new zealand electronic poetry centre


Janet Charman

online works

shall i have a look?

there’s that tinkle in the vacuum again
could be diamonds
could be grit

standing on the top step
to shake the bag out
above the vegetable garden

this is a provincial outpost of the western empire
where i do my own cleaning
on a still winter morning

smoke rising from the cooking fire
smoke rising in a column
from the marchers?

one day there are barbed wire rolls
around the playing field
and helicopters puttering
in and out

VIPs getting the treatment

the rugger boys growl in the twilight
under the training lights
and the basketball girls yell
on Saturday morning
under the loudspeakers

‘Would the person who left a baby
crying in their car
go and attend to it immediately’

‘Referee on court three.
Referee on court three.’

i have Kowhai Gold stuck in my fringe
after a morning’s painting

i’ve seen the european plays on TV
and try to imagine how it will be
when everything changes

as it must

some have given away the english tongue
and speak the local language
it’s a lot more helpful at the market
since the envoys never come

my grandmother cooked at stations
when her family got to be too tight a fit

sailed in    a failed intellectual
baking treacle tart for us
when our mother was in hospital

and dancing with maori boys
especially when they told her not to

we say she was a suffragist
before she came here
and i have a photo of her dressed as peace
for a costume party

on the plates tonight
are the last peas
i haven’t seen the cat for three days
which simplifies matters

i have thickened the sauce

when we played the girls from Waitara
(this was standard four
they wanted to win
they were big
and strong
and their goalshoot wouldn’t chat
during lulls in the action
she was too intent on her team

they thrashed us

i hadn’t realised the game was serious
even their Hipray Hipray Hipray
was intimidating

‘three cheers for the other side’

i don’t think they meant it


© Janet Charman

Last updated 11 May 2001