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the cellar door

Found On A Backpackers’ Wall

Contents Found On A Backpackers’ Wall . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 Hello, I Love You . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 Andy T Coombs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6

We came here on Saturday We’ve done everything We’ve seen everything Now we are broke And the fucking photos didn’t come out

The Computational Method. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 And The Playgrounds Were Dangerous . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 My Slow Perception . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13

Heather Elder

We Met On The Sofa . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 Old Meg . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16 In The Eyes In The Backs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17 Mars . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18 Leaving By Bicycle . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19 Johnny Scape’s School of Spoken Word . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20 On Universal Drive . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22 Searching for Memories . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23

All art direction, editing and production performed by Aaron Burr and Stephen Horner under the trading name Oxygen Design and Production in collaboration with contributors. All poetry licences are held by their respective authors. The contents of this magazine may not be reproduced in whole or in part without written permission from it’s creators. Opinions expressed in Word are not necessarily those of the creators and Oxygen Design and Production take no responsibility for these views. © 2006 Oxygen Design and Production.

Hello, I Love You

It’s been a busy few months but it’s finally here in your hands. The first issue of Word, the magazine where poetry collides with design for the people of Wellington.

To Dan, Harry and Jamie, cheers for all the input, creative passion and making spoken word relevant to the people. Likewise to Craig; keep on howling.

We started the project without any real idea of the Wellington poetry scene. When we started to look for poets we were pleasantly surprised to find a thriving community with a variety of styles and a diverse range of events. Never before have we had the opportunity to meet such an interesting group of people with so much talent.

We wouldn’t have been able to reach anywhere near as many poets as we did without the help of Bridie, so a big thanks goes out to you. Poetry oetry oetry yo. All the great photography we owe to Chester who made our Sunday shoots regardless of how hung-over he was; cheers man. If you would like to learn more about any of the events, poets or Word magazine, please email us at If anyone missed out on a copy check out our website for the PDF version. Now it’s time to stop reading our amateur editorial and turn the pages for the real talent. Love you all long time!

There are so many people to thank it’s hard to know where to begin. A big thank you to all the contributors for sending us their fantastic work. The project would have been impossible (obviously!) without your talent to inspire us. A special thanks to Andy for being right behind us from the beginning and keeping the urban grit in poetry. Send the balls to the wall for all of us.

Aaron and Steve

Its been a while since I did this. I’d forgotten the nervous, liberating pleasure of being completely naked. I feel every murmur of breath, every toe twitch, as you do mine. In the midnight darkness, the ice breaks with first caresses. With gentle fingers and soft whispers, we discover each other. Questions about tomorrow, on reflection tomorrow’s concern. So all the walls

courtesy of foolish youth and excess alcohol. Strangely comfortable you within my space, an I within yours. Make believe true love, sworn in the a.m. hours. Bring on the perfect imperfect Friday night romance. 

Andy T. Coombs

Word took the opportunity to hear from the talented, opinionated and outspoken Andy T. Coombs, aka The Dirty Pirate. Oh, and put him in a fridge...

Why and when did you start writing poetry?


“Contrary to what many people will tell you, I don’t actually like the sound of my own voice very much. I reckon I sound like a demented, chemically addled antipodean muppet. It would be way cooler to sound like Sean Connery. All you overseas types are more than welcome to laugh at my hilarious accent.” 

When do you write the most? Usually when I’m half cut and not distracted. I’m not one of those ultra disciplined writers who forces themselves to churn out x amount of words a day and I don’t set any goals as such. It’s more like some sort of OCD. Once and a while inspiration/being fucking sick of human company strikes me and I’ll come out with a load of fresh stuff.

It was some years ago. I only started writing poetry in a cynical and ultimately futile attempt to get into someone’s pants. Before that I was largely a teller of tales and actually harboured a great deal of contempt towards poets and poetry in general. But after the dust had settled, I found that I wasn’t actually too bad at it and kept going. I’d like to be able to say I was suddenly struck by divine inspiration whilst walking through native bush, but unfortunately that’s just not the case. It was all of a very sordid origin. 

What are common sources of inspiration for you? I tend to be motivated by what many would see as negative emotions. My stuff is born from anger and frustration. I’m the sort who keeps a shield up, and part of that is scrawling down a whole lot of vitriol with a clenched fist and grinding teeth. It’s either that or break stuff, and you can’t be arrested in this country for giving the fingers in literary form. Yet. Give ‘em time though and I’ll probably be one of the first to be sent to re-education camp.

“There will be no vibrant pohutakawas, no drooping ferns and no calls of the tui unless I find a dead one in the gutter.” How has your background influenced your poetry? A great deal. I’m a snotty, boozy, urbanised punkish creature who says fuck a lot. So you’re not going to get stuff evoking idyllic walks through the bush. There will be no vibrant pohutakawas, no drooping ferns and no calls of the tui unless I find a dead one in the gutter.


