Wednesday, January 31, 2007


Funny how you receive bad news in your stomach. However you may try to ignore it, it's there. Cancerous. Hairy. A nauseating rock, a heave.I fucked up. Big time. Ever wanted to just shrink inside yourself, a grape gone raisin. If I think about leaving I get pangs. Don't want to step out from my mother's soft smell, safety.

Monday, January 29, 2007


I blamed myself. That's what made the blunt needle, oofed through scar tissue, the dose estimated, a blink from overdose, the toilet floor rising from between my pale thighs, rising to my forehead. The bruise a shadow hid by swinging wheaten tresses. This is my mask, my bulletproof armoury. The daughter of a policeman, the magic last name, a code to rip up tickets, to scribble out the report. I found my way in early in the hyper-coloured, thickly emotional days of new-teen breasts and swollen hips. Power, finally, surprising, the way each foot hit sidewalk, the swing of ass in little shorts. Innocent eyes that made men squirm, the uncomfortable overlap of forbidden fantasy and sober midday bright, sunshiney reality.

With granny

In the old days, as children, we'd play along the side of the road, to and fro, home to school. Squeezing through the farmers' hedges, for the blackberries shielded from the dusty road, foraging for the small, sweeter turnips, to crunch raw. Although, granny giggled, they did make us backfire... not that we cared. If a hearse would come, the little boys would take off their hats. We'd all stand silent, to attention, facing the road, and bow our heads as the hearse passed. A moment of silence, respect for the dead.

Thursday, January 25, 2007


Last swim. Rocks slippery and round beneath my feet. Underwater, my favourite spot, sliding through silky pressure, silent. Worryfree dreamscape. Up for air, the tingle of salt on my cheeks, wind in my hair. I love that moment, coming up, bursting through the surface. Sometimes I wish I could disappear inside that crisp layer between air and sea- like the split second seperating then and now. Over before it can exist. As much as I love the first salty gulp of air, as if a screaming newborn, I prefer a thousandfold the quiet depths, the underwater world way below the waves, where only the tide breathes in and out.

Last drive, a heavy load of goodbyes to distribute. Indicate and turn, roaring up the Best Friend's House Valley Road, quietly familiar, so far from the backseat of the dealer's car. Foot like lead on the accelerator. Things have been set in motion. Life moves on, has moved on... I was untouchable here. Even death was a curiousity, between ads on telly. Growing up brilliantly naive and confident. Confident I was strong enough for anything. Yeah mate, anything.

Last walk, up the hill. Walking as slowly as possible.

Monday, January 22, 2007


Swinging our legs off the wooden porch, warm glasses of yellow wine, shoulder to shoulder with my best friend. Our perfumes like small attention-starved children, scrapping in the air between us. The generic summer evenings that seem to stretch, the mower droning in the distance, smells of fresh cut grass and sunscreen, mosquitos batting at your ankles. A ciggy hanging from your lips, her lips, everyone's lips. Pink lipsticked butts floating in the ash tray.
"What are you doing Tui?" she said. "It's not cool any more." I looked into my glass, down to the bottom. I hadn't known she knew. "Come home," she said. "You have to come home."
The smell of night vegetation, flowers moist and lush rose from the dark shadows around us. Home.
Somewhere, from deep inside, a sigh fought to escape. Suddenly, I felt very tired.

Monday, January 15, 2007


Every year, for years and years, the same couple came to the nest in the front courtyard of my parent's house by the sea. A bird couple, in love. She would lay the eggs. And sit on them. He would fly for food, scrounge for juicy worms or insects, diligent, hardworking. Doting on his bride and babies, as they hatched. Guarding his small family. And sometimes they took turns, to run errands, sharing the babysitting, and their own version of supermarket shopping. We didn't know where they went in winter. But every spring, they were back. Until last year.

