Mayhem Literary Journal is proudly sponsored by Te Whare Wananga o Waikato, The University of Waikato
issue 4

october 2016

issue 4 - october 2016

Whatuwhiwhi Gates - Jack Kennedy

The first. 
Deterrent with heavy chain,
hardy lock,
and a hand painted,
weather beaten sign
          Private Property: 
          Trespassers will be -

A faded warning from my grandpop 
that never did its job.
Probably for the best too.
The marae across the road 
fed their scraps to the old kunekune
Horace loved that.

The second. 
Always warm from the blaring January sun. 
Galvanised steel
should be solid,
should be strong.
Instead it barely hangs on its hinges
decades of kids ignoring parent’s orders
          Don’t swing on that bloody gate!
Tempers stretched
five hours in a car
four sets of small elbows crammed in the back seat.

The third. 
Moss covered
always open.
We probably couldn’t close it 
even if we wanted to.
It’s a part of that bush now boy
he told me.
With cicada shells and spider-webs.
Frayed blue twine
tied it to the lone post 
of an unfinished fence.

Kimberley Road - Jack Kennedy

I remember 
the front yard of Kimberley Road
hedged by blackbird-filled feijoa trees
tyre swinging from the old oak
dents in the soft earth by the vege-patch, 
dents that could only be filled by your gentle, gardening knees.
You shouted at me, 
once,
when you caught me throwing guavas
at the neighbours over the fence.
And then we made jam.

I remember 
the first time I heard you swear,
we were playing poker
drinking whiskey to the wee hours of the morning
and listening to Van Morrison
in a shed with more leaks than windows.
You told me stories
of when you were my age
Young dumb and full of come;
Gran was the hottest piece of ass in town.
Your words not mine.

I remember 
the polished wooden pillars,
walking proud by your side
Heavy casket, 
ivory in my quivering grip
wishing 
for your hand.
Choke back tears,
save face.
You wouldn’t want to see me like this.
Be brave.

I remember 
the cold porcelain bowl 
cut into my cheek
burnt salt sting,
throat in a vice grip.
Asparagus rolls aren’t so nice 
          the second time around
this isn’t the time for jokes.

I remember it all,
every time
that one song plays.

Contributor's Note

Jack Kennedy is currently in his final year of a Bachelor of Arts at the University of Waikato. When he’s not playing golf (terribly) or serving beers, he writes the occasional poem or story.

 

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