Parting Shots

DSC_0152 DSC_0153 DSC_0161 DSC_0387 DSC_0383 DSC_0387 DSC_0385A big thanks to all who helped to make the Wild Lines exhibit an enjoyable success for Dunedin residents, students, and visitors!

Special thanks to the following: all the poets near and far who gave permission for their lines and poems to be included in this exhibit, Loveday Why for amazing artistic collaboration and her husband Kris for able and agile tree-climbing for the installation, donations of salvaged wood from several work sites and the pallet company over near the stadium, tools from John Kennedy, workshop space and tools from Mark and Angela Miller!

A few of the lines remain that are available for sale to help defray costs of the exhibit.  If you are interested, contact David for more information (  Watch for more poetry art coming to a unique space near you in the future!  Poetry is out there, poetry is in here.  Enjoy.  Peace and wild lines, David


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Last Weekend for WILD LINES!

This is the last weekend to see WILD LINES swinging and swaying on the trees of Dunedin.  Below is one rendering of the 26 lines from 26 poets of WILDS LINES into one single poem, as organized by Loveday.  Send us your version of how you believe these lines should combine into a new poem or work of art. Also here is a visual of the 26 lines by d.  All the poems and poets are listed below on earlier posts.  Thanks for visiting the live site or the virtual site…Keep spreading poetry….ciao, David and Loveday.


No sunbeams on this exhausted day

kāore ngā hihi ki     he ra tino hūhē

Walk incandescent to this stilly place

Stand there by the polar bear

Softly, calmly, immensity taps at your life

Waves rise and fall, but the sea remains

Nothing can kill me, for I am the crowd

Were we close, meanwhile, to the idea of love?

The sparrow arrives with the package  

Be the simple thing you are meant to be

I have a beard and a small fat crab inside my shell

To hear its hum, a tongue within tongues

This is what the tree sings

A foreign language caresses my mouth like a piercing on somebody else’s tongue

We shall never win fighting ourselves

Isn’t it enough just to enjoy their compelling sound? She sighs

Afakasi flags awaken Kiwis – agile sine qua non inter-islanders

This afternoon, with its shouts of children

Where the ink bleeds cooly in the storm

Any narrative is false; lit side of the coin, the coin being phenomena


You hold grandmother’s pyrex dish to the stars

‘We have had the most ferociously unflyable skies’  

In the airlock of a space station, my heart shaking like an epileptic star.

Our bodies are disobedient to the seasons they have learnt

Water is not holy until you swallow it

the gurus have been hiding

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Missing Lines; Help Bring Poetry Home

It was a tough weekend in Otago.  Fourteen of the twenty-six lines of verse are missing from their perches in the trees at the Otago Museum Reserve.  While we admire those who might want some poetry art to take home, we are a bit saddened that those lines will be missing from the short gig of the Wild Lines Exhibit.  If you have any ideas of where the lines have wandered or gotten off to, please let us know.  No questions asked.  Verse amnesty promised.

Plus, special offer that if you return a Wild Line to rehang it within the next twenty fours, we will let you have that line for FREE after the exhibit.  Wow, that is a poetry deal.

If you haven’t yet gotten to the exhibit, get down there soon while some of the lines are still hanging around.  And go see Loveday dance at her Butoh performance with Joan March 19th and 20th at 8 p.m. at the Community Gallery in Dunedin.  More info at the Fringe site….peace and rain

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Go See Poetry


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The Full Poems from Wild Lines (Part II)

And here is the second half of the poems.  All from living poets from NZ and around the world.  Buy poetry and support these poets!

