blackmail press 26
Magdalena Ball

from: Angipanis of the Abanimal People - Andy Leleisi'auo
(for Puhiwahine)

just before waking
from her last dream
she left a gift
more permanent than the Taringamotu Stream
black hair so long it skimmed the water
brushing it into the landscape
plaits into into the serrated margins of Mahoe leaves
weeping Salix sepulcralis
she wouldn't cry beneath

lids tattoed shut
so they wouldn't forget to look

peace at her inner storm
one step beyond the unsheathed sword
following her into the Ngati Maniapoto 

no reclining princess
her pukana stilled white anger
war song versus musket
orange sun against purple mountains

she left a gift
in rags and broken promises
open it, to wind down the gorges of the Ongarue
across the Tuhua range and beyond North Island
up past atmosphere, beyond gravity, to the Milky Way stars
where poetry belongs
changing nothing
and recreating everything


The buzzard light
drags on your eyes.

Though not three am
the rooster screams a daylight
your body won't deny.

A thousand frogs, insects, machinary
that never sleeps
diurnal girl in nocturnal world
fights for quiet
against the foul
trumpet shriek
of inner morning.

Magdalena Ball runs The Compulsive Reader. She is the author of the poetry
book Repulsion Thrust, the novel Sleep Before Evening, a nonfiction book The
Art of Assessment: How to Review Anything and three other poetry chapbooks
Quark Soup, and, in collaboration with Carolyn Howard-Johnson, Cherished
Pulse and She Wore Emerald Then.