blackmail press 27
Liz Breslin
New Zealand

untitled sculpture - Shane Eggleton
Liz Breslin lives mostly in her head and in Hawea Flat, New Zealand.

Her poetry, short stories, reviews and articles have been published in NZ (The Press, The ODT, OHbaby!, Debate, a fine line and Magazine) and overseas.
Liz is the co-founder of "Poetic Justice Wanaka". She’s taken to the stage on open mic nights in Rarotonga, Auckland, Wanaka and Dunedin. Liz’s first play, "Losing Faith: A Tale of PND", will be performed in 2010.

Shopping Island Style

Acquila’s tomatoes are cheapest and best
They’ve donuts some days under doilies outside
And taro, cassava and coconut cream
While Rireis has Heineken, Twisties and wine
Capsicums, bread and single ice creams.
There’s Vonnia’s for kids clothes, buckets and threads
And hair gel, “Romantic”, for brilliantined heads.
Try PAYLES$ on Sundays when the rest are all shut
And you want some bananas – they might have them – or not.
Ann Anns Pareu are colourful,bright
All hung from the rafters on two washing lines
When her sign’s up to tell you to Come In N C.
Up in Vapaie is the Neibaas shop
For DVD rentals, chow mein takeaways
Towers of tins and cold lemonade
But not, of course, on Saturdays.
The eggs are from Auckland and from last month too
Unless you buy free range from the Bungalows.
Maina has mayonnaise in massive jars
For a few lucky days once the ships have been in
And there’s some tucked away back at Aquilas
If you’ve got thirty bucks and some change to spend
And you know where to look and you’re there the right day.
Shopping’s trial and pleasure the Island way.


It’s paradise, but don’t drink the water
Buy purified, you can’t trust the tap.

It’s paradise but watch where you’re walking.
The stonefish lie with stingers on their back
Waiting to trap the papa’as
And a hospital visit’s a memorable one
With Doctor Death, as he’s locally known.

It’s paradise, but not for Marine life
There for the picking sitting in a reserve –
Those who populate it got no money to police it
And try telling locals that it’s not a right
When you’ve got the mayor and the MP behind
The purposeful ignorance of the law.

It’s paradise at six bucks an hour
For staffing resorts full of papa’as
Who’ve paid through the nose for an Island treat.
They don’t want to know
That you’re up every morning at six to rake
The coral and seaweed off their pristine beach

It’s paradise, unless you’ve got dengue
And sunsets burn through your bleeding eyes.
And you won’t even know when it’s rife –
Reporting it just makes bad press
So it’s safer to say sweet FA to the world outside.

It’s paradise but the system’s corrupted
You gotta know whose palm to grease and when
And you can’t speak out against your brother
Or your Cuzzie or your Auntie or any of them.

It’s paradise unless you’re a native
There’s locals leaving in droves every year
To go on the dole in New Zealand –
A future that’s brighter than what they see here.

It’s paradise, yeah sure it’s nice,
It’s paradise but at what price?

Some New Zealand Lines

land lines, plate lines,
Maori lines

world lines, word lines,
rocky lines

home lines, land lines, love lines, life

that line – back line –
mates in lines

art lines, lens lines,
story lines

home lines, land lines, love lines, life

lake lines, sand lines,
shore lines drawn

your lines, my lines,
some lines slice

home lines, land lines, love lines, life