She Stood At The Gate

She stood at the gate
of the local mosque
where a river of flowers
lined the fence alongside her.

She stood at the gate
wearing a black hijab
though she was a European
New Zealander, like so
many other non Muslim
women in new Zealand,
like Maori, Chinese, Samoan
women sharing the brunt
of white supremacist gibes
with Muslim women daily.

She stood at the gate
her bushmaster rifle ready,
flowers stuck into her
gun harness like her fellow
uniformed police officers
ready for more attacks.

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She Stood At The Gate

Burnt Earth

Under the dry summer’s brilliant
blue skies grassy paddocks had
burned to sienna brown across
the north of our South Island.
Farmers had mowed those paddocks
to retain their last vestiges
of fodder for sheep and cattle.

Sparks flew as blades hit
stray stones in the soil
setting alight dry grass
shelter belt trees, pine plantations
all consumed by roaring flames.

For days firemen’s hoses played
over vast acres of flames
helicopters flew endlessly in
from the ocean emptying monsoon
buckets over the fires saving
houses but not all animals.

Evacuees waited for days in
town to go home again only
finding out the fates of their
homes and animals after
police escorted them home.

Burnt Earth

A Walk In The Park

A photograph sprawls across the
newspaper’s front page, hits hard.

A stream of people pass under
trees along a gravelled path
lined by high leafy shrubs,
some talking on cell phones.

They are led by a heavily armed
police officer looking right to
left, then back again, for gunmen.
Further back beside the path
another armed police officer looks
back over those still oncoming.

Many people have been shot
in two nearby mosques, no one
knows how many gunmen,
or where they lurk.

So armed police escort
walking wounded the short
distance from one mosque
to the hospital across the park
while many ambulances
transport the severely wounded.

A Walk In The Park

Friday 15

On Friday 15 this month
the world wide movement
Schools Strike 4 Climate Change
took place around the world.
Our high school students that
day demonstrated out of school,
gave media interviews, called
for urgent measures to halt
climate change, save their future.

On Friday 15 this month
our front flat neighbour retired
for good, selling back his taxi cab,
withdrawing from the taxi company
staying home each day starting an
exciting new life. What now ?

On Friday 15 this month
in two peaceful Christchurch
mosques a gun man sprayed
bullets through two congregations
prayer killing fifty wounding
forty two men, women, children.
city lock down, ambulances
police cars sirens screaming
armed police walking streets.

Children and adult survivors
of mighty earthquakes
now traumatised again.

Friday 15

Christchurch 2019

Violent earthquakes in 2011
ploughed, ripped up Christchurch
shredded its core eight years ago.
People reeled on its rubbled streets
as buildings disintegrated, vast
slabs of masonry crashed down.
Citizens regain their equilibrium,
rebuilt, still rebuild their homes,
city amenities as recovery continues.

Yesterday fascist hate attacked this
recovering city slaying many in two
mosques, shattering the heart of a
whole city grieving for the dead and
wounded who came here as refugees.

Schools, businesses, locked down
four hours till 6 pm, police cars,
ambulances thronging the streets,
citizens told to stay inside. Worshippers
gradually let out of the mosques.

All orchestrated by a citizen of
another country choosing a
foreign city for his target.

Christchurch earthquake 22 February 2011

Murder accused is Australian.

Many Muslims here arrived as
refugees and asylum seekers.

Christchurch 2019

How Long ?

How long ?  How long will I live ?
How long will I need my savings
– carefully accrued around
redundancies and employment –
to support my medical care ?

My father with motley genes
survived twenty years longer
than I have so far.

My mother with a poor family
medical history lived nine
years past my present age.

Nowadays we humans live longer.
Both parents survived two
death bed calls, months apart,
finally died after the hospitals’
third death bed calls.

So how long will my hard won
savings keep me alive in
our tottering health system ?

How Long ?

Genes

For the purposes of checking
the activities of our parents’
liberally gifted genes I lay on
a hospital bed under bright lights
as three blue garbed people
hovered murmuring, muttering
numbers as I wafted through
a pleasant haze.

Later after sustaining soup and
sandwiches the specialist reported
the numbers were not good.
Coloured photos of my insides
showed malign gene activity.

Our public health system
crumbles, treatment of our
parents’ rogue genes will cost many
dollars – while I still have them.

Genes