blackmail press 27
Jo Emeney
New Zealand

untitled sculpture - Shane Eggleton
I am a 35-year-old New Zealander, back home after 14 years in England. I won a Commonwealth Bursary to read English Literature at Cambridge when I was eighteen, and completed my BA, PGCE and MA there. I got married in England and, in 2006, persuaded my English husband, David, also a teacher, to come and live in New Zealand, on Auckland’s North Shore.   I am a full-time English teacher and I tutor at the Michael King Writers Centre Summer Workshops for Young Writers.   I recently co-adjudicated the International Writers Kathleen Grattan Award for a Sequence of Poems with Jack Ross. I have had ten poems published in the UK Guardian and, since returning to NZ in December 2006, I have had poems published in North and South, Poetry NZ and Snorkel.
I have just finished putting a first collection together and hope to see it published by the end of 2011.


Anticipating you
is like reading
familiar erotica.

My stomach slips,
beats low, confesses
its hot estrangement
from the brain.

I dream
cradling your chin
at the heel of my palm;

draping an arm
over secret skin,
tracing love's
rich blue vein,

while lips chase
like a sacred sin

over the
rise and dip
of those rosary ribs.

Got is Not a Pretty Word

the English teacher said.

Got pregnant.
Got married.
Got divorced.

Its glottal stop
is a throttle,
a gag,
a harbinger of trouble.

If you have any common sense,
you'll never get
in the past tense.


Today in the hairdresser’s
I opened my wallet to pay
and the girl behind the counter said,
Is that your Mum? Aren’t you the same?

Is that
Is that
and that Is was tantalising.
Is Yes wrong
now you are gone
and all that is left
is a photo I found
that I scanned and reduced
to wallet size
so that I might have you
all the natural years of
your life?

I finger-trace
your lovely smile
the lines of your face
your paua shell eyes
squinting in the sunshine
of mine
our black hair
catching the blue
of the sky
and my hand
resting on your left breast,
prophetically clingy.

I spy
I spy
something beginning with I.


Tonight, those five wooden dolls on the windowledge remind me:
you are vanishing by degrees. There is your Doppler footfall,
that faint familiar staccato, diminishing on the ascendant.      
I cock my ear to the diminuendo of size three high heels                     
as you take the stars two at a time.