My environment consists of roads, pissy alleyways and dingey bars, empty bottles and overflowing ashtrays. Therefore my work reflects that. It’s largely short, sharp and nasty, and that’s pretty much the way I view my surroundings. But that said, it’s all fun and games ‘til somebody loses an eye. 

The Computational Method

Word hears from Chris Else just how he invented this intriguingly fresh poetry form.


When you are writing a book, expect method into practice and write a poem or the unexpected. Storylines can take off two. So I tried and surprisingly it worked. in unforeseen directions. Characters can Well, it kind of worked. It produced develop traits or engage in seemingly trivial something that I thought was interesting and innocent actions that have surprising and provocative and not really like anything consequences. My latest novel is a case I was familiar with. 10110101101010101011010101001010110101010101011001110111010110101010101010101010101010101110101101010100101010101011010101010110101010101010101011010101110101010110101010101011010101010101010101010101010101000101010101010101101101010101011011101011010111101010110101001010110101010 in point. So, for a while, I abandoned the novel Kit Wallace, the main character, is a and started writing these poems. As I did disaffected kiwi who has run away to so I began to realise that the pieces I was a South Pacific island to escape his creating bore some similarity to the sort past. For a long while, working through of thing a computer might produce if it several drafts, I struggled to get the right had any imagination. Soon it seemed as mix of idealism and cynicism that I felt if the poems were being written by such a he needed. I tried making him a failed computer. I called it Sisyphus 2000 and I philosophy lecturer but that didn’t work. began to think of the process of creation as Then, I thought maybe he should be the Computational Method. The queen of can’t you love flowers making a living out of writing erotic books The theory of computation is not only has an extensive can’t you tell. (pornography, if you prefer). That didn’t the basis for most modern information I love you to say literature, can’t you tell? work either. Finally, I decided he should technology, it is also the latest fashionable Devoted to its love you say to culture be a poet. theory about how the mind works or, at and to those I love, can’t you tell who are here? Not an ordinary poet, of course. Not least, how the lumps of meat in our heads I wish to say, can’t you tell? someone who produces moving or come to perform the mental functions I love you to say roses. perceptive accounts of their personal they perform. The poems exist in this kind I love you to perfection, can’t you tell? experience. I wanted Kit’s poetry to be of intellectual space. Some of them seem They are here to say I love you. a little weird and sharp edged and not to suggest a limited but sensitive human Can’t you tell they are advised to invest in love? necessarily fully comprehensible. So I being struggling against the strictures of You are a complete guide to can’t you tell. invented a literary theory that resulted in a a rational system. Others seem to stretch I love you to say the can’t you tell method of composition that spliced bits of the limits of language and hint at thinks text together. This seemed to fit reasonably beyond ordinary expression. In addition, I well with Kit’s mindset but it had a curious don’t feel I’ve written them in the ordinary See more of Chris’ poetry at under the heading Songs of Sisyphus. If you consequence. I realised eventually that I way. All I’ve done is set them up and let want to know more about the method, you can look it up in the book Black Earth/White Bones wasn’t just going to get away with creating a them happen. due out February next year from Random House. theory. I was also going to have to put the Chris Else

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My Slow Perception I took one step from the car. I looked a moment at the church which stood before me. I said, “Mother, the church is another colour” She looked at me and said, “It’s been that way for six months now”. I looked at her. I looked at the church. My mouth inched a little lower. She looked at me and shook her head.

Rachel Bellam



We Met On The Sofa Oliver Driscoll

this is called today I saw an ocean dead with fish peering through the cracks in the street creaking and whaling octopus caught deep down in the thick of my mouth in displaced fluid moans this is something I have seen many times before but im still yet to understand. we lie here together with only the suburbs between us my breath barely reaching her thigh, my lyric barely reaching her ear to nestle and bury themselves in silence, as transparent and voiceless as shadow we met on the sofa, with the breath of intention poetry falling from the flat of her face gathering in constant missed glimpses on the round of her neck before falling outwardly and distinct congealing in the clumps of my ears resonating, passing out in moans tick blubbering from the ground blurring the world around I’ll see you here on Saturday her voice as clear as shadow as she falls towards sun draped upon the grime of her neck to nobody else is listening to her chant leg raw rose sing taste want oil urge her across the belly fondle 14

all quiet nights have been followed by this dredging in recent months we’ve just come to see it as company my household has been gathering birds with no intention to sell my hands have been gathering the types of nails you find in the under side of tables our neighbours peer through our windows to keep a tab of our use of ordinary daily articles such as food, spare time and we’ve just come to see it as company the hollow in my memory once again crystalises with bruise the icy snaps ringing with the familiar throb I have already seen the last of may I inhabit your floor, your sleep, your groin do I own the ceiling that only you have imagined I soaked my mattress in milk to see if I could fly I ground my toes to blood to see if I could fall we lay in distant regions with only the sheets between us our movements, restlessness tangling our familiar limbs weaving do we realise that our movements weave more than our limbs but every joint softened, made known these slumbered movements binding black faced lovers winding unwind, untangle to sleep alone share the room with telephone start something new lounged paradise to the knocking on the door as we wheeled him to and fro in murmur of our own awkward disappearance


