Songs from Pollen Island


‘King Tide’ by Dean Buchanan

The Tranz New Zealand panzers lay waste to the mangroves 

In an already throttled harbour

In the mangled remains

A heron two pukeko wander through their decimated village

Two crew from the tiger 

Clang and probe at their muddied tracks for jammed rocks 

With long metal bars

The roar of the machines

The violet haze 

The scent of diesel 

The shout of orders

Goodbye Pollen Island.

© Copyright 2015, Dean Buchanan.

Dean gave up alcohol. He painted. He cycled, he walked the bush trails of the Waitakeres, he climbed mountains. He painted. The same punishing regime of work and exercise is maintained today, up well before dawn, painting in his studio down the bush path from his house, cycling, climbing, and always more painting. Dean has found his unique voice, his unique vision of the world around him and now as ever he seeks only to paint it.    


I’m Glad You Are Still Here


Thoughts of suicidal ideation can creep in to our minds at any time, unexpectedly or repeatedly.  For those of us who have listened and let those thoughts amplify, know that “this too shall pass”, and seek help personally and professionally before it’s too late.

My rule of thumb is to seek help before these thoughts start to lead you astray. It’s never a wise decision to make any decision in business, love or life when we are feeling emotional, distressed, angry or hopeless.

Here is my list of things to think about, to distract you long enough to figure out how you can move forward and heal whatever is hurting you and seek help. Don’t let suicidal ideation become another suicide statistic.

●Talk to a friend,
●ring an anonymous help line,
●talk to your preferred doctor
●join a community group,
●go to church,
●write a poem,
●write a story,
●write a blog,
●write affirmations to yourself
●see a therapist,
●draw a picture,
●go for a walk,
●make a garden,
●join a community garden,
●move your furniture around,
●bake a cake,
●play the drums or guitar,
●write a song,
●listen to music
●ring a friend you haven’t spoken to for ages
●visit a friend or relative

The list is endless really. Feel free to add what helps you move through difficult times in the comments below and I will add them here.

The important thing to remember is that you are not alone, even when your thoughts are trying to convince you otherwise. You are loved, liked, wanted and needed.

I’m glad you are still here. I’m sad for those we know and love who are not here with us today. I’m sad for their friends, families and professionals who will remember them always, still loving them.

I prefer to ‘write to heal’ as do many of my friends who struggle with mental health at times. You don’t have to be a ‘writer’ or an ‘artist’, the important thing is to express what it is you are feeling and heal, bit by bit, piece by piece and live.


Jodine Derena Butler
Head Lines NZ

© Copyright 2015, Jodine Derena Butler.  All Rights Reserved

Lilith & the Incubus


Photographer: Ange Harper
Photo used with permission

Here we go again
for those of you sick
of this shit – Karma

Happiness, eludes me
over-analyzing everything
searching for that choice to make

Looking to purpose choose life
simplicity a complex solution
blind, numb, lost & forgotten

My brain hard-wired my eyes shut
Persistent Depressive Disorder
convincingly sees only what was

Nothing gets any better
I’ve never known anything different
happiness is Far Far Away, folklore

Farther apart I age, no wiser
life flashes before my eyes, wasted
it’s a miracle I have survived thus far

I may as well be dead
it’s like I’m dead
I feel dead

Burdons not just my own; contagion
leaching into every soul I touch,
Incubus fornicate in my sleeplessness

Pervasive nightmares & thoughts
leave little light – my aura
hedonism postulating pleasure

Shit shows on at 4am

Doom & disaster, spiritituality
leper colonies shun; shamed
beyond toxicity

I am cursed
so is everyone in it
locked up for my own safety

Unlike Lilith

© Copyright 2015, Jodine Derena Butler.  All Rights Reserved

I wrote this recently because I feel like crap. Another bout of reactive depression has made its presence felt. I am doing everything I can to work it through. It’s hard but achievable, as I have proven to myself over and over. The last time, ten years ago. So, I am writing to heal again. This too shall pass. Jx

Rib Raft


In a way the nothing is worse than the thing,

the lack more frightening than the event.

Float like a boat, my son said.

He knew about the raft before the quakes,

learned the knack in China

making Disneyland,

creating concrete mountains beside real trees

and concrete trees outside real buildings.

Float like a boat, he said,

and it does.

In the old, the end he built was the safe place

while the elderly front rocked and buckled;

rising, falling, tilting till it broke

like a boat.

Not afloat but beached

on a reef

broken in the middle.

Every quake another moment of terror,

the noise heralding the movement,


sending Nigel Latta’s monkeys up the tree,

pails ready.

Anxiety levels rising,

breath held till it’s over.

But the new is different,

A new house,

rib raft foundation.

Floats like a boat, they said,

and it does.

But not a boat on the high seas,

more a punt on a gentle pond.

Still the noise

wakes the monkeys,

pails ready.

But nothing.

No shake, no movement.

The house is still

and, in that stillness,

not reassuring,

not safe,

but somehow more frightening

as the inevitable

is not.

Copyright © 2014 J.L. O’Rourke

This poem is my response to my on-going post-quake anxiety attacks. Every aftershock created for many an instant panic attack, which Nigel Latta explained beautifully as monkeys running up a tree, so every time the house shook, even from buses driving past, the panic would be instant but followed by a let-down as the shaking stopped. But when our house was rebuilt on its special ribraft foundations, I discovered that the anxiety was strangely heightened as the noise of the aftershock came but the shaking didn’t happen – so there was no way to end the experience – the waiting for the final bit remained unresolved.

