There’s a goodbye in me wants its life,

time shaken from the tree, leaf by leaf

till I’m knee-deep attributing

meaning to a bird’s ordinary call –

quick-quick! On a branch waiting,

doing nothing or something, head tilted.

This goodbye’s one I don’t want to give a

life to, sad last friend of action.

The round nest of a bird

its belly empty, jagged half-shell

a tiny step distant.

I wish I could be water or fire, but

the body has its own insistence,

turns the feet away from where

the feet were going, tunes

the voice

and goodbye comes forth, a silent

hand held up, a sort of smiling grimace

to damn the heart

one final time.

The familiar

Sometimes the loss of you,

a slither of moon, cuts

so keen


(a sharp smile)

the wound doesn’t bleed. It aches

still, this


missing limb – though

you can’t know

since you were the one who


left – even with its withered

muscles, bones hollow,

blanched by years


of its colour.

The body doesn’t

forget; mind trapped


in its dull casing,

nudging at extremities,

anticipating change but


finding the familiar.



Adieu, the road now crests a hill,

wind blown grasses touched orange,

burnt sun sinking to where the eye

won’t touch it. What


will we find in this darkness? Somewhere

morning comes out of unknown mists

bleeds colour and lovers, children

from children. The end


has hands like a moth’s spotted wings,

its touch, barely felt,

sends tremors to the sea,

waves neatly dressed in uniform


rolling in. Shall I tell you what I see

naked on this precipice or hear

spoken by wind? Others

have said nothing


but turned, weightless, shifted

gear. Boats tethered to buoys in

failing light bob lonely,

gulls arc and call, but


I cannot hold the meaning.

To my son who won’t speak to me

You don’t imagine your own death,

soil feeding its slow


sun like a cold kiss; I want you to know


this in the windowless room

of your twenties

admitting only friends, effervescent fizz of


cause and inconsequence:

my bones will be marrowless, fingers,

stalks of grasses, not tomorrow,

but soon enough,


no longer to remind you

with the mute clap of

thunder made in words

unread, but


gone, my ache is yours like a faulty, threaded

gene I gave you not wanting, but

gave anyway,

without your or my say.



The worst thing


Screen Shot 2018-11-11 at 12.55.09 pm


You might be interested in reading these short stories, three of which have been previously published in literary journals and one that has been anthologised. This is my first foray into the world of self-publishing and I’d love any feedback on the writing. I have two novels that I may end up publishing in this way.

Just follow this link: The Worst Thing

Here’s the blurb I put on Amazon …





Take a walk through the hinterland of the human heart. Discover its narrow streets and hidden meeting places, its people, its strange languages. Find a place in the tall grasses, lie down and contemplate the breath-filled sky.

Six beautifully crafted short stories that will stay with you.

A father longs for the son that his partner is slowly turning away from him. An old man who can no longer speak has to reconcile his past with the present. A young woman wakes pregnant with the dream of a baby. A hitchhiker becomes a wedge between two young lovers. A single dad hast to fight to become real again in the world. A psychiatric survivor lives in exile waiting for the birth of his child.

This is modern Australian literary fiction at its best.



Sometimes, I walk rooms of that

house in half-light. In

museums the mind makes


nothing moves behind glass;

installations sleep, frozen actors

playing nothing to startle


anyone. Tiny boy dreaming, a wee

wooden cot, couple watching

TV; sparse furnishings speak of


souls gone cold; if I try hard

moments flare – my muscles taut,

still thirty, making wooden runes

from scavenged kauri or


Sam amid the orange tree

Einstein hair, pukunui in a pale

blue t-shirt,


promise of a smile

– but Maungawhau is best left



why summon its dead fire?




Le matin

D’être toujours vivant, ça vaut

quelque chose. Ce matin il y a toujours la lune

qui se cache derrière les appartments

penchés sur le parc où je me


ballade. Partout un tapis de feuilles d’hiver

rouille et or.  Tout ce que je vois est vivant –

ça sent, ça sonne, ça brille. Le chien

cherche sa balle le nez dans


l’herbe et moi, je m’arrête pour l’instant

pendant qu’ils m’arrivent ces mots

de n’importe où dans cette langue

étrangère. Je suis vivant comme il faut –


le coeur au tambour, le cerveau en course

sur ces routes, le corps servile. Je vais rester

un moment reprendre mon souffle

sous ce ciel meurtri.


La Banlieu

(I’ve not done this before. This is a reworking of an earlier post. Why not?)


La Banlieu

After a game of pool in a Mantes
café pas loin de l’église, you raised
your collar against the cold and asked
if I could lend you money. I always admired

your lean toughness, you in your Santiagos,
your Arab’s eyes, quick, dark and sensitive. I
gave you deux cents balles and saw your mouth
quiver at the corners as you held my hand

in both of yours. Boualem, this was the last
time I ever saw you and then that call
from your brother when I was in Frankfurt,
the image of you pendu

hanging in the silence and coldness
the walls could not hold back. What
of Marie and le petit Arthur gosse d’un epoch
that grew too heavy and tilted

like a ship the water deserted? I hope that he
makes his thé à menthe procedurally, your boy,
and envisages the father he hardly met
as a man who stood straight in crowds, the wire

in his veins tightly bound, a walker of the streets
whose heart was never hard. One night dans
la banlieue nord-est at a party I watched you stand
so comfortably entre les jeunes loubards out of

Renaud like someone who had known
the life of les HLM but escaped it. What’s a
life worth, how much does it cost to preserve so that
a boy might know his dad and ask, ‘T’étais là

when the riots broke that time at
Val-de-Fôret? I met you, Arthur, little one grown big
whose daddy never really emerged solid
from the shadows your eyes perceived back then.
He was a good man, your dad, bird of the broken

streets and the greying light, no money
in his pockets to settle or take flight.