Old Meg In The Eyes In The Backs

Old Meg did nothing but lie on the front porch in the midday sun, until Old Meg got taken down the road. The porch looked really big And the midday sun Looked everywhere.

in the eyes in the backs of those birds and of petals and of rose-hip The hip of my mother she carry me naked I, blooming before her She sings in the garden In the eyes of her back are laughing and the dirt at the edge of my lip she sings in the garden as the eyes in her back watch me blossom

Emily Peters Bridie Laffey



Leaving By Bicycle

Mars This one time you and I we built a spaceship and went to Mars.

Less a passenger than a package

You designed it on thick artistâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s paper and I painted butterflies and lovehearts on its silver sides in the purple acryllics I used to use in art class.

on the back of your downhill bike I think I had forgot exhilaration, then a thought rushes in: free means giving in.

Mars was red and dusty. We ate our cheese sandwiches on a rock near our spaceship and I talked a lot about how Mars was the god of war in Ancient Roman times and how Mars the planet is red and how this Means Something.

Unwrapped, present, (I will not say wind, you blocked all ruffling) I am tilt and balance equally long-legged as you are fast I am perched like a bird with knees and the ability

Sandwiches finished we balled up the gladwrap put it safely in your spacesuit pocket and flew back home to Earth.

to smile my hands in your pinstriped pockets fly us into town

Joan Fleming

Aimee McNaughton 18


Johnny Scape’s School of Spoken Word Word caught up with Jamie Waugh of Johnny Scape’s to find out exactly what he, Dan and Harry are all about.

Poetry’s origins are as a spoken art form rather than a written. In recent times poetry has become increasingly confined to the written form, and if it is read aloud it has lost a lot of meaning for your average person. The idea of Johnny Scape’s is to provide a venue for poetry to escape from books, and once again become meaningful, relevant and entertaining. Slam is designed to give poets a way of really connecting with their audience and receive feedback. A great poet will give audience members the power to become part of each poem’s presence, they will feel the poem, be moved to think or act; in this way the poet is able to breakdown the barriers between poet/performer, critic and audience. The point of slam is to challenge the authority of anyone who pretends to know absolutely what literary quality is.

As far as the poetry scene is concerned in Wellington it seems to be growing quickly. The Word collective have been around for a long time and continue to run great open mic events, including Howltearoa. There are also plenty of open mic events popping up around the region which provide poets and spoken word artists a great chance to practice performing their poems before possibly competing in a slam to see what an audience really thinks! The result of this growth seems to be that more people are writing and performing poetry and the standard of poetry and performance is increasing hugely from month to month. Johnny Scape’s is the only regular slam in Wellington , and seems to be becoming the place for poets to really put their skills to the test. Jamie Waugh


I was inspired to start the events after competing in slams across the US. On returning to New Zealand I convinced Dan Charles and Harry Silver to get involved. The three of us had been friends for sometime and have collaborated on a number of creative projects from clothing design and manufacture to producing short films and documentaries. They bring a love of all human creation artistic or otherwise to Johnny Scape’s. Jonathan Edward Scape personifies many of the beliefs reflected in slam poetry. Human passion, freedom of creativity, self-expression, fun and living life in general. I met Mr Scape on a recent trip to the United States. He is the kind of guy who is just so thrilled to be living life, and being privileged enough to be able to be a part of the beauty that surrounds us; he was a real inspiration to me so we named the event after him. 20


On Universal Drive On Universal Drive, the world slams to a halt; Birds fall out of the sky and land, limp, on the tarmac. For all that has gone before I kiss you quietly on the mouth, close the car door, and begin running.

Heather Elder

Searching For Memories Searching for memories To put inside a box No matter what I do I can’t seem to fill it to the top. I don’t have much to remember Not much that I want. If my memories are there Usually they are bad Memories I wish I’d never had.

Sarah Scoullar



Advertisements have them chasing depression. Th cars great war is a and spiri clothes, working The great jobs they hatewar. depression so they is ou can buy shit they We were don’t need. lives. raised by We telev are the middle believe that children of to be history, with no purpose or millionaires an place. movie gods and Werock have no great war, or stars great but we won’t.

’m sorry... you met me at a very trange ime in my ife. 24

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