The dog had noticed the way my parents watched the nest. Built at eye-level, they could see the tiny beaks, cracking through smooth shell. The first cheeps. The puffed, proud chest of the father-bird. The happy song of the mother. The dog slunk in the shadows, eyes on my parents, eyes on the birds. If horror music could have played, it would have. Pacing turned pounce, one quiet afternoon, my parents out. Through the lines of sun and shadow, the mother bird swooped nestward, flying trustingly low, babies on her little mind. I hope she didn't see it coming, the smelly dog-breath, a guillotine with salivary jaws. Just fed, stomach round and full, it was attention he was hungry for. Evil with jealousy. The dog wanted the human oohs and aahs and soft, low voices that wove around the bird family for himself. That evening, when my mother arrived home, she wasn't first to find the carnage. The male bird was already there, hopping dazed around his lover. Her small, feathery body headless. After that, he abandoned the nest. Who could fucking blame him. The eggs grew cold and dead. He never came back, the little brokenhearted bird-man.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

relation-ship sailing

Scrounging through small faded op-shops (thrift stores to the Northern hemisphere), torn between new terms and old terms, not belonging anywhere. I never did. Treasures and overpriced stains, all with stories, held up under the watchful eyes of old ladies. Waiting in the emergency room, while my ex ex boyfriend tried valiantly to be medicated. I'll be sick for a day, and give him my weekend take-outs. It's hard down here. Him, violently grumpy. I woke up in the quiet, last night, maybe the kitten with bulging eyes hopped across the bed. The light was still on, his sleeping face beside me, angry, even in repose. I reached for my book, an easy galloping novel, like a doorway to sunshine, passed on with a cleared throat at the airport gate. I was asleep in the way I've perfected, long hair now, it falls in front, covering my slack face, my neck bent over my lap, as if transfixed on one sentence in the newspaper. The big, wide lady, I'd noticed her before, no make-up, I'd thought she looked severe, was waving a brightly jacketed book in my face when I started awake, a wrinkled, twinkling smile, I changed my mind, liking her instantly. "I thought you might like it" she said, probably repeating herself. "It's okay, quite good actually, and I'm finished with it." She lumbered off. I whipped through the first few chapters, trying to catch her eye, to smile thank-you. It was surprisingly good. Funny. She wasn't used to eye contact apparantly, tucking herself away, like a kid used to being picked on. And then I forgot.
Awake with the silent house, I chomped on minties, a favourite nostalgic NZ sweet. I write sweet compromisingly, torn between lolly and candy. I really am homeless now. It could have been four years ago, in bed like that. Husband and wife-ish. Almost comforting. I could have this back, I thought. If I wanted it. That only made me sad, lonely for love. I want to want something again, anything. I buy things to fill up the hole. Shoes and bags. Pretty lingerie, beauty products. But all I want is drugs, and band-aids don't work on a hole that big.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007


Old light. Quiet cold stone. The tip of the Southern hemisphere. Plants with eyes, and hands. Breathing, moving as you pass. Dark leafy gullys. Magic written in the wind.

Organic poppys cut from my parent's garden, bled and scraped and chemicaled and cooked. From opium, to homemade heroin. Digging past scars, like soldiers standing guard, to the blanket of happiness and relief. Swimming underwater, liquid softness around me, inside me, in my heart. Looking through my lashes. It's a disentangling, like sleeping with your ex. I tell myself.

I feel too empty to regret anything. Anything to do with me. I am so fucking bad tempered. Don't cross my path, I'll twist the steeringwheel. Too angry to be neat. Hurting everything. Everyone I love, I only have them for a a few weeks, some a few days. Don't try to get close to me. Don't care about me. Innocent in appearance only, fruit with poisonous flesh.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Happy little family

It's started. The tone, the words- fast dartlike, have started. Deeper, harder to ignore. On guard! I'm small again.

The longer I stay away, the more I forget. The sharp edges blur out, splinters sanded with time. I remember myself though. Angry to own my childhood. My cruel, fast tongue, my prickliness. Stubborn hate for everything he did, or said.
Sweet, divine-smelling mother, gentle, soft, warm. I knew, from old-enough to know, that she was with him unhappily, there for me... for my sake only. A terrible, accidental pregnancy, from one brief encounter- damn snowstorms!
My birth ended the happy life of my mothers.
A martyr by desire, I've never seen anyone take that role as willingly, as addicted as me, she is to that feeling. I see it now, finally.
Dad screaming. Locked outside the house. His angry, throbbing face. At first. Then crying, wheedling, bribing.
"I'll buy you anything you want, if you tell her not to leave me."
Packing fast, trying to outdrive him.
Sharing a small bed in a spare bedroom of someone I'd never met. Someone, anyone, he didn't know. Hiding. The strange smells of their house. Doilies. Oiled wood. Whispered adult conversations. Children trying to be nice to me, following parental commands.
And then, always, the phone call. I'd beg her not to.
Him raging down the line.
Him buttery, lovely, flowers sprayed with perfume.
I knew 'Jekyll and Hyde' as a description of my father, long before I knew it as a novel.
Days and more days not going to school. I couldn't go, he'd be there. Ready to follow us. Or steal me.
Like an ice-cream in the hot sun, it didn't take mum long. Maybe even just one meeting in person. Me, the bargaining chip, the suitcase fat with 20s, left alone at the aquaintance's house.
The dinner always tasted strange that night. Waiting. Feeling it about to happen. Like the mugginess, before the rain. I'd try to fork things into my little mouth, vegetables cut differently, un-motherlike. She would never serve both cauilflower and broccoli, together in one meal! How gauche. I chewed and chewed, delaying each desperate swallow.
And then, my eyes zigzagging down page after page of Judy Blume, thinking "don't do it!" blind to the words in front of me, the strange dinner clogged in my bowels with dread. The happy engine of her car would pull my head up from the pillow. Her footsteps telling me everything I needed to know. I gathered our things, wearily, still pyjamaed. We were going home. For my sake. She would stay with this horrible man because it was best for me. A child needs both parents etc. fucking etc.

