blackmail press 22
Thane Zander
New Zealand

Thane Zander, Thane is a 48yo Bipolar sufferer currently living in Feilding in the Manawatu.  He’s been semi retired for 7 years now due to the illness and has taken up poetry to pass the day.
As a result he is a director of a website for poetry, mainly with American Poets on the website Blueline Poetry.  He is co-director of a critique forum, director of the challenges forum, and writes a poem a day in the House of 30 (where a poet has to post a new poem each day for 30).
He has been published extensively in American ezines and had 5 poems selected for an print anthology, The Poet Pub.
Thane is basically a non-conformist shoot from the hip poet and delights in story poems, which get a warm reception at the Blueline website.

Thane hosts a poetry forum on the following site, please do check it out,
Mirrors through the Looking Glass

(Also known as The Mad Hatter was a Stoner)

I sat whistling the tune from The Fisherman's Daughter, the high key
shrilling out in High F, the bass key Low B.  The ladies walking their dogs
kinda skipped along when they passed me on my own park bench, the remnants
of pigeon poo washed off by morning rain.

He stood staring
eyes wide open
the affects of the acid tab
in every crevice,
he touched his red nose
Reindeer hallucination,
seven long fingers stroked
eyebrows bushy
from too many
chasing that dizzy blonde bitch.

The local cop sauntered by, his night stick twirling deftly in his left
hand, the gun hand stroking a solid .38 clipped back to handle deadly
situations.  I smiled at him, he pretended not to notice, but his eyes were
lavishly passing to and from, me and the path ahead.

Alice sucked
on a popsicle,
practising for when
the Mad Hatter came down
from his monthly high,
yeah A in Wonderland
for adults,
Lewis Carroll apparently
must have been high
to write such folly
a looking glass that looked back
even when a bunny ran forward.
The Doctor from Doctor Who
zoomed in, in a time machine
to whisk the stoned ones
off to foreign land
(Earth I hear)

He's gone now, chasing some inert pigeon that shat on his head, the .38
waving wildly about as birds flew amok.  I settled down to a two day old
Subway sandwich (been saving it), the pregnant mother with one in the pram
not long off the nipple (if at all) sails by in her Zambriskies designer
track suit and Nike runners, hair carefully pony tailed back and the face a
picture of a painted model.  If I had smelt her, wouldn't have been
surprised to smell Chanel No5.

Dollydumplings, Alice
big, round, chocolate
and marshmallow,
the lace on her stockings
twisted to insinuate
sex wasn't her forte
"margarine cup cakes Doctor"
taste the therapeutic nature
of Mary Jane sticks dipped
in copious ambrosia.

The tree fell!  I know, I've been sitting here on and off for thirty years
now, my spot, but the bloody thing just toppled off its base and crashed in
an almighty heap in the spare ground next to the Bird Aviary.  Scared the
shits outta those birds I assure you.  Gave me the collywobbles too.  I
stood up and went over to the silver birch that had just passed away, and as
self professed Padre of the Williamstown Park, I administered last rites to
the poor tree and any animal that may have either been in the tree or under

Dreams saunter
I waltz to Lou Reeds
"Take a Walk on the Wild Side"
As a rather high Wabbit
I can bellywho to whomever,
do the bunny hop
to Stings stupid songs,
Alice MY Dear
give an Old
discerning Wabbit
a magic spell
to send him bye bye's
We see in the mirror
the wicked witch
from Snow White (hussy)
Seven Dwarves indeed,
suddenly the room went blank,
the Blonde tart
took a leap
through the cupboard door
into her bed
where replaced with
a siren from Roxanne's.

Totally immersed in my repartee, I failed to see my brother and sister come
to visit.  They must have seen me ranting and raving, so made their way
over.  I heard them approach, turned and confronted them both with a special
spell. "Hi duckerus, dindycator catchstickery" and poof I closed my eyes and
they disappeared.  However when my sister asked what the fuck was happening
did I then open my eyes and found my wizardry to be as effective as my
Spirituality self.  Today I put the rest of my life behind me and followed
them back to the Redcliff centre for the Mentally Challenged.  Yeah, ok so
the cop might have had good reason.