Garden 14
While we drink strong coffee on the lanai Reina and I are again cocooned in
the rich throbbing chorus of cicadas that will continue late into the night
It’s been like this all summer and we sleep with it lacing our dreams

While it was still dark this morning Manoa as usual jumped onto my chest
woke and shepherded me to the kitchen where I poured food into her dish
As I opened the back door so she could later wander into the garden
the cicada chorus invaded the kitchen and I fled back to bed

What are they called in Samoan? Reina asks
Alisi I reply and at dawn they welcome the day with their singing and
as the sun drops sharply into night their chorus laments the end of the light
We always anthropomorphize don’t we? She laughs
Otherwise cicadas and other creatures and things won’t have meaning
in our search for metaphor and design in the mess of our lives! I reply
Isn’t it enough just to enjoy their compelling sound? She sighs

Albert Wendt [Samoa] from ‘From Manoa to a Ponsonby Garden’ (Auckland University Press, 2012).


Afakasi archipelagos

Articled fa’a samoa

arrows kanak art

– snarling intelligentsia.

Arson flagons aerate
kaleidoscopic angels
– simnel incense.

Asteroid factotum asphyxiate

kakariki airways

– siphoned inanga.

Augur fades
austere karmic authors
sky- impregnate.

Avocado faiths,

avatars and kaumatua

abridge skulduggerous ichthyology.

Awaiting false awakenings
kneeling alfresco
salve inertia.

Awkward farcical

Aztec kete

alarm sloven idols.

Azure fans,
azimuthal kelpfish
– aphrodisiac’s smorgasbord ignite.

Anklet, fertile anarchy

kinsfolk amulet

– soothsayer’s infidel.

Anaemic fibres
ambivalent kia oras
air- soar intimate.

Agate foetus

amid kudos acolyte

sours intuition.

filthy abstemious knoll,
acacia’s sole invective.

Aboriginal fire

abnegates kumquat abodes

spindrifting irony.

Abacus fuselage
aweights kaikomako’s
spinal itch.

Afakasi flags

awaken Kiwis –

agile sine qua non inter-islanders.

Selina Tusitala Marsh [Samoa] from ‘Dark Sparring’ (Auckland University Press, 2013).


A Walk on the Beach

Rasing of the ocean’s tentative hands, waving hello, goodbye and whatever.
Sand offers no press releases about the whirl and heat of infinity.
Walking the talk, talking the walk on a beach without memory or future ecstasies.
Any narrative is false; lit side of the coin, the coin being phenomena.
Nothing to be earned from the coastline, except the currency of time consuming its pliant side,
where sandcastles are but wishful thinking. Waves throw up innumerable caps to the present.
Clouds impress then leave no trace. The silent music of birds across a stave of sky.
Footprints puddle again without invective. Insight: rearrangements of foam, sand and light
distilled on a day like today. Rocks and shells have little to report. Why not pay attention anyway.

Cyril Wong [Malaysia]


Melbourne Museum

Stand there by the polar bear.
Closer. I know he’s touching you,
it’s only for a second. Just ignore him.
Oh for Pete’s sake where’s that kid’s mum?
Wait guys until he moves. Now smile. What? I
don’t know what sort of polar bear it is. Come, on,
we want to see Phar Lap before this place closes guys.

Don’t even think about touching. Yes, he’s stuffed. Hah?
His heart’s in Canberra & Te Papas got his skeleton.
I’ve no idea who has his kidneys, does it matter?
Now stay put. I’m just going to dive into that
shop, they’re selling Phar Lap scarves at
half price. And so they should cos we
saw less than half of him eh.

Ruth Arnison [NZ]


Abandoned poem titled ‘Magnificent Moon’

It was coming up my parents’ big anniversary.

They were going to fly over.

All week long a southerly was hamming it up in the bay.

Anyone who wanted to fly was turned sideways.

We have had the most ferociously unflyable skies

said my mother. We have not

been sleeping well

as if we sense that all is not well with the land

despite a magnificent moon tonight. 

