new zealand electronic poetry centre

P E T E R    Q U A R T E R M A I N


Sweet Talk

(in lieu of a valentine)
for Meredith


Sugar it says on the box
Corn sugar is this
Corn starch what little girls
are made of all these hearts
their money back
guarantee this box chock full
fat love bright candies taste
like cardboard with the name
Life Brand all sweetened
artificial flavours send
the same message
no matter what the words
Kiss Me says one Call home
or ILU there must be something
here for you and me
and as I search I wonder
something for everyone
mixed messages mixed matter
does Fax Home pink on blue
mean UR Mine
nestled beneath Go Home
comfort the lonely hearts
which say hard red on white
two words two lines Home
Sick for you and me share one
heart here says And



In the Night



rain’s soft plod

on the skylight spatters

                         flurried dull

smattering at two a.m. dim

or maybe three light patter next

quiet silent stop paused syncope

in your steady breath a

counterpoint almost for

thirty years some car goes by

its light smothering the ceiling

now not so dark

comes day.


53 Words


all very well outside a new
leaf the neighbours fence whose
grass inside what seed pens
windows and a blind car goes
by the perhaps gate on its uneasy
post unsung a part song.
Thin clouds the day so many not in work
unpenned goods written out lie
round tight corners
what apart.


[previously published in Backwoods Broadsides 95 (Ellsworth, Maine) 2005]



Last updated 28 April, 2006