Getting Down


Nothing is more plain than this carport. 
Not the rough grass not the clothesline where
your knickers, tea towels and two sheets droop,
not the cat asleep on concrete. When 
she stands her thin gut hangs from her spine.
Sun warms her. There’s your green wooden chair
with one flattened cushion. The upturned 
apple box for your smokes, your novel, 
a green plastic lighter, your bottle 
of orangeade, your smokes. Here’s where you 
watch the sky, the wooded hill. Behind
it a plane to Oz leaves its trail. There’s 
the street where walkers stride. Kids on skateboards. 
Sometimes you wonder what the point is. 
Why the poor have no luxuries, but 
mean-mouthed Don Brash, and don’t get 
me started on that Winston Peters. 
Also Helen Clark, now she gets down 
to the workers.


The Kiss


This morning my dad said 
Who’s moved my bloody cell phone?
Christ why can’t people leave my things alone. 
There was just the two of us. 
I said I never even touched your cell phone 
and my dad said Where the hell 
is the bloody thing? O forget it. 
Get yourself dressed. I’ve got to get to work. 
Aren’t you dressed yet? Then he didn’t talk 
till he dropped me off at Mum’s and then he said 




I was searching for a poem. I really wanted one
and it was getting not exactly dark but a green pale
luminous sky just before night and I’d looked in all 
the usual places e.g. weather, the season, even love 
and so on, but all that appeared was this pig 
a kunikuni called Millie. She was asleep 
in her stable on a bed of straw and covered 
with a Mexican blanket. She shared the shed 
with well-stacked logs from a peach tree. 
The sound she made was the rhythm of snore in and, 
then air let go. I liked that but it was not a poem, 
nor when she got her bulk up over 
her small feet, those splayed cloven high-heeled hooves. 
Her long hairs were white and black and spare and coarse.
How small her eyes were, how rough her skin. 
Her eyes were hidden in the folds of her face, her pale lashes. 
And there was no poem in her food in a stainless steel bowl,
just bits of cabbage and carrot and white bread and tomato,
nor in her snuffling selection, her approval in noises.
So there was no poem to be found in the usual places,
nor in the strange ones. It was the day of the pig
and a week before the year of the sheep.



Rachel Bush lives in Nelson. Her two books of poetry, The Hungry Woman and The Unfortunate Singer, are published by Victoria University Press. As part of the New Zealand Poetry Society’s ‘Poets in Workplaces’ scheme, she has been Poet in Residence at Wellington Hospital from September to December 2004.