Beneath the domestic surface

Zen garden (21 May 2016)

Zen garden (21 May 2016)

“Mementos that Bird has kept for years hold the past inside them, making it tangible and permanent: clippings of Mickey’s hair, peels of the first orange they shared, a bloody tissue. They stir nostalgia but reopen its wounds, like scabs asking to be tugged back so they can bleed.” (from Sarah Gerard’s NYT review of “Bird” by Noy Holland)

On page 59: a lovely sentence that seems like a found senryū …

A swell of things:
gathered, unsortable,
gone. 

“It is here, in Holland’s subtly radiant ­details … that “Bird” shines brightest, since they so aptly mirror what’s happening beneath the domestic surface.” (another snippet from Sarah Gerard’s review)

This novel sings like
poetry; I’m obliged to 

read between the lines.

(19 May 2016)

“The writing is hallucinatory, musical and intimate.” (Sarah Gerard)


Holland, Noy. 2015. Bird. Berkeley, CA: Counterpoint Press.

Can we?

scrabble sculpture (03 Dec 2011)

scrabble sculpture (03 Dec 2011)

Can we? — quickly now!
— Can we just keep pretending
that nothing happened?

(07 May 2016)


The text here is something plucked indiscriminately, unresisted, out of my subconscious. “Reality is … a sum of all texts in various media, including action and thought” (Annette Lavers. 1982. Roland Barthes : Structuralism and After. London: Methuen & Co. [p171].

On Lambton Quay

two violins by Danny Andreini

two violins by Danny Andreini

On Lambton Quay, Bach
for two violins; small boy
stands captivated.

(16 May 2016)


On an autumn afternoon, unexpectedly, a vivacious counterpoint crosses Lambton Quay and stirs up in me both joy and nostalgia.

Smiling on a rainy day

sunflower (08 March 2012)

sunflower (08 March 2012)

Buses on route 2 (Miramar to the Wellington railway station) are so well patronised you’ve got to wonder why they don’t run more often. Be that as it may, I don’t mind standing as long as I have somewhere to hold on securely. And I must not get crushed into a position that makes getting off difficult.

Thursday morning, at around eight-fifteen, I’m about to get off at Arty Bee’s Bookshop. I have my Snapper card ready. I can see myself able to squeeze through to the front door. I pick up my bag. Because it’s made of paper, however, and because it has been in the rain, it abruptly collapses. Books, bananas, bits, and bobs spill onto the floor.

A quiet calm settles upon me as the kind people around me pick things up and hand them to me. With surprising clarity of mind, I take stock … Yes, I have everything, thank-you, people. Once off the bus, I reorganise myself and my belongings. Then it dawns on me: I haven’t tagged off. But that’s okay, because people are still pressing their way in.

Calmly … sublimely serene … I reach into the bus and tag off.

I am loved. I am cared for. Aren’t people lovely?


PS: Posted this little anecdote first on Facebook. My sister-in-law enquired: “Did you make it to Porirua or did you abandon your weekly visit [to see father at Kemp Home] due to the flooding out here?”

My response: “I made it to Porirua, but one of the other passengers on the 211 had her mobile running reports on the flooding. So I got Dad on the phone and told him he’d have to do without the bananas and chocolate. We had a good chat.

“Then I walked through the rain from Pataka to the railway station. At one intersection, the water was ankle deep. The journey back home was uneventful, but I was happy to change into dry clothes and wait for the arrival of the two boxes of wine I’d arranged to have delivered after lunch.”