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September 18, 2017 | by  | in Poetry | [ssba]


The layer of mist over paddocks,

delicate and cold; the layer of cows

under a silver sun-bleached tree; the hills

rising over them and in the distance

the whole countryside demarcated

by accidental hydrangeas

or a gentle river.


All of these layers upon layers

over something good, I say.


But then I remember we have some

of the most polluted rivers in our history


because former Prime Minister John Key

and the identical-looking, interchangeable men

that replace him; that is, white, middle-aged men,

think conservation is too expensive,


and the arts are too expensive,

and interfering with the housing crisis

in our little, manageable cities

won’t make the right people the right

amount of money,

so it’s too expensive.


Shelter, art and nature are too expensive,

so what do we have left?

Health? LOL.

But can you have health if you don’t have

insulation in a leaky house

that you live in with seven others?

Or a bank account solely

for rent and bread because that’s

all anyone can afford, and that

should be good enough, they say.

But what did rent and bread cost

in 1981 at the University of Canterbury?


Even though you can’t afford to pay

your student loan today,

I still love you.


Even though John Key and Bill English’s

tuition was free

you know that art teaches us

how to love and that is important.

And while you paid for that lesson

in the tens of thousands

and John and Bill didn’t,

you know that they

didn’t learn it, or much at all,

because all they do is take

when they have already been given

so much.


Even though you consider the legacy

of our nation’s multi-millionaire

former banker leader

to be poorly formed one-liners

for media soundbites

a national humiliation,

I still love you.


Even though you’re sick again this winter

because you can’t afford heat

or the fight against mold

in houses bought and ‘maintained’

by John Key lookalikes,

I still love you.


Even though you are so sad today

and there is no one to tell

and you feel there is nowhere to go

with your sadness:

no job

no plane ticket

no warm home


I still love you.

I still love you.

I vote for you.


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