From the morning’s politicians
as they are delivered unto us
shrink-wrapped and bouncing
across the lawns of Hataitai
deliver us, o lord—from the brash
and unhumble who fall
face-first, and whom daily we extract
from mulch and puddle, the unsung and
the unsound of body and
mind, the left-leaning
and forlorn, the man with the mountain perched
upon his brow, the skilful clod
of Waitangi soil. Would you vote
for a man you could not imagine
on a bicycle, squeak the crayons and marker pens
of Masterton. Unlikely as it seems,
mumble the crustaceans of Kaipara Flats.
And what is a man
in a grey suit but a coffin
on legs, snore the non-voters of Hamilton,
and the moon an old boot
thrown over a fence.
I have ticked the box, sings
the lucky clod, I have been cast
and this is how I vote. And what exactly
is that squelching sound, rumble
the empty stomachs of Wainuiomata.
What the people have decided,
snore the non-voters of Khandallah. And what
might we name the mountain
perched upon his brow? inquire the fundraisers
and fumblers of Foxton.
‘Love Rat!’ chime the anything voters
of anywhere’s ville.
Who would object to that? agree the sleepers
of Kilbirnie Heights. Is this what
we have come to, blaze the fiery furnaces
for the asking, caught between seabed and foreshore,
between C-minor and Four Square.
Is this a Dead C song or government policy on cabbage trees, sing
the herders and the unheard
of Te Kuiti. And on into the morning
cringe the ballot boxes
of Balclutha, glower the televisions
of Te Anau, mumble the matrons and
chumps of Takapuna, lost in a treasury
of children’s verse.
So the leaders and the misled daily
on this, the unremembering lawn.