hides bones I tell you
I have seen them

I hand you a purse of islands

a ferry delivers you
off balance on the wharf
I lean forward & taste your tired skin

we peer into the grey
fog is freeing you tell me
there're no reference frames

I remember the deceptiveness of fog
ships hitting rocks
your job eating you from inside out

floating off you quip to a spicy destination
beyond your laughter islands hang in space
coastlines no longer secured to sea

until fog rolls away sky bursts blue
over those islands adrift in the Gulf
familiar shapes royally set at the edge of vision

appear & disappear
according to the clarity of the air
dependable as their names on my navigation chart

Rakino Motuhoropapa Tiritiri Matangi

I hand you binoculars

I hand you a purse of islands

a plainsong
an unlocked frame


Louise meets Dr Frank'N'furter at a Ponsonby café

Louise is fretful
'auckland' sounds ugly
a glob of spittle at the back of the throat
an extinct bird

who would buy her
she taps her latte bowl
cold with a hint of sourness
dust hovers in the shaft of sun

I want a live word
to pop out of my mouth & crackle
vigorous & hard
a tumble of syllables

the dear doctor smiles his cavernous smile
you need an older name
succulent with lovers
he throws back his head
a bass cry rattles
all the china cups in Ponsonby
Tamaki Makaurau*

Louise's eyes grow bigger than saucers
reflect Waitemata's harbour
a pale flash of paddles
the great fleet of desire


*Tamaki-Makaurau - "likened to a beautiful girl with a hundred lovers" (Stone)

All three poems were published in Palaver lava queen published. by AUP in 2004.
I hand you a purse of islands formed part of the Floating Islands Summer 2003-4 Exhibition in the Waiheke Art Gallery.
Louise meets Dr Frank-N-Furter at a Ponsonby cafe has also appeared in Poetry NZ.

Last updated 22 April, 2005