Name: Arthur Amon
country : New Zealand

Gentle U

gentle U.S.
cuddly thing
make the sand-worn
rubble sing

gentle U.S.
meek and mild
kill the little
Afghan child

bless his grave
with cluster bombs
repaint the dusty
white-washed tombs

friendly U.S.
cuddly giant
make your evil foes

you’re so super
big and strong
it helps us know what’s
right and wrong

gentle U.S.
friendly beast
saviour of the
Middle East

gentle U.S.
you’re so neat
clean the po’ folk
off the street

holy U.S.
God must be
as happy as a
little bee

you really tied
their kangaroos down,

oh, say, can you see
there’s an arm and a leg?

Milford Sound, and etc.

a sudden squall of sandflies
pelting our exposed skins
with appetite

they fall flat
beneath a storm of slapping and swatting

a track of planar bodies

if, later, we find ourselves disoriented
by the many self-administered blows
or the solvent fumes ghosting up
from our annointing with insect repellant,
the row of corpses will lead us
through the unfamiliar
tacks and reaches of the forest;
back to the patient Holden

which is the Milford sound?
The hand clapping,
or the quiet just after?

You’d be lucky to hear either
over the stream
of constant planes and choppers
a heavenly current of machinery
buzzing their little motors
flapping their tinny wings
searching for momentarily unprotected
hand or footholds

they soak up and digest the silence of the land
then excrete fancy brochures,
trapping us in drifts and avalanches
when we pause for thought

hellish copters!

we sink to that level,
fly up Franz Josef Glacier,
and land on the white plateau at the top

(if there’s foot traffic
we can’t see
the poor suckers)

frozen ball - she flings one at me

“there’s snow in my boot!”

violence of the Pam

No sandflies up here, though, eh?

answering David

I mugged you
for your library card
and you said
"why don't you take my bus money too?"

sarcastic sonofabitch

you saved me the long walk home, I guess
(normally I just steal a bike)

after I beat you up in the playground
that time,
we used you as a life model in Art,
blood trickling from several places
(and all the girls laughed at your willy)

you brought us oranges at half-time;
you did my homework

perverted little shit

remember when you played
redemption song in Music,
just like Jimi Hendrix would've?
you cried when I poured
lighter fluid over your guitar,
ignited it, and smashed it up -
so I dunked you in the drinking fountain
and called you wet
hah hah!

stuck you with my compass in Maths
and you pointed to the Southern Cross
(it took me ages to get that one,
you smart-arse!)
I nailed your ear to the blackboard
next time, though,
that was pretty funny

(you didn't laugh much;
but you still carried my bag
to the headmaster's office)

they took you away in an ambulance:
how could you
leave me here
in the dimly-lit corridor?
I had to burn the building down,
cause I was suddenly alone
in the dark.

no animals were hurt
during the writing of this poem

this poem did not machete
hundreds of thousands of laboratory mice
into bleeding fragments

no church schisms caused this poem to be violent
within itself, or beyond its borders

not a single forest was burned to death
in front of the forest’s helpless family
by any poem of this poem’s acquaintance

vivisection was not practised by this poem
it did not perform any cruel or unusual laboratory experiments
on dogs, sheep, cats or armidillos
nor were such experiments
performed on its behalf by third parties

it is innocent of any suffering
caused to rodents, reptiles, or rhubarb
neither was anyone perpetrating such acts encouraged

in fact, during its construction
this poem looked askance
at several known or suspected
biological scientists

there was one small incident
when a fly bothered some sentences
near the beginning of the poem:
they encouraged the fly to go outside.
the detrimental side effects of this action
have not yet been ascertained.
If the fly’s quality of life
is eventually found to have suffered
(using a non-invasive invertebrate-friendly questionnaire)
These portions of the poem will be cut out
doused in petrol
burned till crispy
then fed to a goat
(but only if the goat freely chooses to eat them,
from a variety of available food stuffs)

animal metaphors may have been employed sparingly,
but none were mixed,
nor were any of these metaphors clumsily applied or stretched
All references to animals were carefully trialed
using a panel of specialists
who would have expunged allusive discord several

unfortunately, the inhabitants of several villages
had to be relocated at gunpoint
and three thousand may have been
slightly scratched tortured raped bruised maimed or killed

local services were soon restored
and a sumptuous feast followed at the manor
(one duck volunteered to be roasted)
17 steaks were cut from a local steer;
it now has a limp.

lament for the lost years

(for my aunt,
who adopted out her only child
over 40 years ago)

they can’t be retrieved

they slip through our fingers
like water in a drought;
we lick the drops from our furrowed hands
- see how the moisture clings?
but they’re just echoes of the days and months
precious moments

we can only imagine
all those humdrum nose wipings,
squabbles about who had the biggest piece,
off-key warblings, early mornings
the solid feet of the tiny body
holding on against the unknown
(see how he’s grown?)

no quiet joy when he read each new word
half-baked a delightful idea,
tried it on for size
in the developing brain.
as he clipped on pieces of personality
with temporary measures
ordered them into habits, systems, patterns -

all gone.



and now
this middle-aged man
life rimes his terrain,
makes soggy the firm timbers

it’s a boy

washed upon the shores
of old age
an ocean of sadness
washing over everyone who knew

you didn’t mould him
shape, twist, bend, or contain damage
repair, uphold, set free;
he’s come fully formed:

armed with questions
belligerent with hope
nervous with dark dreams
awake into the new day

swallow, little swallow
(at an interfaith prayer meeting for Ahmed Zaoui,
held in isolation in Paremoremo as a terrorist)

he flew in the cathedral door
and soared to the heavens

high into the roof beams

blundered in that expansive entrance
wide but so low
(compared to where he is now)

how high to that central rafter I wonder?
ninety feet?  one hundred?
just guessing,
but maybe a bird knows altitude
like a comforting hand,
or dons those units of invisible clothing
as I might put on the 500 or so meters
to the bus-stop


gathering them to me

perhaps, when trapped, they think
going up will get them over
whatever walls fence them in;
up to God or, that is to say, Allah

(we’re all good monotheists here, after all)

no way out of this solitary confinement but down
sawn off chirps
of agitation of panic of some untranslatable bird emotion
slip through the bars
tiny wings flapping on
and on
and on
to stay above the danger
the milling hordes:
Christian & Muslim alike,
united in one small bird’s frightened vision


All Works Copyright Arthur Amon 2003