Keith Nunes
New Zealand

Karakia Precari - Penny Howard 2016

darling, have you seen my little town?

she's stroking me with her nut brown eyes

like she sees what I can't imagine,

scarcely have I been so engaging

she twists me to face

the inconsolable town of 50 now peopled

by darlings designed by Vivienne Westwood,

up inside skirts and kilts

grabbing for the ornate and opulent

points of light in the midnight sky

what I say is meaning


and less

with each cog that slips a tooth

the slap

was a real slap in the face,

a fetching face

you’d normally want to suck

is anything necessary –

short of


and maybe a little cheesecake

her arched eyebrows told me

everything I needed to know

about her willingness

to be forever willing

my heart is pressing against my character

as though it’s saying:

“stop what you’re doing and

pump some life into the complacent”

random and totally unnecessary derangements

the unhinged and swinging mood, lurching from a smile for a song to the stone face at the dining table, no-one knows who's wearing those clothes, and that seething word consistent follows you around like a sermon read in Latin you can't comprehend, because it's hard to blame yourself you blame others and the anger boils and veins clinch and you walk into the traffic of people hoping a wandering set of lips will excuse and explain