blackmail press 16
Owen Bullock
new zealand
Owen Bullock has published poetry, haiku, stories, reviews and articles in many New Zealand journals and in Australia, Britain, Japan and the U.S. He was the featured poet in Poetry NZ 27 and produced a couple of chapbooks last year: summer, Hauraki Plains and after the buddhist comes to call (Hen Enterprises). 'He has been poetry editor of both Bravado and Spin and is now co-editing Kokako – NZ’s sole haiku magazine. He lives in Tauranga.



there’s a horse rising out of the clouds
with three figures
above the harbour-like bridge
in the painting by Anthony Warnes

Alison Moyet sings
Only You

steak in soy sauce & red wine
pasta & mushrooms

a simple salad


a place to sit
near the skill-saw
by the stalling traffic

children screech
on a Saturday morning

signs slap you
in the face

the streets are dirty

men on the building site
shout to each other
people whistle from taxis

bicyclists almost assault

the same old tune plays
on the radio
and a staple gun -

after a while the street becomes
a peaceful place


in the space of the other, reading
the word Brigadoon –

a cottage in Cornwall -
that distant harmonic

someone likes themes


in the late afternoon
pause from television
he lies on the bed
and takes a book of poetry
reads one poem aloud
and is satisfied
he lives for that
for nothing more
than the pleasing succession
of words on a line
not understood
not all familiar


a sphere called planet
reduced to a ball
reflection of the outside world
through net curtains onto
cellophane plastic covering letters

a plate with crumbs holds
the matrix for the next meal
an empty cup is full of something
but don’t look for meaning
there is


the floor is well-liked
in the last resort sat on
in the first choice meditated

he apologised for words

I eat cannibals

heroic music

it’s time
to do all you’ve been intending

don’t over-edit
the world’s call for authenticity

you see them lurking
in the bars for something real

there’s a man
in this pub
who never smiles
shakes his hand at people
I said hello to him
and not again
until I was sober

must I buy another drink now
can’t I sit and watch the game
no ulterior motives

The Man from Omokoroa

he reads of Coleridge
the Man from Porlock
and the loss of a poem

a man in the audience shouts
“that was the poetry”
(the loss and the rupture)

he doesn’t shut up,
the man in the audience,
though the poet acknowledges his quip

after wine & cheese
the man in the audience
is quiet. that’s the poem
and the poem’s loss (again)

before the end
he wanders away


planes fell
no-one forgets

the towers

as the Tarot,
Lorca and Cohen

has the world changed?

a child is hungry


watch the estuary

Hank Williams has been here
with Anton Newcombe
‘the last great rock n roller’

& all their pain


to enter the gallery
with a fish
like the fish entered the air
from the sea
in the painting by John McGhan

enter if you dare
ten million
refugees of a sunrise
for justice

come again
to our cloud of reasoning
come again
to our cloud

the dead wish 
you weren’t dead
that you don’t long for rest

you hurt putting the tightrope down
you try to speak of the sunset
without mentioning the sunset
try to fuck in words