La Traviata


Mascara smudge marks dapple,
salted tears, stain my face.

Hasty departure,
step and stumble,
silver streaks of splitting silk,
dress tears and shreds.

I am the fallen woman.

Any good opera has me in tears (even the comedies) and NZ Opera’s La Traviata (the fallen woman) was no exception – I did leave in a bit of a mess (although not quite Viloletta’s contemporary).


Ata’s tears


Ata’s tears speak –
    forty years of loss
    with no acceptance.

Monthly she calls
    with her wish –
    earthly resurrection.

I think I may have an unusually high tolerance for religious callers. As long as they don’t aggressively force their views on me, I like to listen and acknowledge that they have something meaningful in their lives. I believe it pays off, as eventually they open up and reveal how it is they came (or needed) to believe in what they believe. I might not share their belief, but I try not to judge either.


20140622-164200-60120851.jpg(In memory of my old school friend’s brother).

Just like his sister, blue eyes and rose bud lips.
Pale skin limbs, after school flushed,
pile in the back of Nan’s pea-green mini.
We play in their Nan’s garden for hours,
always gravitating towards the swing:
regular aluminum A-frame, with
a redundant harness for a seat.
They tell me that their Dad died hang gliding.
I’d feel anger for that harness,
but brother and sister seem nonchalant.

Years pass, he’s growing tall,
school has him on report,
a teacher writes “no trouble, slept well”.
Out of school, he supplies a little weed.
He offers us his mushrooms:
I spend hours peeling a tangerine.

Years pass, I hear he’s on heroin.
Years pass, he’s drunk in charge:
vodka put him four times over.
Then the news “a boating accident – he’s dead”.
My first thought, the word “euphemism”.
I ask to know more….

“A boating accident on the day
of the anniversary of his Father’s death”.

A useless investigation


The headlights keep appearing
(deep into night)
against the bedroom wall.

They repeat in a pattern
(stenciling net curtains)
distorted clarity rises then falls.

The light is not headlamp yellow
(the decoration has a hue)
a hint of pink blushes the room.

A moment of feint company awakens,
(as if all else is dead)
then loneliness returns with the gloom.

What room..what house..
is this a memory of
where lights flash in darkest night?

Two rooms of pink I can recall
(Gran’s house or student house?)
that could perhaps fit the bill.

A Devon terrace at the fore
(Fore street to be precise)
of childhood’s fun and thrill.

Twin beds for Gran and Grandad,
but I believe I never slept alone
in their room of mature rose.

A Welsh terrace on the silent road
(Ffordd Tegid it is true)
where student exile nursed my woes.

I was alone for many a month
(this could be the source)
but rarely shined this cul-de-sac.

I can’t place where I was
although I sense unease,
(no one watched my back).

I think of other bedrooms
and remember gentle snores,
but they lack the isolation.

Once more I sleep in a room
where headlights search the walls,
but here I’m warm and comforted,
so why dwell on this desolation any more?

Ffordd = Road, Tegid = silent/serene

Mediocrity (in the spirit of Noel Coward’s Nina)

20140602-112525-41125835.jpg [photo credit: Eaon Pritchard]

Beige puts you in a rage,
and grey,
no matter how many shades,
simply sees you fade.

Your tenacity in tendency,
to evade the central tendency
is evidenced in deviations
that are anything but standard.

The mode, for you, is no abode,
the median is too in between,
and the mean is just plain stingy.

Your score sits in isolation,
suggesting genetic mutation,
but you sit in consternation
at their search for correlation,
when you know that causation
is out of everybody’s reach.

So you smile at the mystery
that others have yet to see.
Your happy with your superiority,
but can not tolerate mediocrity,
yet your malady and tragedy
is that as an outlier, your exceptional,
and really quite remarkable,
but you’re so far removed from us
that you’ll never come to anyone’s attention.

Someone once commented that I don’t deal well with mediocrity. On recalling their words this Noel Coward inspired poem arose.