blackmail press 21
Emile Hofstede

crossed cultures - special issue
(a 12 h move from Ontario, Canada to Takayama, Japan)

Our world squeaks ever clockwise and
you will soon have my time in your place.

For you it's the dawn of my yesterday,
but I can barely type in my late night blur.

I feel the sweetness in the tick tock
lull me to sleep in the land of rising sun

as you arise there in the west, I know, but
on my map, you are east...far east....

Don’t fret.  That’s just perspective.
So long ago you are and in my morning

I will drift happily into the welcoming
wake of your maple syrup dreams.

(from 44 d N (Ontario, Canada) to 40 d S (Golden Bay, New Zealand))

Cold blasts come from Antarctica
ANT- ARC - K -  TI - K - K - CA
I live with penguins now but there is no snow
(The Inuit are speechless!)
Winter is wet and evergreen -
Blossoms hang on trees like
forgotten yuletide ornaments.
Oh, how I miss angels and igloos.

Longitude was written in Takaka, New Zealand, 2006
Latitude was written in Takayama, Japan, 2003


Unaware of the power she had for
communicating the subtle joy which
possessed her - The Woman, whose
career in life is as yet unknown, required
no translator; even though she spoke
another language.  Upon examination
of this mystery it was discovered
that her boat had capsized and she alone
survived.  In spite of losing all her possessions
except for the string of glass beads at her neck
and the floral sundress she wore she began
an inventory of self possession
and in that found she had everything she
needed all along.  Having floundered in
a sea of confused voices sinking
under heavy cargoes all that was ever
necessary was the ability to swim.

Intentional community

Sobriety found me Tuesday night
somewhere between the chamomile
tea spilled into my lap and that
movie about India, the one where
Muslims and Hindus and Sikhs
forgot who their friends were
because a greater power ran
a line and called this side Pakistan.

That was 1947.

The tea spilled in two thousand six.

We still draw lines –
bore ourselves into boxes;
geometric reserves of alignment.
From inside we practice compassion
with well chosen words - 

“flint locks and daggers to be
handed to the innkeeper
for safe keeping”

- and everyone stops for the
evening news – old words in
new clothes.  The record of history,
setting records straight, drawing
straighter lines
defining         reality        gaps,

Promoting the drinking of tea.

the price of freedom

where is it written that life was fair -
that you would be given the same
opportunities as anyone born
at the same hour, the same day, the same year?

the world would be full of fern fronds then
abounding with uniform leaflets
and only the lower branches
dying off occasionally.

we would be stuck in the Jurassic
and we would not have evolved
into maples and ginkgos and matai
and even ferns can’t grow everywhere

we crossed oceans for equity
and discovered turbulence
was no different
in a land of opportunity

here the ferns were high maintenance
requiring frequent tidying
constant misting and kept in
plastic pots to avoid spreading

Featured Artist Fiona Holding
Emile Hofstede was born in Ontario , Canada near the U.S. border to post-war Dutch immigrants.  She obtained degrees in Ecology and Education and worked in both fields before leaving home to experience more of the world and less of North America .  After a brief stint teaching English in Japan , she came to New Zealand , WWOOF-ing the country, finally landing in Golden Bay from where she has not yet left.  Her time there has been significantly marked by seasonal homesickness and life in an intentional “community”.  She is nonetheless, a contented resident of New Zealand .