Sunday, January 30, 2011

avocado & goat's cheese...

in much the same way
as honey,
it just naturally
goes with bees...

you complement my life
like toast with
& goat's cheese.

(c) Brent M Harpur, 2011.

"Heaven on Earth is a choice you must make, not a place you must find." (Dr. Wayne Dyer)

Saturday, January 29, 2011

second sight...

And my vision, its getting
a little worse
day by passing day :
and i'm getting a little freaked
that in this
sighted world
i might just lose my way. 

But in this blurry space
i now inhabit,
i might just get a little peace
and seeing back :
every time i can make
someone else's night /
a little more bright...
& i'll feel
a little less lost
& more on track.

Just because
this borrowed / worn cornea
now struggles to see the 
stars & moon
and in the mornings,
a certain dancin' smile :
inside my head tonight /
they'll still burn as bright
as a 1,000 suns;
& light up my darkness,
for a while.

(c) Brent M Harpur, 2011.

"Had the price of looking been blindness, I would have looked." (Ralph Ellison)

Friday, January 28, 2011

when you pack up your life (transition / immigration)...

When you pack up your life,
leave everything and everyone
you hold dear
behind you
& migrate to another world:
You lose sight of your feet
& you no longer
have reference of the sky.
You regrow the eyes of a tourist,
the heart of an artist
and the words of a poet.
And finally,
in the arms / company
of a stranger,
(if you are very lucky)
you'll find
yourself home.

(c) Brent Harpur, 2011/2012.

A lot has happened in the last year or so... I have decided to re-visit this post &
re-dedicate it to my "Distant Favourite Muse"... xx


Tuesday, January 25, 2011


"brittle - a poem about childhood."

When I was a child,
being in love meant eating
my mother's vegetable soup
(even though I secretly hated it)...

But comfort always came
from knowing
that even the most
fierce of monsters
could be calmed by vanilla custard!

(c) Brent M Harpur, 2011.

"And the time will come when we will be stronger in all the places we are broken..." (hemmingway)

Sunday, January 23, 2011

little star...

Little star,
you shone brighter than most;
You took this skinny white piece of bread
& you made him toast.

I wanted to be the tonic,
the tonic in your gin;
But there were too many bloody lemons
always jumping in !!

(c) Brent M Harpur, 2011.

(Thanks, Bryan, for the great photos...)

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Teach this mute how to sing...

"Untitled." (c) Brent M Harpur, 2004.
(private collection)

"No bird soars too high,
  if he does so with his own wings."
  (William Blake)

Monday, January 17, 2011

Love Poem (pt. 1 & 2)

"Fool's In Love." (c) Brent M Harpur, 2005. (private collection)

Love Poem (Parts One & Two)

Part 1:
I thought she was crazy about me
but I only had it half right:
She was only crazy.

Part 2:
I lost my virginity once,
but I think it has found me again!!

(c)) Brent M Harpur, 2011.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Part one in a series of erotic poems for mermaids...

Erotic Poems for Mermaids (Pt. 1)

i. Inside my chest
away from view;
Lies the deepest sea
of sapphire blue...

ii. Take this mer-man king's hand
and steal his crown:
As our bodies entwine
in liquid lips I will drown !

iii. I taste the salt on your skin
And feel the rise of your tide,
I breathe water for air
As you take me inside !!

(c) Brent M Harpur, 2011.

"Where the sea is concerned I am an amateur.
For years I have gathered a sea-wisdom which does me little good since I set sail only on land."
(Pablo Neruda)

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

you need not do anything...

 (Brasilia, 2005.)

"You need not do anything.
 Remain sitting at your table and listen.
 You need not even listen, just wait.
 You need not even wait, just learn to be quiet, still and solitary.
 And the world will freely offer itself to you unmasked.
 It has no choice, it will roll in ecstasy at your feet."

 (Franz Kafka)

for Marz (part 2)

"A Purple Tattoo - For Marz." (Private Collection)
(c) Brent M Harpur, 2001 / 2011.

