Self-talk. C-19 Blues





I don’t normally feel like this

this isn’t normal

It’s like my head wants to explode

it does but it won’t


How do you know, you’re not me?

we’re all in this thing together

That just leaves me twice as lonely

that’s a feeling we all share


I wake up and dread walks in

that’s a gut feeling

I have this mad idea to run

if you do I’m coming with you


There’s this conflict I’m avoiding

that’s because you don’t need stress

Maybe not but the email’s waiting

it can wait what’s one more email?


I can’t even think about it

what’s your body trying to tell you?

Even thinking makes me tired

thinking’s work we do inside us


I’m just going round in circles

from the self we can’t escape

What if this goes on forever?

that’s an ever never comes


Next you’ll tell me try deep breaths

nothing further from my lips

Then you’ll say “this too shall pass”

only if you say it first


2014-08-26 14.42.27



Jeffrey Paparoa Holman



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Covido-rambling, St Albans, 7 May 2020.

Hari cattle

Hari meets the local cattle herd, rus in urbe.


It’s hard to get bored on a morning ramble with Hari, around St Albans (Edgeware now to some). He’s never bored and like any Jack Russell, ready for the chase, the scraps on the pavement, unwary neighbourhood cats and any sparrows silly enough to ignore his approach, straining on his lead. His muscles bulge as he hauls the expandable towrope out to full stretch, his Hari-named harness, Union Jack-patterned to salute his origins, threatening to choke him huffing and grunting.


Hari (it’s Māori for happy, joyful) lives up to both his name and his namesake’s breeding line, the Rev Jack Russell, who in 1814 named a terrier bitch Trump (unfortunate these days, but hardly the poor dog’s fault). The English clergyman was looking to breed foxhunting dogs, and Hari – with no fox in sight around here – carries on the tradition with anything that moves. Sadly, that has included our other four-footed furry whānau member, Mako, a gorgeous short-haired black and while cat who came to us as a stray, around a year before Hari’s puppy entrance to the den last year. By rights, possessing ahi ka roa (territorial rule by prior occupation),  he should be in charge.



Mako up in the nectarine tree in pre-Hari days

Hari,  of course has never recognised this and once he clapped eyes on Mako, chased him, as Jacks do. This has necessitated the installation of a second cat door at the front of the house, the old entrance into the living area (where the dog now rules) having become a no-go zone for the cat. This situation has resolved itself – if such a verb is appropriate – into a feline-canine standoff, where our house now functions in something resembling the city of Berlin before Mauerfall in 1989. We live in hope, as did the Berliners, until the wall finally came down.



The early days of confrontation.


So it remains essential – especially in these dog days of Covid-19 Lockdown – that I get Hari out of the house for his exercise and my own sanity. To say he loves it would be failing miserably to convey the intensity of his bursts of joy, as we exit the gates twice a day and head off to the park, or down to the river. The gates, by the way, are part of a fenced-off property necessity for owners of Jack Russells and JR-Fox Terrier crosses, like our boy. These dogs are diggers and escapologists, the complete package, the whole ninety-nine yards, and suffer a very high mortality rate as road-kill if they escape and charge off to terrorise any small animals that heat up their radar. What sight is to us, smell is to Jacks and Hari is onto them all, in a flash.


This morning’s ramble had us going round St Albans Park, where owners are routinely ignoring new signs to keep their dogs on leads, to avoid engagement with other owners should the dogs get involved with each other, as they do. We’re talking a scrap here, or a tangle. Hari loves chasing the swallows that swoop low around us and drive him mad, when the lead snaps to its end and he can’t pursue them further. I hate having this restriction on him, but it has to happen.


I’ve seen him chase a magpie in another park (in the days when I used to let him off the lead) and unless the bird had got pissed off and landed, and faced him down, Hari would have raced across a very busy Ilam Road. When his blood gets up, he won’t come back. Yes, yes, I know, I can sense the JR Advisory Group out there telling me I’m doing it wrong, but the statistics are my guide. I’m hanging out for the re-opening of the fenced City Council Dog Parks, like The Groynes near Casebrook and Victoria Park up in Cashmere, where you can take your dogs and let them go.


Escape plan

Hari puts Escape Plan B into action by the cabbage tree.


But today, it’s Level Three and we’re doing the wander around the blocks, down side streets – Canon, Purchas, Packe Street (to the lovely semi-wild park) – crossing the road to avoid other dogs, giving approaching walkers their  space. While Hari sniffs and chases shadows, I listen to the cries of spur-wing plovers out there somewhere, muse on the sight of a harrier hawk over St Albans Park, inner city flyers all, and the legions of finches and all small birds chasing the seedtime harvest of autumn here before winter sets in. Yesterday a pīwakawaka flew right down to me and circled my head. Hari went nuts of course, but I rejoiced, the fantail a sign to me that life  – not death – is ascendant, and the faith that resides invisibly in my heart – battered, triggered, PTS-deed-off as I am – will keep me in this moment, for one more day.


Writer dog

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Morning walk Covid-19

Morning walk Covid-19

I saw two spur-winged plover
on the wing

No, it was not the windhover
it was was a better thing

Three piwaiwaka fanning me
with grace

Tree-to-tree above the stream
where mallards glide

on this deep troubled well
in time in space

a natural salvation

and wing-to-wing.

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Winders and the Wharfies




While Winders sits upon his arse
and wharfies toil in weathers
the million dollar ruling class
won’t lift a fucking finger

to give the raise the union says
is piffling when you reckon
sixteen percent of Winders cut’s
a cool six hundred thousand.

Just think of that, this fat fat cat
who purrs while still presiding
on navvies offered two per cent
of bugger-all of nothing.

Of such obscene and galling
stuff the poor must swallow
daily, the heart of revolutions
once, perhaps tomorrow, maybe.

How can he sleep, this Winders
man, if man we still can call him,
when he’s content to fill his nest
and watch his workers struggle?

What did we do, how did we come
to such a gross deception,
when acronyms like CEO
entitle men to mansions?

The parable of Lazarus
I offer now to Winders
that while he’s on this side
of death, a judgment fast

approaching, he gives a share
that’s equal, fair, to men
who make his living, those
wharfies’ backs he’s riding.


Jeffrey Paparoa Holman

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Stukas – for Terry Eagleton

Stukas       (for Terry Eagleton)

Stuka poem

The day we fall in love

with the Stukas of experience

dawns fine: out of a refugee


run sky, the crosses fall.

You bear yourself along

the road with all you


own at noon. The sun seems

somehow German, as the moon

was French last night.


The hour we meet in person

the fascists of conviction

can’t be told: they’ll trial


their new-made weapons on

your ground (they sense a hole

your Fuhrer wants to hide).


In the meantime, it is both

inadvisable and not worth

the candle to avoid what


waits: you just can’t buy

what falls from your personal

sky in the swastika shape.


@ Jeffrey Paparoa Holman   2006



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Night Patrol with Hari.

Baby patrol: alarm at 1am for pee time.

Back to bed, pup in cage.

5am, alarm: Bob Dylan track, Pay in Blood blast outta my phone.

Up and attem.

Mako is in lounge but jumps out window when I turn light on and he hears doggie squeaking, “Daddy!”.

Hari out to pee, brrr!!

Time to get up, feed pup, cat comes back, feed cat, lie down on couch at 5.30am with puppy snuggles and wait for Jeanette to get up and fetch paper.

No, Hari is not there yet.

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