blackmail press 33
Miriam Barr
New Zealand

Tui 3 - Penny Howard
Miriam Barr (b. 1982) is a poet living in Auckland, New Zealand. Her poetry has been published in Landfall, JAAM, Poetry NZ, Enamel, REM Magazine and other places. Previously the editor of Side Stream and one of the coordinators of Poetry Live, these days she performs her work with The Literatti while she studies for her doctorate in clinical psychology and works as a mental-health promoter.

I am the 99%
We are not conquered dust
I am the 99%
our singular bodies
our singular minds
connect us
I am the 99%
in New York on Wall St
in Memphis Tennessee
in Chicago
in Auckland, New Zealand
I am the 99% standing
on the banks of the Amazon
with a spear in my bare hand
I am the 99%

We live here

We are not conquered dust

We are the 99%
We are not just
bones and flesh
we are eyes and ears
and sensory perception
we are stomachs
we are mouths

here we are
with our mouths
our singular bodies
we are our feet walking
our feet standing
even our arses
our arses sitting in.

We are the 99%
the 99% who are Ginsberg
still to this day
October 8th 2011
Bank balance: two dollars fifty seven

We are the 99%
money doesn't make
the world go round
we do, I do
I am the 99%
Just one
of these singular bodies
with voice
because we are not
conquered dust
we are not conquered dust.

After Summer 2011

The summer there were flags
in Aotea square, so many tents
proclaiming their colours.
A poem chalked on the steps
outside the confidence
of the council building.
We marched.
Medics collecting lost property.
Our fishnets ripped.

No animals are left,
just rats and humans
with all their feelings on.
The pinkness of skin
left exposed all summer.

The security tower was built in a day
pulled down even quicker.
A cross hatch of fences all round the square.
Defiance gathered on the concrete.
The whare kai has closed down.
100 policeman and 20 protestors.
Rice pilaf from the city mission now
with its one wary little prawn,
the colour of his hands
as he eats it with his eager mouth,
shows his bruises,
wonders where he will sleep tonight
now the tents are gone.

Still though,
there were flags in Aotea square.
There were signs there.
They keep coming.

Representational Democracy

Marianne Moore
used objects to talk about political issues

the crumbling fountain in Versailles.

We have
plastic bottles
factory stacks
apartment masses
car parks
balding mountains
motorway extensions
carbon credits
growing debts
the jingle
the coin
the beehive
the love of progress
and tall and big
the sky tower
the cargo ship
the cog
the Key
the screw.


The environment is where you live.
Also where you do not live.
It is this that surrounds us
and us too, in it.

All that is in it, is it.
It being the whole of everything
as well as the smaller
moment by moment layers of our environs:
the room with the large window
and the outside bustling in
the street here
the soil underneath it
there must still be soil underneath it
the microcosm of our house
centre of the universe
the universe out there
the planets in it
orbiting each other
without asking any questions

Birds do not ask questions of the trees
worms do not ask questions of the dirt
nor the roots
nor themselves there
functioning each of their functions
fully part of the world around them.

Then us here
holding ourselves out
as though we are different.

From the world
but not like it.

We watch animals moving about at dusk
think how other they are from us
out there, in the environment

the birds
are balancing their feet
in the trees.