Looking for Hinemoa

I return to New Zealand, this time alone.
In Te Anau a little girl
hands me the key to a motel room with sliding glass door
switches on wall sockets, two spigots on the sink,
water boiler and milk for Earl Grey tea,
Sky Cable, Maori TV, McLeod’s Daughters, Sea Patrol,
the lake and steamboat framed in my window

Round speed-limit signs, one-lane bridges, driving mountain roads
on the left, windshield wipers when I reach for turn signals,
Cherry blossoms, Southern Alps rock and ice,
fern trees, red tussock, granite scoured by glaciers,
the chill turquoise water of the Tasman Sea, black swans,
pukeko birds, quail, red-billed seagulls, ducks
with sergeant’s stripes, tree avalanches, waterfalls, the tui
that knocked himself silly flying into my picture window,
dirty blue ice melting into gray runoff from the Franz Josef Glacier,
Lambs gambol while sheep fatten for the slaughter.

Bumper bars, purple carrots, Hindi music videos, meat pies
kept hot in glass cases, feijoa juice, long blacks, flat whites,
the fern drawn in cappuccino’s foam, New World, Four Square,
Whitcoulls Books, The Plunket Society, Helen Clark’s red lipstick,
How you going?
kumara, give way, tramping, zipper tape,
An entrée is an appetizer and a main is an entrée. Cheers!

Adventure sports, outrageous fashions, a college turned into an art center
the moko on a woman’s chin, a paddle boat shaped like a tricycle,
on the street a guy in a bathrobe and shower cap promoting cereal,
the two-way car, a slide shaped like a dinosaur, two tired Dutch kayakers,
the young Spanish woman rolling cigarettes on the beach
I feel so old. No one will ever want me.
*According to Maori legend Hinemoa swam naked across Lake Rotorua to be with her lover.

Jon Wesick

Host of the Gelato Poetry Series, instigator of the San Diego Poetry Un-Slam, and an editor of the San Diego Poetry Annual, Jon Wesick has published over two hundred fifty poems in journals such as The New Orphic Review, Pearl, Pudding, and Slipstream. He has also published over fifty short stories. Jon has a Ph.D. in physics and is a longtime student of Buddhism and the martial arts. One of his poems won second place in the 2007 African American Writers and Artists contest.

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