Monthly Archives: November 2014

Jars of Clay

I went to church tonight as I am want to do on occasion, yes Friday night anyway that is for another time.  the speaker was talking about the future and my mind flicked over to a poem I wrote, one of the first that I wrote, it is called Jars of Clay

Jars of Clay

Lumps of dirt,
sweated from the ground.
Pounded and minced. Continue reading


Hello Sciatica My Old Foe.

It  was almost a red letter day.  This chapter has been a relatively short few weeks however the book has been running for 24 years and it yet may not yet be over. I am not easily un-nerved however I felt some anxiety as I was seated, lots of shuffling of paper and what seemed an inordinate amount of errs, hmms, and umms did not help to settle me.  Continue reading

Blond hair, dark glasses and a puffer jacket,

Puffer jacket, faded jeans and sunnys, leaning up against a sign, a baseball cap completed the ensemble. From a distance, I wasn’t quite sure, the silhouette was small, was this a child?  No thumb out just standing by a sign at an on ramp, looking as if a taxi was due to arrive.

I haven’t picked up hitch-hikers for a while now, I am not sure particularly why, I think I have been feeling vulnerable perhaps, perhaps just the feeling that I have enough people in my world to look after and I don’t want to find someone else in need at the moment. Anyway it matters not, I nearly kept on driving, I had a twinge of guilt perhaps and pulled up.  In an instant the figure was galvanized into action racing towards me.  I lowered the window and asked where are you off to?Rotorua came back the reply, I offered a ride part of the way and they jumped straight in the car.

There was a distinct air of vulnerability about this hitchhiker, an unusual shape to her face, barely 147 cms perhaps less and no more than 40 kgs dripping wet I would guess.  She carried a small backpack, which she hugged tightly on her lap.  Jackie was her name.  I could almost smell the fear on her, I told her who I was, what I did for a living, even gave her a business card.  I tried to engage her in small talk but rather quickly gave up, as Jackie fixed her gaze firmly on the road ahead.  I wondered what drove her to hitch-hike, she would not be able to resist if someone tried something on.

There was a hardness to her , a very determined set to her jaw. The hardness was accentuated by some rather obvious acne scars that were poorly concealed with makeup.  the angular lines of her face and a sloping forehead didn’t help.  Her oversized puffer jacket dwarfed her.  When she spoke her voice had an almost child-like simplicity to it. It was as if she had victim written all over her.  After a short time, I put Shania Twain on the stereo and drove on just thinking.  Another time I would have driven her all the way to Rotorua, I just couldn’t face the drive today.  I hope I made the right decision.  I did take the longer way home for me, dropping her at what i considered a safer place to catch the next leg of her journey.  She didn’t seem to know her way very well at all and when I asked her where she wanted to be dropped, she was very passive, saying wherever.

I wasn’t sure whether it was sadness, resignation or just plain scared that was on her face, I couldn’t see her eyes behind her dark wrap around sunglasses which almost seemed to be like a protective visor, her cap a helmet and her puffer jacket her suit of armour.  I wanted to ask her what her story was, reach out to her soul in some way, put right whatever was broken, travelling so light I wondered if she was running away from something or somebody. I half expected her to ask for some money.  the one anomaly was her perfume, it smelt expensive, not one I could name but it was really classy.

Jackie rode along in silence and then i noticed her beginning to fall asleep.  She struggled to keep awake, jerking bolt upright every time she nodded off.  I turned the aircon on for her.  I could sense her discomfort at falling asleep and I wondered,it was only 2.30 in the afternoon… Perhaps drugs were the reason she was so thin, her wrists seemed so tiny.  She fought sleep but eventually nodded off until we slowed for a turn off.  Every now and then  could sense a sour smell, not really body odour, but it was there, just under the radar….

