blackmail press 35
Nicola Easthope
New Zealand

Taipari O Maraea - Penny Howard
Nicola's poetry explores the lives and ideas of teachers, mothers, cyclists and lovers, defenders and promoters of nature and social justice. She is currently interpreting her Orcadian ancestral stories in poetic form.

Nicola’s first collection, leaving my arms free to fly around you, was published in 2011 by Steele Roberts Aotearoa. She has been widely published in New Zealand and overseas, and was a guest performer at the Queensland Poetry Festival in 2012.
Comic obsession

(i.m. Goscinny & Uderzo)

For all she knows
we could be at the dawn of the world
bathing in streamers of coloured light,

or in the depths of a stalactite night
turning glow worms on and off
with our human booming.

We could be on a first class ticket
pterodactyl rocket shipette
direct to continental Beetlejuice,

or on dusty knees
fossicking up the stone age
dog teeth purse of Leipzig.

For all she cares, we may as well be
cross-legged on the library
toilet floor

or squat at the counter
for her first school bag,
knees on the bridge over the stream

where seven early ducklings
bob along with Mum, or here:
Coastlands food court,

pink smoothie in hand,
a chewed straw,
a comic book.

Eyes race across frames
of Gaullish slapstick, blocky font
ants along in bubbles of speech -

her heart set only
on Dogmatix
saving his beloved trees.


(after Rena)

A steel bullock has fallen
its lading awry
no strength to heft
- sad hulk on the horizon -
bowels loosing
to the shore.

No seed of kikuyu
or oxalis could take root
and sprout.
A cockroach
could not scuttle over,
go on.

Soft dotterel nests just shy
of each high tide
and full.
One parent sits
the other skirts
to the lapping edge
and, though
there is a death nose,
prods cockles
with the instinct
of urgent