Monday, December 8, 2014

joy, part one...

 Hot, wet tears roll down my face. Tears of utter, complete joy.
Through the tears, I splutter:

"Why have you done all this, all these lovely, amazing things...? For me?"
In that wonderful, earth-stopping accent, she simply replies:

"Because you do it for everyone else."

She melts my heart (yet again), like the chocolate I am holding in my hands.
She gets inside me and finds places no one else ever has.
I find myself telling her things about me I have told no one. Ever. Why?
Not because I feel safe. But because for the first time in forty-six years, I feel completely comfortable being the real me
with another beautiful soul & human being.
No bullshit, no games, no ego, no bodyparts. Just me.

Why do I cry? Why do I tell her these things?
Simply because I (finally) feel I've met someone that might like to
get to know, share and enjoy the real me.
For one person at least, the Scorpio mask has
(finally) completely fallen away!!

Best. Present. Ever.

And certainly one of the best days ever
(in forty-six long-short years)...

The World Awaits. The World Begins.

(c) Brent Harpur, 1/12/2014.

"You only live once... But if you do it right, once is enough."
(Mae West)

Sunday, November 16, 2014

knights in distress...

Photo: (c) Lyn McKelvie 2014.

I'd really had enough
of this thing called love,
I wasn't looking.
I was saying a resounding
"No more to Amore!!" /

And then, when I least expected it,
there you were:
Bang bang banging
on my heart, my castle walls & door.

I've never really been that into princesses,
I prefer the strong women
who don't require rescuing
(I don't mind admitting in this clumsy, manly rhyme) /

But here's the truth
and it may surprise or even shock you:
The real men, the good (not "nice")
knights of this world...

...We're the ones
who need rescuing, from time to time.

(c) Brent M Harpur 2014.

“Fairy tales are more than true:
Not because they tell us that dragons exist,
but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten.” 
(Neil Gaiman, 'Coraline'.)

“Sleeping on a dragon's hoard
with greedy, dragonish thoughts in his heart,
he had become a dragon himself.”
(C.S. Lewis)

“If the sky could dream, it would dream of dragons.” 
(Ilona Andrews)

Friday, October 17, 2014


“And the day came
when the risk to remain
tight in a bud
was more painful
than the risk it took to blossom...” 

 (Anais Nin)

Monday, October 6, 2014

matching colours...

Photo: (c) Susan Harden, 2014.

" Quite unexpectedly, a week ago today,
I met a woman in a crowded room.
We shared a fleeting moment,
some precious words, laughter, smiles
and a hug goodbye.
The 'tyranny of distance'
prevents an immediate reunion.
But I just wanted her to
(somehow) know:
Our briefest of encounter
has stayed in my mind & heart
for the last seven days.
It was the best
(albeit shortest)
conversation & connection
I have had with a woman
for a very, very long time.
I just wanted her to know
that I'd really like to see her smile
again (one day soon)...
If courage, fate or geography allows. " 

(Written on the 24th June, 2014.)

(c) Brent M Harpur, 2014. 

Saturday, June 28, 2014

the decision I made...

It's true,
I could have stayed.

It wasn't easy,
but I stand by
the decision I made.

Yes, it's true,
I'm scared

(just like everyone else).

But I'm not afraid.

I never meant to 
hurt you, break your heart, make you cry.

If one day,
you meet another gentle (yet strong) man
such as I.

Try not to be so hard on him
if at times he's terribly shy.

At least you never insulted me
by calling me a nice guy.

I'm a good man, mostly
or (at the very least):
I try.

One part gentle man,
one part wasp,
one part butterfly.

It is hard to stay in touch,
remain friends;
When I'm not sure
if we were even
really friends to begin with.

(c) Brent M Harpur, 2014.
"When people talk, listen completely. Most people never listen." (Ernest Hemingway)

Sunday, May 18, 2014

icarus revisited (making the sirens blush)...

