blackmail press 37
Keith Nunes
New Zealand

Mere & Child - Penny Howard
Keith Nunes writes to fight off the demons that encircle his house. Some publications, such as Landfall, Poetry NZ, Takahe, Trout, Blackmail Press and Snorkel, have printed his wailing words. His wife, an artist named Talulah Belle, waits calmly for Keith to finish.

view from the pa

quotes out of wedlock rumble
up the forlorn ocean beach road
stirring me,
encouraging me to write back to cousins
who have hair to the waist and take tats on the chin

scrambled-egg brain fits follow
murderous magpies
along the witchy woman coast
passing through Captain Cook towns
and cities made of elderly asphalt

you can see the village from the taniwha’s back
full of starving children
and melie-mouthed public servants
trying to save the PM’s buck
while killing off a confused generation

seeking that little something

he paints his thoughts with gnarled fingers
hoping to explain
something he can’t understand
something that retreats out the door
when he commands a hearing

this ‘something’ is to be feared
it has information only Rialto viewers can decipher

he needs it to stay in character
lest the world has a peek and sees his undersized personality

he will seek even as his last breath
blows odours against the nurse’s lived-in face

there will be no reward
he is okay with that

three parts elemental

murky, shifty sky pretends it cares
to get over the horizon
then it unleashes
a storm nothing could survive


after a thoroughly wonderful
burst of bravado
I slipped into reverse
and flew through the windscreen


the pinko sunrise greets me at the fence
full of tales about hurricanes and hoochy coochy
it seems the weather over the brough
is all bluster and boom
and it’s heading our way

the descent

stumbling through neck-twisting ropy innards
down into witch-scream rock taunts
cracking shins and knuckles on
callous, reckless devils
grasping, groping, giving up

you topple into a muddy oasis full of points of sun
and illustrious birdsong
a caring companion offering her soul
you stop but the rain flocks and pops
and you run
into the scramble from hell
all the time plummeting into
open-throated gales of misery

the rain comes through in globules
of ice-cold put-downs;
there’s a slithering at your bare feet
catapults you into nightmares of
bedtime admissions and cowardly rejections

you notice a levelling;
a halt in the torrent
your stagger becomes a steady walk
breaking through last-gasp strands
you enter
unrecognisable, unashamed