new zealand electronic poetry centre

k a   m a t e   k a   o r a  

a new zealand journal of poetry and poetics
issue 6,  september 2008


Everyday Life on Mount Forehead (two excerpts)



Yuri signed her name with her stamp
the two characters – KINU (silk) and GAWA (river) –
in red inside a circle of red ink
what an exotic beautiful name I wanted to exclaim
until I stopped to listen to my own language
and heard such names as SILKSTONE or BRIDGEWATER 
for what they are which is to say what they might be

ostranenie of course Shklovsky called it

to hear then stop and listen and to hear again

                                                            on the TV news at 6pm last
night ‘breaking news’ of Hone Tuwhare’s death

TU to stand to stop to remain
WHARE house
                        hear the name again

and what stands inside the name

in ’77 in Sid (Hirirni) Melbourne’s reo class we
were set the composition
‘Taku whare tu mokemoke’
to speak with the voice of the carved house in the
National Museum

                                    the house is not a house without the people
                                    it does not stand

                                                            in 1966 (or was it five
Scott and I went to hear him read almost all of
No Ordinary Sun cigarette after cigarette poem after
poem in the new Teachers College/University lecture theatre
in Hillcrest (the college just moved from Melville
                        (the university just a little more than an idea

before each poem he apologised for the poem we were
about to hear

                                    funny funny funny old man funny

                                                        only one friend
went to Waikato
(the rest of us thought we wanted to drop
dead rather than stay in Hamilton
not from choice but
with mother dying and father in prison it was
all she could afford

                                    good to hear now she teaches at
The New School in New York

                                                Best not to leave a mark
                                                behind for good or ill

in her big old Holden she drove me
round the lake          under the stars under that tree:

the girl in the park
did not reach up to touch
the cold steel buttons

hear again
here again

                        biking across Hamilton for poetry’s sake



            KOTAHITANGA 1889

NZ flag at half mast as Pat Hohepa finishes his
speech, a young man scurries into the house
to announce: ‘They read a Tuwhare poem at Sir Ed’s funeral –
I heard it on the radio’

                                    but most locals here haven’t read any
Tuwhare poem

careful he might write another one with that blue ballpoint
in his left hand

                        the Wharepaepae urupa is hidden from view
across a paddock where the cars are parked, down a track
then up to the top of a small steep hill

                                                            from there you can
look out north south east west                  as far as the eye
a fine place to rest
                                    there’s / work yet, for the living

stopped by the cops for goin’ too slow
just want to get there as late as I can
whoa whoa whoa
                                    red light in my head
                                    blue light in my eyes

long green stick insect waves in the air sitting on
the rimu like a Bill Hammond bird
                                                            huhu bug
blunders in to join the drinkers
                                                            a fool moon
and a mist at dawn


                        the land breathes out long and slow



Murray Edmond




Last updated 24 November, 2008