And then, when I was almost old enough to free her, 8, still persistantly encouraging her freedom, guiltily witnessing her sacrifice, day in day out, I hated him more than she did. On behalf of her. I couldn't smile at his jokes, enjoy a meal made with his hands, he was the jailor, the high wall blocking out the sky.
That year, she had another baby. And so it all began again. "He needs a father. A boy needs his father."

The ultimate sacrifice, your life. But I didn't want her life! My beautiful little mother, she could have had any man, done anything, been happy. Was she scared? A masochist, like her daughter. And so it goes.

Maybe next year

Shame about the canned laughter.

Sunday, January 07, 2007


"These are the sexiest scars I've ever seen," he said, tightening the cheap white velcro strap above my elbow. I could feel his eyes on my face. I didn't want to catch them with my own.
"I could look at you for hours," he persists. A half laugh gets stuck in my throat. He's big. Older. Strong. Man-smelling. He almost has the vein -my breath is held, smile weakening- he fucking slips out.
"Fuck" his hands shake. One hand holds it in, the other's soft fingertip pads stroke my arm for potentional sites, his touch breathes heavy on my neck, the touch of lovemaking. I feel like a virgin the night of the prom. Keeps asking if it hurts. It doesn't. But watching the oddly thin and long needle sliding in, in, flush to the hilt, poking past thick scars, my jaw rigid, I feel the pamphletted walls tightening around me, and suddenly I want it out. Impossibly, I don't even care about the hit, the creeping fingers of sunshine, a needle-length away, poised to comb beauty through my blood.

We'd met less than five minutes before.
Him, working alone at the needle exchange, as if baring his neck to a vampire, invited me in. In behind the counter and a shut door. Spooning manuka honey into carefully steeped organic herb tea. Low husky voice. Me, hungover as hell. Sick from the wine and memories of the night before. Him, wanting to fuck me there, his hands depressing a needle in my arm, his cock as close as he could get it. It was like queuing in McDonalds, way too fluorescent lit. Ambiguity-less. Sickeningly scrawled in every movement, his longings made my skin crawl. He wanted to love me. Or the girl who serves him at the bar, or the one that lives next door, or maybe even the one who pushed past me walking in, as I swung out. Lying to yourself, what a game. I wish I'd never learnt that knack. This last year has polished it, that's for sure. I can see it in others now I own it, know it, am a regular fucking expert at it. Anyone want lessons?
The air sticky with lust, all his, me numb as usual, all the passions of a minister's wife. Ne'er a damp drip nor drop in my pristine panties.

Things used to be different.

A memory and back. A blip through time to the sheet-less mattress of a boy's bedroom, soft skin on skin, flesh dressed in sunlight, white lines of cocaine across the curve of my breasts, the dark haired dealer, rolling a 50 dollar bill between two fingers, mid-thrust, still deep, deep in. Cheeky grin and eyes like wells. Hard, no, impossible, to see the bottom. A coke addict, I guess. I never saw it at the time. Back then, when I dabbled, but no drug held my hand, and my friends were all alive. Innocence.

And back. Here. To the needle exchange volunteer closer than he should be, kneeling in front of me, the tools lined up. Our toys. I played along halfheartedly- "yes doctor, no doctor..." I shouldn't have. Instinctive patterns from babyhood. Getting my own way, the discount, the smile, the games. Like an accent, or a colloquial dialect, reserved just for men. An accent for the eyes.
I didn't know how else to act. I had never learnt the lines for another character. Or maybe it was just laziness, habit.
Yes, maybe he was attractive, but not to me- he was nothing to me. I have enough nothing inside, I don't want any more.