The garbage man filters the bins,
a lady's white tights
a Mad Hatters Mad Hat
the Subway wrap scrunched up,
a seat next to the bin
with pigeon poo and a twig
obviously from a fallen birch,
the mirror in pieces adjacent
the other end of seat.

A silver dollar, gold coated
a sign the Wizard of Oz
left the planet again.

The Green spoon Principle

in the

Deciduous trees pointing skyward


A passing Jet leaves a life sign.

My first love smiled endlessly.


Those mirrors that reflect nothing to scare one!


Hills in spring, green and coated in sheep blotches.


Sunday I gave up smoking, now I can't bear myself.

Headline 73 buried in Page Forty of the Newspaper.

There it is, found it.  I'd been waiting for the snippet of information
since the interview seven days hence.  The Cub Reporter was true to her
word, within one week and there it is, "Mentally Ill have been Great People"

Winston Churchill it is said
was mentally ill
lived a life coupled with depression
not sure he was Manic Depressive
possible though.

The window of Depression is always dark
the mood of the bearer often slouchy
the light of day darkened when passing through,
I suffer Mania, so can't comment
though I'm sure it's as debilitating.

The article was two hours of interview, though the short piece surely
doesn't warrant mentioning.  Maybe I wasn't that interesting, though in my
own mind I find myself highly worthy of mining, yet I get the feeling the
gold I tried to pass off as my illness was subjected to editorial

A lot of stars of stage and screen
suffer from Bipolar,
suffer from depression,
suffer from drug abuse
and maybe alcohol too,
The Lap Dancers in some hotels
snort cocaine to stop the pain,
the degradation of self
degeneration of mind,

a young kid in a classroom shows disinterest
shows signs of fidgeting,
knows he not fitting in
he's got puberty to wait for the outcome
the diagnosis,
a mental illness part hereditary
part self abuse,
all to often seriously underrated.

I read the article another time, just to be sure that it would articulate
with fellow sufferers, to accept my invitation to join our consumers group,
to offer peer to peer assistance, to let them know they are not alone.  She
highlighted the meetings every second Wednesday.  I think 'is this enough?'
then ruminate that maybe it could be too much for some.  Such is life.

We meet every second Wednesday
to keep the pace of the meetings going
to do crafts and the likes
to sing
to rhyme
to make things happen,
numbers are low
we expect that
to start with,

this week we hope after the paper article
things will pick up, improve, increase,
of course, buried on Page Forty
not many would have the patience to read that deep,
I sure as hell wouldn't,

The register we sign when we clock in shows a marked increase.  Maybe the
Winston Churchill reference or the elucidation of famous actors, but this
week coming indications are more people will be there, the phones of the
organizers running red hot.  Someone read, yes, and they read me, now time
to meet and mingle as fellow humans afflicted with likewise ailments.

Poppy Seeds

How can such innocuous plants instil so much wastage the world over.  The
heroin trade a sad legacy of the Western World, heck maybe even the Eastern
World.  The misery of addiction, the decay of life, the unwanted dead, all
legacies of a small plant in East Asia.

Diecast Ramrod belts out another rock song
the chords juxtaposed to the screech of electric guitar
the other band members high as kites
as they go through their set,
the poison in veins
creating Death Metal,
the groupies front row centre
throwing heads to and fro,
the girl with the Rose tattoo
scantily clad
swings her head in melodic tempo.

Cocaine spreads it's evil wings out of Central America, bound for the
markets of rock stadiums and street life in North America and other western
territories.  The insipid plant that breeds misery and death, fucked up
lives living fucked up life.  The dollar it earns going into illicit bank

Joe Ramirez of Capital Investments
sniffs another toke
his daily habit worth $200
he functions better, sharper
so he thinks
not that he thinks now
more an automaton to self destruction
the lights in the room flicker
or is it his mind that bends
the sound of commerce outside his door
the sound of his sniffing
inaudible bar the compulsory cough.

