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Janet Newman
New Zealand

Janet Newman lives at Koputaroa in Horowhenua and is studying part-time at Massey University. She has completed poetry and short fiction papers at Victoria University's International Institute of Modern Letters and has had poems published in bravado, a fine line and NZ Poetry, and a short story in Takahe.

girls these days

they've never been told
that's not ladylike
take the seat
wear a dress
what we need
is a strapping young lad

they've never had
one chop
while the boys
had two
never been
steered by the elbow

what they've missed
knees together ankles crossed
I'll carry that
after you
ladies first
just say no

you won't need maths


For five days in Raro you turned your nose up
at carved Tangaroa - penis to the ground,
coconut juice untouched till the warmth
of your mouth, even the mercury spheres of oysters.

At the first café in Taihape with a bone fide barista,
lamb and mint savouries not lamingtons, prices that
swallow your EFTPOS whole, you forked out God knows
how much for a perspex tile no bigger than my palm:

souvenir dolls Tama and Moana overlooking Waitarere
Beach and a surfer, board under arm, heading home.


The priest said
there was a time to die,
a time to plant and
grow, a time to live,
a righteous way, a place,
a path and other things
I forget.
The daughter said
the life was long,
good things were done
when she was young:
black hair, dark eyes,
red lips always smiling.

The only one who
brought the man spirit
back to the grieving husband
was the nephew from Hokitika
riding a black Harley Davidson:
chrome grill, fins elegantly bent,
stories of street races,
sand blasted beaches

who lifted the silver bonnet
on the new model Holden sedan
and sang the praises
of its straight-six four-litre donk.