Mark Pirie ~ Poems

markpiriepoemsThe Entrance

Over here friend
			Just swim over here
There, do you feel better now?
			I have been waiting for you
Yes, I want to tell you something

Come, listen!
	take this goddess
	  she means nothing
        	     to me, drink
    		my wine
you see,
the world
 distant frames of energy

a montage of power

careful your 
  arms, legs and
   fingers have new
     meaning now

Climb out of the valley,
  Progress any which way you must,
     We wish you all the best

Oh you have fallen

–   are you hurt?

Just a scratch

Trespassing in Dionysia

enter the
dream tides
of nectar
and brine
where crumbling
give way to banqueting air
imparting sacred pyres
for the libation rites
once there reach
the city of Dionysia
time to celebrate
drunken prophesies
‘the myths of the ages’
all around poets and
playwrights, the
servants of Dionysus

sparse images
movements and sounds
capture the senses
like the subtlest plot
and the gods
speak or do they test?

unlock the deadbolt dream

trespass in Dionysia
witness the death rites

Adonis’s Quest

this is not an
ordinary walk
this walk is
frosted with purpose
you see I’m
climbing up a hill
and when I reach
the top I will
be naked
and in full view
of Aphrodite
but I’m not afraid
to be seen by her
you see I understand
her secret.

Bullshit & Poetry

I wear
the words
‘Fuck you!’
on my
I’m a
radical loser
– an All Blacks
Supporters Club Member.
I lie.
Don’t listen to me.
I write bullshit
& poetry.
I’m a dying
son of a gun.
Forget me,
journey on to the
sun-lit kingdom,
dilute your senses,
and the cure
will be yours.

The Poet

I like to sit, write and prophesize
about my destruction and my demise.
I like to laugh at everyone
and leave the last laugh not for anyone
but me: poet, bullshitter, ranter
and raver, screamer, dreamer
seeker, thinker, actor, betrayer,
liar, deceiver, lover, slacker
nihilist, bastard, spirit caller
mystic, human and divine;
I am all of these
and never can be one.

the many faces                  the many masks

and, not a word
for happiness.

The Murder Scene

for Ian Mackaye

dialogues and melodramas
thoughts and expressions
the accomplices to murder

it’s like that around the windows
the halls, and rooms of the holy,
the powerful, the famous and the political

those divine messengers
sent for the betterment of themselves,
and looking for the only way out.

Right Now

Right now
I’m lying naked
and I can see
my solipsism
written within
your body.


a man
wrote a film
about a man
who would
be on his way
to die.

what was’t about?

doesn’t matter,
he can’t remember

the man in
the story, I mean
on his way
to die.

Woman of Fire Revisited

I’ve seen you today
In my subconscious state
Barbed wire kisses slay
The temptation to mate

Forcibly remove the angels of love
Repress desires so eager to please
On whirlwind romance live the tough
Wile away the weakest ambience with ease

Be friendly to the gospel of virginity
This heartfelt expose of life’s rigidity
And inherit Ovid’s romantic vicinity
In a Puck’s figure I see stability

Woman of Fire, my heart’s content
To seek the life I can never frequent

Two Lost Bit Parts

1. Mother and Child Reunion

‘It’s pure adolescence,’ says her mother,
meaning no harm but with an eye

on her own position. She’s at mid-life,
snowed in, watching the ice beneath her

slowly crack. ‘Here, take my hand
and we will make it,’ says the daughter,

‘put your faith in me.’ The icy ground
continues to break, the daughter continues

to move, her mother continues to watch,
withholding her hand, withholding her smile, as

the daughter inches on, a voice in her head
telling her, they will make it, she knows they will…

2. A Peak Show, with Old Men

She stands in front of them, wearing a tasty
number; while they, old and bent, can barely see

the shape of her breasts, the length of her legs,
hips, the way her skirt rides all the way up,

exposing her flesh, in fish-nets, face: expressionless.
The scent of her though overpowers them,

as one by one, they feel it, and it’s cold all right,
colder than age; but at this stage

they can only watch, hanging limp,
just staring, staring at her from behind

a screen, and remembering what once was theirs,
that warm climate of flesh.

The Cage

Destroying Utopia that lived in the past
And building the banished paradise we lost
Resurrect the innocence of my rage
And make its solution into my cage


(a concert goer)

Muthafucker, Muthafucker, Muthafucker
Intimidating tactics I utter
Muthafucker, Muthafucker, Muthafucker
My words flow up from the gutter


Telephone wires trapped in the mist of clouds
I walk in chasms of deep meaning
Women panic on the end of tabloid rapes
Sister, father, mother: incestuous paradoxes

Candles lit fall short of the light
Toxic aromas are poisoned flowers
Genesis is the antithesis of the apes
In the fields lurk the last of the oxen

Animals wear their fleece in essence
Doors jump and start leaning
A small child eats the harvest of grapes
Riverbed soils harden in the drought

Poetry seeks to harbour its own presence
Held down on skid row it looks for meaning


lights wires

small lanterns

rich pendants
eyes / jewellery

things of beauty
expressions of words

keep writing the story
of a life

stored in a house
in a box

like toys in the attic.
we are haunted

by vision
by thought

by what we can’t keep

© Mark Pirie

Mark Pirie was born in Wellington, New Zealand, in 1974. He is a New Zealand poet, fiction writer, literary critic, publisher, editor and anthologist.

His poems have been published in India, New Zealand, Australia, Croatia, the US, Canada, Singapore, Iraq, China, Thailand, Germany, and the UK. In 1998 Otago University Press published his anthology of ‘Generation X’ New Zealand writing, The NeXt Wave.

In 1999 he wrote an MA thesis on the New Zealand poet and editor Louis Johnson at the University of Otago.

He was managing editor of, and co-edited, JAAM literary journal (New Zealand) from 1995-2005, and is the current managing editor of HeadworX Publishers, and the editor of broadsheet: new new zealand poetry. In 2003, Salt Publishing, Cambridge, England, published his new and selected poems, Gallery: A Selection.

From 2003-2004 he helped co-organise the Wellington International Poetry Festival, with Ron Riddell and Saray Torres. HeadworX published the first two anthologies of the festival. From 2003-2008 he co-organised the popular Winter Readings poetry series in Wellington with Michael O’Leary.

Recently he co-edited (with Tim Jones) the prize-winning anthology of New Zealand Science Fiction poetry, Voyagers (Interactive Publications, Brisbane, 2009), and edited an anthology of railway poems, Rail Poems of New Zealand Aotearoa (Poetry Archive of New Zealand Aotearoa, 2010) and a cricket poetry anthology ‘A Tingling Catch’: A Century of New Zealand Cricket Poems 1864-2009 (HeadworX, 2010), with a foreword by Don Neely.

He helped co-organise the Poetry Archive of New Zealand Aotearoa (PANZA) in 2010