Tim Jones lives in Wellington, New Zealand. He divides his time between writing, being a husband and father, and content management work. His short fiction and poetry has appeared in magazines and anthologies in New Zealand, the UK, the USA, Australia, and Canada.
His first collection of fiction, Extreme Weather Events, was published in 2001, and poetry collection Boat People followed in 2002. His poem
The Translator, first published in New Zealand Books, was included in Best New Zealand Poems 2004.
To see more of Tim's work, please visit
My recent poetry credits include:
* "Wind Walks the Hand" and "Tuesdays" in the New Zealand Listener (March and April 2005)
* "The Translator" in "New Zealand Books" (December 2004), reprinted in "Best New Zealand Poems 2004".
Watching the Birds
An old woman in a bathchair
appears on the lawn
hair freshly combed
rug newly straightened.
two hours future-proofed.
She is watching the birds
the impudent birds
looking for bread
tugging at rings
trying to perch.
The old woman
stares straight ahead
eyes wide in delight
vast as the house
she shared with her mother
when Father was gone to the war.
They push at her face with their beaks.
An old woman. The insolent birds.
has two habitats
one the high and ringing hills
two the Public Aviary,
They're clearly the same species:
the elegant lord of the mountains
and its cousin, scrabbling
for a chunk of day-old Homestead bread.
In both, the red-green flash of wing
disdainful curling eye.
And the squawk (it's nothing more elegant):
heard in the hills, it's warning
to stow your boots inside your tent.
In Gore, it's a fugitive thing
competing with the car horns
on a sodden Friday night.
Standing by the aviary
keeping my distance from the nearest beak
I think of wire cutters late at night
the Kea Liberation Front.
Would they flee? If they did
would they find the Hokonui,
Eyre Mountains highway home -
or the muzzle of some farmer's gun?
Too close to call.
I leave the kea to their cages
and walk back to my parents' house.
Flyboy at the Stadium
It's half-time entertainment
with a twist.
"That's my boy"
He's camped behind the dead-ball line
camcorder in one hand.
Icarus is closing fast
on the light-encrusted roof.
As he soars between the blazing towers
we're off in search of chips.
The teams return.
The game resumes.
The young man's falling feathers
dust the dockside cranes with white.
The Master at Work
The gallery is hushed.
The stroke soars, lands,
runs towards the green.
It stops a foot away:
this for the title.
Quiet, please. The champion is over his brush.
The thought directs the stroke
and the paint rolls, teeters,
The gallery explodes in colour.
The champion, modest, smiles,
tosses his brushes to the crowd
keeping one to sign his card.
The First Artist on Mars
Well, the first professional artist
There were scientists who, you know
but NASA sent us -
me and two photographers -
to build support for the program.
The best day?
That was in Marineris.
Those canyons are huge
each wall a planet
turned on its side.
I did a power of painting there.
You can see all my work
at the opening. Do come.
Hey, they wanted me to paint propaganda -
you know, 'our brave scientists at work' -
but I told them
you'll get nothing but the truth from me
I just paint what I see
and let others worry
what the public think.
Still, the agency can't be too displeased.
They're sponsoring my touring show.
That's coming up next spring.
Would I go back? Don't know.
It's a hell of a distance
and my muscles almost got flabby
in the low G. Took me ages
to recover - lots of gym and water time
when I should have been painting.
But Jupiter would be worth the trip!
Those are awesome landscapes
those moons, each one's so different.
Mars is OK - so old, so red,
so vertical. Quite a place
but limited, you know?