If, like me, you still retain an interest in aspects of the Nazi 1000 Year Reich which, thank God, lasted only 10, you may find this book as compelling as I did. ‘The Perfect Nazi’ by Martin P. Davidson tells the absolutely true story of one young German man who embraced Nazism and everything Adolf Hitler stood for, with extreme enthusiasm.
He progressed through the 1920’s and 1930’s to become an officer of middle rank in first the SA and later the SS. What makes this book special is that is written by the SS officers grandson, a Scotsman and senior executive of the BBC, who always knew his maternal grandfather was German but knew almost nothing of his frightful life.
Martin Davidson, the grandson, decided to find out, once and for all, about his now deceased grandfather. And so he did. With considerable research, delving into the records, films, diaries etc. covering that dreadful two and a half decades of violence, hysteria, rhetoric, dictatorship, fear and loathsome anti-Semitism, resulting in the so called Final Solution, the whole brief history of Nazi Germany is laid open in the life of this one man. It is a searingly honest attempt to discover what motivated and to some extent explained the attitudes and behaviour of a very typical family man and SS officer. It paints a compelling picture of how Hitler and his ludicrous – where they were not horrifyingly criminal – ideas seduced a generation, enabling those ideas to be put speedily and efficiently onto action.
The Perfect Nazi is a compelling read and perhaps an eye opener for the younger reader for whom Hitler and the Second World War are just history.
– Larry Gordon
‘The girl on the train’ by Paula Hawkins is suspense fiction that will keep you guessing til the end. Written in a similar style to ‘Gone Girl’, with flashbacks between past and present, the plotline was peppered with red herrings all the way through.
Rachel is a woman who spends her days travelling back and forth on the train, pretending to go to work, so that her landlady doesn’t discover that she is jobless. She spends her days in an alcoholic haze, trying to get over the loss of her marriage two years ago. Her only entertainment is imagining the lives of the people she sees from the train, and in particular, a couple she calls Jess and Jason. From her view into the back of the house, she has only ever witnessed loving exchanges until the day she see’s Jess kissing another man in the garden.
Soon after, Rachel reads in the newspaper that Megan (Jess) has been missing for a week, and her husband Scott (Jason) is distraught. She tells the police about the other man but he is dismissed as a suspect, so Rachel decides to investigate on her own. She worms her way into both men’s lives, only to discover that things are not what they seemed.
In the meantime, she is constantly plagued by alcoholic blackouts where she can’t remember what has happened. One of these occurred on the night that Megan disappeared, and Rachel knows that she witnessed something important but what? To complicate things, her ex-husband and his new wife (who live nearby Megan and Scott) are threatening to report her to the police for harassment, and she really doesn’t know what is real and what is imagined.
Throughout the novel, the author manipulates the reader’s emotions by constantly switching up points of view so that you aren’t quite sure who to root for – is Rachel a good person or not? Did she actually see something or not? You’ll have to read it to find out….
Yesterday, I flushed my mood
down the toilet and watched as ugly stains
diffused across ceramic.
They were slightly viscose and definitely not
what I’d wish to show my in-laws, or future boss,
or even myself.
I make a habit of this bathroom drama.
Every so often,
when the bile catches in my throat,
or my pleasant demeanor
becomes faintly pinched ;
or I hear my phone beep emails I am dreading,
or texts from dreary friends with little to do in their lives
but pester people doing less, I feel it:
feel my mood going slightly sour.
Just a faint whiff, mind you,
but that becomes compounded with a depressed compressor.
(Apparently something to do with a car,
but I know nothing about such things,
only that they cost more than my budget allows
and take a depressingly long time to fix
and I’m stuck with stick-shift gears that no one
who is not a hundred and two can possibly manage.)
Yes, I feel it,
that transient change
from gritty to grimy,
chirpy to cheerless.
I feel it first as a grey aura,
but I’m told grey is the new black, and if that is so,
its probably more of an unseemly pea green.
It’s nothing that anyone who is sensible can find convivial,
or even on the outer fringes of fashionable.
It becomes opaque,
thick enough to choke if I did not shake myself and tell myself sternly
that it is time for the toilet.
I’ve been flushing my moods for rather a long time, now.
It started with second hand cigarette fumes in my mother’s car.
I still see it, the remnants of forty cigs a day,
smashed and smoking in a tray of ash the size of a tiny fist. I
don’t think it was ever emptied, but it must have been,
because the next day another forty materialized,
to be battered deliberately into the grill,
just the stumps and the ash and hopeful embers.
of lucky-last smoke and tears in my eyes and my lungs.
