Alex Stone

New Zealand

Bio: Living in Auckland from 1988, and on Waiheke Island from 1996 – 2004, I was a regular performance poet. Was featured at the Shakespeare Tavern, the Empire, the Masonic. Also a working artist. See my fine website

Stopped & Expounding, a book of poems I launched as part of the Devonport Arts Festival in 1993 was described by the Listener as “an entertaining work from a robust and multi-faceted talent.” (!)

In 2003 I was short listed for the BNZ Katherine Mansfield Awards for a short story about a poem called Sleepwriting.

RD somewhere

Come live with me and be my love
upon my old
inherited farm.

And I will offer

TV and bleary eyes
and rugby in the
wee small hours

while mist and moon
and owls

I’ll know what nights
we might see
full moon
in faintly tinted
shades of silver.

Come live with me and be my love
upon this fecund patch of soil

And there will be

dawns of cold blue light
days of mud
evenings softly sliced
with shafts
of golden green


corded, crumpled hills.

and sometimes,
heavy dew

Come live with me and be my love
in the house that I will build for you

and there will be
rust and junk
and old machines

and sky
and rain
and kids
and love.

Dancing in the dolmens

Was someone watching,
looking down on us
as we danced among the dolmens?

What were those flashing lights we saw?
- before
my little brother
came upon the scene
with his
puny little torch.

We were dancing in the ruins
nude, as the rude
rocks around us,
with bits of us flapping
unmajestically in the moonlight,
waving our arms
- drunk on the air of the night.

“If I made megaliths,”
I was saying,
“they would be just like these -
giant hard-ons
the skyline.”

That was before -
before we saw
those strangely flitting
luminous little lights
that didn’t fit with any ordinary notions
of earthly perspective;
those lights that illuminated us with
ordinary old
shrivelled-up fright.

That was before -
before we saw
another light
an anchored light, a four foot light
what could have been a reassuring light -

my brother happened
upon the scene
with his
puny little torch.

We leave, Forever leaving

As lonely floating figures
we make our way into the night
In time we’ll get to speak about
the necessary venues
where we might
speak again.

We leave,
Forever leaving
What will stay behind -

We broke the legs of the dogs
that used to keep us warm,
moving on,
we must leave
and search
for other homes
and others of our kind.

We leave,
Forever leaving,
will find,

Speaking of the necessary moves
and necessary shoes,
where lives/we/knew
we’ll find.

We leave,
Forever leaving,
Leaving necessary behind.

Island fine

crafted ignorance

we live within our shores,

safe from all ‘cept
and jetsam

and all the while
they come


all the while
the sea just smiles
says, “How do you like my fit?
The way I seem to sit
so neatly around your shores.”

all the while
the sea just smiles
“Island fine,  Island fine, you say?”

and meanwhile

the great tree
by my window
roars back at the wind
“How dare you shake me so?
I’ve been here a thousand years
- you’ll be gone tomorrow

Turn over,
back to sleep
soak up this pesky gale

in innocence
crafted laughter
(this house was built with nails)
Island fine, I say
safe from all ‘cept
and jetsam

Other people do

I made my way
across this little scrap of a map

and dared not even think about
the edge;

the cut along the fold,
where lines and roads and lives
drop off to oblivion
and the background visual clutter
of my ordinary world.

But I could live my life
in the confines of this map -
there must be trees and fish and stuff
to live upon this map.

Oh, yes, I could do quite well
inside this little scrap.
I could stay here, and survive here,
and not approach an edge.

Other people do.

Love in a house

The smell of a room having been slept in

was ours;

and that pleased me

as I walked past the door.

Later, that night, I said:

“Allow to me thy honeyed core
that I might be about thee
with delicacy
and fluted language
and more.”

And immediately, thought:
   What’s with the thees and thy’s?

Try, tried, again
“Allowed me to your honeyed core
and I was there, about you
and fluted language
(liked that)
and more,

We built this room
we built this house
this whole friggin’ house?

And who hung the door?

One bar heaters

even the earth still
doesnt know for sure 
the sun will rise
again tomorrow

so we must lend our comfort to
the earth
in the early hours

we must lend it warmth
from our small inbuilt heaters
in that coldest hour
before the dawn

cause when you think about it
earth should start getting warm
on just the strength of knowing that
sunrise comes
aways comes
sunrise always does

course we know that we know it
and we sleep safe
in our knowingness


what an old
and insecure earth
cannot second guess

and that is why
we do this

we roll together in the night
re-together in the night
long into the night
and just before the dawn

we call it early
the earth calls it cold
the coldest part of the dark

and that is why
there in no punctuation
in this poem

Love left in lieu

Turning round corners
uncomfortably sharp
stacking in corners
ideas left there missing
love left in lieu

No straightforward answers
wandering pencils
souls lost in the mist
coming upon
crossing and cursing
lines in the rain
fault lines and plates
rising again, and

volcanoes saying

“Truth lies within the drawing of it.”

Me? Which me?

She remembered more about me
than I did myself:
stuff I thought had forgotten.

That I liked my coffee cold
That I

As for reply
reply there was none

A hum from the ether
- and no beehives in sight

and the grass that was tall it snickered behind my turned back
and the high country sighed its almost inaudible sigh

Oh, you, it said.
Oh, it’s only you.
You’ll be gone soon
I know
I hope
I know

And then, there will be no more than
lonely lenticular clouds
in sight
in the vast hole of my head.
I’ll cope.

And when you’re gone,
I’ll make music
– the mute music of maps -
of the kind
neither of us will ever know

Not sighing,
Not snickering
Not empty
Not slow


So, go
and take your strange quietness
your reverential misunderstanding

Go, and take them

with you.

History of anchors; the poetics of departure

An island an its shadow
did dance
a line of thought;

The wind blew along,
along a longer time

re arranging
re appraisingand
re acquainting

as fixes do, definitions of a journey.

And to you and I
they said

(the island and its shadow,
with the colour of midnight water whispering behind us)

“Between the point of arrival-and-departure
and the action of the sames,
there exists
an exquisite poetry of expectation,

punctuated with charged space,
into which gestures, half-made and un-made
and occasionally complete,
settle silently like silt,
until the coast is clear again.”