Ashleigh Young [NZ] from ‘Magnificent Moon,’ (Victoria University Press, 2012).



all the gurus

the gurus have been hiding
from you all this time

you listen to a quiet morning
the television is blaring

you know when to turn on the music
you know when to turn off the music

you know you don’t want to throw darts at the wall,
when you are wandering.

you rarely realize the depth to
the touch of a button

Orchid Tierney [NZ]



Home Comforts   

The eye is the light of the body
– Matthew 6:22

we see only objects, not light

let the light into a room too long
shuttered like an outhouse

interior ocular fire: you must burn in order to become

the only one in the red room who knows
how to blush, you know
another: nostalgia for the emotion of the moment

we don’t need to see each other to be
in love, that the idea of cleaving can


transform the scent of the nor’westerly
into sweaty flesh, and that you were

to come: nostalgia for the words ‘I expect you’

moved like the cumulus in my direction
now this house cannot hold our breath

and that is not the half of it (exhale)


blue sky offsets the coming dusk in your eyes
but I’ll recite the spectrum into black

a flag hangs like a widower’s declaration of love

and white my back turned to
you, you’ll fondle my favourite scarf as if

oiling my skin with a smile finer than myrrh

it was borrowed from your drawer
‘How long has this been going on?’

you remember the cicadas last spring shrill as metal

move to the doorway
eyes touching every thing except my

expectation of rain running along

outstretched arms: lips slightly
parted, startled, leaving the blue sky to sunset’s gull

the surprise of sunshine in tractor-track puddles


you are that heroic nude attended by a feminised youth
who is neither noble nor savage: your desire

mechanistic rather than spiritual light

recedes like an old queen’s hairline – while hope
withdraws with your Lord from Gethsemane

the sun becomes a lioness in the eastern mountains

where melons burgeon, olives
drop into the mouths of apostles who cannot remember His name

where fires are fed by incense and animal fat

and condemned leaves curl up their noses: you step
into the blue-collar universe: these fruit trees

in Plato’s world of number, ratio and geometry

overflow flies (those minor gods multiplied
like motes from a single teardrop)

how come the material world is spent light, Son?

your Father sleeps in the bed of a river where countless
tourists hiccup like drunks into eternity, learning

‘If thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be

water is not holy until it is swallowed
the dawn star is a cartographer’s nightmare

full of darkness.’

David Howard [NZ] from ‘The Incomplete Poems,’ (Cold Hub Press, 2011).


This Place

This place of sip and crack       This place unable to falter outside of the water            This place where sons cut their teeth on the drupes of ice peaches, on the drupes of nectarines     where sweet blood is                 This place where mothers and sons with sunburnt legs stop coolly beside the torn wallpapered swallows             This place of letters     This place where ice letters from half-dissembled loves are sent           where the ink bleeds coolly in the storm          This place where storms are sweet like stone fruit where the lake could be just past that ridge                   or it could not be          This place of the speckled mother with her legs tucked under the tree that fell in the storm            This place of the son with a sent sweater made of water           This place where we learnt how to press our several faces against the doors as they were opening                where we found our faces were made entirely of opening doors             This place of transparent syllables           This place where we might have been torn paper         where we might have been doorstops    where we might have been the lake’s best secret             oldest secret     dark and willing            This place of spent mother      spent son         This place of the lake’s spent secret                where money is a kind of alphabet we learnt the sound of before we learnt to fracture and marry its small black shapes with our chosen hand                 This place planting weak cellophane gestures inside our transparent ballrooms    This place still learning how to walk    of rubber in the shapes of fish their tails stippled so we can hold on when the slickness comes         This place of single scales placed over our eyes to keep back the blinking        This place of wanting us to see it         This place of the exquisite fish bone in the throat of the lake

Joan Fleming [Canada/NZ]



You hold grandmother’s pyrex dish to the stars
hoping to catch signals or sign.  Some word
regarding what to do, or how.
A yelp carries from the next ridge.
Crackling steps in the alley.  Dark matter
coats the sides and bottom of the pan
between glowing puddles of ambered grease.
What say these stains?
We know they are small hints
of the tangible impacts of our words.
Each morning we go back to the spring.
Our neighbor a shadow behind the hedge.
Born muddled, we can make a new lasagna
of flax and hand-dug sediments.
Carry it on our heads to the farthest corner of the city.
Cut fair portions and blindly share.
Wash yourself in the gutter and keep moving.
Our deep hungers drive us on.