All that you have left behind,
family, friends, love.
Was it really worth the sacrifice?
Maybe it has come the time
to trade it all in
for a mid-life crisis.
If I were to
fall in love with a bird,
it would not be for
her feat of flying
or the pretty colour
on the underside of her wings.
These things will never
win me over half as much
as the bird
(who, just for me):
She sings.
For as many nights
that I've now missed her /
the stars,
they have given me
I have (once again)
third degree burns
in places she'll never
think to look
or even see.
And this wax, it makes me itch
and these feathers, they make me sneeze /
And you know, falling
kind of feels like flying,
and I'm enjoying the cool breeze.
Why, oh why, oh why?
Must I keep
(even now, especially now)
 these sunspots
  for angels?
I have forgotten
my sunhat, dark glasses & sunscreen.
And I still have not
learnt to swim.
But up here in the clouds,
I can finally see
the birds.
And even if I cannot conquer
these blue heavens
as gracefully & eloquently
as they,
I can still sing!
And as those
cool, inviting waves,
they race up to greet me;
My last bitter-sweet
will make
the Sirens blush
and a far-off Minotaur weep.
you know the ancient words,
ripped from
the feathered throats of birds...
"Curse & rejoice
this thing called love,
I am once again
left such a beautiful,
yet wretched mess /
We may not be lovers
or even friends,
but (like the fullest of moon)
I still loved you,
none the less."
And it needs repeating:
For as many nights
that I've now missed her /
these beautiful, beautiful stars,
they have given me
(c) Brent M Harpur, 2014.
"The stars we are given. The constellations we make." (Rebecca Solnit)
"For each star above me / Ten more have loved me." (Declan O'Rourke)

Thursday, May 15, 2014

looking for love amongst falling leaves...

This lone leaf
on the ground;
when it fell,
never made a sound.

Like all the other leaves,
no more (or less)

But to this
blurry, romantic eye,
make no mistake:
A lonely
yet perfect heart
it did make.

I only hope
that when it fell,
it did not break.

(c) Brent M Harpur, 2014.

"A man's work is nothing but this slow trek to discover, through the detours of art, those two or three great & simple images in whose presence his heart first opened. (Albert Camus)

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

a long way from home (for Jan)...

"Do you know what happens to scar tissue?
It's the strongest part of the skin."
(Michael R Mantell)

I held my breath,
you taught me how to breathe.
And when there's nothing left,
That's my cue to leave.

I held my breath,
you taught me how to breathe;
there's always something left,
That I now believe. (1993)

This morning,
after so much pain,
you have slipped away from this world.

Tonight, I read in a book
that scar tissue
the strongest part of the skin.

Turning out the light,
lying still in the dark
I wonder,

what of the heart?

In forty five short years,
this tiny, fragile heart of mine,
it is covered in so many scars.

Does this loss indeed
make me stronger?

Te Maunga (the mountain),
should Moana (the sea)
threaten once more

to swallow you up!!

I promise,
Jan Marie...
I will always remember you.

I woke this morning,
you're gone,
but the world still turns /

I take an extra breath (for you),
my dear.
Because even in death,
my dear:

Your fire still burns.

Our bodies,
they are merely cages.
And Moana, she still rages,

with perhaps a little less foam.

Memories can bind,
leaving us blind;

Tonight, in a cafe
a stranger, a Kiwi, reminds me:

I am a long way from home.

Through your touch, you touched so many.
You gave new meaning

Safe sex.

Sanctuary for so many healing souls.

The guilty shall be named.
The innocent unshamed.

I still remember your long, flowing hair,
orange flamed.

You took this broken man
and taught him how to dance.

This man I chose to be,
not an easy choice. Even now.

You got it, and more than that:
You appreciated it.
The biggest gift you ever gave me.
Thank you.

And here now,
far away, in a land of red soil,

I think of your long flowing hair still;

And how it now joins
the blood
pumping unseen
inside the very heart of Te Maunga.

So much I want to say,
but I have lost the words.
These are the only ones
that come to me
the morning I hear of your passing:

"And long after you have left,
the truth has remained...
That (even in death)

You could never be tamed."

Your big, pure, beautiful heart
and unfailing, safe arms,

they will remain for me
(and so many fortunate others):

A work of enduring beauty,
best left


In your lifetime, my dear...

You carried
heartache & pain
than a thousand men

could ever bear.

But I still hear your laughter,
and I will always see your face
in the face of Mt. Taranaki.

No one can ever
take that away from me.

Thank you for flying me home
for one last dance.

I am a long way from home.
I am a long way from home.
I am a long way from home.

