Paid in Full

Have you ever drowned your demons?  I have.
Have you ever saturated your suffering with substance?

I have.
Have you ever clawed at the inanimate walls built by yourself to hide yourself within yourself?

I have.
Have you ever seethed with rage and kicked down doors in houses, but never homes, that didn’t belong to you?

I have.
Have you paid the price?

For the drowned rat.

For the graffitied wall.

For the holes in unholy homes.

Because I have.
With neither pride nor shame. 

I have.



With neither pride nor shame.

I have. Paid.


Moe Mai Rā ē Koro

The journey back to the land that is not my mother is set to begin. I don’t want to take too many short breaths because I know what will follow if I do – the tiny plane I’m aboard hasn’t fired up yet so the absent engine roar won’t muffle my pain. 

Be strong my first born. My father.

Be strong my moko. My grandfather.

Only my father would offer me such endearments though. My grandfather would shake his head at my pending tangiweto and tell me that where I’m going is where the work is and any mokopuna of his knows to go, where the work is. So back to the land I’ve fostered, that is not my mother, I go.
But are you proud Koro?

Have I done well?
The tears are threatening my eyes, I’m trying to pretend my nose is only running because it’s so cold in Invercargill – and the plane fires up and starts moving.

The tears follow, so does the snot. As the plane zooms the runway seeking a clear place to embark I feel small fragments of my heart fall away – pieces that I will never get back, pieces of you and her – small parts of a huge emptiness that now stands; replaced.

Tihei. Mauri. Ora.

Moe. Mai. Rā.
And then the plane is in the air and I know that as soon as the wheels lift off the ground it will be the last time I return to this land, this land that is my mother. This is be my final visit where at least one of you has breath with which to greet me.

And I cry.


the land will soon come for her
take her into its endless embrace
soon she will become the land
return to the land
the land that has always been present inside her
it is her skin, it is her flesh, it is her blood
soon they will return to one another
a vessel sent forth from the motherland
will sail slowly – back to the beginning
to meet her end
soon she will lay rest her tired bones
her bones that are the land
the land that is her;
will be open to receive her
to join again with the one whom through
her earthly entrance was made
soon she will be reunited
with the one who left her behind
with the woman who gave her a name
she had no use for
in life she was fierce
but loneliness is a pain; unforgiving
i looked through her windows
and in her eyes i saw my father every time

there is an infinite love
by those
we both precede
and follow
in utero

the woman who gave her the name
she did not want
was my grandmother
the omega of my existence
her older brother was a mirror in her eyes
and the seed who gave me life
guidance, a reason to forgive
that man is my father



Yesterday I loathed you for being proud of my accomplishments.
For brimming with that pleasure, that not-mock-joy so full of love and respect.
Yesterday I felt empty and stared into empty spaces.
Feeling the void – and wanting to fill it.

With rocks.
With clouds.
With empty dollar bags with smiley faces on them.

Yesterday I listened to the same song over and over again.
A song penned and vocalised by a friend.
Yesterday there was too much in the middle and too much in between.

Yesterday I loathed myself for making promises,
I don’t feel strong enough to keep.

My lonely heart that beats more slowly now longed for reconciliation,
With the beast.

Yesterday I struggled.
Today, I can only hope to struggle less.



With one foot in the kingdom of the living
And one in that of the dead
Skin was sacrosanct, divine
An untouchable entity
Incarnate; infinite

Inclusive of the instances
That the darling of demise came knocking
Neither heaven nor hell could
Lay claim to her vitality
Not nirvana, nor the netherworld
Could satisfy her soul

Upon reaching the crux of transition
Where contrasting gates are apace
Emanating from each
An equivalent allure

Skin would resist the temptation
of both gatekeepers
Each a custodian
of their corresponding course
And return to the state of her misery
Immured by a mantle of self loathing
From which, there seemed no escape

Without exception, in spite of herself
Her enduring hunger for salvation
And; unperturbed by the reign of the gatekeeper
Through whom it was proffered
She would confront the divide
only to retreat, as if entranced

Akin to an obscure thread

seducing her; 
tormenting her;
destroying her;

Skin would find herself captive
Yet, unrestrained by either force

Henceforth, her descent of a sanguine ravine
Occupied by unrequited promises and fruitless faith
Skin would retract to the kingdom of flesh perpetually

In contempt of the compulsion to her own finality
It was to humanity her spirit persevered to reconcile
With one empyrean foot; entrenched in the tomb of expiry
And the infernal other, arise to the temple of bliss

Incarnate; infinite.
An untouchable entity.


I was young too once
Some of my friends will be young forever
And not because of a Peter Pan approach to life
I have friends who will be young in that sense
Forever, also

But some of my friends will be young forever
Because they were born into this world
For only a short time
And life left them, as they left the world
Before age become them

Some of my friends will be young forever
And so too now will some of yours

To the lost ones who never lose our love
Even if they lost their way in life
To those friends who will be young forever
Just as you remain young, so too, you remain loved


They say suicide is the path of the devil
Does that make disease the path of the gods?