My ears fare no better. Alternate orifices
for the smoke and the sourness,
latching on to the endless jingles
of the hissing radio,
stuck somewhere between two stations,
each more insanely boring
and intensely invasive than the next.
The adverts, so asinine,
used to slither into the cornerstones of my consciousness
and play games
up there, repeating themselves endlessly.
I am just a vacant vehicle.
until I get into the habit of firmly flushing
down the rose marble toilet.
Not nice, but nothing deposited there is nice,
so surely it serves as a respectable
receptacle for my thoughts?
I hate watching the last edges of slime on paper,
but when it’s gone,
the bowl is clean
and my mood is once more fresh.
© Hayley Solomon
The Potter Shapes the Clay
The potter shapes the clay
Firm hands moulding
Imbuing their creation
With raw imagination
The potter shapes the clay.
The painter shapes the colours
Turning hue into form
A blank space they transform
Sharing their unique view
With just yellow, red and blue
The painter shapes the colours.
The singer shapes the melody
Sweet voice soaring
Emotion from sound
The singer shapes the melody.
The poet shapes unreality
Lending subtle wonder
Tearing the mundane asunder
Speaking to the heart
Touching the soul through their art
The poet shapes unreality.
© Becky-Ellen Johnson
All summer we careened all over the island in clapped-out cars
down dusty caminos. Caught saffron sunsets at perilous addresses
Turn left at the gold boulder, follow the road til the hairpin corner
We’re the big villa over the cliffs – you’ll hear the drum n bass.
Curated chimeric outfits, violent lipstick, draped ourselves in scowls
swoons and cigarettes. Screamed todo verano, hierbas con hielo, Ibiza
Eivissa, I’ll be there, No hay de que! Jumped from the rocks into the
blue. Cocooned now in the nest of my only jersey, I grip the wheel, watch
wipers lance mucous rain. Reverse, First, Indicate, Away. Skirt
the gluey swap, skim the muslin-fogged coast, stall at the bay
where we skinny-dipped in the light of a cocktail tray moon. Some say
it could snow. My Fiat groans with neglect, scowls at winter beaches
below: a mess of Medusas, Men O War: the ocean’s ghosts
Keep driving, keep breathing, this was never your home.
© Annabel Wilson
The beach holds stories that are hidden,
In the footprints and trails that have once been in the sand,
Some forever held secret and forbidden,
A city born, if the owners, could claim back a bit of beach land.
A metropolis of sandcastles on the beach,
Aborigines, explorers, tourists and locals as dwellers,
Pristine sea views all within reach,
Those who live here are happy fellers.
For some it’s their first return in centuries or years,
For a few, they won’t be back and their time is done,
Coz memories cause them pain and tears,
Many come here often for the sheer joy and fun.
Those who tread the beach years before,
In bathing caps and knee length bathers,
Can scarcely believe they’re here once more,
Changes abound from modern day surfboards to lifesavers.
Sometimes the beach attracts high class heels and dressed up dolls,
However most beachgoers are egalitarian whom you meet,
With steps taken in tramping boots and cushioned soles,
But mainly in thongs and by unclad feet.
There are languages aplenty as the beachgoers talk,
Some cannot leave footprints in the sand,
They’re for the time disabled or sick and cannot walk,
It’s a city diverse in the guys and gals on the land.
The distant lights of cargo ships light the night sky,
An extra twinkle for lovers in their sandcastle bed,
Either shacked up for a night and their lives seem a lie,
Or true to one another and they are or may be wed.
Council Officers often screen and patrol the beach,
Enforce signs limiting activities and stating what’s off bounds,
They’ll be onto you if you don’t comply, like a ready leech,
Scavenging seagulls are preferred to unleashed hounds.
Nature rules the beach, with seabirds galore,
They chirp and cheep, squawk and squeak,
And can be hard to hear above the ocean’s roar,
As the waves pound, the loudest shrill pales to weak.
The tide comes in, there’s relentless wind and rain,
Except for fresh seabird steps, the footprints are washed away,
The beach is more akin to nature and sandcastles don’t remain,
But the beach is still on the minds of many, every single day.
© Sheryll Mitchell
Woman of the deep drawn
Breath, the long umbilical line
Nga Hau E Wha, STAND!
