sapien song

lost & melting on some road 
in the Waikato 

I’ve driven this one at least 
a hundred times before 

one-strip airport 
buckled wheelrim in the curb 

Women’s Refuge well-funded 
nestled between two bars 

welcome mural is 
Much Ado About Cattle 

used to pass this town fortnightly 
visiting an ex-girlfriend 

her mother really beat her 
with Bible verses 

back then I’d just decided 
to study human evolution 

thought I could’ve given her mother 
a real battering back 

if only I’d known how 
to get a word in 

shaved the beard from God 
early into the study 

began to see 
Australopithecus drop from trees 

knees straightening 
to the wonder of walk 

Habillus making some shape 
out of stone 

knuckles are co-opted 
for fighting 

tastiest animals are arranged 
into homemade herd 

God’s place 
is erected 

on a tired, worried 

overgrown & empty 
between cattle & cemetery 

making order 
of things 

in a place of 
orderless things 

& later the roads 
to link the moneys 

of one town 
to another 

trucks to lumber 
the lanes 

trafficking desires 
of the new mind 

to & 

so hungry for 
exotic fruits 

rarer meats 

a song 
or two 

& then more silence 
at dusk 

today, I see that truck 
passing me 

lugging bottled water 
to my city 

& I know to follow it 
til the road forks 

at the corner 
of the church’s carpark 

then turn right 
onto the highway 

& keep driving 
myself along 

singing the 
sapien song 

oh! just drive me 

& back 
into history 




JJ wears one lime-green 
and one pink-red ankle support, 
dances gamely to 90s punk 
on the walk-in. 
He kicks the legs from 
Tutt’s stance, 
punches the scowl from his face, 
beats the body from the build, 
and delivers a beautiful 
Vaseline kiss 
to his girlfriend 
as he hops the rope 
and dances backstage 
to the shower. 


Morgan has a tattoo 
of Jimi Hendrix’ smiling face 
on his bicep, and 
its jaws have widened 
over years of weight training. 
He’s forced to use Jimi’s forehead 
as a shield against 
Te Huna’s head-kicks 
until the bicep’s tissue ruptures 
and the colour of Jimi’s brain 
starts to peer through 
Morgan’s skin. 


Hikaka grins a sliver 
of blue mouthpiece, 
performs the wai-khru: 
three-second bows to 
           and club 
six for 
           the holy heritage of 
           Muay Thai 
hunting Dallas down 
with sharp hooks 
to the body, 
his mouth still a 
perfect piece 
of blue. 



Rhydian W. Thomas was born in Maesteg, Wales and now lives in Wellington. In 2010, he completed an MA in creative writing at IIML, and is currently working on a book of poetry titled Cold War Games. He is also a musician (recording as The Body Lyre; at present finishing a year-long album project called Escape Songs) and a tutor in Philosophy at Victoria University. You can find more information here.