Mark Pirie
New Zealand
Mark is the managing editor of HeadworX He was born in Wellington, New Zealand in 1974.

In 1995 he initiated the young writers' magazine JAAM (Just Another Art Movement) and has co-edited the magazine ever since. His other publications include the exciting anthology of young writing, The NeXt Wave (University of Otago Press, 1998) and four books of poems The Blues (ESAW) and Shoot, No Joke, and Reading the Will (Sudden Valley Press).
Mark @ Trout 10
Piki Ake

for Robert Sullivan

to the talk
in the cafe
i realize i
haven't really been

i'm actually
listening to
their plumage
the sky

someone else
with me/
she is holding
a camera
& squeezing me
into its frame/

so i try to act
like Tawhaki --
climbing further
into the sky --
imagining her cry,
Pike Ake !

until the cafe
& the birds
& the camera
can be seen
vanishing down
her vine-shaped

Making a Point

What if the war was never won
and instead they called a draw?
But what if the war couldn't be drawn
and somehow a decision
had to be reached?

Would they decide it on
body count differentials,
say bodies for and bodies against
or would they decide
it on aggregate, say most bodies
lost away from home?

Or what if the war was won
on a points system say:
2 points for massacre
1 point for a cease fire
and no points for a surrender

and then in the final stages it became
a knock-out playoff competition

and what if the final went into extra-time
after which the UN couldn't
intervene and all the conscientious objectors
on either side could be lined up
for a penalty shoot out?

and what if the shoot-out
became a tie and it
went into sudden death
until no-one was left standing

except for one man who
survived the final bullet
thanks to a Bible stuck in his
left breast pocket?

'The Big C'

she is crying in
the next room/
she is doing her best
to ' control herself'/
she could be

and i write
to you
to tell you
how i feel
about her
and what's

but i can only
think of
of those
times when
she'd smile
and keep
the dark from
my eyes

there's a
photo of her
holding me
when i'm
three months old

but now i've
and she no longer
holds me

and instead
we both
hold on
to a way

i hug her.
she wants me to.

the family's there
as well/

we all hear
the 'news' together/

and it's been
a 'long time coming'
but i still
can't feel
i just shrink,
wincing at

the sky

but somewhere
it's said

that 'we start from
our conclusions':

so, my mother has cancer
and i'm now a man,

and if i count to three
and open my eyes

these scenes
will not be gone.

For Dambudzo Marechera

( A post liberation Mugabe poem)

You, with your black, child like eyes
your Doppelganger Blue-Black style
how you haunted me in my final year

of study. It was the beauty of
your pen, your vision that fitted
so neatly with mine.

'Blood brothers' perhaps? Even tho' we never met
I agreed with most of what you said,
your desire to portray the violence

of the world, the bullets that tore your soul.
I too tasted the blood of your liberation, saw with your eyes of anarchy.
We were of different skin, different countries

yet still I carried your words with me
that year. Through the corridors of scholars.
Recited them. Used them to defy

my friends. Where are you now?
Let me place a flower on your grave.
Mugabe is your leader still

and blood rules your country." O for Black Rain to cleanse
the Blues" Your death, your work changed nothing.
But as Auden would've said, made everything happen.

And your finest line, friend, your finest line?: "I am against
everything. Against war and those against/ War. Against whatever
diminishes/ th'individual's blind impulse."

For Rangi Faith

Let the Kauri
Give me strength

Find me a Huia feather
Build me a waka

Wave a Tokotoko
Let the Poetry fly

E Rangi, your book lives
Your book is good kai moana

your lines swim
like ika

I dip my hat to you -
Kaitito of the South