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June 2008, vol 4 no 2

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Owen Bullock


Auckland Days


onto the street
with a million others

I walk down Broadway, past Honda and Nissan dealers. A woman has buckles which clank like spurs on her feet. A man at a bus shelter with a cane and a cigarette hasn't shaved for a few days.

Yesterday we visited a Waikato farmer who said that New Zealand needed 'a man in charge again'. I disagreed with him. It was one of the few times I spoke.

Road works and temporary footpaths. A man in a suit stands and reads the morning newspaper. I pass a shop with a beautiful New York design on a coffee mug. A clock tells us that it's 10.17 and 22 degrees.

Two women outside a shop are designing the window display. Mustard seems to be back in this year.

A sign over the road reads 'Breast Cancer Awareness Month', the woman in the photograph wears a white bra.

A baby sleeps on the shoulder of a woman in a head-scarf. A bus passes by; the family remains standing.

orange, black, white
the windows of
fashion shops

A recorded voice reads the service numbers . . . is due in 7 mins . . .

A video screen shows the view outside the bus, front and back, as well as inside; a map of the city and trailers for movies. A young man is reading Bertrand Russell on God & Religion. We go clockwise through the city. The young man doesn't get off at the Uni. The café & bar at the Uni is called Slurp.

The shop I ask about off K road closed seven years ago.

For the first time, trying out a mandolin in a music shop, I don't try to show off but just play a couple of slow chords.

A thrush glides the gap between buildings. I enjoy coffee and look forward to the rolls my partner made me. It's nice to look out from the height of this café. Birds land on balconies overlooking a park and the Sky Tower.

penetrate roof tiles
hover like hummingbirds

I wonder if I should tip, they were so helpful.

I leave you

There's a guy in Aotea Square juggling to himself. Just before I speak to him he wanders off, muttering, "bored bored bored." A shame, he was doing some varied and difficult two-ball contact moves. Oh well . . .

Someone else gives me a wry smile. And free coffee sachets. I accept them gladly.

A man is quoting Daniel, something about the abomination of the desolation.

Another man passes through the square with a camera on his shoulder; the guy beside him has what is presumably a microphone. The shoulder unit resembles a bazooka or anti-aircraft launcher.

Auckland is so beautiful it takes my breath away.


At the gallery, an artist has taken old photos and imposed larger pairs of eyes on the portraits; these eyes were torn roughly from paper with fingers, not cut with scissors.

pencil drawings lost on walls

It seems as though you can get away with more squiggles visually than in writing.

Zorro is in (of course)
air brushed, with a dour face

an enamelled sheep skull
with a third eye
(& the other two missing)
painted on
("she finesses them"
says the blurb)
[Liz Maw
born 1966]
the room
of the spiritualist church
[Olivia Plender
born 1977]

the word 'Secret'
made of net & wires
& suspended on a wall
[Annette Messager
born 1943]

he rather than I -

"In a suit, you can sell anything, even the moon."
a man jailed for fraud
portrayed convincingly

this or that
the essence of Western philosophy, dichotomy?

when the actor says, "I can learn a lot from him"
his eyes close

"souls yield to obviousness"
(from Cicero)

not knowledge (paraphrase)
but being used to

ideas feed art (paraphrase)
[Barbara Visser
born 1966]

on the sculpture
professional materials
[Jennifer Tee
born 1973]

A section of the gallery is R16 - I don't go in.


No seats down Queen Street - they're laying new paving tiles.

A woman looks up at the lunch menu as if it's the stars.

money change -
a man slumps to one side
as the teller counts out

at the bottom of Queen St
a grove of
18 kauri

booth in a mall
a 'suit'
has a neck rub

Many of those who step outside are having a smoke.

Auckland -
the walk sign
actually walks

At the wharf, someone is drilling and someone is welding; the chairs are wet.

another photo of the All Blacks
the haka

A voice, an accent, a phone. A woman videos as she walks.

a couple kiss
under cover
from the rain

storm rumbling
I shift my seat
further under the verandah

flash bang whoop
Auckland central
invaded by storm

reading -
a difficult passage becomes clear -
lightning strikes again

I'm sitting next to the sign that says 'spicy tomato sauce'.

heavy showers
a woman holds photocopies
over her head


Whilst I'm reading in the library, a man phones prospective employers, I have a question for you, he asks, do you have casual work? Do you by any chance have work just for tomorrow? Horses? No, not really, only a little, but not professionally. Hawkes Bay? Thanks, man. Have a nice day.

outside the library
rain runs down
the outside of drainpipes


"How can each garden seem superlative? Is it because the absolute is harmonious in the contingent as the Buddha-nature is in everything?" P.F. Schmidt.

Today we're at the Zoo.

rhinoceros domain
a duck

I admire
the meditative qualities
of lizards


Heading home . . .

on the back of a truck:
'The only thing that limits me is me'.

a sign says
'Huntly Power Station
Our Taj Mahal'

Then . . .

nothing for miles
but the Marae

haka - war dance of the Maori
Marae - sacred meeting place of the Maori

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