blackmail press 17
Keith Nunes
new zealand
brief bio:  In my world, Smeagol nips Lester and April headbutts the
door, Talulah paints, the three munchkins pull in different directions
and a former newspaper journalist writes poetry like there's no tomorrow.
And I say thanks to the Pole Zbigniew Herbert who wrote: I cannot grow
up/although years go by/and planets and wars/roar above.

The dust covers everything
Along Mountain Road
Rising from the dead
Smothering the living

We're closer to Te Puke
Than Tauranga
As the dust blows,
On line to Rotorua

The rutted road
Is hard on cars
Seven punctures
In seven months

Stones under the
Carriages work
Into gears, rattle
Around wheels

Smeagol and Lucy
Barking mad
Charge the fence
As cars rumble by

Heading to Mangatoi,
Pyes Pa or No2 Road
Driven with intent
Rushing through the dust

Morepork and tui
Hoot and whistle
At passing traffic
From the trees

The neighbour
Hires a man to
Carve up her
Rambling pastures

And the guy across
The road carves
Up pongas
For Auckland dollars

Behind our backs
Stands Otanewainuku
And to the side
The lumbering Kaimais

She's a fair drive
Into town,
7k on the dirt
21 on the tar

done daily it costs
a penny or two
but that's okay
because at night

Blowtorch stars
Sear your eyes
And the moon beams
Like a halogen spotlight

The quiet envelopes
you until you
sense eternity and
find serenity.


All hail Tomotoes
Befallen craps
Upon craps
Inside rolls of
Unforeseen circumstances
Purger of purgers
Trailer of parks and caravans
Underarm surgery and
Upper thigh barbeques
You who reign  can only see
Those who don't know where
The toilet is or bathroom
Over yonder in Elvis country
Sparked an arm offenders callout
When she blew her boyfriend
And he came in wads
Of bills through the year
And across the road
Tomotoes by the dozen
Inexhaustibly red
Backer of right-wing regimes
He curled his hair
When she shopped overseas
When the ex dropped
Off the teenager
She called out
All hail tomotoes
In Bethesda across the road
From Peter's favourite inn
Lay frightful hussies in
Lemon curd dresses
On top of satin overcoats
The three wise
Guys hunched back
A few metres to Notre Dame and
With a French letter
Prevented a third birth
And she said thanks
And all hail tomotoes


Lisping leather houses
Oak-thick legs
And a trunk of
Burly bronze.

He stands,
Tall as It happens,
Wriggles free of
The wispy woman

And mentions
In a bellicose
Voice that he's

Of what, I asked,
But he'd lost
Interest and was
Screwing Abigail

The girl who'd come
With Arthur the porn
Making gravedigger
Who'd come with beer

Queer as it seems
The gay guys waived
A chance to drink
My wine

And instead drank up
The atmosphere of
Which there
Was plenty

Until Bobby came in
And all hell broke lose
When he pulled a knife
And spat at Arthur

Who'd dug Bobby's dad's
Grave the weekend before
And the coffin went in
On an obtuse angle

And Bobby's dad
Fell into the
Waterlogged hole
And floated.

So Bobby went for
Arthur and he went for
The door with his porn
Shirt blazing red

With photos popping off
Bobby stopped and
Let Arthur run
For his porn-mobile

And the burly bronze
Guy keeled over
A little before his time
It turned out. 


Tall and balanced
Frosty men
Peddle plausible
Dreams to
And dangerous

And so the world turns

One more notch
One more sad fuck
Bites down on his lower lip
Draws blood in the dock

Takes a fall and lands
In prison; in debt; enthralled.

Can't space it out just
Comes like an avalanche

One day you're scanning
The surf for a good wave
The next you're searching
The ads for a good job

We learn, though, to fall
Without breaking the back
And rebound,
Sluggishly at first,

Full of hope - naïve.

The frosty men
Reappear with their
Smiles and faint  promises.
They demand you be like


And when you can't they
Cut you loose and label you