'Hey Man', said Bob Marley, the king of Gunga and Rastafarian,  the sweet
scent of Mary Jane as you toke back on another bullet.  The sweet sensation
of a moderate high as you take it in deep and hold, to give full effect to
the weed.  It's often home grown so hard to police, but still idiots try
their luck and get caught.

"Gonna give you Kaya now
got to give you kaya now
and the rain is pouring."
The caravan is steady
if not the inhabitants,
the smell wafting out one open window
the children wait their turn
big brother holding back
in case someone comes
the smoke in the cabin enough
for the little ones to get high,
this is such a buzz he thinks
not thinking he's ruining fragile minds.

That's seven today she thinks.  Seven Halcyon sleeping tablets.  Not trying
to get high, just trying to lose memories, before she loses her mind.  The
most she has taken in one day was twelve, and boy did that knock her out,
slept for three days after.  Her mind slips back to the rape (again) and the
nonsensicalness of it all.  Heck, he was her best friend, had been for
years.  Sure, they'd both been on crack, but his animalistic attempt at love
had killed her.

Pills rule the world
as do chemical companies
a pill for this
a reason for that
the times when days passed
and the pain lingered on
the nights when high
was better than nightmares
the days when sleep hurt
those seventy dollar shots
meant to drown the pain.
Yes the world is crazy,
and not getting any better
maybe it's proportional to growth?

The Life of A Poor Man in Armistice Avenue.

The footpath his domain
a red wall his bedstead
bus stop seat, his bed
traffic passing, lullaby
bag and booze, sleeping tablet .

His name once was Jerry Falwell, an effluent ne'er do well.  From a family
which held respect and standing in the neighbourhood.  All the sons (five in
all) successful, scholars, businessmen, a preacher.

He rifles through his long coat
finds the Bible, prays
opens the page anywhere
reads a scripture by heart
the lifeblood of a step down.

Jerry went through seminary, passed with flying colours, given a parish in
Lower Brooklyn, the place a haven for all the street dwellers escaping the
law.  It was his demeanour to help the low lifes, though he never thought of
them that way, life's lost minds.

The brush in his right pocket
used to fluff down the sleeping areas
to remove lint and dust and unwanted leaves
once used to paint life's sorrow
today the brush is in bed, ready.

He found it hard to follow the teachings.  So much hypocrisy, so much not to
be understood, yet people would recite it verbatim or read between the
lines, to each their own.  Unfortunately in charge, he'd argue.

The state of the Nation
well that was their business
(pointing to the passing cars)
the dog from 1st and 40th peed
as it always did, near his bed.

He looked again at the Bible, knew which Psalm to say for his peace, which
passage of Genesis to appease.  Still even on a cold street corner the words
were too much to take in.

He stepped down from life
decided to walk the streets
attend to the "lowlifers" - bowed
speak to them at their level
street preacher and believer - just.

The paint on the seat was a rustic brown, sort of earth tones meant to give
the city a little life.  The fire Hydrant next to it a shiny Yellow, the bus
stop sign red and ready.  The police haven't been for days now, they usually
move him on daily.
Food courtesy of the Food Bank
toileting, a shelter around the corner
for street folk to come in and shower
to do their toileting needs,
another ex padre runs the joint.

The key date was 11th September 2001
when the madness hit the Twin Towers, when his parish was inundated with
grief and morbidity.  Wives and children of Fire-fighters, the dust coated
urchins choking to death, the poor lucky to survive.

Across the street, Subway
scraps from the bin interesting fare,
the daylight hides it's flashing sign
hides the well to do clientele
capable of paying for their meal.

He long gave up on money, it never meant anything to him anyway, just
something to burn holes in pockets.  His total life, even in the seminary,
geared to pennilessness.  He does whistle though, and does it enough
throughout the day to afford a packet of smokes and a bottle of wretched

Sometimes he'd wake up,
rummage through pockets
find another ten dollar bill
stuffed in his greatcoat pocket
the donor a complete mystery.

The walk to where the Twin Towers stood was lengthy, but necessary, to see
why the world had gone crazy.
On the way, he passed several homeless people and asked them what they
thought.  Most mentioned they were lucky not to be there, the subterranean
carpark a common haunt.