David Kelly-Hedrick [USA]



Now bending now falling now eagerly
with a whole fruit in the mouth. Turn bitterly
and swaggering toward sodden and crawling
becoming more violent and grasping the torso.
Tomorrow tomorrow narrated today.
There is a scent of Hare Krishna doughnuts
and a woman calling us ‘blossom.’
But narrate this today. Chalk smudges the event
like rain making a path of clouds.
Our bodies are disobedient
to the seasons they have learned.
Buds now that tremble
with a memory of opening.
A sound that patiently breaks apart a sky.
We were swimming through the forest and couldn’t have said how.
We have shed our names and embody them.
You are not destitute. Describe this again.

Loveday Why [UK/NZ]



I can’t think straight
my words spin off
in sugar and spice
god you’re nice
I’ve got a running filmstrip in my head of you
every time I close my eyes
I close my eyes quite often
I feel so good
I feel like morning
a kiss on a ferris wheel
in a tunnel of love
I’m not quite sure what is happening
but your image is in me like a scent
all the roses in the garden are opening up at once
it’s raining big round drops
of extraordinary sweetness
let me be serious
I’m in love with you
I think of you
at every
turn move
my hand
your eyes your hand
do the washing
dream on the doorstep
clean all the windows at high speed
get lost
stare into space
watch a
green caterpillar
spinning enough
amazingly fine silk
to let himself down smoothly
from the very top
of the tree

Cilla McQueen [NZ] from ‘Axis’ (Otago University Press, 2001).


Ways of Making Love

Like a metal detector detecting another metal detector.
Like two lonely scholars in the dark clefts of the Cyrillic alphabet.
Like an ancient star slowly getting sucked into a black hole.
So hard we break winter, leaving the conveners of the Olympics
with a serious rebranding challenge.
You are a denim tree and I’m the world’s fastest autumn.
I am the Atlantic Fortress, and you are General Sherman taking me from behind.
You stride up the cold stone steps of parliament, waving a petition to orgasm.
A lip of cloud brushes the roof of the barn.
The pale trees curve around the eye and back into the brain.
It’s like watching porn through a kaleidoscope.
or a slow wind in a kite factory.
It’s like dogs trying to do it people style, but failing
due to the inflexibility of their anatomical structure.
A cloud of bats float slowly up into your brain rafters.
You roll down my stockings, like the sun peeling ocean from a soviet globe.
I want you in the red shade of a mammoth in the Natural History Museum.
In a seventeenth century field, tilling the earth like flesh tractors.
In the airlock of a space station, my heart shaking like an epileptic star.
Between the plastic sheets of a lobotomy table
because writing poetry about having sex with someone
when you could be having sex with them instead
is the last refuge of the stupid.
It’s like getting three wishes and wishing for less wishes.
It’s like inventing a flag the exact same colour as the sky.
It’s like crying over spilled milk before it’s out of the cow.
It’s like breaking into a field at dawn with a flamethrower
and fireballing the cow so you can get your crying over and done with
and immediately begin adjusting to your new milkless existence.
But loving you isn’t really like killing cattle
no matter what poetry wants you to believe.
The day is a vault the sun has cracked open
money flying everywhere like really expensive leaves
and here I am always, begging you to come back
as if you were somehow already gone.

Hera Lindsay Bird [NZ]

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The Full Poems from Wild Lines (Part I)

Thanks for visiting Wild Lines.  Here are half of the complete poems.  All poems in Wild Lines are by living poets from NZ and around globe.  Buy poetry, especially from living poets.  Support this art, it  may be the least recompensed art on the block.  Support poetry; support poets.  Live long and write verse.

Jet Stream

Doubt is only by limits
or when the weather interrupts.
Love, the constant and variant need, to know.
And to kiss is just because. A bird bursts

through the sky, the sky with its clouds,
its jet stream. Responsible trees stand
in ways we will never stand, still.
This afternoon, with its shouts of children.

