Tuesday poem: (untitled) by Lynn Jenner

In 1911 a sea monster which no one could identify washed up near Boston. Houdini arranged for steel eyelets to be punched into the side of the opening in the belly. He had himself chained as usual. As he entered the creature he sprayed perfume on the area where his face would be.

Members of the public were invited to help lace up the belly. When this was completed his assistants placed a cabinet around the monster, and an orchestra struck up a popular song called ‘Sailor Beware’. Everyone laughed. The orchestra played other songs. Some wags called out wisecracks. Then everything went quiet.

After fifteen minutes Houdini appeared, pallid and sweating, holding up the leg irons and manacles for the crowd. The cabinet was removed, showing the creature still laced, chained and padlocked.

Houdini’s first words were to ask his assistants to move the crowd back.

Then he called the leader of the orchestra over and gave him two hard kicks in the shin. “No jokes!’ he said. ‘No jokes!’

From Dear Sweet Harry (page 17) by Lynn Jenner
Published by Auckland University Press
Used with the permission of Auckland University Press

This poem has been posted as part of the Tuesday Poem scheme

Tuesday poem: Secrets by Monique Hodgkinson

I came here three times as a child. The first
was for a birthday party
for which I was dressed in yellow
when all the other girls wore pink.
The second time was an
act of desperation
I had lost my parents and rushed in crying
all hot-faced steamy tears and panic
they let me use the telephone.
During the third time
my mother told me The News
how things had changed
her eyes like bullets, boring
into my head. I didn’t
remember much else really
apart from the gooey caramel in my chocolate slice
and the way the sunlight slipped in
like secrets.

This poem was second in the Whitireia Eat Your Words poetry competition. It has been published, along with other competition poems in Eat Your Words: Wellington Cafe Poems. Email cafepoetrycomp@whitireia.ac.nz for your copy.

Used with the permission of Whitireia Publishing and Ish Done.

This poem has been posted as part of the Tuesday Poem scheme.

Tuesday poem: The Last Piece of Cake by Ish Done

There must be a little door
at the back of a cupboard
in the kitchen
of every cafe in Wellington.

A little blue door
with a polished brass handle
and a letter slot,
and maybe a knocker.

And inside
there must be
an old Eurasian badger
who has immigrated
especially
to eat the last piece
of cake
that no one wants
to eat
because they’re afraid
that its loneliness
will settle in them.

This poem was third in the Whitireia Eat Your Words poetry competition. It has been published, along with other competition poems in Eat Your Words: Wellington Cafe Poems. Email cafepoetrycomp@whitireia.ac.nz for your copy.

Used with the permission of Whitireia Publishing and Ish Done.

This poem has been posted as part of the Tuesday Poem scheme.

Tuesday poem: (untitled) by Lynn Jenner

Suspended by my ankles
in a strait-jacket
from some high building,
I extricate myself
in mid air.

While they put the jacket on,
I square my shoulders
and distend my chest
like a cunning horse.

Once I am hanging
safely about their fear
and they are safely
unable to hear the cost,
I dislocate both shoulders.

With my hands still enclosed
in the sleeves of the jacket,
I reach up my back
and fumble the back
buckles Loose.

Then I am entirely free.

From Dear Sweet Harry (page 3) by Lynn Jenner
Published by Auckland University Press
Used with the permission of Auckland University Press

This poem has been posted as part of the Tuesday Poem scheme

Tuesday poem: Downpour by Briar Rose Davies

It was as if the biggest bucket
from the fountain
had finally been tipped
over the edge by that last
drop and was spilling
all over the city that day.

It’s raining men
he said leaning across
to stick my coffee receipt
to my jacket,
using the collected water
droplets as adhesive.

Looking down, I noticed
that on the receipt he had sketched
a tiny man with a mini
matching moustache.

This poem won the Whitireia Eat Your Words poetry competition. It has been published, along with other competition poems in Eat Your Words: Wellington Cafe Poems. Email cafepoetrycomp@whitireia.ac.nz  for your copy.

Used with the permission of Whitireia Publishing and Briar Rose Davies (pictured below).

This poem has been posted as part of the Tuesday Poem scheme.

Tuesday poem: (untitled) by Lynn Jenner

Dear Sweet Harry

Thank you for being so tantalising
that when you died, a man made a list
of everything in your house; all your tools,
every needle and every kernel of corn.

Secrets and vices notwithstanding,
you will always have a spot on my
mental mantelpiece. Not wedged in
amongst this year’s crowd. And not
near the end, where you might fall off.

I will imagine you in a short sleeved shirt
looking for the history of magic
in second hand bookshops.
The show coming soon enough.

From Dear Sweet Harry (page 56) by Lynn Jenner
Published by Auckland University Press
Used with the permission of Auckland University Press

This poem has been posted as part of the Tuesday Poem scheme

Tuesday poem: Castlepoint by Jenny Bornholdt

Boys hurtle down
the dunes.

There’s lemon cake
and a recipe for
pineapple.

*

Night-long
nor-wester.

The lighthouse watches
with its great glass eye.

Sand fills the roof.
Wind, the ear.

From The Hill of Wool (page 12) by Jenny Bornholdt
Published by Victoria University Press
Used with the permission of Victoria University Press

This poem has been posted as part of the Tuesday Poem scheme

Tuesday poem: 8 by Dinah Hawken

Everyone is connected with everyone
else. Phoebe came with a yellow bucket
to damp proof the walls and then Dave
came back to back-fill with sand.
Mastic, glue, mortar, screws, wire,
trusses, zed nails and cyclone ties.
Everything is connected to everything else.
Timber is attached to concrete blocks
with Dyna bolts and a home is attached
to the land. Dyna Bolt Hawken, quips Barry,
whose surname is Binding. Bolt,
I thought, wouldn’t be a bad name –
I could be both securely here
and very quickly away.

by Dinah Hawken
from The Leaf-Ride (page 49)
Published by Victoria University Press
Used with the permission of Victoria University Press

This poem is part of the Tuesday Poem Scheme

Tuesday poem: At the coming of Autumn by Kate Camp

I seal up all the windows and doors
plug holes, and smoke out the mice.

I prepare the surface of things for coming snow;
the apple I shine to a dangerous gloss
and in my room arm spiders with tiny forks
that this winter they may eat in a civilized fashion.

To the neighbors I say, silence your machines,
wash your children, kiss goodbye your failings
we enter this death together
without those rusted anchors.

by Kate Camp
from The Mirror of Simple Annihilated Souls (page 56)
Published by Victoria University Press
Used with the permission of Victoria University Press

This poem is part of the Tuesday Poem Scheme

Tuesday poem: The Fairy Child by Margaret Mahy

The very hour that I was born
I rode upon the unicorn.
When boys put tadpoles in their jars
I overflowed my tin with stars.
Because I sing to see the sun
The little children point and run.
Because I set the caged birds free
The people close their doors to me.
Goodbye, goodbye, you world of men -
I shall not visit you again.

By Margaret Mahy
From The Word Witch: The Magical Verse of Margaret Mahy (page 81)
Published by HarperCollins
ISBN 9781869507077

This poem is part of the Tuesday Poem Scheme