I am waiting.
I am hovering around the edge of knowledge.
I am seeking more than you can teach me.
I am leaving the daylight hours to the machinery of monkeys
who are typing out Shakespeare one unwitting syllable at a time.
I am dreaming as if it were my last opportunity.
I am placing dark lines on a white letter.
I am letting your words mean more than mine in a time when
I am learning language anew from the vowels of ineptitude.
I am suspending volition for the period
of one episode of Dr Who in which
I am living as the child before the screen of dreams.
I am screaming out for an accumulation of yesterdays where
I am seeing today as more than an exed square on a calendar.
I am leading the life of an angel whose wings
are being frozen by the winter of inertia.
I am resolving to make this the last unrequited hope.
I am hoping to make this the last unresolved want.
You are looking for the answer to a question
you are not posing.
You are brushing your hair in order to make more of yourself than
you are willing to recognise.
You are roaming hills of deep, romantic fiction,
fast and furious as the lover’s wind is calling out
‘chance’, ‘serendipity’, ‘kismet’:
you are believing in these things.
We are walking through fields of liqueur,
sweet additive to time being spent,
to promises being uttered,
as we are saying word-words and fairy-tale intentions.
We are treading on cracked crystal,
bare-footed and bloody,
as we are making our way to the silence of seduction.
We are living as one in these curt and carnal moments.
We are desiring.
You are asking if I am loving you more
than you are loving me.
I am saying, ‘We are both… lying,
but we are content with that!’
In drunken avenues of thought, my friend,
the shattered lane,
in which the heroin declines
the stark heroic deeds,
recedes in time’s uncompromising swerve
to cut the native nerve
and leave us all to ponder
endless whys with their uncertain answers.
In the absence of amphetamines
your drug-induced dreams,
demoted from the delirium
to the daemons of PCP and peyote,
parade down a bleak corridor
where the ‘real world’ imparts its terror
door by door,
as the janitor unlocks and unleashes
one sweaty withdrawal after another.
Drawn through the tight keyhole,
you carry ghosts
on a back
arched with the weight of rebellion
against a world which cared for you
less than the dregs at the bottom of the spoon.
Let us rock no boats
and beat no tempered drums.
But for you one hollowed echo
thunders through the cranium,
calling out for something to be forgotten:
who am I to say,
‘You must remember’?
The haze has taken over
where the dream of better life left off,
where the broken window to the outer world
offers shards in exchange for clarity,
and clamouring with your bloody lesions
through the portal from past to present,
you find this pain less than the pangs of failure.
You fight for the privileged position of ceasing to be,
an accidental shadow
wrought from the impotent tantrum of a 60-watt bulb
as it flickers through its final hour
before it fails… you.
And seemingly the silhouette
outlines its narcotic passage
through the breath-denying chambers,
where you are ever lost
in the avoidant veins of oblivion.
Yesterday was the last day
you remembered anything,
and now you wait in the corrugated corner
as the walls fold in like a concertina
ever closer to that moment
when the smoke-stained stucco
with a ripping of the flesh
and the acidic scream
of a nightmare given blood and mobility.
for what could be the last time
a cocktail of exits and panaceas,
you read the vomit-stains on the carpet
as a map
to take you home
to a place you never knew you had.
And on this Ritalin road to ruin
the tracks are clearer,
but the way obscured by fistulas of the latest fix.
I don’t know if I shall see you tomorrow,
or if today you are already gone.
In that imperceptible flickering of an eye
perhaps you are already in the arms of Mary,
her all-accepting hair caressing your naked shoulders
shining with a light
from the bright sun of redemption.
In New Zealand, between a quarter and a third of all people prescribed Ritalin do not suffer from Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD). They are junkies who will shoot up half of their prescription in the first couple of days and sell the other half on the black market.
O hapless volition,
spun with a web of seduction,
darned with the needles of deception,
creeping through the corridors of night
with the light turned low
and the glow of the grim keeper…
silent as the soft shoes of sin.
You claim you can not help it,
and hardly breaking a sweat of conscience,
crawling on your knees
and never failing to fall…
O wanton meaning
where you mince words
and menace with the morphemes
of guiltless treason,
trailing with the decapitated head of reason
through the square
to the guillotine,
where the crowd knows the crime
but not the felon,
not the fellow on the false pilgrimage.
They bay for blood
while you wag your digits
‘Tush, tush, not I!’
Story upon story,
you tell tales of ‘the others’.
O careless wonder
layers excuse upon excuse
in the excruciating excavation of morality,
to tender the blueprints of a new building-site
in which storey upon storey
rigid and throbbing against the wind.
O sleepless child
leaving the screams in a pool of tears
on the pillow puffed and ruffed
with the him that is his own coming.
These are the mercy hours
where luck would shut the lids
and shine the moon on silver eyes,
and hidden from the crying vein,
they wait through morning hours
to the rising of a sadder hymn
and the ringing of a sadder still refrain.
O liberating key
that now unlocks the darker room.
