Christina Conrad

Poems not for Stoneking

To Paola

down 2 flights of stairs
i
fall
into your room

your jewels of lapis lazuli & amber
lie
in the dust

your black knickers are thrown
over books of knowledge

by the legs of your desk
a naked heater grins

a kauri cupboard spills velvet dresses

whispering of love
i lie with you
not knowing who is mother
or daughter

in dreams
i seek your arms

little matriarch

last song

you come
you and your claustrophobia
to drop in my lap
you never thought
i could have changed
from a wooden martyr
in a bath of your blood
my feet
thorns

your moon is not in the same place as mine
the river flows fast
over smooth rock
where you lie
that red fish you catch with your hands
gapes from a bowl of rock

i never saw the snakes
that glide round you
your letter comes from a summer far away
you cannot feel the winter
that has come down on me

Blue Ape, 1996

sometimes he
climbed
14 stairs
to my room
so big
he reached the ceiling

he could look like
a dusky squirrel
a monkey
a lion
even a blue ape

when he looked in the mirror
he’d try to press his collar
into shape
crying out against his reflection

erected on Loves Altar
i
held
his
feet
secretly
kept
in
tight
socks

1970 – waiheke island

the room with the black stove
was
small – bare
broken

its window – cracked
the child played in this room
on a cold night
creeping over the floor
fingering
dried oil paints
under a naked light bulb

in the corner
above a huge mirror
was a hole in the ceiling
shewing the dead leaves
of a rats nest

around the peeling walls
were pictures
by my first born
of people in 2 faces
their hands
exploding fireworks
their
eyes
whirl pools

Sydney, 1993

when night falls
i wrap your bear
in
silk
he has accepted the harsh judgement of life
all morning i have fingered
his limbs
gently seeking places
worn by time
& the rigors of love
in reverence i stitch
head bowed
it could be your body i take
in my hands
my needle thrusts
in & out
banishing all memory

Sydney, 1992

i am jealous tonight
i am jealous of
a white stone
i am jealous
of a black cross
i am jealous
of a moon
i am jealous…
of
a
leaf

fox glove poem

it was last year
same time
same time as this
the sweet peas were black
by the side of the road
i did not know the fox gloves then

last year
same time
same time as this
i was hidden hidden by the walls
dark red

a long road
lay between us
the hills were burnt black
black the manuka trees
black black the sweet peas
by the side of the road

i did not know the fox gloves then

the throats of the fox gloves
are spotted spotted inside
the black storm has passed
leaving the river yellow & swollen
at the foot of the house

the leaves of the fox gloves
are pale fur
between the hills

i shall never know the river
yet i bathe my head in its waters
walk on its smooth stones

i shall never know the trees
that stand on the other side
i know only the fox gloves
the fox gloves

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