I'll never call the number on the yellow square of paper he slipped into my hand. I'm not callous, I have no interest, and I've damaged him enough already, in less than twenty minutes.

Thursday, January 04, 2007


"GGetting to knnow youuu..." That's what he used to sing to me, when we were falling in love. Now? Well, he doesn't sing anything does he.

The sun warm on my face, rubbing ointment into the white lines that trace my veins. Hard, rubbery scars. The last time I had a shot, it took two hours

Let me think

That was 13 days ago. Ha.

The only pharmacy (chemist, in NZ-talk) to accept methadone patients, is in the Bad Part of Town, it's a bit-far-to-walk, bit-short-to-cab distance, just out from the city centre. I've done my best, layering excuses, to get there between the sometimes awkward opening hours (10am-12pm on public holidays... yes they have to work for a whole two hours). But the day came, cutting it fine, out of excuses, I had to ask mum to drive me past. Wonderful small towns, a nice parking spot cheered me on, right smack outside the all-glass pharmacy facade. Standing at the counter, hand outstretched for my dose, fidgeting with my purse, my mother bounds in, not content with her front row seats, needing to buy Something. I tipped my head back, and the shot of clear liquid down my throat. Bitter. Trying not to see her. The shop floor is a tiny square of nothing. An ear-piercing display: one of those "choose something sparkly", they'll load it in the gun and POP!, you're done. Just $10 or something ending in 99c. Some soaps, prettied up in pastel bags. Overpriced ornaments side by side with pots and tubes and medically bits. The usual pharmacy fare. Quiet. He hands me my dose for the next day, when they won't even be open for two hours, so they have no choice but to trust me.. "See you Tuesday!" He bellowed warmly, the accent uh unpretentious. My mother twitched. Perhaps wishing she had stayed in the car, she slunk out, as fast as is slinkably possible.

Moments later, awkward and hot-cheeked, I swung myself in through the car door, talking rapidly. About anything.
"So what was that, that you got..." She had to fucking ask.
Every time a sentence, the first sentence, would form in my head, I couldn't turn it into sound, it stuck in my throat, ashamed. I've seen that moment, badly acted, but never lived it. Never knew it could be lived. Desperately, I wanted to be honest. Because that's what I would want, from her, or from my own scrawny kid, with hair in her eyes. But sitting in a drift of my mother's perfume, her movements and intonations screamed like alarms. I couldn't pretend we're anything the same. Her sex and drug talks had always been sent silently, via clipped newspaper articles, uncomfortably stuffed in letterless envelopes. "Don't tell me, I don't want to know," she'd say mantra-like, regarding any escapade with my name on it.
To spill it all, all the pain, the fucked-upness, the heroin, the sadness, the hate, it rose like a huge unbelievable lump of hollywood horror in my throat.
She spoke first. "You don't have to say. That was rude of me. Only tell me if you want to."
And so, I changed the subject. And elegantly avoided the topic until today, with another drive required, to the same pharmacy, in the same Bad Part of Town. I could see her eyes burning. Wanting to know. The space between us cluttered with questions. I fixed my eyes on a small figure, poised on the side of the road. Showing off for traffic.

She seemed to be smiling at me, like those babies that wave from their stroller, silly and tiny, you can't help but get a hit of love. But I was a blur of car on road, it could be she hadn't even seen me. Innocent, luminous. Maybe she was smiling at life. (Like that moment, elbows on knees, leaning forward, drug bliss whooshing through my veins, exhaling heavily, dewy-sweet breath, indulgent) I know that smile. Curly dark hair, long around her small shoulders. A tiny child in a pink skirt, and mummy's heels, pushing an empty toy-stroller, with a funny-faced, huge-eyed fuzzy black kitten crouched on her shoulder, long tail a stripe down her back.
That is the bad part of town here. Scary eh.

The sun is bleeding pink across the sky, and into the sea now. The waves sing, methodically. I don"t want to go.

I wonder what my mother thinks I'm doing at that strange out-of-the-way Bad Part of Town pharmacy, once a day. One thing I know, even as she traces my scars up and down my forearm with her soft fingertip, asking why the cat had scratched me, never ever would she guess the truth.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Modern fairytales

Hansel and Gretel... and MJ. How cute.

By Banksy, who else?