2011 runner up

Turning a blind eye – Vinay Patel

By | 2011 runner up | 2 Comments

Turning a blind eye
One-fifty to the gram. The stuff was a rip-off.
But not to him. For a dealer, the money is money.
It does its job.
He shouted an order to keep the coke safe to the figure on the couch.
He called this out, and departed. It was safe with Daniel.
He was reading Shakespeare, eating an apple.
He was a dependable guy. A good chap, just like his father.
The door slammed shut.
Danny sprung to his feet. Dad wasn’t home.
Time for some mayhem. Pissing in Dad’s coffee was a laugh
But something different this time.
Where was the fun if no one noticed?
Yeah. Something bigger.
Excitement rushed through him.
The dealer strolled back in at nine.
Ten more customers today. Maybe even more tomorrow.
But he never even noticed the missing coke.
Nor the broken window.
Nor the copy of Macbeth on the couch.
Nor the half-eaten apple rotting to its core.

by Vinay Patel
Wellington College

What Matters is the Hiss of Powder – Lucy Brownlee

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What Matters is the Hiss of Powder
The first weekend of May
Clear slate sky
Mulch of leaves deaden footfalls
Khaki shadows make mud
Tempt the game with a trail of barley
Slither into tattered shoots:
Maimai made of autumn produce.
The first soft splash – an explosion
Wrought steel and wood used to scatter
Feathers fly like split down duvets
The stain of red on brown
Plumes of black smoke fill the slate
Muting keening laments
The pond splattered pink.
Charcoal embers crackle
Vinegar draws the blood out
Poison lead inside the breast
Pluck bruised petals
Tear the sinews aside
Oozing sludge left behind
The game of feather secretes life
The lacrimal glands secrete fluid
The taste seems stolen,
The hands stained.
What matters is the hiss of powder
Sluicing through the air like the twang of acid rain.
What matters is the salt will carve your cheeks
Like your guns carve their wings.

by Lucy Brownlee
St Andrews College

The Window – Madison Hamill

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The Window
The dog whose every breath will lift
And fall like a beating of wings,
Lolling like a fat man in an armchair
All day will listen to the heat pump humming
And stare wide-eyed out the frosted glass
To the world beyond the window
And then little winged beetle, staring at the wind he cannot see
And throwing tiny bone-limbs against the window
As if he could make it disappear
Like platform nine and three quarters
Elsewhere, mothers from their kitchen stools and children in
bright classrooms
Stare low-lidded at the bird in the shadow dancing
And the muted rain that slides down the arms of the wind chime.
Upwards the window gazers stare
To the clear
And white
And blue
Half-planning an escape
To the world beyond the window.

by Madison Hamill
Queens High School

Only Falling – Hayley Russell

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Only Falling
There is something beautiful that i
have to write, but
i do not know what it is. i know
there are skies melting into oceans to
create a song, but
i do not know where the sky is.
i only know that i will fly there
one day. But for now i
am a cat,
butterflies and birds,
digging my nails into trees as if
they deserve to be punished.
As if when i
reach the top branch i will be flying.
But i am not, i am only
am a cat and
cats do not have hands to grip a pencil,
cats cannot tell you that i love you, cats
are kicked and yelled at because master is
and cats cannot carve a hole in
my skull to let the words out.
i curl up on the bed, dream
of catching butterflies, only so i
can sew their wings to my back.

by Hayley Russell
Rangi Ruru Girls’ School

Being Pakeha – Lachlan Dixon

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Being Pakeha
Wha Nuke, Rereke, Tautoku.
It’s supposed to be my heritage.
I wish I could understand the words printed on the walls of Taraika,
But I can only stare.
Tutuki, Tapu, Whakaaro.
They hold a sacred meaning.
The words are alive, I can feel it,
Yet they stand meaningless in my mind.
I very nearly went to the Kapa Haka meeting.
They would all have been experienced – full-blooded Maori
Trained in the art from birth.
I would have been embarrassed.
I almost circled Maori on my subject choice sheet.
The other students would have laughed at me.
The teacher would have laughed at me.
My own parents probably would have laughed at me.
A Pakeha could never learn Maori.

by Lachlan Dixon
Wellington High School

Grace – Alexandra Morris

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I think in ten-point turns,
walk past myself,
blow steam on the windows
without drawing pictures.
You say I shouldn’t worry
because anyone who can spell
is destined for great things.
I think in lines and boxes.
You think in clouds and curlicues.
epiphanies and animation.
You say
“I was born like this,
And cross your eyes.
One fat curl unwinds itself
onto your cheek.
Puddles are happy,
you say.
Happy friend puddles.
Because they always land
in groups
you say
then grab my arm
and pull us into one

by Alexandra Morris
Karamu High School

Note for My Singing Teacher – Amy Barnard

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Note for My Singing Teacher
for Frances
But your funeral filled two church halls.
Tom playing for you, still wearing his coat.
the school jazz ensemble playing you out
like you planned.
i don’t lament over things.
i’m not worried about the Swedish haircut
or even the incident with the door.
Sorry never does any good, sorry,
but I forgot to dance in the aisles
better get hit in your soul
when they clap the clap
syncopation with a sax.
I forgot to dance in the aisles
so by the church on Church Road
I listened to the clapping
Zita wore chilli lipstick and danced
without thought, without weight.
You could say she danced for all of us.

by Amy Barnard
Taradale High School

Brother – Chelsea Lund

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A baby’s cries
beating the crack of dawn
The yeast of life made an excess
of dough to birth every time
you grin
In dusty days we all hold
the small wonders:
burning flicks upon thrumming ant
traffic steeping in your brain
All the way up to the stars and all
the way down again
Be good
Keep warm
The raveling of a defeated
seamstress as you leave red-cheeked
in your Velcro shoes
The blows of the dandelion clock
getting wonky and avaricious,
spitting pips down your throat
Thereafter: a clamber
To gather
When the night sky is bulky
I slip a grin
into my pocket
just to hear the thud of

By Chelsea Lund
Te Kura – The Correspondence School