HeadworX
home   shop   fiction   poetry   JAAM   broadsheet   events   links   contact  











From Just Poetry by Alistair Te Ariki Campbell

Morning Blues

It wasn't a good night.
     I woke up stiff as a carcase
          hanging by the hocks in the
freezing-works. The question was:
     what to do with myself?
          Well, why not offer myself
for use as a park bench,
     my head and feet resting
          on apple boxes? But be
careful to close my eyelids.
     I don't want any sparrow pecking
          out my eyes. Or why not use me
as a fence-post? But please dig
     the hole deep enough, so that
          when they strain the wires,
my feet won't suddenly jerk
     out of the hole, scattering
          dirt about. If I won't do
as a fence-post, why not stretch out
     my arms on a crossbar, stuff straw
          in my shirt and hat, and put me
to use as scarecrow. If that still
     won't do, why not use me as
          as a cross to which some criminal
may be tied, but please, please,
     not the Son of God - by Jesus,
          I couldn't bear the nails.

A Poem in Negatives

Are you dead,
or are you alive?
You will never read this poem,
nevertheless it's for you.
Who but you
could understand this poem?
Who but a woman
who doesn't read poems
could make sense of it?
It says nothing, and yet
it says everything,
and what it doesn't say
is what it means to say.
Only you could understand
what I'm trying not to say.
If you are still alive,
think of me as a poet
you could never know
and whose poems only you
could understand,
even though you will never
read a single poem of mine.
If you are dead
it doesn't matter anyway.

© Alistair Te Ariki Campbell























w3