Am I the demon that haunts you
The being that materialised
In your mind, from nothingness
who altered everything?

Am I the malevolent presence
That rapped on the portal
Of your quiddity; wailing
let me in, let me in, let me in?

Am I the succubus personified
That forth from your core
I was consummated
without your consent?

Do you walk this life accepting of your suffering
Or do you stumble about in search of another way out?

Tell me friend, if I was ailing
And you held the key to the door of my deliverance,

Would you hand it to me to unlock myself
or insert the key to grant my access for me

Tell me friend, would you relieve me or refuse me
my right to reincarnation?

But then again friend, perhaps our deities differ and I accept that.

The road is rife with that of the righteous
and that of the wicked-

Thus I engage the power to guide my journeys end.

Comrade; Pledge Allegiance

It doesn’t upset me
When you don’t respond
To my messages
Nor when you screen my calls
And choose not to answer

No; I get it
I do
I understand

Sometimes I suppose you forget
How intensely I know you
Your mind
The way you think
The way you try not to feel
The way you can’t


So when you shun me
It doesn’t wound me
My feelings do not waiver
Even if yours are unbearable to

I will always try
I will always care

Even when my care is unwanted
Even when my care is refused
But especially
When my care
Is a warmth you deem
Unbefitting you

I will always try
To lend my eyes
So you too can see your worth

I will always try
To lend my shoulder
So as to divide your burdens

And I will always try
To reach out my heart to you

Close range
From afar

Keep It Gangster

We were young
I, the oldest, by only four months
However a whole school grade ahead
But not yet 13
The years have a way of blending
To where I struggle to remember the chronology
In New Zealand – when we were adolescents there was Intermediate
In America they call it “middle school” I think

That’s where we met

She was one of those hot girls
That all the boys wanted to pash

I wasn’t

I was an avid reader
I spent my time in the library
Mostly hiding, trying to avoid my bully
Or bullies in general
I was an easy target

She was in the bi-lingual unit
That’s where the Maoris were
Those were the people I tried to avoid
In the library

The Maoris

Maoris didn’t read
They picked on people
But their favourite prey
Was Maori girls like me
Shy, quiet, smart – a different kind of their own kind

Not so easy on the eye

She and I somehow became fast friends
I don’t recall the how
We also became fast(not)friends
Only I do remember how that happened
My bully-slash-friend decided I wasn’t to speak to her

So I didn’t

I listened to that bully
A lot
I would do anything she ordered
Until one day I cracked
She ordered that I give her my dollar

Every other day I would give her every cent I had
But on this particular day I had only one dollar
I wanted that dollar, I wanted a “dollar cookie”
I’d had enough, so I said


That was the very same day I decided I wasn’t a doormat
I was going to be “gangster”
Those Maoris weren’t going to pick on me anymore

They never picked on me again and won
And I’m still gangster

Growing up is a perilous journey
Upon which at some point along the way
You learn the value of forgiveness

I am still friends with my adolescent bully
Just as I am with the first girl to ever hurt my heart

But don’t get it twisted
Forgiveness is not a means to my memory loss

To keep it gangster

C O – D E P E N D E N C E

My sister blocked me on Facebook Messenger
Wednesday, 1:13am Melbourne time
It was 3:13am in New Zealand
The last message she sent me was

Black Bitch

Then she blocked me
At 3:13am NZ time

An interesting point to note is that I sport that
Melbourne/shard/cold storage tan perpetually

The most likely occurrence
Before the fact-
Is that she was getting high
At some point, or many
Within the 24 hour expanse of time
In which she blocked me

And that is fine

My sister and I have spent many hours
That bled into days
That turned out to be weeks
Getting high together
During which
At some point, or many
We have been known to fight

This is a reflection
A recollection
Of facts built up from a past
I sought escape from
And departed from

Put bluntly
I left her
In the eye of the storm of obsession

Guilt is mere in comparison
To the feelings invoked
When I draw upon this fact
A true bane of my existence

There’s nothing worse then being high alone
Because it’s not really high at all
If you have nobody to share it with
And there is no better high
Then the high you are gifted to partake
With somebody you love

My sister is that somebody
That one-somebody who makes my highs higher

But such is life
It all balances out
Because the lows
The lows are of that kind
That have the capacity to raze you


The grand evasion happened
A long time ago
…and I have made peace with it

Even so I am brought back, violently
To a place and time
Where violence was less prevalent in our lives
Back to a time
When LSD and bourbon
Were our main drugs of choice

But not our only

A time when we listened to
House of Shem
And truly believed
In thinking about you

Needless to say the acid was strong
And the bourbon consumed then
Is still
Referred to as
Court case in a can

We can only think of ourselves

Of House of Shem

Of the height of the highs
The depth of the lows

We are selfish

I am gone
Struggling alone with the lows

While, she remains
Battling alone with the highs