I held my breath,
you taught me how to breathe:
There's always something left,
that I now believe.

(c) Brent Harpur, 2014.

- For Dr. Jan Marie, RIP.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Merida, 2013 / could you learn to trust a man...?


At eleven,
God he took my eyes.
And in return,
the Devil he gave me words /

I've secretly spent
three quarters of this life
(my dear):

(with limited success)
to decipher in fickle human tongue

the sacred,
secret song

of birds.


And tonight,
here in foreign land,

all I ask is for these
twenty-six scrambled letters
to glide
across deepest waters,

like tiny, fragile boats /

To fly,
 to soar

like birdsong's
final twilight rapture,

torn from unseen beak
and tired,
feathered throats.


Could you learn to trust a man
who cannot see the stars?

And could you learn again to love him
when he merely pretends
to see the constellations
you trace for him
with your fingertips?

And it could be true,
that once they have taken flight,
that he too cannot
see birds.

But together,
you have seen (up close in a tiny boat)
the flamingoes.

And you (both)
now know their secret,
it was always simpler than you think /

Their feathers, when mere feet away
are much more orange

than they were ever pink.


Last night, in dream
a man from Progresso Beach
he visits me again.

His message,
the same as before:

"The hand that gives is never empty."

I awake with a start /

the hand that gives is never empty.
But what can be said...

For a giving heart?

(c) Brent M Harpur, 2014.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Times Square, 2013...

Photo (c) Amy Hoogenboom, 2013.

And I
am finally here,

in Times Square,

my dear!!

The angels,
they have dirty faces
and empty pockets,

and they can't always afford to tip.

And it is true:
You cannot always see their wings
in the neon glare of Broadway.

Even in daylight, it has a knack of
seeping into your very soul,
cracking you open
from the inside out,
setting your eyeballs on fire.

They sometimes find it hard 
taking flight,
those dirty-faced angels,

'cause all those damn tourists
never look where they're walking!!

I must learn to get into the flow,
the natural Big Apple rhythm...
Within moments,
I learn to eyeball people, 

even though I can't see their eyeballs.

I learnt this technique
many years before;
when crossing busy roads,

pretending to see drivers 
behind the steering wheels & the windscreens
of their high speed, moving metal boxes.  

In the bustle of a New York street,
when all the ants just want to get home
to their nest, to their loved ones...

Send out this psychic message:

"Get out of the way!!"

Sure enough,
like Moses parting a human Red Sea,
thinking you can see them
(and are not prepared to move)

they will get out of your way.

But in the bustle,
look a little closer.

Deep inside the eyes
of the masses
and the occasional 
angel's dirty face,

you will see something more.

Frank, but friendly.

Starlight amongst the neon,
diamonds in these dirty streets.

More than that,
something familiar.

A symbiosis 
between city and human.
One lending itself to the other.

A mutual inspiration & respect,
urban & human,
tarmac & heart.

Is this the fire that
Lou, Andy, John & Keith all learnt
to control,

to hold boldly in their hands
and fashion into wings

of art,
of music,
of words?

Such a big place,
but so much slower than you ever expect.

And nothing,

nothing can quite prepare you
(not even forty-five years of popular culture)...

For so, so much heart,
so much dignity
and generosity...

...all of it hiding (if only you look)
amongst the shimmering neon
or in the smile of a Diner waitress.

I am finally here.
And dreams do come true,

if you have the patience to
work hard & wait half a lifetime or more for them.

Nearly twenty five years...

Was it worth the wait?


And I am finally here,

here in Times Square,
my dear!!

In my mind I write you a postcard...

Wish you were here.

If I close my eyes,
I am right back there again...
From out of the window of my speeding Courtesy Car,
I can still see that first heart-stopping glimpse
of the Empire State & Chrysler Buildings
aglow on the Big Apple late-night horizon.
The car stereo is screaming.
The Who's "Won't Get Fooled Again" fills my ears.
I am here! This is it!! I am so alive!!!
And I will never, ever be the same again.

(c) Brent M Harpur, 2014.

-For A & R and Lou Reed.

Perhaps, when we find ourselves wanting everything, it is because we are dangerously close to wanting nothing." (Sylvia Plath)

"There's some magic in everything. And some loss to even things out." (Lou Reed)

"It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end." (Ernest Hemingway)