Lynley Edmeades [NZ]




It is foolish
to let a young redwood
grow next to a house.

Even in this
one lifetime,
you will have to choose.

That great calm being,
this clutter of soup pots and books —

Already the first branch-tips brush at the window.
Softly, calmly, immensity taps at your life.

Jane Hirshfield [USA] from ‘Given Sugar, Given Salt,’ (Harper Collins, 2002).


he maimai

auē auē auē
he aha te korero

he aha te waiata mokemoke
o ngā tangata ēnei tino ngaro?

ko wai e pirangi
tēnei ora uaua?

ko wai e mōhio
he pūtake hou?

auē auē auē
ko te maunga
ki he whenua
kua tata he awa
tino raki

kāore ngā hihi
ki he ra
tino hūhē.

kāore ngā hihi
ki he ra
tino hūhē.

auē auē auē
kua te mutunga
kei mua te orokohanga.

a lament [for the dead]

ah ah ah
what’s the story

what’s the lonely song
of these very lost people?

who wants
this difficult life?

who knows
a new rationale?

ah ah ah
the broken mountain
in the ugly land
a very dry river

no sunbeams
on this exhausted

no sunbeams
on this exhausted

ah ah ah
it’s the end
the beginning.

Vaughan Rapatahana  [NZ, Hong Kong]



The Crowd 

And today, as you walk to the match, I am beside you.
Proud to be alive. Proud to be walking beside you,
to take our seats together.
And you know my name. You know all our names.
We are beside and between you,
our souls, invisibly visible.

We are waking. We are smiling.
We are walking in your hearts.
And we are prouder still to know today,
tomorrow, next week, month or year
you will not chant us down again.
You will not chant us down in our sorrows.
You will not chant us back into the earth.

For we left the earth where we thought we were alone
yet we are beside you, laughing and singing and unbroken.
If you were to hear me among the crowd
you would hear a song.
Were I to pass invisibly among your jostling arms,
or carried to earth, you would hear me singing with you.
If I took you to one side and told you ‘you were my brother’,
what would you sing to your brother?
If I took you to one side and told you ‘you were my sister’,
what would you sing to your sister?.
You are my brother and you are my sister.
Nothing can kill me, for I am the crowd.

And the sun shone over Merseyside, over Manchester,
over the Pennines with its skylarks and brightening becks,
over Penistone and Stocksbridge and Hillsborough.
Liverpool fans in their buses – cheering the roof off –
anticipation, faith in the day and the song of life
no stronger than your own, just scousier.

You will not chant them down again.
You will not chant them down in their sorrows.
You will not chant them back into the earth.
And today, as you walk to the match, they are beside you.
Proud to be walking beside you, to take your seats together.
And you know their names. You know all their names.

We are walking to the same match.
We are walking on the same road.
We are arriving at the same gates.
We are waiting. We are laughing. We are singing.
And we do not know it but this is joy.
Nothing can kill us, for we are the crowd.

David Morley [UK] (Commissioned by Radio 5 Live for the Hillsborough tragedy)


Ross Creek

Walk incandescent to this stilly place,
dark reservoir where the small wind runs touch
around its rim and the water rings
now and then on one thin glassy note.
The ducks approach like night nurses,
small noises from their throats
like rubber soles squeaking,
door handles gently turned.
Heads bowed in leafy cowls,
the trees seem deep-rooted
in their own green doubles
like kings and queens
in a fortune teller’s pack
who recount the same trouble
again and again:
I see a mind like a wheel
turned inwards.
I see that for fire to swallow itself,
for despair and anger
to burn again and again
right back to love —
it takes courage.
You will need such courage.

Emma Neale [NZ]


Transitory Experience

We passed by the river…
We left on the bridge’s dusty air, a dream
That lightened
We returned…
And said: tomorrow
When the bridges become heavens
We’ll get the dream to rain…

Were we close, meanwhile, to the idea of love?

Naseer Hassan [Iraq] from ‘The Circle of Sundial’ (1998).



Is is.

