Mark Young


Seven Days in May

Would be good

to fly out to
New Zealand to-
morrow morning
with a couple of
new poems in
my bag, but
no room left
after packing
     seven pairs of underpants
     seven pairs of socks
     nine shirts
     three pairs of trousers
     two pairs of shoes
     some books
     a couple of packs of cigarettes
     & a toilet bag
so I guess I'll
just have to pick some up
in the duty-free store
on my way
through the airport.


Auckland, Monday midnight

sea gun-
metal. Slight tide.

action. I
am a camera.

I lay
siege to this

& almost
won. Now I

in anonymously.


Downtown Auckland - Birkenhead, Tuesday evening

Freud would be
having a field-
day if, as a
150th birthday treat,
he was riding
my shoulder &
reading my thoughts
as I ride this ferry
into the dark
tunnels of
the harbour.


Birkenhead, Wednesday morning

Confused images. The
rain comes in over
the sea wearing
a bandit's cape. I feel
without housekeys
in my lefthand pocket.


Auckland Harbour, Thursday morning

with some
reluctance the

sun returns
muttering of

& re-


& how
it owns

the copyright
on rainbows


use the Ferry, Luke

love with
the forceful sea

again I
have, said Yoda.


Birkenhead, Saturday night

A low-
key departure. Call it
the Icarus manoeuvre —
an unnoticed splash
as WCW noted
about the Brueghel
painting. But
that’s the way I
wanted it to be. Slip
in, do the readings,
slip out again. Nothing
to show for it
but a few stray
posters. No questions
asked for unwanted
answers. No-one
to add to the
Book of the Dead.


sea (s)hell – an afternote

I have lived with the sea all my life. A street away, a tram trip, an hour's drive. Something that I've always thought of as an integral part of any life I might live. It's been the wild sea of the West Coast of the South Island, the oil-soaked sands of Taranaki, the harbours of Wellington & Auckland & Sydney. The tourist beaches of Queensland.

But I have never lived on its edge – or, more particularly, on a cliff that dropped sheerly down into it – before. & its closeness frightened me. Its hypnotic ability. Perched above Waitemata, the sparkling waters when the sun or the current full moon finds it & the weather is fine. But bring the rain, the clouds; & it acquires a depth – I unintentionally wrote death there first – a presence that is like living with a fatal disease that is trying to coax you into suicide.

Today I flew above it for over 2000 kilometres. Unable to be seen, the siren song lost beneath cloud, no need to put wax in the ears at 40,000 feet. & now, as I write this, it's about forty kilometres away, unseen, unheard, unhypnotic.

There are two Amiri Baraka poems that exemplify the extremities. The beginning of the first, The Turncoat, is how the sea usually is for me.

The steel fibrous slant & ribboned glint
of water. The Sea. Even my secret speech is moist
with it.

But over the past week it has been the end of the poem he dedicated to Gary Snyder, Way Out West, that has been calling to me.

Walking into the sea, shells
caught in the hair. Coarse
waves tearing the tongue.

Closing the eyes. As
simple an act. You float