blackmail press 17
Kalim Shepherd
new zealand

Hiked long and hard through primordial boulevards,
punga arches, totara windows in the sky.
Radiant shaft sent from the wing of a passing kea,
directs to the ancient grove, a secret bush boudoir.

Fine moss carpet, glistening silver
meets black beech canvases,
textured art groans and hums to honeybee caresses.
Bellbird bravura serenades, our coy looks grasping.

Honeydew licked from busy fingers,
aphrodisiac for the original instinct
carnal in origin,  becomes craving.

Locking together limbs and roots combine,
engage in lovely fusion, earthy earthly erotica,
pleasure spent in the Kakariki Motel.

Free to all lovers with hiking boots and
no aversion to fantail voyeurs and honeydew headaches.

The hazy eyes of memory

Those early days of memory,
When the family house was a work in process.
Horses grazed our lawns and Dad
Booby trapped the garage
With nailed off-cuts,
Just waiting for supple feet.
The lupins came like Tryffids
From the overrun dunes,
Sending forth their gathering caterpillar hordes.
The sun always shone; winter has no power here in reflection.
Our skin salty and burnt, the beach our backyard; yes ours,
Ours alone.
Men passed our house with barracuda and large smiles.
Pipi shells were stacked like empty lockets
Where the bros had eaten a feed and pleased the gulls.
I remember your crash course bmx lessons
Involving mounded dirt, deep holes,
My tears, your laughter.
The shell wars and castles, I was always the roundheads,
You always cheated but I didn’t care.
Living free till the dinner bell.
I wonder why memories of youth are always bright with sunshine
And lazy days.
Were things just better then
Or do I just remember what I wish.

On high

Standing where the rocks show their faces
Rounded and without eyes.
The bitter wind up here, has sewn them shut
And sewn a new colour to my cheek and nose.
I look upon the sprawling city
A multi coloured beehive that hums and drones
But never sighs for its vacant queen.
Searching with hopeful eyes, for a glimpse of you,
With strained ears for a sound of your (our) regret.
Seconds lapse, I smell your musky perfume, buried
Beneath the aroma of your damp woollen cardigan.
You passed me in the dark
And approach from behind,
Apprehension in your silence.
Turning my back on the city, there you sit.
My queen has come back to me.
We will leave
Leave this land together.


I was not there
The TV showed enough
The death of innocence
The birth of another hate generation.

Misery carved with sickle and hammer
Upon skyward faces, questioning
It showed teachers, piled, crumpled
Like crestfallen darts, below high windows.

Children, stripped of cloth and its safety
Shock, shell shock, robs them of emotion’s pathway.
Riverbeds cut deep across the dirt and blood
Streams down pale cheeks, now spent.

Panic, a harsh general, dictates life
With a spin of the wheel.
A small child blown through a window
Stands, staggers and climbs back into hell.

I was not there
The TV showed enough
Crowds joined in the harmony of grief
The few, who’s grief was latent, raged
Pain had formed a stone of anger upon their features
Had turned fingers into crooked weapons

I was not there
But I cried
Should I feel guilt for wanting to hurt these
Men of infanticide?
Should I drop my head with
Thoughts of justice, this wish to be god
To strike these things of horror
These monsters of reality
These slayers of angels?

I was not there
But the TV showed enough
I go to the front bedroom and stare at my
Son’s sleeping face.

Kalim Shepherd, postman and property renovator. Until the start of this year never knew poetry exsisted. In a period of hardship decided to put pen to paper. Kalim hasn't looked back since.