blackmail press 21
Michael Rudd
New Zealand

crossed cultures - special issue
Willie and Paul

Some say you need the Armed forces       to sort a young man out
   my 21 drum  salute      was a Herne Bay building site   with 2 wise

Some say you can’t teach common sense
i learnt    lateral thought   (like how to knock a coke can, from a block
wall, with a crane hook, using only a walkie talkie  but that’s another
poems job)

Willie and Paul
my mates    my mentors      my industry induction
From the smartest way to use a shovel       to how to dog a crane (luff in
luff out)
and a hole of blocks in between           like                rat is good
luck on a building site
for Friday smoko   you fry up last night’s meat raffle    on a polished

how to crew men
and which ones you kick off site          (dak is for after, not before)

how to brew workers tea        how to get free food           by buying
others lunches

footings to fences               hammers to hooks
  they taught me the book
       best of all
the rules

“want some kai     help yourself             thirsty   get a drink
tired  have a sleep
you know the rules                  in my house help yourself”

good advice  like   not all men   are our brothers    the others we call cuz
            from crack ups to wise ups    we did the A-Z of building  man

only regret is some memories are light        like                 what were
their last names ?
I always come back to Hunua     like the Falls      and they were
proud   strong and kept on coming on                 like the time the cops
arrested me   for objecting to them    closing down our site shout
because neighbouring hotel guests    objected to us
Paul    stayed at Central    till the cops     let me out
like I said             Hunua   Falls

where were they from ?
often think  Tuwharetoa              cause of the time  they told me a story
from Taupo way

There was this farmer      who worked hard at    not getting on with the
locals        so one of the boys         Paul i think       decided  to
steal his prize pig
before he grabbed the pig             he fed it a loaf of bread
the bread was stuffed with hot mustard        that pig   never squealed

Then there are times I think  they were Tuhoe    cause they had big feet
flat noses   broad   grins     and
when they smiled at me  i swear  i saw      bush fairies dance through the
and when     I learnt   angry words
  the mist    closed in

From man to mana
it takes more than the   A

Featured Artist Fiona Holding