uPflash: Poetry at the Black Sheep tomorrow night


Wednesday night with spoken words: it’s the monthly poetry gathering down at the Black Sheep Whakamarama tomorrow night from 6pm.   You’re all welcome – let the alchemy occur!

“Up from the meadows rich with corn…..” was an integral part of my childhood just one of the poems or songs that my Mother constantly filled the house with – that an eclectic repertoire of piano music.   My father was always scribbling away at something “on the table” – school work, stories, poems and memories.   It’s inevitable that I would write.

Sharing your original work, what ever it is, is always daunting.  It makes you feel vulnerable even in the company of fellow creatives.  It’s something, in the end you just have to get over.   Like taking that first childish-jump off the wharf. 

The Black Sheep Bar & Grill on the Corner of Plummer’s Point Road and SH2 Whakamarama provides a warm and friendly atmosphere for you to jump-start your poetry sharing.   There’s beautiful food to be bought, a glass of wine or….   We start at 6pm and are usually leaving as they are closing.   Come along – you can read your own original words, the published words of a favourite poet or just listen.  

Here are one or two poems I’ve written over more recent years.   I wrote the first one after participating in the community road safety protest Wairoa Bridge walk in 2018 and totally disheartened by the on-going lack of realistic action in relation to State Highway 2-Tauranga West Road.

The Fat one has a yellow hat

They pretend to listen, draft plans and publish pamphlets.

Hold meetings and consult but they cannot lower the death

inducing speed limit.


They pretend to hear us when we gather and with antipodean

protest politeness express our fear and concern.   The media

mention the noise and outrage.   Minimal compared to tractor-firing

farmers of France.


It’s not even the death we fear – it’s the abyss of injury some will

never come back from. An edge that will immobilise, traumatise,

destroy their relationships and life – do you hear? do you care?


Who won’t live to Christmas?

Whose child will feel a shaft of grief?

It won’t be Wellington-living you.


bag lines

we crinkle like paper bags

the small creases spoiling the smooth

perfection of our youth        

Knives of pain penetrate our nighttime

joints as our fingers distort and bulge

The persecutors of our reality torture us

that we are no longer young

They scream into our constricting abilities

with more than malicious glee.



My friend pushes me hard against

the wall as he rushes past

You’re a witch with a pack of dogs

spits from his contorted face


The women in the courtroom

foyer are both surprised and

accepting of his violence


Together we have returned

his client to the cell of custody

we have thwarted bail

We have shown the reality to

the newly installed judge and

the lawyer didn’t like it


after all he is a man

and we are only women

Witches and dogs


There is no snow in South Auckland

She can feel their animosity and disgust

as it seeps out of the dark tinted window of

the Remuera-black SUV


She wonders how it comes to be sitting so still

in the middle of the Manurewa shops – another

motorway pile up or the Kingitanga on the move?


She repositions her backpack – too big and

heavy now for the old woman that she is and

continues slowly past the dollar shops their plastic

bright windows spilling out towards last night’s benches.

She no longer notices the dirt and the rubbish

she needs another place to sleep.


Last night she’d huddled in her temporary nest

under the decrepit back stairs of the house

opposite the cop shop – better than the Plunket deck –

no one could see her there and despite the careless cold she’d slept.

She’d slept secure that tonight she was unseen and

the big rubbish bin cut out the wind.


The thin and wrinkled face of the old currymuncher

woke her. She has difficulty associating the

Kiwi voice and the well cut hair with his curry-brown

skin.   She can tell he’s frightened by her presence and

then he’s angry that she dares breathe his privately owned air.

He shouts her out as if chasing next door’s cat or dog

away from his hydrangeas.


With historic speed the Warehouse-blue tarpaulin is cast off.

She hurriedly rolls her bedding and shuffles up the drive leaving

the persistent mutterer and complainer to remove her cardboard bedbase.


The urge to piss overwhelms her – shame the curry caught her

before she had time to explore the space behind the big garage.

Not allowed in Maccas – it’s her smell they say puts the customers off their food.


She’s been trespassed from the shopping centre – not her fault she

forgot to take those palagi-pakeha pills. The Library doesn’t let

you sleep and you cannot sit upright with your eyes closed – they yell

into your face until you leave.


Methodical and rhythmically shuffling down the Great South Road

she goes towards the cold twilight of the park to out wait another day

remembering the Aitutaki-blue bright skies, the rockhard soil of Karaka,

the shouting and laughter of Otara teamwork as they pull and clip uniforms and school shoes.

Most of all she remembers the penetrating smell of onions on your skins

as you lie together sleeping under the fence’s quiet and forgiving wall.


She knows – there is no snow in South Auckland.


spoken word poetry

 07 571 8722    021  145  5810


Rosemary Balu. Rosemary Balu is the founding and current Managing Editor of ARTbop. Rosemary has arts and law degrees from the University of Auckland. She has been a working lawyer and has participated in a wide variety of community activities where information gathering, submission writing, community advocacy and education have been involved. Interested in all forms of the arts since childhood Rosemary is focused on further developing and expanding multi-media ARTbop as the magazine for all the creative arts in the Bay of Plenty, New Zealand


ARTbop promotes

   (or we think you should check this out!)

This Valentine’s Day put on your best frock and pearls or your waistcoat and hat, and join us for afternoon tea with light refreshment, snacks and acoustic entertainment…


THU, 14 FEB AT 14:30

Le Diner en Blanc Tauranga is happening in one month on Saturday 9 March at a secret location…

Le Diner en Blanc Tauranga will be gracing our fine shores once again, activating one of the most beautiful spots in the Bay with a stunning outdoor pop-up picnic where guests dress all in white. Byo tables and chairs, and prepare yourself for an evening of sharing food and time with friends. All in a secret location that you don’t find out until you arrive!  And there are lots of surprises throughout the night to excite and delight….
To register to be sent a link to purchase tickets go to https://register.dinerenblanc.com/tauranga/en/register?
Tickets are sold in tables of two people and are $120 per table.





Check out The Historic Village at 17th Avenue with its increasing boutique shops, galleries, The Incubator Creative Hub, The Jam Factory and The Imprint Gallery.


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