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Iain's work online: nzepc.auckland.ac.nz

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Iain Britton Iain Britton


Bible Class Teacher

Why be kind
when it's so easy
to walk away
from stained-glass features
pick up Jane (Mary, Jean or Joss)
take her to a beach and place
her under a tangle of clouds
and squeeze her into the
marram grass.

So what if I know all the books
of the Bible, so what's to stop me
from shooting through marked
chapters of something more interesting
soiling pictures with my fingers
again and again.

Who says I have to get
on my knees and count the
fucking nails
in the floorboards?

When I want to be religious
I tuck myself into a fold
in the warm damp earth. I
can tell a prayer by the smell
it leaves on everything
it touches.


Sunday

i

Look at him she nudges.

A jogger
in his briefest shorts
runs past

his dick outlined
like a signpost.

ii

In the afternoon
we go to St Helier's
to drink coffee
gaze at the sea
look at people
behaving differently.

iii

A man with hair dyed red
studs in his ears his nose
and probably
bells on his toes
busks for the Starship Hospital
a girl on roller blades
is tugged along by her braids
an old lady keeps hitting
her head with a magazine

iv

and you're with me
in your sunburn

holding hands
like siamesed lovers.

v

You'e still smiling
about the woppa
that got away

jigging up Bastion Point
with its owner
running on.


Dem Bones

By myself
up steps
chopped from dirt
by PD workers
I climb under branches
resembling dis bone
connected to dis bone.

I can't see the sky
for dem bones.

A song has connected
itself to my head

Bones dem bones
dem dry bones


and I can't get rid of it.
I find a wooden seat
a massive tree a shadow
larger than a backyard
swimming pool.

I plunge in
and splash about
in a kind of
disjointed sleep.

A bird shakes flecks
of sunlight
across my face.

The fact is
I'm in the country
above sea level
on a hill
the peace rattling
like knuckle bones
in my ears.

Dem bones again!

Yesterday motorway traffic
clogged my guts
trains
tunnelled every 10 minutes
through my brain
people
stepped on my toes
my skin began to turn
a sickly grey.

I'm sure I'm
unbreakable - nothing
I've decided
is going to jeopardize
my one-man performance
of levitating
on my back
far above this hill

this hill connected to
this earth connected
to my peace.

I'm lying fully stretched
and my bones
go click in the heat.