new zealand electronic poetry centre

Pam Brown Reads in Devonport


The Taps

   the old government house
                                       don't match
the scenery
                      sticks to the palate,
           porcelain cake
         cat piss perfumes
                                  a chicago architect's
           mock gothic modernism

in the flat above mine
                                    someone seems
       to jump
                    in high canvas
                                  ankle-wrap sneakers,
is it
                jesmyn, edwidge, dwyer -
       some american name
                                           like that?


      Queen Sālote of Tonga
                  lying like a solemn hologram
'in state'
            in the ballroom
                                under glowing clusters
of white and golden ball chandeliers


saturday morning,
                          in need of a spell,
                      at the polynesian markets
the faito'o says
        her ceramic charms don't work

if only she could
                         crank up
                    the faux-greenstone wealth one


the depot faces the skytower,
                            each oyster holds the sea
             until swallowed

there is a small gift -
                              'Len Lye, The New Yorker'
            a brief monograph,  visibly stitched,
   not looking
                      too 'booklike'

                                              thanks wystan


       te kōti -
                  19th century māori leader,
     appliqued,                 stylised in red & black,
on a polyester flag
                           hanging from a honey-coloured wall
               that smells like vetiver grass


just after dusk
                             a small brown owl,
a ruru,
          sits on a railing         just outside the boatshed,
                                                  expert in stealth
      hunting moths
                        then     fffff     fffff
                                              gone like a ghost

before midnight
                     a downburst rocks the bure -
         doors flap & bang,
sideways lightning,            crazy winds,
                                     trees sever & crash,
clinging to the day bed,
                                     shaking in a blackout


ecological circuits
                          rewired on lava crops,
 as water & shade
                         does for fern & fauna.

                                  taking an upper deck return
     across the choppy crater,
                       through bird wheel
                                              & ferry diesel
        the tide recedes




faito'o - traditional Tongan herbalist
Te Kōti - appears on a flag made by the late NZ poet-artist Leigh Davis


Last updated 22 December, 2015