Jordan Hamel
New Zealand

Karakia Precari - Penny Howard 2016
Does Mike Hosking dream of electric sheep?

My car only gets one station
So every morning
When the highway is coiled
At its tightest
Mike croons gentle comfort
Defending my white collar existence.
Keeping me safe from
A P.C World gone mad.

What are they thinking Mike?
Such churlish unitary planning,
We can’t build highrises here,
Bob Jones would be turning in his grave.
Howick would swell with rage,
The suicide risk of tall buildings
Would kill the resale value

Where do you go Mike?
When the voice telling me
Lawyers never beat their spouses
Isn’t yours?
You’ll never know
How mundane my mornings are
Without you.

What should we do Mike?
They think the Councils are too white
They’re out of touch with middle New Zealand
They’re romanticising the poor
Every grasping minority
Seems to want
A piece of our pie.

What will you do Mike
When your war is over?
Has my Uncle John
Saved you a seat at the table?
Will you give a rousing General’s address
At  some fundraising gala?

How do you sleep at night Mike?
Does your vial of John Campbell’s tears
Silence the screams
From those who choose to be oppressed?
Does the maniacal laughter of Jeremy Wells
Shock you upright in a cold sweat?

Election Day 2014
Do you remember our first date;
Election day in the rain,
No seats left inside the café.
Wet, tired, fumbling over
Social Graces. 
As the Young Nats marched by
A shining blue & white parade of privilege
Singing their hymns
At the alter of Nepotism.
As their Uncle prepped
His homily on the
Virtues of self-satisfaction.
That could have been us,
God knows, we wouldn’t
Look out of place.
Instead we sat, together,
Watching a nation on the verge of
Aware of the garbage surrounding us,
Cautiously optimistic
Of our unfolding situation.


Every year it’s the same
A swarm of wide open eyes
And recently straightened teeth.
The night is the most telling
Huffer caps,
Karen Walker rings,
New dresses
Too thin for a place where
It’s sunny 2 weeks a year.
Most will leave eventually,
Presumably having bettered themselves
Ready to
Take their place in the world.
But some will stay.
Driven mad by
An idea they couldn’t escape
Once the lecture ended.
They’ll form an understanding
With the city and its rhythms.
Trading the caps and dresses
For docs and trench coats.
Learning where to
Get free coffee
If you ask the barista
About their day
And who will serve them
On nights when
Everyone else
Has fled the scene.
Working for the local
Magazine or radio station
To make friends in strange places
And partially fund their
Creative pursuits.
And on moments like these
They’ll retreat to some dark corner
And sit in contemplation
Of our beloved, holy landfill.

Tunnel Beach

Those few moments
Fumbling our way
Through darkness
In the ongoing struggle
Between sand and sea
The great isolation
Shared with others.
Who had something to escape.

We should do this more often
We both know we won’t
Time seems less malleable
With our impending departure
5 years after
We first came here
To remind ourselves
Of our own insignificance.

The beer was warm,
We wanted pizza
And the indifference of nature
Isn’t infinitely gratifying.
With one last glance
At the subtle blue violence.
Suddenly wary of the
Impending steep hike
Back to the car.
Another harsh reminder
Of how unfit I am.