A Quiet Reality


Photographer: Diamond Luisant

In neither giant nor elf’s disguise,
the man in the mirror hopes to be,
humble as his prize being free,

From all those destructive
stigmatic psychiatric patient lies,

Standing firmly on each feet,
as free as the birds in the tree.

What more can a man hope for,
coping with
fetters of mental illness,
stress and anxiety;

Except peace,
calm and stillness,
          a quiet reality.

Copyright © 2015, Steve.Brother-Majik

Steve.Brother-Majik suffers from schizotypal personality disorder and is a self employed signwriter with a low power fm radio station ‘Radio Wild-Card’ and owns his own home in Wanganui East, Whanganui



Scratching the terrors that don’t exist
Sobbing eyes on unscarred wrist
Wanting to scream, the voice unspoken
My inner self feels constantly broken

My smile hides the tears
My laughter shields my fears
I am surrounded in a locked steel box, and the other side of me won’t let you have the keys

I don’t disappear to get away from you
I disappear to get away from myself
Then find myself needing you more
But hate the thought of not being alone

I am the perfect “clown”
I paint on my face
What I expect you to want

Copyright © 2015, careyjane. All rights Reserved

Carey is a depressed & anxious normal 40 something.  Slowly seeing the rainbow after many years of seeing only clouds.

For Mum


It’s been 26 years since I saw you last
The time has slipped away so fast
Since I held your hand, kissed your head
Nursed you while you lay in bed.

Those are the days I try to forget
Instead focus on the time we had left
The memories we’d created in time
In the 16 short years that you were mine.

The beautiful lady who was my Mum
Who taught me what was right from wrong
Giving me all the tools I’d need
To live my life the best it could be.

Part of you continues to grow
In my gorgeous boys that you will never know
Who you will never get to touch or hold
Instead they hear my stories told –

“Your beautiful Grandma she loved to shine
She made me laugh so hard at times
That cheeky grin, those twinkling eyes
She was the light in darkest times”.

I never thought I would make this day
The age you were when you were taken away
But I don’t fear death, as when my time comes 
We’ll be together again, me and my Mum.

Copyright © 2015 Tracey Huaut

I am originally from NZ, born in 1973 and grew up there until I left in 2004 to do my “Big O.E.” in the UK.  I lived there for 10 years before settling in Australia on the Gold Coast.  As you will read from my poem, I lost my mum (to cancer) when I was only 16.  I have battled with depression throughout life for obvious reasons, and also after I had both my babies.  I find I only write poetry at times when I am sad or feeling down, as it lets me express myself better and get those thoughts out of my head and onto paper.  Every year I write a poem for mum on the anniversary of her death and above is this year’s poem.  This will be the first time I have applied to have my poetry published. I have written hundreds of poems over the years…

A Night of Conflict


Photographer: Barbora Biñocovà
Photo used with permission

a night of conflict

and i know that’s what i seem to
desire as a pyramid to tutankhamen’s
eyes lined with kohl and coal covered
fingers cupping flame to ceiling asking
asking what all those symbols mean
when everything can be taken
out of context and eventualities
which never quite eventuate
how you will it
to be

and i sold my palms
to the closest fortune-teller
willing me empresses and rivers
and rabbit-holes into my wonderland
where conversation is a silent motionless
enterprise of saffron and silk and
rustling curvatures implying
bodies dancing and living and laughing
and searching for the next
little thing

and i on the mezzanine and i
in a hallway circumventing solutions
mapped out by cartesian thinkers and notes
of endless misconceptions
given salt and pepper
to taste

i want all of this to crumble
for hieroglyphics to bathe in
green currents green melodies
in silver solutions
inseeming and insoluble
inscrutable and enchanting

Copyright © 2015 Jason Morales

Jason is a Kiwi Filipino.  Slightly conflicted.  Slightly frazzled with life yet likes going for moonlight runs in his boxers sometimes.

The Midnight Sun


Photographer: Teira Naahi
Photo used with permission

A frightening amount of random words
Equaled only by a total lack of expression
The one hundred thousand impossibilities tackled before dawn
Leaving another empty day wanting

Wooden chairs
Blank canvas
A committee in revolt
Plastic forks

I had thought upon the days end that great progress had been made
Three of the nine had agreed to not speak such senseless things
While the remaining six called for all the mirrors to be removed

No hair
Nicotine habitat

Then the memory returned that progress comes from work completed

So to task I take this sleepless night and again the impossibilities tackled
And again the morrow will stand empty
Frustratingly familiar breeding contempt
But we have raged for the last time
There is nothing in our eyes
Yet there is something in the air.

Copyright © 2015, Clayton Taylor-Nelson aka Teira Naahi

Clayton Taylor-Nelson aka Teira Naahi was born in Auckland New Zealand. He is no stranger to Mental Health. Teira was inadvertently institutionalized in an Australian psyche hospital for children, at the age of 8, and released at the age of 14 then returned to NZ on his own. Drawing from multiple art disciplines to find new solutions and expressions for life’s complex situations, Teira has spent over 25 years producing art, music and poetry as a means of exploring and coping with mental health under the banner of “Rewiring The Self Through Art!”.

Call for New Zealand Poetry Submissions

Artist: Nazzquipit “Manual/Digital Artist”
Image used with permission

For all you wonderful Kiwi poets out there, (living oversea’s too) I’m taking new poetry submissions now.

For first time contributors, find out how here.

For returning poets, you do not need to re-submit your Bio or Contributors Note but please check the Contributors Page in case your bio needs updating.

I’m sure you have all been poeting throughout the years. We’d love to read your work! Jx