blackmail press 32
Chris Parsons
New Zealand

Moka's Utu - Penny Howard
Chris Parsons taught English as a second language in Japanese Colleges and
Universities for six years. He now works as a psychologist in schools and lives
in Christchurch. He has had poems published in blackmail press, Jaam, the Otago Daily Times, Snorkel, Southern Ocean Review, Takehe and Typewriter.


There is a man
on the beach
waving a burning branch
a burning bush
the shining leaves
a torch
that will shower us
with sparks
of revelation
molten truth inscribed
on each vein
vibrating and glowing
in every cell
swing low
sweet chariot
scatter some petals
in our path


there is a man
on the beach
waiting for women who
will come and dance
and wrap the world
in fiery cloth
with the truth humming
through every thread
every weave
they bend low to
lift the world
their  slow strength
pressing the sand


there is a man, on the beach


just when sleep is
staggering to take us
we’ll hear the breathing
of the coal train

as it passes in
the darkness we will
remember that their names
weren’t trifles written in water

but are anchored deep
in this very earth
carved on the mountains
that stand in memorial

for them. That coal
is blood and breath
a warm living thing
to be utterly treasured

the pipes will talk
for our words that lie
crushed, burnt, buried
the sad strong pipes,

singing remembrance, when the
coal train passes
on your safe street, count
off 29 wagons. Their

rhythmic chant says coal
is blood and tears.

The pipes will
Wail for us
As our words
Lie buried crushed

The sad strong pipes
Calling each truck
Of the coal train
As it passes

As you wait at the warning lights
Count off 29 trucks
Carrying a town’s
Blood, a town’s tears.