René Harrison


Listen to the audio version.

The way you say hello
in a bubble bath
behind running water
is what makes your voice yours
in your happy skin.

The way you breathe
and laugh as I
is what makes
your acoustic essence
stand out
more memorably than over the phone.

For I want to recognize you when entering a crowd
by your
soapy harmonic frequencies,
so recognisable when you sing.

And I want
to make the chemistry of narcissistic particles,
float up
into the Realm of Ideas,
when I run your bath.
Like the last time your voice was fully present,
in duet
with mine.

* * *


Listen to the audio version.

If everyone wrote a poem about the moon,
fine lines would be monasteries
down fir lined drives,
where friendly chickens fraternize, uncooped
and unjustified.

The moon walk, a blind man's cloister,
muffled in buttered mists,
felt on faces through the cells of our skin,
as we meditate at 4am.

Magpies awakening the river,
mimic voices stolen from dreams,
as the moon blows her nose
on a blind monk's sleeve.

If everyone wrote a poem about the moon,
our first impression of the day
would not count the same,
but absorb its sound, and get carried away,
like the monk who prints prayers
on the milky way,
clotting his imprint
on every page,
in the strong silent type:
terse and blank as this speckled light.

* * *


Listen to the audio version.

This vision is punishable,
as it crosses the visible
face of her bathing body.
Eyelids closed in half surrender —
There, even there — the sacred foundations
forbid your freedom to look, or touch,
to confirm her shape, underground.

Alone without desire, she turns her ear to hear you,
and whispers you into a stag…

Then your hounds — innocent but thirsty —
turn on their master,
acknowledging her rights over you…

You sit frozen, stuffed upon a wall…
an ex-cessiveness of life in spite of oneself.
Living on, to blindly long —
only for her…
For this vision is punishable…
and your photographs have desecrated
sacred ground.

* * *


Listen to the audio version.

Curl up in your shell, this New Year's day is well dilapidated,
besieged by the sea.

Go find your Eden beneath another magnolia,
hermaphrodite, drunk on the webs of last year's bliss!

                 Lost echo, you are the cracked virgin's ear.

        Lost echo, you are all one needs of yesteryear…

For your devolution in a snail shell was similar to mine:
silver and slippery —

                 Caterpillars hanging from a tree,
unzip our bags before sprinklers turn on.

Licking the rain off cobwebs, with digestion of steel!
Seedpods littering the wet white seat: barbarian clubs for little cave men….

Run up rotten deck steps, yowling for jelly
as ginger kittens stalk
Skipping a vibraphone trail,

Hermaphrodite, you are macho as a snail.


Tragically blinded by the fiery concoctions since the age of 17, René Harrison has the acute nostrils of a pet rabbit in a gin shop, and the good odour of a fundraising labrador. His tasteful fulminations have appeared in Poetry New Zealand, Literary Orphans, Landfall, Takahe, Shot Glass Journal, Black Mail Press, and Brief, amongst other places. His double malingers in Auckland.