You’re always driving over bridges by Kiri Piahana-Wong

You’re always driving over bridges
Elbow leaning on the open window,
Baseball cap on, mask on,
The road rolling, rolling
And always with the sun searing down
As though it’s looking to burn something.

Birmingham Bridge
Brooklyn Bridge
Williamsburg Bridge
Manhattan Bridge
Hernando de Soto Bridge
You never seem to run out,
Although I notice that sometimes
You cross Brooklyn Bridge
Four times in one day.

I remember before you left we were in a bar
And I asked you what you saw yourself
Doing with the rest of your days
I don’t remember what you said now,
But I know it wasn’t ‘driving over bridges’

And I didn’t tell you that my dream was
To stand at the sink in my kitchen washing
Dishes all day and cooking my child
Perfectly balanced meals and doing laundry

Nonetheless, from the look in your eyes,
Something in you loves the road, the life,
The shifting miles, and yes, the bridges
And I wanted to be a mother always
And now I am one, and he is beautiful

My only worry is that when I die,
My epitaph will say:
‘She was a devoted housewife and mother’
While yours will say:
‘He left New Zealand for New York City
And never looked back.
He drove over every major bridge in America’

Photo of Brooklyn Bridge by Callum Stembridge


Bursting Bubbles by Doc Drumheller

During the lockdown
I dreamed I was Tony Corleone
son of the Don who ran a pizzeria
as a front but fell in love
with the daughter of a boss
from the rival family
there were shootouts
in the car park
and blood spilled on both sides
of the Jersey Bridge
but this wasn’t a story
about the mob
like the Sopranos
or the Godfather
this was a story about love.

During the lockdown
I dreamed I was Ragnar Lothbrok
fabled Norse King
who raided the shores of England
with his legendary sons
and while we waged
war with Wessex
and massacred Mercia
all we wanted
was a place to call home
to work the land
fall in love and raise
our families.

During the lockdown
I dreamed I was Clyde
without a Bonnie
robbing banks in isolation
without a getaway driver
or a get out of jail free card
no one to share all of this
free parking with
as if love was a pandemic
and the only cure was to keep
two metres distance away
while I hate to burst your bubble
there is still no antidote
for living like an outlaw
in the name of your love.


Winter Walk by Madeleine Slavick

Marsh, lagoon, dew, mud.
Willow, red, orange, gold.

A dead pine, cones still attached in pairs.
A tree unknown to us, berries too yellow to believe.
I have also loved the foghorn.

Lichen covers the south side of trees.
The stepping foot leaves no indent on moss.

I wear plastic bags over my socks to keep warm and dry, and when I remove the boots, I see the left bag torn, but I have not felt anything but happiness.

Most of the people on the trail today had white dogs, but once, by pōhutukawa and sea, a woman walked a toddler in a wheelbarrow.

Photo by Madeleine Slavick


Heeding by Trish Gribben

Simply by sailing in a new direction, the poet said,
You could enlarge the world. Now we know
Simply by stopping, listening, going in no direction,
You can embrace a world. Not the one you left
But the one you yearned for: a world of birds,
Bees, people treading lightly on the land,
Staying earthed, being kind,
Songs of waves, hint of a new moon,
Ruru two-beating across the bay.
Dusk, a suburban valley where not so long ago
Kuia wailed and wept till dawn,
Tears falling as their homes burnt like kindling.

Now, as twilight gathers, we have
Time to heed their silence
Find how to join
Their mokopuna
As we walk backwards to our future.


Doc Drumheller was born in Charleston, South Carolina, and has lived in New Zealand for more than half his life. He has worked in award-winning groups for theatre and music and has published ten collections of poetry. His poems have been translated into more than twenty languages, and he has performed in Cuba, Lithuania, Italy, Hungary, Bulgaria, Romania, Japan, India, China, Nicaragua, USA, Mexico, El Salvador and widely throughout NZ. He lives in Oxford, where he edits and publishes the literary journal Catalyst

Trish Gribben’s name was once upon a (long) time a household word for her books for new parents, Pyjamas Don’t Matter, Nits and Other Nasties, Coming Ready or Not, illustrated by Dick Frizzell. She has been a writer as a medical journalist, producing Living with HIV in the early ‘80s for the Aids Foundation, as a TV producer/writer of Parent Time, editor of Insight Magazine, author of Grandparenting with Love and Laughter. More recently she has written and published art books for children, the latest being SWELL, a pop-up with artist Judy Millar and paper engineer Philip Fickling.

Kiri Piahana-Wong (Ngāti Ranginui) is a poet and editor, and she is the publisher at Anahera Press. Her poems have appeared in over forty journals and anthologies, most recently in tātai whetū: seven Māori women poets in translation, Solid Air: Australian and New Zealand Spoken Word and Set Me on Fire (Doubleday, UK). Her first poetry collection, Night Swimming, was released in 2013; a second book, Give Me An Ordinary Day (formerly Tidelines), is due out soon. Kiri lives in Auckland with her family.

Madeleine Slavick is a writer, editor, community arts organiser and photographer living in Aotearoa New Zealand after 24 years in Hong Kong, from 1988-2012. She has performed her poetry internationally and has authored several books of photography, poetry and non-fiction: Fifty Stories Fifty Images, Delicate Access / 微妙之途, China Voices and Round. The work is from her forthcoming book, Town, which is set in rural Aotearoa.