new zealand electronic poetry centre

B R I A N   T U R N E R


Mercurial Michael in the Maniototo

A poet I know better than most drove a borrowed Mercedes
all the way from Earnscleugh to Oturehua, up the Ida,

the Hawkduns surreal at the head of the valley, the blue sky
full of cast-off scarves white as cavaliers’. It wasn’t his own,

of course, for what would a poet be doing with a Merc, except
wondering, yet again, about the need for such sophistication,

querying the enduring worth of the so-called best money can buy?
Give me a manual floor shift any day, he said, no fancy locks,

and windows you can wind down by hand.
And as he drove away,
and tooted and waved, insouciant and feeling silly,

the way you do because you get that round here, do you what,
I thought, You¹re dead right, mate, that’s my fuckin’ boy.

Love Story

She took off his clothes
then he removed hers.
I do like the way
we do things together,
she said. Then they
put them on again
and sighed as if coitus
had taken the place
of matters more significant.
That was better than last time,
he said, before we knew
what we were getting into;
let’s have some porridge.

Now, whenever the topic
of love comes up
they smile and agree
it’s time to put on a CD,
the finale to Faure’sRequiem,
In Paradisum,
the distinction between
love and awe and reverence
is impossible to discern.

And they both pledge
to do better next time,
and the time after that.


The wind and water,
the earth and sky,
none appear burdened
by a need to be wry,

or by obvious self-regard,
the creep self-satisfaction.
Nor do they seem to fear
unwelcome putrefaction.

Best we feel it’s lonely here
before we drift off elsewhere
to sounds of, Had your day,
mate, you’re on your way.


Last updated 27 April, 2006