Peter Bland


There’s a poem down on the Dominion Rd that’s
trying to get itself together. The poem lives in a
busy stretch of shops between the funeral parlour,
with its boxed hedges shaped like coffins, and
Lumino, the dentist, where everyone grins. The
sidewalk is crowded with charity shops, Chinese
restaurants, coffee bars, vacant beauty parlours,
and a huge lime green bottle store, big as a
cathedral, that serves all denominations. There’s
also a small corner park with a drinking fountain,
a bench (where the poem can rest) and a couple
of giant puriri trees that offer the double blessing
of bird song and shade. Day after day the poem
can be found wandering this modest territory
under a jungle of exotic shop-signs offering pies,
pizzas, curries, secondhand clothes, dry-cleaning,
health foods, and instant loans. The poem is usually
seen talking to itself, often arguing about its
very existence. When it sits down to rest, people
sometimes put coins in its lap. The poem isn’t a
sonnet or a villanelle or anything overtly formal.
It’s more of a breath dance, a musical stuttering,
or a bit of off-the-cuff vernacular. The poem
knows it belongs among the sounds and smells
of the street. It smiles at the housewives, shoppers,
joggers, beggars, suburban entrepreneurs. In the
delayed excitement of completing itself it happily
acknowledges (and sometimes includes) their
casual greetings.

Author’s Note


Previous section.

Next section.