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Ben Kemp
new zealand
Ben Kemp has benn published widely in New Zealand. After graduating from Otago University, he lived in Tokyo for two and a half years. Ben spent much time absorbing traditional art and culture.

On return to the North Island, Ben discovered a special mentor-student relationship with Rowley Habib, one of New Zealand’s pre-eminent Maori writers. It was at this point that Ben’s creative work anchored itself.

Responding to a magnetic pull back to Japan, Ben returned to Tokyo in 2002. Ben played on the street in Shimokitazawa, well known for its vibrant music scene. He soon met up with talented musician Koyu Suzuki and the duo began performing around Tokyo (including some of Tokyo's most prestigious live venues, such as JZ Brat and Mandala2).

His debut album River Mouth was released in early 2005, followed up in 2006 by Papatu Road.
Ben is currently recording his third album.  check out more of Ben @

I can see into…

1. The song of a bird,
rested in branches,
laden with blossoms & his cleans words,

2.The closet with broken doors,
an oak groan,
from the old man within the wood,

3.the clouds,
passing overheard on their way
to what I imagine,

4.Your thoughts,
guiding your hand through
the prickly bush to the clay,

5.The grimace,
rubbing rusted nails between the
palms of my hands…,
the silence inside the apple,
still swelling on the tree,

7.the guitar,
sitting in the corner,
a landscape waiting to get out,

the tributaries leading to the sea,
godliness & a newborn baby,

9.gaps between concrete constructs,
brothers on either side,
embalmed in caskets of man-made stone,

10.the crossing,
onward into the sun,
birds on my back,

& all this space…that listens to me. 

The Dancers

I watched myself cry,

The guitar opened its mouth
& wailed seagulls,

Stamping feet,
the Cajon their knees
“Taringa whakarongo!”

“Piu-Piu” my grandmother,
I found you in a field of harakeke,
With a riff & a whale bone comb,

Ehoa my forearms are weak with love,
The sea the wind, the wind the sea,

My soul hath found root in the vision of my own tears.

Beyond the Bird Cage

Purple feathers,
A sleek over coat & a glimpse as the eye oscillates,
Between granite and air,

Craggy branches define dead autumn,
A sweeter pulse from God’s wristyou slept in a field,
That held you, you said,
I love you darling,

The tin floor forged,
& Spread like butter,I walk on a page, no page
Seawater, tufts of mist between
the monks huts,
From India,
Metallic & freckled with rust,
The sun barks in the heat,then caresses as darkness hums chord E,
Digging thumbs into the stone wall,

I fashion a lock,
A sand castle in the sand,
Chord F# inside out,I carry you from the river,
& Dry you with soft grass, & a song darling,

My roots
My branches
My philosophy,shifting the wind currents,

Beyond the bird Cage.

The Frozen Lake…

What are words? But the wind through small places,
Yes, a thin thread of consciousness enclosed,
It emanates from flesh,

The syllables like hopscotch,
A lopsided drum or a man with un-even arms,
Looking at you with wild, wild degrees of suspicion,

What did you mean by that? He says

But, beneath she knows…the formation above is a ruse,
to placate the mind,
Weaving wonderful waste from
useless fragments of cosmos,

A church always conceals the devil…
hiding out under the sill,
caked in layers of old fly spray,

An army, his peace & his teddy bear,
he imagines a cradle for mankind,
he knows the feline qualities between his fingers & toes,

The cold air I embrace with a fire,
Into winter’s face I stare, my brother…
Lead me on!

What are words, but figments and weak representations!
A broken down means of transportation,
No teeth left on the cogs,

  A vague mail carrier,
With weak ankles & crooked knees,

I open, open my temple of flesh,
On the banks of a frozen lake without flow, it runs, roams through the countryside,