Pork Chop Hill, by Jeffrey Paparoa Holman

– for Paula Harris, 1973-2023

found you too late

dead on a beach

no use now to say

how the fuck did we miss your voice

when you were full on here and breathing

when you knew stuff and said the stuff

that we all knew   forgot to call out

there was a place in Palmy

Pork Chop Hill

we went to in ’65 to see

those Mark One Zephyrs rock in the dark

two tone whip aerials white wall tyres

and dangerous

they dragged her into one

outside a dance hall

down to the river

four of them

then left her there

it was a famous case

the defence held up

her panties   she was

crying on the stand

they got jail time

she got life

paula harris told the truth


Licinius, by CK Stead

(remembering Kevin Ireland, 1933-2023)

Licinius, clubable as I was not,

Liked to play at forms but was indifferent

To Sappho’s syllabic count – preferring wine

                    And the company

Of those boozy Good Old Boys he met for lunch.

So when he died before me there were protests

To the Gods who had taken him too early

                    And left the sober

Catullus it seemed untouched.  But in his will

He left to his clever friend a self-portrait,

Himself in a yellow hat, asking only

                    That when my time came

I would bring him, wherever fate determined

Our ghosts might come to rest, my finest bottle

Of that Te Mata red favoured by his mates,

                    And my newest verse.

So good friend Licinius you call to me

Feelingly across the dark river of death

To say it was art you loved, and poetry

                    But not without wine.

Maggie Rainey-Smith and Steve Braunias wrote tributes to Paula Harris last week, and Janet Wilson wrote a portrait of her husband Kevin Ireland in November.

Jeffrey Paparoa Holman is a poet, historian and memoirist. His most recent work, Now When it Rains: a memoir, was published by Steele Roberts (Aotearoa) in 2018.

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