The rust retreats
the nightmare of the midnight hour,
the light defeats
the deeper dream
from which some angel said you would arise.
You are touched from on high,
and twitching in the new sun,
you sigh for a new moment.
O incandescent day
where you survive one more night,
and one more dawn says,
you are not beaten,
you are not defeated
or tossed upon the dry bones
of the reaper of dreams.”
O rise again, and reign!
[with translation following]
J’espère que tu ne m’oublies point,
ne jamais, dont les années longues 
et manquées courent son cours souillé
comme ruisseaux pleurants, peu profonds,
tous tortueux partout des prés arides
et accidentés. Mais ce jour je m’en défends…
car quand je rentrai en bon sens
et vis ma vie (la voleuse dure
d’espace, de temps), de temps en temps
étante à peine, à l’aventure,
même visitante, je voulus gésir cette
malade pour rendre doux celui qui était sur.
En face du ‘néant’ de Jean-Paul, 
je viens d’avouer qu’il y en
a plus que des visages, des noms,
des mémoires minimes de moments
minutieux: mais qu’il y en a une
valeur qui s’y celait profondément dedans.
Elle apparaît des ombres les
plus sombres comme un renard vieux
qui en se méfiant du tout
affame son museau cauteleux
et myope. Cette valeur de l’âme, qui rampa
autrefois sans poids, sans son et presque feu,
je sente avec des yeux aveuglés,
même ’vec mes oreilles sourdes:
un écho solide qui se formait
au-dessus du passé gourde.
C’est devenu un petit diamant
intaillé dont les lumières démasquent la bourde. 
L’aurore de ce siècle fait
d’y être vu une jeune étoile
jaunie, qui par le rouage des
cieux s’en lève, me pique, dévoile
mon histoire douloureuse et dormante; qui
ne brûle jamais mon auto-portrait, mais chauffe mon poil. 
Tel soit le carrefour étroit
où nous nous faisons face malgré
les grands panneaux saillants, bruyants.
Le moi qui fut, le moi qui est
(se) disent leur adieux à la nostalgie protectrice.
Il faut qu’il se meure et je renais. 
J’espère que tu ne m’oublies point et saisirais
que je puisse gagner le meilleur de mon passé.
J’espère que je ne t’oublie point, mon précédé,
que je me souviens de l’avant, de l’après.
1. ‘Longues’ et ‘vieux’: j’ai utilisé ces mots après les nom pour insister.
2. Une allusion à l’existentialisme de Sartre, ce qu’on trouve dans ses œuvres comme “L’être et le néant”.
3. Un jeu de mots: le pluriel simple de ‘lumière’ avec ce qui a le sens de ‘le savoir’.
4. Encore un jeu de mots: le sens de ‘les cheveux du corps’ ou ‘les soies’ (en insinuant celles du matin) contre le sens idiomatique d’une ‘humeur émotive’.
5. L’indicatif (au lieu de «renaisse»), en étant la forme inexacte, me rassure d’une certitude plus forte.
I hope you surely forget me not
and never do, me whose years, so long
and lacking, run their filthy course
like shallow streams, weeping and
winding throughout the arid, rugged
meadows. But today i deny myself of this…
for when i came to my senses
and saw my life (the harsh thief
of space and time) from time to time
barely existing, at random,
simply visiting, i wanted to lay to rest
this invalid to make sweet what was once sour.
In the face of Sartre’s ‘nothingness’,
i have come to own that there is
more in my life than faces and names
and trifling memories of specific
moments: but that there is in it
a worth which hid itself deeply within.
It appeared from the darkest shadows
like a very old fox which,
while it distrusts everything,
starves its own cunning, myopic snout.
That value of the soul, which previously
crawled weightless, silent and almost dead,
i may sense with blind eyes,
even with my deaf ears:
a solid echo which takes shape
upon the benumbed past.
It’s become a small, uncut diamond
whose lights expose the sham. 
The dawning of this century makes
me see up there a new, yellowed star,
which through the wheels of the heavens
gets itself up, goads me and unveils
my painful sleeping history; a star
which never burns my self-image, but warms my mood. 
Such may be the narrow cross-road
where we face up to ourselves in spite of
the large, outstanding warning-signs.
The ‘me’ that was and the ‘me’ that is
say their goodbyes (to us and each other) with protective nostalgia.
It must be that he die away and i am reborn.
I hope you surely don’t forget me and grasped
that i may be able to get the better of my past.
I hope i don’t forget you, you who preceded me,
and that i remember both the Before and the After.
1. The French ‘les lumières’ also has the idiomatic sense of ‘knowledge’.
2. The word for ‘mood’ (poil) also refers to the small hairs on the body.
Check out the new Germany-New Zealand blog-site. My German poem is also there.
A man of manifest sorrows:
oh don’t cry like that into your jam-jar.
Drink something stronger than your doctor recommends
and die once
. with dignity
in a drunken corner of compatriots.
