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Eight poems.

— from special effects.



depending on the rain / the river
determines where i am / tributaries
criss-cross land upheavals born out
of passions expended by people

cross-legged i wait / tourists
on Maungawhau have flattened
the summit / desecrated cavities
where stones talk

home is elusive / my fascination
is with the woman in the green chair

in glass

the window closes / chokes the moon
traps the mind’s topography in glass / a
spider is startled / my morning is one
of subterfuge as i slip in and out
of who you want me to be / i preserve
parts of myself for my one-act show
i number them / exhibit only so much

occasionally you take gifts of mine

to the edge of the map


the gritty mnemonics of a handprint
reveal a life / what life?

because I’m compelled to
i prise open the knotty appendages of undergrowth
that enclose me nightly

the lamppost

the lamppost shifts its gaze / stares blindly
its back has been broken then straightened
the air seems artificially sweetened / veins in clouds
dilate then weaken / i feel the rain the wind’s nerves
the sky chewing on a power line


often i go to the town’s terraced frontier
where streets meet trees / locals stare up
through canopies of ancestry
listening to unprogrammed voices of birdlife /
a michelangelo sketches the muscles of children

sand dunes crumble into rivers where stones
are read to by holidaymakers who come to swim
and cavort amongst the inanga / green tendons

of ripped-up marram grass tell of someone
who last night ran at the moon

buckled arches

a harsh white sun pulls fiercely /
magnolias flower / skeletal bronze ferns
stretch and curl /

my home is like a temple
picking up its ruins
a drive-thru theatre of buckled arches

you take photos of a forest
reinventing intricate designs /

together we hand-rub our altar-enclosed bed
we take ownership of a prized beginning

black bread

sunlight squints at distortions
trapped in tinted glass /
a ceremony breaks black bread
the wind creaks the floorboards /

in my room in the mirror
i play with caricatures /
i once had long hair had a shadow
straighter than a sundial


my trip takes me through
one door and out the other
the hill in the backyard is
different from the one
growing in the front / nightly
under a dome of glass
i think vast spaces / i hear
a clock / a memory stretching
loose limbs / i think
vast spaces the hubbub of a street
a collision of strangers

Iain Britton was born and educated in Palmerston North, New Zealand. He spent many years living and teaching in London and Bournemouth and now teaches Maori Studies at an independent boys school in Auckland. Since 2008 he has published four collections of poems: Hauled Head First into a Leviathan, Cinnamon Press (nominated for Best First Collection category in the Forward Poetry Prizes [2008]); Liquefaction, Interactive Press; Cravings, Oystercatcher Press and Punctured Experimental, Kilmog Press.

His poetry has been published in the UK and internationally in magazines such as Agenda, Ambit, Stand, The Warwick Review, Wolf Magazine, Wasafiri, The Argotist, Harvard Review, Horizon Review, BlazeVOX, Drunken Boat, Pool Poetry Journal, Evergreen Review and POEM Magazine. This is his first appearance in The Fortnightly Review.


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