Pieces of Eight

Across the Pampas more enormous 
than insomnia, the gaucho riding 
through nights. Dawn empty bottles, dusk 
cigarettes half stubbed out. 

Difficult to tell the difference 
between asleep and awake often as not 
to know what to make of the dazzling spaces, 
murky water, this reasonable air. 

The church bells, the clocks, the trees 
were all part of the loot. The Sundays. 
The Andes. Processions and litanies. 
Country lanes. Plazas and rivers. 

More possibilities even 
than the Mexican Revolution 
living here 
in the space between parentheses. 

What’s all that blood doing 
on the street? ¡Dios mío! What 
a careless lot. Here’s a bucket. 
Here’s a mop. 

For watermelon boy, neither moonstruck 
nor drugged, and the beggar waiting 
for angelic messages admitted 
through the static of desperation, and deaf mute 
blind state of the state, and The United States 
poking around as usual. 

Thieves steal six minutes on an unfinished 
canvas, windmills burning in the background. 
Perhaps the native vultures, soundless 
and high above, were always destined for this. 

Smelted far below, this gold has passed 
through the hands of slaves and their owners, of real-life 
pirates. It’s crossed broken seas, and been stolen by 
and from traders, gambled by drunkards, come and gone 
until I found it there, in the sand, on the opposite beach. 



After four years spent teaching English in Spain, Trevor Hayes returned to Aotearoa to complete a degree in Spanish Language and English Literature. He has just completed his MA in creative writing at the IIML. ‘Pieces of Eight’ is his homage to the Spanish and Latin American poets who have inspired and influenced him over the years.