Monday, January 10, 2011

for Marz Cummings (1966-1999)

(Marz painting a mural for the City Council, Courtenay Place, Wellington (NZ), early in 1999.)


Long after you have gone it just has to be said;
I will continue to frame your smile
In a private exhibition inside my head.

Marz, it is a cliché I know,
But you really were a “work of art”:
I will hold you & frame you
And hang you in my heart.

And you have designed a purple tattoo just for me;
I will wear it proudly in a place no one else will ever see.

For you, I will continue to follow my heart
- I won’t be afraid to wear it upon my sleeve;
And when it comes time for you to part
Give me the strength to let you leave.

Often in these fragile times my friend
Our lives, they can imitate art;
& some things can unfairly end
Before they get a chance to start.

And this morning in the air
You painted a purple sunrise for everyone to see;
I will hide it in a place

That no one can ever take away from me.

I will paint to survive - I will paint to stay alive!!
And in these times that I grieve
My art will become the air that I breathe.

I will trade in all my superstitions
For a healthy dose of intuition.
I will miss you, hell! But I wish you well.

And you have designed a purple tattoo just for me;
I will wear it proudly in a place no one else will ever see.

I know I must let you go now
But I’ll never forget that grin you wore on your face,
During that really important lesson you gave me:
To always bring another bottle of red, just in case.

Yeah, long after you have gone,
again it just has to be said;
I will continue to frame your smile
In a private exhibition inside my head.

And you have designed a purple tattoo just for me;
I will wear it proudly in a place no one else will ever see.

- For Maru 'Marz' Cummings, in loving memory.

"The mind intoxicate with present objects, and the busy dance of things that pass away." (Wordsworth)

(c) Brent M Harpur, 1999 / 2011.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

King for a day

(i) and if this fool
were king for a day
he'd rewrite the book of love
& make it funny.

(ii) and he'd tilt the world
slightly on its fragile axis
so all those
blessed with poor eyesight
could see the stars.

(c) Brent M Harpur, 2011.

Friday, January 7, 2011

True Love

- For Jessica.

( Personally, ma'am... I blame the
rhubarb & ginger, vanilla yoghurt & chocolate mousse!! )
(c) Brent M Harpur, 2002 / 2010.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

All I have to offer

(St. James Station, Sydney)

All I have to offer
this world
is a genuine smile
and a gentle heart...
I hope (as I board this train
to the adventure that lies ahead)
that it is enough...

-Written one morning on the way to work at St Leonard's Tafe.

(c) Brent Harpur, 29 July 2010.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Distant Suns

"Distant Suns." (c)

Sometimes I pretend
that all the stars in the night sky
are really everyones' lit cigarettes...
and the one closest
to the moon
is you.
I remind myself that 
they are all
distant suns,
and that some are destined
to burn out
faster than others.

(c) Brent M Harpur, April 2009.

"We are all of us made of stars,
  human flesh is stardust."
  (Joni Mitchell)

FREE poetry compact disc

I am posting this to celebrate that I officially declare 2011 the "Year of My Inner Wordsmith" !! I have been writing and performing poetry now, since 1986 (I was only seventeen, when I first got up and spilled my words in front of a live audience, in a dark, smokey folk club in Newmarket, Auckland)... You do the math, it has been a while.
I believe in poetry and its ability to touch people and change their lives, and in the hundreds (thousands?) of times I have got up in public and shared my words (everywhere from Fringe Festival shows to friends' weddings or memorial services to dimly lit bars), I have always been humbled by the reactions (and emotions) I have received by doing this.
In 2004 I collaborated with a musician in Wellington, and together we produced 300 copies of a cd of my poetry ("Inner Constellations). We agreed to sell 150 cds each. And ever since (completely without my permission) he has continued to sell this collection of my words online. So if you like what you see here on my blog, and decide to Google me to see what else I have been up to, please DO NOT buy my cd !! I make absolutely NO income at all from this...
Instead, with the recent meeting of a fabulous copyright lawyer (and also last night watching an amazing film by Nina Paley - Sita Sings the Blues) I have decided to FREELY DISTRIBUTE my cd to anyone that would like a copy... Contact me now for more info, either via this blog or on my website...
PS Just for the record, posting this is one of the scariest and most liberating things I have done, in a literary and visual art career spanning over twenty years !!
THANK YOU: Jessica, Creative Commons, Nina Paley (Google her now!!), Lora Mountjoy AND the one and only Billy Bragg (who I saw perform three times in NZ between 1986 & 1988)...
Billy singlehandedly lit the 'performance fire' in me with his wonderful words, passion and political & romantic poet's heart !!