There is no distinction.


He records his name on a gold medallion.


The philosopher must say is.

The world is legion.

The self is a suffering form.

Is is.

Waves rise and fall, but the sea remains.

Srikanth Reddy [USA] from ‘Voyager,’ (University of California Press, 2011).



The sparrow arrives with the package

Cy Matthews [NZ]



After Adam

Men are such contrary things
They clutch at their gods
As though they would climb
Down to them
Slip between templed fingers
And land at mortal feet

Yet we and they
Walk a different path
And since you are the one not winged
Adam’s son
Stand naked beneath the brooding sky
Be the simple thing you are meant to be

TJ Dema [Botswana]


Last Born

I am the last born
I move through the crowd with my shiny red wheels
I bring with me large animals and flaming spikes in cages
I am the last born and I know who I want to vote for
I know the identity of the figure in black
Low prices are written all over my face
I am the last born and I have a long following
Everything and everyone is my elder
I move through the relatives in my green leaves
I eat canoes and drink inlets
I have a beard and a small fat crab inside my shell
I am the last born the pōtiki the teina
Everything breaks its back over me but there are
Many ways to build from scratch and in spite of the fact
That every fourth corner of the land has been walked
Over I make everything ready, being the last born
I am desired at each event, to lay down the
Cow leather, to direct people to the location of
The demons, the devils in the tarmac
We all bite something for a living
I know not to rave and shout when I reach these places
I bring children with me, just the right number
Of pumpkins and I sing completely out of tune
Buying up all the land around with my lucky sand dollars

Hinemoana Baker [NZ] from ‘Koiwi Koiwi: Bone Bone’ (Victoria University Press, 2010).



The silence of the tree is singing:
“The forest is on fire.”

I couldn’t sing along for the tears
in my speechlessness.
I, like the tailor in the Grimm Brothers,
clung to the tree trunk
(and held an iron to weigh myself
down against the wind).

“Memory, it seems, outweighs
even cast-iron.
But memory is a mold, a measure, a thing,
and you are what you were not.
The fire and the wind have taken
everything dearest
leaving in exchange sand and ash”.

This is what the tree sings.
Alexandra Petrova   [Russia, Italy]

a foreign language
caresses my mouth
like a piercing
on somebody else’s tongue

Andrei Khadanovich [Belarus]


chapter thirty-two (ii)

at the end of history
we shall never win fighting ourselves
the malay straits are empty
the age’s debris awaits low tide

Muhammad Haji Salleh [Malaysia]  Excerpt from ‘Beyond the Archipelago,’ Ithaca: Ohio University, 1995.



Let the fable begin:
El comienzo es el com, “with” in the beginning.

Turning with the stars.

A “uni verse” wants to con verse.

“Verse,” to turn.

Galaxies and blood

Fingerprint whorls,

breath and sound.

Ibn Arabi dreamt he made love to the stars.

In this observatory words are stars,

the night sky I see,

and language, the spinner’s view.

Is the spinner spun?

Cosmic fart, little gas?

Dialogar con lo que no es palabra al interior de las palabras crea la unión.

Opening words I arrived at no word.

A moment of trance where transformation begins:

silence to sound, and back.

An empty space within words where commingling occurs.

Abriendo palabras llegué a una inmensidad.

Our common being:

Language, el ser de todos in speech.

Una línea de fuerza que se acrecienta con nuestro pasar. Algo que vive

en la lengua toda y emerge como el llamado de un ser.

To hear its hum, a tongue within tongues.

Cecilia Vicuna [Chile] from ‘Instan’ (Kelsey St, 2002)
(full text at

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The Wild Lines are Now up in the Trees!

With a lot of climbing help from Kris with Wildwood Ltd. Gardening and Ecoforestry, Loveday and David completed the installation of poetry lines yesterday at the Otago Museum Reserve.  Come on down and see the first Fringe Festival exhibit.  There are 26 lines dangling from the trunks and branches of trees in the reserve, just in front of the main entrance to the Otago Museum.   Image

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