Name: Robert James Berry
country : New Zealand

Blackmail Press welcomes a fellow West Auckland Poet to Blackmail Press. - Editors

Jo !

-for Ahila-

A word like salt
needs no adjectives
to taste it.

Haunches of ham cure;
they hang saltily.

Thirst of the flat earth
is apocryphally,
a pillar of grief.

But I recall you
rolling sea salt between your
thumb and little finger

splendidly nude

your sight framing the cabbage trees and a
wall of rain, eating celery.

In Coyle Park

the wind caterwauls,
no place for

mud building on a playground
empty of children. Or the roundabout

whinging metal,
swings screaming.

Now drunks have departed the municipal toilets
it's sober as August.

Like a mirage
the mile high towers and girders of a city are
mired in mist;

the harbour bridge reaches
into a hill of cloud

and I shall make it the shape
of strong black print over this page.

Papa's Hand

-for Abhi-

I can smell the liquor and
old cigarette smoke

on his hand bigger than my head
that can cup me to sleep
or bash me.

Veins blue as violets
doubled-jointed fingers

filth settled under the nails
and knuckles that shine with fat rings.

Look how
life lines, weird as canals on the moon
bisect the dust bowl of his palm.

A finger summons me
and I must come.

Making Poetry

Now the sun's blood-soiled clothing
stains the hills
west of here

I can contemplate silence
blessed with exceptional gifts

configure stars
over our rough house
and a moon to swing
like a pearl earring.

Then our children would sleep.

I shall write into these words
a resonance

make poetry in the
accumulating dark.

The Book

Something in the book
other than silverfish,
the perfume of dried flowers
makes it heavy as memories.

Breaking the spine
reading the script

is like the salt tang of sea
in your nostrils,
heady, unforgettable.

For decades I've opened you

when voices of my elders
rioted in the room below

chanted sentences over
till they had the grain,
the warmth of a heavy wood

and fell surer than my years.


A frost settles in my head.
The crows that bray on filthy snow
are quieted;

the sky has wrought other symbols
beyond me.

Nothing moves
though stealthily, without comment
tubers finger the earth. An inert life

furrowed in thought

and the land shall not shake
this necromancy

as dusk casts a handspan of


-for Vis-

Mother and father sing to me:
a tall story about the moon

but I shall smile as their voices
nudge me, line by line
to sleep.

They whisper the future
but I'm fine just here

writing into the manuscript book of my dreams
such music

to make me young again.