Tuesday, November 22, 2011

pidgin peace meal by Iain Britton

the man

in feathers

shuts his eyes          squats

amongst jacaranda fallout

drinks cold tea /

forgets to speak up /        as if his beginning

had its faults in a syllabic nod

in the screwed-up mechanism of a missing tomorrow


he spills daylight

steps on bones

washes his feet / my feet

blackens my shoes / whitens my face

for the photographer
at the gate


I tick all the right boxes

check names              tickets      

the red and blue ribbons
the winners of categories

I cross out others          with heads tucked into chests

convinced every fast-food supper is their last /  every scrap of blue sky/
field of lupins /    every girl washed by the sea /       


the man

paints a tree

a hot pool of mud

a gap where  molecules breed

he pushes me into blurred possibilities

where cargo-cult customers line up

to dismember old myths

flying nuns grab at wasted prayers

the city


on the edge of a steaming oven

I read a book

see for myself how characters are hung out to dry

and how they live

the heat
is in the language
in the breathing fragments


my favourite pastime

is watching my neighbour

through a hole in the fence

dance       birdlike

into a thanksgiving heap

he offers cold tea

to whoever he thinks is thirsty

whoever’s hungry

he speaks to a snapshot

a face in a face

he’s cracked and marred

by three score years

of  sucking

on the smell

of an oily rag

he lives in a drought-stricken room

shifts occasionally

a collage of grafted hybrids

sends out mixed signals

of what branch

what fruit

what tugs the belly

why wait for this flawed human product

to track amongst last year’s residue

I bypass today’s callers

meeting outside

staring in

                                                       Editor: Orchid Tierney
Born and educated in Palmerston North, and now teaching in Auckland, Iain Britton is a prolific poet of work with (what I consider) a philosophical-real world engagement. His debut collection, Hauled Head First Into A Leviathan, was published by the esteemed Cinnamon Press in 2008, followed by Liquefaction (Interactive Publications, 2009), Cravings (Oystercatcher Press, 2009) and Punctuated Experimental (Kilmog Press, 2010).

Iain's work is published with permission.

Orchid Tierney is a New Zealand poet who runs Rem Magazine: a NZ Journal of Experimental Writing, and was involved with the Mapping Me anthology of women's writing, although her primary focus at the moment is trying to secure a placement in an MA programme. Visit her at www.orchidtierney.com

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Elizabeth Welsh said...

'Jacaranda fall-out' - what an apt description! I had a huge jacaranda tree outside my window for many years and this describes the autumn shedding perfectly. The 'characters hung out to dry' also struck a chord with me. Thanks so much for posting, Orchid!

O said...

For some reason, the HTML formatting didn't survive the posting, which is weird - Iain has an interesting treatment of line delineation and it's shame that it doesn't come through but the language still carries the impact.

Mary McCallum said...

That's s shame Orchid - blogger is an odd beast at the best of time -- I find I need to hand-edit posts to make lines what they should be. Email me the poem and I can do that if you like. It would be good to get it right. Great post btw.

O said...

Oh no! It's okay Mary, I've talked to Iain and he is happy. The problem is actually with the HTML coding of the text editor - I think I might have inputed the wrong code - I'll have a look at it this weekend but thank you!

Ben Hur said...

Hi Fellow Tpers,

This isn't exactly a comment, but a plea to vote for my blog, "Bigger Than Ben Hur", which is a finalist in the Media, Arts and Culture section of the Blogger of 2011 competition. You can vote for me at the link below:


Thank you. Grovel, grovel, please. Andrew Bell

my journey said...

Great post. As for the poet, a good poem is always better than prose. I would like to invite you to follow my blog at www.nnalcot.blogspot.com

Thank you.