A HISTORY OF THE TANAMITE PEOPLE
WINNER OF THE HARRI JONES MEMORIAL PRIZE FOR POETRY 2017
#5 Rain is irregular and thus the Tanamite people mapped their thoughtlives by watersources.
#102 They invented no word for colour, only colour words.
#103 Thus blue and sky is double water: water-water.
#82 Thirst is historical.
#17 Before the pipeline and after the pipeline, work.
#9 The Tanamite people are credited with the invention of the constant request as work.
#35 Sometimes the water is only underground.
#11 This became a much-repeated fact of the Tanamite people.
#14 The use of a white pen to render such histories necessitates black paper.
#82 Marks stayed on the faces on the Tanamite people.
#95 One night there was a windfall, late by several centuries.
#12 The divisive windfalls are legendary among the Tanamite people.
#37 Figure one: an entanglement.
#39 Possibly because of the piping-in of the fizzydrink.
#23 Might, maybe, possibly, and perhaps are thoughts entirely strange to the necessities of a thirst culture.
#40 The hot stretches of the day; the short phantasms of the night.
#53 The Tanamite people touched all plants with their feet.
#34 If you think you understand thoughtmaps.
#71 If you think you understand how a man sends his penis underground to reach a number of distant women.
#3 The Tanamite people went to rest in trees; clevermen went to rest in the best trees.
#68 Televisions on pension days and Toyotas on royalty days.
#41 If you think you understand thirst.
#103 Too few a band of Tanamites becoming worn with digging precipitates a final retiring forever to trees.
#79 Ochres, sand, feathers, charcoal, and flowers are traditional foods of the Tanamite people.
#80 Researchers continue to be confounded by their survival mechanisms.
#90 Figures in the sorry camps at dawn; figures in the rockcaves following the children home at dawn.
#25 The Tanamite people converse with sites in a manner researchers are anxious to observe.
#31 Such songs evaporate when a people get a new thirst.
#19 The pipelines continue to rupture and continue to be repaired, and other such thimblefuls.
#75 Unrecorded feats of loaves and fishes evade the observations of the researchers.
#86 Unrecorded feats of people-moving in single royalty Toyotas evade the observations of the researchers.
#16 Muscle hard as rock on the right side of the body of the Tanamite people.
#124 If you think you understand digging.
#140 If you think you understand black paper.
#86 The U shape can be plural.
#114 Certain hollows of the thoughtmaps began to draw three-humped creatures, and drown them.
#39 Figure two: a refusal.
#43 They pulled bones out of their parched skins.
#76 They ground their skins pale with a hankering practice both cunning and confused.
#30 Shapes etched in caves depict the coming thirst and the thirst historical.
#112 One such figure has a huge mouth and a throat like a needle.
#102 Dark lakes bloomed in hazy country like a bad watercolour.
#148 “Never give a man a drink without taking one of his countries.”
#149 Surely you have heard this proverb arising from the history of the Tanamite people.
#1 Histories such as this are to be mistrusted.
Obligation / Cordite
The mattress / Poetry Shelf
The kids / Exostale: Chrestomathy
First loss / Tuesday Poem
They could have stayed forever / Tuesday Poem
Bookcase full of closed books wants to sing / Tuesday Poem
Man in space talks to the stars / Tuesday Poem
Young woman talking to a difficult poem she has loved for many years / Best New Zealand Poems 2011
Theory of light / Best New Zealand Poems 2008
Carpet talking to the mother's feet / Turbine 2010
Lake and On the role of the master / Turbine 2009
Fingernails / Snorkel #11
Mount Cook / Snorkel #9
Makara / Sport 28
Two dreams in which things are taken / Duets chapbook series