The dark of night finds him walking
searching for the forbidden truth
searching for a dog to pat
reaching a hand out to humanity
supplicant in his demeanour.

The Bomb that dropped on Baghdad was beyond his comprehension.  Violence
should never begat violence in his mind.  If he was punched by the street
gangs he'd cower until the attack was over and move on, licking his wounds.

The Teacher, another homeless man
passes the time of day while walking
they speak of nothing in particular
though their life is sort of like that,
dawn reaches into their psyches .

Towards Central Park, to feed the birds with scraps from the Subway bin, the
peace and solitude a boon, maybe good does exist he thinks.  A female jogger
runs well round him, must be the stench, he's used to it now, the shunning.
The birds are happy though the pickle gets met with disdain.

Homeless people live long
some can be homeless all their lives
others, mostly start after failure
failure to fit in with society
the need to just drop everything and crash.

Father Dominic from the Catholic church looks after all the central city
lost, ministering all the spiritual needs, looking out for the dying, the
doomed, the ones that have given up life totally.  There are a few.  Jerry
doesn't exactly trust him, but lets him carry on.  Just cause.

The story of the Homeless
never ever stops, ceases, ends
every time you look and see them
see the lives they left behind, help
by passing the time of day if they ask.

Pacific Island Reverie

This happened, I tell you
so privileged to serve in the Navy
and every year when New Zealand wintered
a Pacific tan would beckon and away we went.

We'd spend three months surveying
ten days working, 4 days playing,
in such environs as Western and American Samoa,
Tonga, Fiji, Funafuti, Tokelau and Niue.

Can't forget the Cooks neither
each island group with it's own microcosm
of Island Life and language, music too,
dancing the night away in many places

I remember Apia for instance, for a kilikiti game,
on a cricket ground hastily prepared
near the Presidents place, up the hill from Apia,
afterwards relaxing at either Aggie Greys,

or perhaps the sunken bar called Otto's Reef
or perhaps even the Tusitala itself, talofa palangi,
then when the evening drew on, up the hill
to the nightclub, Mount Vaea Club, for a cooling rum,

or perhaps Tonga, Nukualofa to be precise,
Joe's Hotel or the Dateline, keep your shirts on
the locals have strict codes of conduct, obeisance,
the pool at the Dateline a fresh taste of relaxation.

Niue is different, so hard to get on there, but rugby shared,
a look around the island, no beer I seem to remember,
still an Island of utter beauty and remoteness.
We'd stay more often around Fiji, so much work there,

enough to keep us coming back for four years,
yes four years straight I had an all round tan,
mainly based out of Lautoka, many fine nights
the Lautoka Hotel one of our homes, another

a long forgotten nightclub of dubious repute,
the bottle store and a nearby park a hang out
with locals, share a beer, woman, guitars going
then the next morning off to Treasure Island

a trip out on the Tui Tai to the island,
rum punches the order of the day, sizzled
the rapport with other foreigners, Canadians
and many Australians, plus some Kiwis,

a day on a deserted island with just a small bure
sun baking, swimming, wind surfing, Bula vanaka,
The other main island Vanua Levu, sugar cane country
Labasa, not many bars, the one that was open

a call back to western times, grills everywhere,
across the bar, across the stereo speakers,
across the door if you're fool enough to enter,
already stoked of Frigate Rum and Kava

we all enter and have a great time, as sailors do,
the dance music calls some to dance, the local
girls a treat for sore eyes, and some leave with one,
I never tasted the ladies, their lives mapped for them.

The underlying key to being welcomed as Kiwis
was our own Polynesian history, we're all islanders
we know the taste of salt, the bright of sun,
the language of companionship, touché

I used to know a lot of the languages where I had been,
made it a point to at least converse in the local dialect,
now my addled brain barely recognises basic commands,
I sit here and replay beaches, coral reefs, singing

The Last of the Robert Louis Stevenson's, a writer now
eager to get things to paper, for me, and my girls,
they need to know that there is another world,
one that revolves around peace and harmony.