I was worried for her, I thought I hope she will be alright but when it came to my turnoff I dropped her at the side of the road, I told her I was concerned for her safety, I asked her was she scared, she said she was.  I suggested to her to text a friend the registration of the car she was being picked up by.  She almost jumped out of the car after thanking me, quickly shouldering her bag and without looking back she started to walk, I looked back in the mirror and wondered, what her story was, would she be ok? Was I doing the right thing?  I hoped so, I could rationalise my decision, Jackie was an adult, early 30’s I thought.  I checked the online news, nothing about a missing person.  I had regrets, I didn’t ask her if she was ok, I had no words for her really, I know I am only human, I showed her a kindness in giving her a lift, giving her advice.  I can’t save the world, some things just are.  I hope Jackie is ok…..


Not broken, just finished

I opened the letter read the contents and trembled with rage as I read the words, here printed on paper was a denial, not an I didn’t do it, but  a denouncement, Continue reading

Broken, somethings just are….

I remember it as if it were yesterday, 41 years is a long time to have a memory like that.  I had admired it for a week, standing tall and proud  Dressed in shining splendour, green and gold with a shiny silver overcoat, it had to be mine.  I am not sure how I wangled it, either bottles to the bottle-man or I may have mowed some lawns but in my hand I held the necessary to make it mine, possess and admire it till the time came to set it free.  I took it out of the over coat, smelt it savored  it, stroked it even, smooth then just a little rough.  I held it by its single white leg and imagined how it would end, and then disaster, in a moment it was an amputee, this thing of wonder lay in two pieces and I was desolate.  My rocket was broken.  this was no plastic fantastic but made in China nevertheless. This was the grand deluxe, sky traveller rocket, ready to be ignited to fly high into the sky and with a huge bang ignite a flare that would hang in the air by a thing of absolute marvel, its own parachute.  But now it was broken.  I remeber taping it up, but like a modern space rocket tape didn’t do it. I lit it, it fizzed rose a few feet, exploded and was done,  it was broken and could not be fixed, refired, rebuilt, re engineered, it was finished.

I thought about this as I read the news about the Pike River Mine, it’s so unfair I heard one person lament.  Twenty nine men dead, and no one held accountable and no bodies to be recovered, no comfort here, just 29 men lying on the hard rock at the bottom of the earth, no words said over their bodies,no final farewells, time to move on they said, nothing more to be done, nothing to see here, move along. Tomorrow I have another MRI scan, back problems, bad, no relief from the relentless pain and disability, sucks me dry, destroys me one little bit at at time.

This is a last gasp attempt t try and get some resolution, lose some weight they said, so I dd 45 kgs, no improvement. get fit they said, so I did, be active so I did,get a job, so I did, take these pills, that vitamin, this mineral, pray, be thankful, all of these things I have done.  It is like I have used my prayer quota up on other things…. a long time ago.  I am prepared to be told that there is nothing “they” can do for me, I have heard it all before.  I have a plan for that but I know.  I know broken when I see it now and i am largely a broken man, living a life dictated by circumstance and brokenness.

I have encountered broken many times, I have pressed on chests and poured air into my neighbors lungs, in a futile attempt to start here heart beating again, all I did was push her blood into her chest, you see her heart was broken, an aneurysm they said, you did a good job, there was no chance, but I tried, I prayed and pumped and pumped and prayed and breathed, nothing, just a still whiteness and the smell of death,

I recognise other things in my life that are broken, I am tempted to try and fix them however b myself all I could do would be like my rocket, fix it with tape and hope, if I had had Gorilla glue I may have had a chance, however the weigh to be power ratio in the rocket was made for it to be perect and could never function with tape around the stick.  I have carried that broken rocket in my head for 40 plus years.  I hope the other brokenness is not with me for that long.

Live laugh and love well and freely, who knows what the morrow brings, it may be too late on the morrow.

Sunday Afternoon at Kmart, Defcon 1 in Ten Seconds

I could hear the shouting, not far from me a little to my left, a domestic I thought.  No surprise really considering my location, right in the middle of Kmart’s new shop in Hamilton.  Where else would it happen? Continue reading