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M. Bolton
New Zealand

Taipari O Maraea - Penny Howard
Auckland-based performance poet and spoken word events organizer. In 2011 she was the MC for LIVE @ The Library Bar, and last year was guest poet at Poetry Live, and featured at Rhythm & Verse. She is also the current 5th Tuesday MC at Poetry Live. Michelle performed in Rethink Possible Worlds with The Literatti and toured Melbourne with a team of NZ poets in 2012. She acted as Going West Poetry Slam‘s coordinator and host last year, as well as the 2nd annual NZ Poetry Slam, a new National Event, as one of its coordinator/emcees. As the writers co-ordinator for The Butterfly Diaries book project due for release later this year, Michelle has a special interest in suicide prevention and is passionate about seeing more community awareness and support for people with mental difficulties.
Silence & Future

These days,
it's the shadow that walks in
before she does...and she says its like
carrying bags of heavy-handed
silence...and future,
with no straps...
no string to tie it closed...

There is nothing I can say
to build these things for her
and feel all I have to give her
is more heavy-handed silence...
maybe a little future...

Shadows don't listen
to all they hear,
and when they learn to speak
I can feel all she would give
for a string of defence -
a thread of importance
for the silence, abrupt
and dismissive.
Instead she clings
to them like a cluster
of iron maidens -
fully equipped with

Shadows always look
through all they see,
and when they learn to touch
I can see all she would give
for that silence to be defence -
to be an armour for
nothing to fear!...

I only see her alone for a moment,
these days,
when the shadow leads
the room's exodus...and
in those brief moments
her quickly quaking blink
tells me she knows
tonight she will have to
rip her chest open once again
to spoon feed her shadow
as much of her silence
as could darken the stars!

Shadows won't eat stale silence
and when they learn to feel
I can hear all she would give
to sweeten all she hears
with a little fresh future...
and maybe...a little silence...
a little silence to
shadow her shadow...


It's the
suspended in the air
he uses to create
his overcoat...
The cold outside does not
It demands compliance:
appropriate protection against
the callus
or suffer severe consequences
for your insubordination....
If you can take the time
to take notice of
the next time
he moves to leave,
you might just
catch a glimpse of how
he does it - how
even those yet
to be said
find their way
into its textile,
tactile coverture...
Like they were
dangling on strings
of stressed sugar
shifting too sharply
for those who are not
delicate enough to see...
His dance resembles
the braid, the twist, the tease,
the tug, the knit, the stitch
the sew, the cross, the knot,
the tear, the break
and the separate!...suddenly
...confessions are cloth,
and the cold doesn't seem as
effectively tangible anymore...
And just as brutality's stringent
breeze brings him
behind a closing door,
you find yourself...
wanting to tell him

Pillowed Buildings

Find me a rainbow! – and
a piece of rope to dangle it from.
There’s too much gravity
around these coffee cups.
They’re just filled with conversation
fillers – pillared by pillowed buildings
reflected in the pathetic smile
given to me.
Hearts are halved
in hanging holes
swallowed by the black
in your eyes as they gazed to me.
These empty disagreements
and discreet sneaks
on misleading streets round
the maps on your face
- I can read you like last year’s best seller –
hell bent on wearing
your discretion on your sleeve.
I believed in your effortless
obsession to cleave
the weightless stress
from my comfortless breast!
Instead you wear me like a worn out dress.
I press a blessed opinion
on the predicament
placed in by the collision
of what is confessed
when you’ve learnt that I am new,
and you hadn’t a clue
that you blew
the one good image I had of you…like
paint still wet and falling faint
into a set of canvased constraint
- a silhouette of  scraped and tainted regret –
stained and blatant on your slain and offset face…
And someplace I am hoping
there will be space, a place for a dose
of your encased and subtle disgrace
- anyplace close that can play villainous host-
I even grant permission to boastfully misplace
this gross trace
of the one thing I want most to erase…
So, find me a rainbow!
– but don’t bother with the rope now…
I see I’ve already made one…