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Brenda Ann Burke
Canada/ New Zealand

Enigmatic blue on a weekly basis Andy Leleisi'uao
Enigmatic blue on a weekly basis - Andy Leleisi'uao
Canadian-born and living in Wellington, New Zealand, Brenda Ann Burke's
work has been presented in a number of  publications, including BMP 15,
as well as the anthologies /Kaupapa: New Zealand poets, world issues/;
and /Hand Luggage Only/. Greybird seems to appear increasingly in her
work, but B denies "the crone" is an alter-ego.

Intersecting Spheres

The treetop outside the window
is not shaped like a mushroom.
More a soft triangle
or a rugby ball
which renders the deflated moon
sucked in at the top
half muddied
a metaphor,
the beautiful sport
in a sorry state.

Resting on a hamburger wrapper the cat
is not beige.  Kind of
calf-coloured or caramel,
like Elsie on the milk tin
opened for winter porridge.

Telling a story to cross your ears
is easy.  Choosing words,
making you see with me
is hard.  Finding the me and you
who agree to try—first prize
on the starting line.

Leftover Treasure


For guests
Gram made
date loaf.
Not able
to taste
she took
a risk.

I still like a good snack
of sweetcorn.  Don’t you?


Faces at the edge
of sleep.  Nelson
Mandela.  That crone,
Chinese-Kiwi, who used to
walk near the Four Square.
Not your face.  Not yet.

When was the last time
I saw her, the old lady?


Some say
it’s the colours
that go first.
What remains
is a memory
of the idea
of pink.

Others say
it’s the memory
that goes. Colours
remain.  This version
I like much better.


Today sun burns orange
stones in the courtyard.
pull my red dress over
a crone body, head out
to bake my toes.
of dignity


Struggle. Belief
in hard work as
a moral value,
although it may
not feed the kids.
Being staunch. Not
asking.  Never
admitting you
can’t afford. Suffering.

Please remember
we made these
rules for you.

Not OK
Taking the easy
way.  Scrounging
and busking, unless you
have a Council licence.
Self-pity. Whingeing. All
forms of excessive
behaviour.  Big talk.
Protest. Ranting
and banging the
table.  Making noise.

Nine o’clock and
all is well…

Near Parliament


There is a bird
that sounds like
a human imitating
a bird.  But a
greybird is not
a dusty blackbird.
My body is small
or broken
or withered.
The person inside
is just as big.


may be wearing
matching tan
jacket and pants
stretched over your
pot belly.  Canvas hat
with plastic corks.
Cigarette hanging.
More fun at least
than the last cruise ship
outflow, all fat
wallets and pinched


are you
looking for
in this place?
Here, between
soft moments
I engage mainly
in smalling
activities. You
have bought licence
to ramble. Pass

Greybird is
silent, but she’ll not
give up her seat
on the bus.