Leave this earth in a glorious Esther Williams finale
sparkling with $2.80 Whitcoulls glitter 
and a script that will never dare to win awards,
a Golden Grope of the passing waitress
and a single-malt endgame.
You were my friend,
angel of the sidewalk.
Talk to them through your whiskey
till the dirt dries hard upon your head/tomb
and the cracked earth is thirsty.
A litre of water costs much more
than a litre of petrol,
so you will stick with the top shelf
and quench these days
from a drought that lasted 58 years.
The day after we buried you,
1. Whitcoulls is a large book and stationery store.
He took me by the hand and read me Oscar Wilde
and when we came to The Ballad of Reading Gaol,
he turned down the lights in respect
of the glaring light which now shines on us.
Sometimes we forget the old days
and the chains that tethered queers
to the quaint seedy back-rooms
of anonymity and fear,
the half-life of the grey world
in which the best we could hope for
was a kiss from that strange boy
and a gentle, warm hand
on our ubiquitous,
framed by reputation,
‘I recognise you’ had many meanings.
‘I love you’ was a running-joke
in the bath-houses and the dark bushes
of the slightly diverted eyes that promised,
as the contract of entry,
never to tell.
Today, in the outrageous raves
and the annual parades
we lose sight of where the world has been.
Lest we forget, the old guys say.
In time and place
the new replaces the old by grace,
not by right.
An Albanian immigrant named Prokop Nano
said to me
‘Vere I come from, ve deal vit people like you!’
I knew what he meant.
A Hindi father does not speak of his son:
there is shame in his eyes
and he hopes that his caste-mark will exonerate him.
The Turkish taxi-driver tells me,
‘I have no brother – he died seven years ago.’
But I know his grave is dug deep in the cabbie’s heart,
not in the soil:
he is buried in words, not deeds.
A man from Mali spits on the ground
and say something in his native phlegm
that I really can understand.
Today, in an outrageous snapshot
of where the world still is,
I look back on the old days of my queer past
and can not promise that all has changed.
Half a world later and eleven lovers dead,
one from Aids,
ten by their own hand,
I wonder where the voyage to the New World has left us.
One by one in a promiscuous memory 
their ghosts parade past me
and every one asks of me the same question:
Where are you?
It means, How far has the journey taken me?
How can we be queer in the cold isolation
from the history that taught us who we are?
We look at each other and remind ourselves
that Oscar probably would have something witty to say…
I have had my share of lovers
and I’ve had my share of losses –
more than, some would say,
as the abacus clicks one more bead to the tally.
In some transaction in which supposedly
I gain more than I have purchased
I have kept my receipts
and from time to time
remind myself of the journey.
Some do not even know
that once our love was illegal:
before they were even born
some of us came in from the cold,
in through the out door,
to find our own place to stand,
our own tūrangawaewae. 
We are the love, we said,
that does dare to speak its name;
and that name is Queer,
etched on the trunk alongside ‘George luvs Betty’,
as the tree-surgeon is handed a protection-order.
The word barks out into the Brave New World.
I wonder, Have I acquitted myself in their eyes,
in the fading irises of the long-gone?
Let no nepenthes anaesthetise me 
from the sharp-chipped road of experience.
For the new breed
they have nothing to offer the Cause
other than how they live that life that was given to them.
The great marches of meaning are but memories
and the vitality of the struggle replaced by party-pills.
We must help each other be the whole
that is the haunt of hallowed lives
in a community of perpetuation,
in a parade of variation,
at a point where past and present have no separate meanings.
Even the dirty old man has a story –
lest he forget! –
for his trials and tribulations carved out
an irrevocable Now
that we can not hear until the music is turned down.
I read my books,
lest I forget;
I write my words
in a humble homage to the fallen soldiers
who battled collar to collar with me
in the Great Cause,
in the trenches of a tragic life,
in the open fire of the enemy
who did not even know what the war was about.
You killed my brother in Hagley Park
and the judge and jury said,
‘Good on you, mate;
that’s one less faggot to worry about!’
Let us bury the dead with happiness
and mark the tombs not with poppies but pansies.
At the wake, let us read their poems
and their letters home
and turn their photographs into factitious shrines
and know that they did not die for nothing.
We enter the holy ground of the burning brothers,
each queer a cathedral with a crucifix well fought for.
Once more we come, comrades,
in through the out door,
as we take the time to wipe our feet
of the graveside soil,
before he approaches and kisses me…
on the cheek.
1. Promiscuous literally means ‘mixed up’ or ‘at random’ and does not necessarily refer to excessive numbers.
2. The Māori word tūrangawaewae is often translated as ‘domicile’, but more accurately means ‘a place to stand’, a place to identify one’s belonging in the world, from components meaning the ‘place or identity (tūranga) of the foot (waewae)’.
3. Nepenthes is a mythical plant of Egyptian origin mentioned in the Odyssey, the extract of which causes a sufferer to be free of the pain of grief (νηπενθής, nēpenthēs, banishing pain, from νη-, nē-, not + πένθος, penthos, grief).