blackmail press 27
Serie Barford
New Zealand

untitled sculpture - Shane Eggleton
Serie Barford is a performance poet of Samoan, Celtic, Scandinavian and Algonquin Indian ancestry.  She was born in Aotearoa to a German-Samaon mother (Stunzner/Betham/Leaega of Lotofaga and Fulu/Jamieson of Luatuanu'u) and a palagi father.  She has worked as a school teacher and is now involved in the field of Community Education in Waitakere City and lives between Aotearoa and the Loyalty islands.  She writes whenever she can and was recentrly published in Whetu Moan, Niu Voices, BMP17, Snorkel, Poetry NZ, Tinfish 16/Trout 13.

“The Riverhead Tavern has the second oldest liquor license in Aotearoa and is a gem.  You can row, paddle, motor or sail there when the tide's right and no one blinks if you walk in with gumboots and a dog. Just 10 -15 minutes by car out of Henderson and conveniently situated on the way back from Muriwai and yuppies don't go there.”

From Muriwai Beach to the Riverhead Tavern

today’s the sky’s so full of attitude 
it bullies the coastline and crabs

presenting carapaces like defiant bums
to the rheumy dog buoyant with new tricks

wind-puffed gulls sensing the margin of obedience
between mistress and mutt has worn thin
like the leather leash stashed in her pocket

and that the coast’s tired of withstanding waves
big enough to crash any Westie party

fly higher and higher, eclipsing gannets coated
with fallout from iron sands siphoned by clouds

so fearing rust or a brewing electrical storm
we rev the dying Honda Civic past the surf tower
over judder bars, up the hill, through the valley
and onto the main drag to the Riverhead Tavern

where ‘kia ora’ gets you beer in the garden bar
perched above the tidal river and water for the dog

and ‘kei  te pai’ secures a bowl of mussels steamed
in wine and cream livened with garlic and a smile

once the weight of kauri gum secured a man a meal
and it was  only 15 miles by steamer to Auckland

but there’s still talk of Te Rauparaha
the way he wore toroa featherdown in his left ear
how descendants of both allies and foes will slap themselves
for ‘kamate kamate’ in the All Blacks vs French replay in an hour

and the cook swears an albatross flew over the mangroves

*toroa – Royal Albatross (Maori)