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Photography: Sarah Reed
Karisma Vala-Blackmore

Karisma Vala-Blackmore is a new poet. Despite being plagued by romantic melancholy and a philosophical disposition since birth (due to her Australian-Irish-Catholic, Indian-Hindi heritage) she’s been taking her sweet time to get into print.  Her inclusion in the 2004 Poetry Society Anthology spawned a desire to see more of her escapist fantasies published. She is keen on photography (she won the inaugural Mighty River Power Portraiture Award) and is a mother to a highly entertaining seven year old daughter. 

She lives on a kiwifruit orchard in Ohaupo (at a safe distance from reality) and derives the bulk of her inspiration from a nerdy obsession with popular music.

Absinthe, Cigars and Oysters

I am a thief
of neon signs and boyfriends,

a collector

and a greedy little hedonist.

A common bird with a garish nest
of icons and blue laundry pegs.

But if you are alert, you will have noticed
my one numb eye
that never moves – uninspired
by the spinning scenery,

it is frozen and fixed
on a parallel life
being played out
off the crowded stage.

Bird’s Nest Soup

You are an alchemist -
an expert in reducing
compounding the elements:
Used To Be
Could Have Been        and
Never Was -

adept at whipping up
(with only a moment’s notice)
a maelstrom of memories
broken twigs     and spit
to be stewed,
and served with rice.

In your care
things unholy    and unwhole
are spun into gold.

Spaghetti alle Vongole’

You have no idea, do you?
A simple meal, mild flavours
in correct proportions -

fresh elements and pleasing
salty juices, hardly seem injurious
and perhaps without pernicious intent
such a meal would be as it sounds:

a passing and benign pleasure, but
this house is no democracy and you
have fallen under the spell
of a slippery despot
with designs on your free will.

The audible enjoyment you carelessly display
lip-licking and encore requests
seal your fate; with the first bite
you unknowingly placed
the power of our household
into my waiting hand.

So do keep eating –
it is no coincidence that I have served
Che Guevara’s signature dish.

If you had listened more carefully
you would have detected malice
in my choice of nom de guerre:

Your Thoughtful and Loving Wife.

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