Stewart Island/Rakiura (for Squizzy)

A rare Hector’s dolphin
rides the bow of Lo Loma
returning to Halfmoon Bay –
everything is rare on Rakiura.
even the locals
born from rugged resignation
and angry moans
stand stoic, proud
wild as the South Sea
confronting island inlets and the ferry from Bluff
These men are calloused, weather-worn and feral
who ride the waves
and tend their waters like rose gardens
carefully thinning and pruning
long lines and skin furrows sinking further than the eye can see;
long meaningful looks, cast
as the tourists land with raucous bluster
and high pitched squeals and screams –
“Listen up!” says Squizzy, commanding his crew
his Captains beanie pulled, folded and rimmed
he is clean-shaven, his rosacea cheeks peeking,
rise to the booming command of his voice
but he is not brash
tumultuous sea’s lay calm this day
I take instruction not from a Mainlander
but from an icon
Mollymawks ski and bob
like pontoons moored just out of reach
Seagulls circle and Albatross grace
our presence, all of our mouths watering and
gawping, tasting the salty sips of paradise
I am in Heaven
I breath in the crisp seasoned fresh air
deep into my lungs, my nostrils flaring
the bite of the cold stands hairs on end
brings tears to my eyes. exhaling
through my mouth, I let it all out
I let the Auckland carbon monoxide drain from my body
only to be recycled again and again and again.
although these men have never experienced
the scourge of traffic on the motorways at 6, 7, 8, 9
I now know why because I have tasted
I could learn from these people.
the women are equally as strong, equally as fierce
equally as protective of their land
and their men
“Fresh meat!” us women from up North
I scanned the horizon as I landed and saw
more than I bargained for
Paua (Abalone) and Blue Cod in abundance
and plenty of trawlers on the horizon;
Inside the South Sea’s Hotel I saw a sign.
25c, 50c, $1.00, $2.00 fee’s for excuses
offered up to angry wives and girlfriends
I had to laugh at the underlying meaning of it all
local women have given up on their local men
they bide their time and wait
watching for a break in the weather
watching for the tide to turn
watching with bated breath to see who stays.
who goes is of no concern
Rain and wind, as unpredictable as the locals
intermingles with sun and warmth
four seasons in one day is an understatement!
a contradiction in terms as pristine
beaches are bereft of bathers or bikini
clad nymphs but take another look
everything is as it should be
Oyster Catchers will likely peck you on the head
I only brought my Rusty summer dress
because I was unprepared for the bite
I leave this island with my emotions rolling
and listing, crashing about in this battered brain
if I stayed I would be eaten alive by the sandfly’s
but I am also strangely drawn, drawn
to the peace and people as much
as to the trials and tribulations that make up this land.
it would take years, to return to the land and live
here, off my life – I would leave it all behind for simplicity
but somehow there is much more here than simplicity
here, I could be myself.

© Copyright 2010 Jodine Derena Butler. All Rights Reserved

Edited by Miriam Barr

First published by Blackmail Press, Issue 28,  http://www.blackmailpress.com/Index28.html

Unprotected

1.
Love is truly blind.
The disparity between conditional
and unconditional love –
and the lack of understanding for either,
peels back the layers of my heaving chest

2.
Silence is punishment.
Feelings and wounds left unsaid, fester
their very existence is denied.
Children birthed from pleasure and pain
turn their back and forget where life began –
throwing their toys at the indignity of it all.

3.
The sound of silence is deafening.
Vengeful breakers crash on my shoreline –
forcibly taking back what was un-given.
I am being stripped down to bare bones
my flesh eroding
my bleeding heart displaced

I let it all wash over me
but I am not mechanical.
My soul out-pours frequently drained
every orifice is like a tidal wave of emotion
ripping through and of me
till I am nothing more than driftwood

4.
My world is full of strangers.
Loved ones who don’t know the meaning of love.
I feel unprotected.
My fingernails are raw and bloody
for clinging tooth and nail
holding on for dear life and limb

5.
My heart has the unfortunate tendency to feel.
I am reminded constantly that I fail
repeatedly
my life can be described as heartbreaking at best
and devoid at worst
there is no in-between

When protection is taken for granted
and I am gutted,
every fibre of my being recoils and retreats.
She tells me to be foetal
and she cradles my broken parts.
She is all that I have left

6.
I am a free bird.
Riding the salted earth and spray.
I am my own gift.
Nothing can touch me except the wind.
He reminds me that I am
alive

© Copyright 2010 Jodine Derena Butler. All Rights Reserved

Edited by Miriam Barr