"There is no money in poetry... but then again there is no poetry in money either!"
  (Robert Graves)

Monday, January 3, 2011

Flight of the Birdmen

"Flight of the Birdmen. (we can articulate our shadows)" *
[for SophieTom & Charles Harpur]
Painting / poem: (c)Brent M Harpur, 2008.

 I created this painting (Flight of the Birdmen) in 2008, the same year I decided to move from my home in New Zealand to Sydney, Australia.
It is a celebration of my ancestor Charles Harpur finding his way from County Cork (in Southern Ireland) to Tasmania (Van Diemen's Land)... and starting a new life, home, family & career in a strange new locale at the bottom (top?) of the world.
It also references (in both the title & the self portrait figure) the Aoraki Birdmen, a Nghi Tahu (South Island Maori tribe) legend of creatures that were half man & half bird. Cave drawings of these creatures can be found in various parts of South Canterbury in NZ, and these are believed to be some of the oldest examples of indigenous art.
The birdman in this painting has paintbrush sticks helping hold on his wings. These are to represent how my art helps with transforming my courage & transcending "the tryanny of distance"...
(thanks, Tim Finn) And at the bottom of the painting is a self-penned love poem for the sea, that I wrote in the early 90's. The rocks on which the words are written are real rocks, lovingly selected & collected from a beach in my hometown of Timaru. I have been attaching pebbles, words and other sculptural elements to my paintings since 1999.


My one true love, the sea
She calls to me;
And ripped apart by the tides inside
Amongst her waves and spray
I confide.
Broken up and shipwrecked,
She spits me on her shore;
& like a piece of wood
She wears me down,
But still I'm wanting more.
(c) Brent M Harpur, 2011.

"When the mind is at sea, a new word provides a raft." (Goethe)

* This artwork is for sale. For more:

My Great Great Great (Great?) Grandfather...

Charles Harpur, Wordsmith (1813-1868)

Yesterday, the 1st of January 2011, I was returning with a friend from the Blue Mountains in New South Wales, to Sydney. Stopping in a tiny township by the name of Mount Victoria, we popped into a local cafe for all important coffee & cake, and noticed on the way out a secondhand bookshop.
Perusing the shelves, my friend delightedly found a copy of a play written by my Great, great great (great?) grandfather, poet and wordsmith Charles Harpur. We didn't buy it, but she quickly introduced me to the bookshop owner as his descendant. Upon leaving, I presented her (the proprietor) with a quickly hand-drawn cartoon, with the following poem by Charles scribbled on it: "This day I have left my office, and am again a free man; With the wide world as my oyster, which I'll open if I can."
In the tiny, beautiful moment that my friend showed me Charles' book, I felt I may have finally returned home...

"When art is young it slighteth nature, and when old, it loves her every feature!"
  (Charles Harpur)

(c) Brent M Harpur, 2011.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

In This Hurricane's Eye

Protect yourself from you, if you must.
But if I can offer one thing, let it be trust.
For reflected, I offer
in this hurricane's eye...
Is the solitary wing
of a loveworn butterfly.
- for JC.

(c) Brent M Harpur, 2011.