From Paneta Street by Michael O'Leary

Hone Tuwhare: a personal memoir

E hoa, you have gone to the place beyond
that tug-of-war which was your life: that
struggle between North and South which
even continued after you were laid to rest.

But it was always like that with you: they
wanted you there while you were elsewhere.
Both of us, we were different kinds of poets,
Railway Workers first, comrades, drinkers

This koha o nga kupu ki aroha is from
the centre: where the break in the rail
lies. And in the old days when we locked

Our horns together in a hongi like bulls, we
who hear the magic whispers of sensual
kai-words, knowing it is ata-kahurangi in flight

Paekakariki, Waitangi Day, 2008

Nigel Cox's Body Becomes
Its Own Holocaust Museum

(May perpetual light shine upon him)

Making plans for Nigel was easy
All he had to do was live long enough
For the deadly forces of dis-Unity
To initiate their wanton stuff

The mortal notes of 'e papa'
Gave rise to what would set him free
His last work, dirty yet proper
Relieved him of earthly responsibility

By then his battle had shifted
From inner to outer manifestation
Personified by a cancer malign

In and out of consciousness he drifted
His millions of life-cells in the Concentration
Camp of life's ultimate design

Poems © Michael O'Leary, 2008