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.