blackmail press 28
Reihana Robinson
New Zealand

Writer, artist, environmental activist living on the Coromandel and Massachusetts.  One of three poets featured in AUP New Poets 3 published by Auckland University Press and published on line (Melusine, Cezanne's Carrot) and in literary magazines (Cutthroat, Hawai'I Review, Enamel)
Other Mothers

Flintlock downed her dusky brood
Scows claimed her livelihood
Her trees her soil her seeds
But the fire in her kitchen never stopped burning
Crossing the creek to gather puha
And the fires keep burning
There are other whaea but they lost the race
As race it is from dark to light

Shrapnel maiming your sons
Hunger shaping your world
A haggis in the grease-stained kitchen
Window open to a great pear tree
And a nor’easter fit to blind sheep
Half an egg to be shared with a neighbour
Yes times were tough

In your sunshine kitchen of one million steps
You conduct the daily food rituals
Filling me and your moko
Whatever the weather
Tapping the linoleum in this your 90th year
Napalm in Vietnam
Phosphorus in the desert
Rendered in Pakistan
De-limbed in Kabul
Past the first generation gap and tie-dyed
Cigar-smoking boys 
Barefoot and pregnant not up north this time
Your loving arms
Your sunshine kitchen
Your fingers shaping the food a
Drum beat that only translates as mother

Porridge in the Microwave

You said she had the porridge in the microwave
And her clothes laid out
But her life was leaving before she could claim either

It is a perpetual preparation this thing we call life
The quiet scrubbing and railway journeys
All the stories of those already departed
Lingering around the table of fine dining
A kindness here a helping there
We believe in perpetuity we believe in infinite days
Yet constantly we suffer shock
As our beliefs go tumbling over the cliff
Into dirt, dug holes, boxes, pyres
And then you are no longer there
At the end of the phone, at the end of the line
A tunnel appears to which there is no end
Swerving to avoid oncoming traffic is no
Talisman for survival
We get to survive hours and days and weeks
Even years and then it is all gone
Swallowing our sorrow we walk from the
Fresh mound of earth
Holding hands
And for the briefest moment we contemplate
Death and then the rest follows
Breath takes us back to our own perpetual life

Summer Unfolding Over the World’s Bad News

Lightning flashes up
Tall oaks
Their large leaves
On a small night sky
Same night sky over Bahgdad
Over Bhopal, over Gaza, over border towns
In Mexico, over jungle, over rivers, over bodies
Left in the open

As soon as Mistress Sun leaves her trail of fading light
Night comes down
Covering but not concealing monsters
Sometimes we read about the world’s bad news
Sometimes we hear it
What is to be done?

We do nothing as we watch humanity
Bare broken teeth
Blackened eyes
Strung necks
We do nothing as lynch mobs

And like copra in the blaring sun
Humanity is flayed as if in readiness for breakfast
A tanned hide stripped and tattooed
A light goes on and off and on and off

We walk inside away from the world’s bad news

No Fly Zone             
( for Ahmed Zaoui and Deborah Manning)

A perfectly ordinary kiwi bloke on the
Zebra crossing exiting Arrivals.
Outside the terminal he looks up at
A girl in a t-shirt walking into Arrivals.
All his deals went down the gurgler
He just wants to go home and not to go home
Façade after façade
A bad flight 
A bad trip
A bad morning
He glances up and reads her t-shirt
Without hesitation his voice 
Becomes porn

Something strange or very bewildering happens
This once suckling baby becomes a suffering
Ghost and wild stones of the desert pile up
So that his only choice is one million stones

Boys I Have Met or Premonition

Lost on a large continent
Joey was at home on his island
Playing leapfrog into a future he feared

On a dare he let go
Found himself back at square one barely begun
A caesarian plucked fresh

Only his roost sunk into history
His higgledy-piggledy nest blown apart

He begins again like a good birdie
Collecting twigs and twine
A betrothed gathering for her glory box

Kitchen - Charles Olsen