Scoop Review of Books

Three Poems from Best NZ Poems Authors

3 poems from Best NZ Poems authors:

Helen Lehndorf:
A skull, a silk, a skulk

It was raining Japanese rain:
straight down and copious.

My Great-Grandmother always said:
Don’t borrow trouble

which is good advice, but she
didn’t say what to do if trouble
borrows you. Damn her for dying.

Here’s the thing – if there is a hair
in my dinner, and if I cooked the dinner
(which, let’s face it, is most nights)
I will just eat the hair. I will also eat
corn silks, spotty apples and furry cheese.
I have become a resigned person.

There was one day when you decided
to communicate in pairs of sonic screeches
so shrill I could feel my ear drums folding
and although I begged you to stop you
found it very amusing how agitated I was
becoming so you kept on doing it and there
came a point where I thought I might actually
kill you I might actually crush your skull in
the fridge door I might actually throw you
through a closed window but instead I fetched you
a very large bowl of ice-cream and a tiny tiny teaspoon
which made you silent for about seventeen minutes
which was long enough for me to get it together

again. Voilà.

While you were eating ice-cream I was
hiding in the toilet because
there is a lock on the door
and I can breathe and read
my big book of facts so I’ll have
interesting things to say
at dinner parties.
I’m up to
collective nouns
right now,
like did you know
that a group
of foxes
is called a

First published in The Comforter 2011


Tim Upperton:
At the cemetery the gravestones are hilarious

You have two dogs
that are hounds from hell.
They scuffle and slobber.
I don’t do dogs very well.

Your lower lip is full,
your upper lip is thin.
I simply am not thinking.
This is the saddest place I’ve ever been in.

I am not simply thinking.
Your big horse carries you away.
Your dogs bark and bark.
Everything carries you away.

At the cemetery the gravestones are hilarious.
This woman died aged one hundred and two.
We sit on her tomb for an hour.
You kiss me. I kiss you.

First published: NZ Books, Spring 2010


Hera Lindsay Bird:
Children are the orgasm of the world.

This morning on the bus there was this woman carrying a bag with inspirational sayings and positive affirmations all over it which I was reading because I’m a fan of inspirational sayings and positive affirmations. If my life had a catchphrase it would probably end in ‘to the max.’ I also like clothing that gives you advice. What’s kinder than the glittered baseball cap of a stranger telling you what to strive for? It’s like living in a world of endless mothers. The inspirational bag of the woman on the bus said a bunch of stuff like ‘live in the moment’ and ‘reach for the sky’ and ‘remember to breathe,’ which is good advice to anyone with lungs, but it also said ‘children are the orgasm of the world.’ Are children the orgasm of the world like orgasms are the orgasms of sex? Are children the orgasms of anything? Children are the orgasm of the world like hovercraft are the orgasm of the future or silence is the orgasm of the telephone, or shit is the orgasm of the lasagne. You could even say sheep are the orgasm of lonely pastures, which are the orgasm of modern farming practices which are the orgasm of the industrial revolution. And then I thought why not? I like comparing stuff to other stuff too. Like sometimes when we’re having sex and you look like a helicopter in a low budget movie disappearing behind a cloud to explode. Or an athlete winning a prestigious international sporting tournament at the exact same moment he discovers his wife has just been kidnapped. For the most part, orgasms are the orgasms of the world. Like slam dunking a glass basketball. Or executing a perfect dive into a swimming pool full of oh my god. Or travelling into the future to high five yourself and creating a time paradox so beautiful it forces all of human history to reboot, stranding you naked on some distant and rocky outcrop, looking up at the sunset from a world so new looking up hasn’t even been invented yet.