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Aotearoa: a romance

I hate these aggressively insular New Zealanders.

Robyn Hyde: Journalese


A kiss. And she
               through the kamahi.
               I catch her
as she fastens
               her bodice
               with the hand
               that stroked me.
I need to lick
               nameless wounds
               from knowing
               flesh, ‘let me
enter your dark….’
               I count on tomorrows—
               they’re numbered
with the buttons
               of her blouse.
               She’ll leave me
               in the dark.


An arabesque
cracks the ice. Revellers
scatter over Lake Ida. ‘Stay
if you love me’!

Her fingers glide over
my shoulders. But
that black water!
one kiss, I spin

out. Finally
it pleases her to come
in: ‘My hero!
Where’s your brother?’


You were wonderful
               as the novel
I could never be
               the hero of:

I watched another
               fulfil that role:
my ideal ghost, young
               and well endowed.

Whatever he thought
               I said. But now
you have mistaken
               the words they shape

for these lips. I shrug
               off your caress
like a beggar’s hand.
               I’m a shrill husk

the wind must play through.
               I’ve never loved.
Don’t trust the lyrics
               I offer up,

they’ll betray you too.

30.11.1988, Church Square, Christchurch – 18.1.1989, Napier


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