Image by Jan Kemp

Shell Work

Shell Work

After the postcard setting of Barceloneta,
snug as a pub quiz in Camden Town.
If the beret fits wear it in Bilbao
style. Titanium. Calcium constructs.

Mobile home, mobile telephone.
All femmes flaneuse must have
come to rest among mosaic
courtyards, fountainous greens.

Passiflora crawling with slugs’
mazy tinselled moonlight trails.
Or retreating to the email
plastic mouse, the proud house cat

and cultivating scruffy buddleias
encrusted in cruising snails.
No wonder Dali found tender
their horned outstretched flesh

antennae among tendrils.
The succulence of squid soaked
in its own ink. Suction. Secretion.
Rainy lights. The steamy taxi.


‘Shell Work’, uncollected, first published in the Aotearoa New Zealand Poetry Sound Archive, © Briar Wood 2004, used by permission of the author. Recording from the Aotearoa New Zealand Poetry Sound Archive 2004.

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