The Alps scrape Cessna bellies, bite like kea

Pitting skin like hailstones do orchard fruit

Avalanches lunch on unsuspecting skiers

Like lahars, like speeding utes, ruthless, resolute.

Mt Cook jabs like a Timaru boot boy’s salute,

Unbridled by National Parks’ precious boundaries.

Moraine may rain on climbers, stun them mute

And silence them like pellets do to flapping geese.

Shingle stripping skin, shearers shedding fleece


Barry Crump, too late, warned us of the Southpaw

Which, phossy-jawed, gorged on moa bellies

An Alp-toothed mainland maw, yawning scofflaw

Hauled hamstrung panhandlers into boozy gullies

Communities crippled like Cave Creek amputees,

Collapsed like the faces of glaciers, graves defaced.

Inland, men fled, stampeding sheep, fleeing fleas

Drowning in Speights, dropping towns in their wake

Highlanders, Crusaders rucking plains into place.


And still Aucklanders’ll underestimate

The sting of coal seams sealing;

Workman’s comp can’t compensate what methane takes.

In Mosgiel, Marists scrum against the Mongrel Mob

To scrape off the stigma-stain of lost jobs

They turn the earth with sprigs, scabs, blood of mates –

These are ways to work the anger off. Torn can tabs,

Meat pack raffles, cigarettes, greyhound bets, mates’ rates

After Affco clock off, they lick lactatin’ swappa-crates.




Blacktop blurry at one-forty; hedgehog hamburger patties

Idle hands make men manufacture meth.

Their ancestors were promised plots of plenty

Ultimately only given them in death.

Tornadoes now bequeath their wrath and Greymouth holds her breath

Pressed to confess she once stoned Chinamen,

Whose ghosts now accost Scots, Poms, whoever’s left.

Dairy-sharing rednecks forget granddad’s barren sporran,

They can’t recall when every cunt was foreign.


Greenstone greed meant muskets ended arguments;

Jaundice, tuberculosis certain as the Southerly.

Shotguns got cocked to ventilate rivals’ tents

Deadly – almost – as a brothel’s toxic pox, its STDs

So vaccinate – don’t vex like possums testing headlights

Or rabbits foaming at the mouth for RCD

Redbacks, sandflies, whitetail bites:

Stay on the safe side of the Main Divide.


The highs liquefy the highway; lows turn lakes to stone,

Weka feather confetti’s thrown.

The Norwester leathers flesh, Washdyke’s scoured clean

If Graham and Grey make man fair game in hunting season

If we’re culled by Red Devils, Fourth Reich, Lost Breed, Lone Legion, then

Stags will stand up to buckshot, wapiti, wallabies, moose too

And topsoil will fill the cattle grids in

Otago-Southland will be an unmanned zoo

With epitaphs carved in coal and headstones of pounamu.