Your feathers and woven
coverings address you
Fetch your hair, Nga Hau E Wha
Those lustrous coils you cut as one
would cut wheat. My eye follows
their spiral ghosts inwards, marks
the intricate pattern at your shoulders
about your strong thighs
Your numerous children
honour you, Nga Hau E Wha
You taught them the stars
Your hands were their shelter
Woman of the deep drawn breathe
We dance the turning of the year
We are the babes left at your doorstep
Woman of the Four Winds
Nga Hau E Wha
© Jenny Dobson
Today, Friday 7 October 2016, I retire from the Eketahuna Library/Service Centre. I have thoroughly enjoyed the time I have spent working here, firstly relieving for the Service Centre and then job sharing for the combined Library/ Service Centre/ Money Exchange. Through my job I have got to mix with a great bunch of people, the customers coming in the door ( young and old), TDC staff and, on occasion, a great bunch of Librarians from the other Libraries in the Eastern and Central region. From my early days of making a cuppa and serving it to the Community Board members in bone china teacups, through painting dragons, fairies etc to decorate for the summer Reading programmes, to the more everyday matters of dog registrations and rates and pot holes in our metal road, the work has been varied and interesting.
I know that the time is right to retire but still have no doubt that I will miss you all. I will still frequent the Library and continue to live in Eketahuna so will still be in touch. Thanks and Goodbye.
– Janice Percy
Flying banana skin
Alternative title: ‘Dad, I just wanna say’
Why do you lie to me?
I know you know.
In fact, I know that you know that I know
But still you won’t budge,
Won’t give up the theatre,
This fully formed manikin of your offspring
That lives off an umbilical cord connected directly to your brain
Feeding solely off a diet of expectation and hope,
This being that you’ve made in your own image, who has grown with me,
Alongside me a Ghost twin, our paths never meeting,
Seldom crossing but only for a weekend in a hotel lobby in Arcadia.
He says “don’t worry, you’ll find a nice lady one day.”
But I know the “you” is for ‘I’ and the “worry” is his.
His voice trembles ever so slightly, the way it does when he tells a joke.
But he’s not telling a joke. The joke is a mask.
He knows. He knows, but it’s out of his control.
It scares him, because it’s out of his control.
He stumbles, he demands to be back in control, even if only to himself,
Even if the car has no driver, even though it has no engine,
Even if he’s wrong, even if it’s not his place.
“You will.” He words it as a statement.
He says it as a command. He’s in control,
If only to himself.
I am not what you expected,
When the nurse told you you were having a boy,
I am not what you expected.
Time and again I have defied your expectation. Rugby, rowing,
Agriculture, fighting, farm. Time and again,
And you showed your disappointment (even though
It was selfish of you, even though it wasn’t your place).
But not this time– Where is your disappointment?
Where is your no-nonsense rhetoric?
Where is your acknowledgement?
Or is acknowledgement of your disappointment the first step to its becoming reality?
And so you do not acknowledge it?
Is this going too far? Am I straying from ‘unexpected’ to ‘shameful’?
Why won’t you open your mouth?
(He doesn’t know it but I obsess over his words, and all I ask is for good words.)
He thinks Donald Trump would be a good president,
He supports Donald Trump.
We don’t always see eye-to-eye.
He doesn’t believe in white privilege,
He is happy when they employ a white man (not a Maori) on our farm.
We don’t always see eye-to-eye.
He thinks city people are living in a dream,
He is bored of the city.
We don’t always see eye-to-eye.
He is not like me, but we are similar.
We don’t always see eye-to-eye
But our eyes are the same.
Why won’t you?
Why won’t you acknowledge this? Why do you refuse, with silence, to validate my
Is this chunk too big to fit through the tiny holes in your sieve of expectation?
Why won’t you let it dissolve?
See, I don’t care about finding a nice lady, heck I don’t even care about finding a nice man.
I just need to be happy in myself, and I want you to be there
Cut the umbilical cord,
Let the manikin float off into dark space,
Move into this reality.
© Charlie Pearson
Rotating crush of the earths core
a grinding heat
rupturing the broken surface
escaping heat condenses
Preparing to soar
ever conjoining clouds
© Callile Bouzaid
THE BALLAD OF JACK DAILEY
They found him out-back, on an off-the-road track,
A man from the city it seemed.
A man so near death that they all held their breath,
Until the winged Doctor had been.
When the stranger came to he signed onto the crew,
Jack Dailey, he said, was his name.
