blackmail press 22
L.J Stockman
New Zealand

A fourth generation NZer of mostly Irish and German descent, I was raised on the wild West Coast and now reside in Christchurch City.
I have written intermittently for many years, however other committents have taken precedence until now. I view my poetry as a social commentary, although personal, in a broader sense reflecting place and movement in the demographic landscape and reaching for an understanding of identity and whakapapa as we all seek our place to stand.

A memory of rain

My bones ache
with longing
all I want to give
something beautiful
for you
my touch
my breath
my song

you luminous child
skin soapy soft
pudding breath
Time stand still

but no
we must carry on
all will change
but never my heart
drumming your rhythm

all I want to give
something beautiful
for you
a kinder world
a safer place
a better life

some things cannot
be taken from you
a memory of rain
a new moon
your mothers love.


Courage clutching
like a straw
you are thrown in
to sharp relief
a shadow theatre
keeps your features
generic in mystery

assume the position
of least resistance
a familiar dullness
thuds erratic pulse
your twin heartbeats
pushed into conformity

you are a list
of exceptions to the rule
none of them startling
a mediocrity of maladies
playing your theme song
as you slow dance
counting under your breath

only backwards into
your old crawl space
under the skin
you are contours
of no distinguishing features
a sand dune shape-shifting
makes you Sahara empty

you are dowsing
where the bone points
digging in your ruins
you seek fluid
in this drought

but don't you know
the rains still fall


my heart
is a kakapo
in the alpine
high country

booming ancient
echo location
hill to valley

my slow journey
your rhythm

can't you hear me
my drum beat
I am emptying
all of my sound

just to wait
to listen


who will

Small words

In these tight times
we speak in small words
not wanting to waste
ourselves we're hurrying

no wondrous wandering
exploring lexicon illuminations
contemplating characteristics
meandering contentedly
through fruitful fields of understanding

small words
cut to the chase
to the bone
it's all we can

no noble salutations
extending amiable hospitality
must rush
slap dash

no elaborate explanations
it's not you
it's me

no eloquently penned epistle
small words will do
how are you
the weather

I'm not reproachful
some of my best
words are small

my love

my life

all is






Down at the Save-Mart
second hand clothing warehouse
conservative Christchurch
turns glacial face as
cold cold southerly wind
blows up straight from the ice
two queens putting on a show
lovely Maori boy-girls
giggling and parading
smooth bare legs bare feet
mini skirts and skimpy
halter tops stretched
over broad olive
front row prop shoulders
stage show make-up
over 5 o'clock shadow
they stand impatient
in line behind me
twitching and bitching
swearing and posing
and possibly shoplifting
I wonder how they see me
or whether they do at all
I have an overwhelming urge
to join in their performance
ask them what they've found
direct their runway show
the young sales assistant can't cope
rings the bell twice
eyes signalling help help
her saviour an older woman
loves the ladies
looks them up and down
surveys their skimpy purchases
didn't you girls find any coats?
it's bloody freezing she says
the girls shriek in stereo
- and we're from Auckland!
still laughing they won't
leave through the gate
preferring to climb over the barrier
and out through the entry door

later in the car park
I see them again
their car won't start
they are hysterical with laughter
and then in a cough of blue smoke
the indifferent city
swallows them up.