Well the boss was short-handed, and set a high standard,
The station’s stud stock was it’s fame.
He’s a man of myst’ry, a man with no hist’ry,
A stranger from out of the blue.
Where he’s from, no one knows, and as you’d suppose,
To his real name they haven’t a clue.
Jack worked like one driven at each task he was given,
For loafing he had only scorn.
Then the work was all done, and the crew had some fun.
In the morning Jack Dailey was gone.
Then they heard word of Jack, on a place further back
But he’d moved on, and word spread about.
Where the work’s hard and tough, when the going gets rough
Jack’s sure to be there helping out.
Jack Dailey, Jack Dailey, never long in one place,
They all know your name, but so few know your face.
Jack Dailey, Jack Dailey, oh how will you end?
You court death and danger, a man with few friends.
A cow and new calf, held away from the mob
In a stockyard while branding was done
And the boss’s child laughed, reaching out for the calf.
The cow charged to save her young one.
A bright splash of colour caught Jack Dailey’s eye,
He saw the child’s peril and ran.
He vaulted the rails and he snatched up the boy,
And flung him safe to reaching hands.
He was a man of myst’ry, a man with no hist’ry,
A stranger from out of the blue,
But he made his name a bush by-word for game
Jack Dailey, we’ll not forget you.
© Gayle Cresswell
Law School at Night
I want to be trapped behind these windows.
Amongst forgotten records,
With the scars and memories
Of those gone before me.
Who lost the good fight
And paid in time.
I want the certainty of streetlights.
Surveying the hidden few,
Who’ve found the unspoken recipe
For subjugation of self-narrative,
In our forgotten paradise.
I want the top floor.
Where well-dressed predators
Consider jumping out the windows
Just to experience, the perfect view.
I want to be seduced,
With red wine, blue cheese
And white lies.
I want to witness the judges
Judge the witnesses.
I want my own clichés.
I want the scrutiny of many.
Who in search of potential
Plot the dreaded assimilation
Of my strengths and faults.
I want my faults
To live on the moisture of your tongue.
In your sinuses and sinews.
So you can taste what I speak.
In our banquet of shared experience.
Trapped behind these windows.
© Jordan Hamel
Hemi, saw your old mate Ihu the other day
been out in the community, deinstitutionalised and normalised
living with the fisher folk out in the bay
He had just walked over from Petone
Grinning up a dawn, restored, reconciled, returned
said he’d come to show the way
Had a korero with the dreadlocked bare-footed bishop
blessings all round – no miracles yet
played the guitar though (ao)
Fifty years on and nobody remembered him
‘cept the cops who were quick to check him out – tracking associates
Stopped his wine thing from going on in Midland Park
Even if he’d come back from Bolton Street
I don’t think the straights would know
who he is, was, and forever shall be
Giving out Redemption vouchers outside the Station
the suits kept their heads low and eyes averted
while those in need of hope and succour were drawn in
The clerks and cleaners, lost wives and priests
least, last, lost and alone
gathered in his sunshine
They followed him to the valley, on the No 7 bus
no donkey was available – green was in the air though
Plenty of mussels and paraoa to share that night
Shouting “I AM” as loud as a Colin McCahon
till noise control came and took him away – Disturbed the peace they said
“Guilty” he replied, “of disrupting the void”
Leaders, civic and the rest, wanted him gone
none of this ‘share the fruits of my labour’ stuff
“Give us Barbers” they cried – to keep the city hip
And so the cops and the wardens, the screws and the medics
all took their turn to prescribe their solutions
from their world view
“I am who I am” he said “My Will be done”
but the poor of Spirit still sat in the House
and the riches of the Kingdom went begging
“It is done” he said
and commended his Spirit – and the darkness returned
and the sun rested
© Frank McDade
The value of frank
and open discussion,
coupled with the value
of really listening
to each other
cannot be overemphasised
if we want to make progress.
So why then
do we ignore this?
© Ann Kidd
We are all sitting in
these creaky church
pews waiting for you
but you never came
in the way we wished
so we cried because
ignorance had really
been beautiful bliss.
Instead you arrived
in a wooden casket
with flowers on top
in colours you loved
and the sweet smell
of them soaking into
our rain drenched skin.
You wouldn’t have
wanted sunshine to
pretend like this day
was fine so I’m glad
the sky cried for you
and the winds wept
into the shoulders of
stars because you were
now so unbelievably far.
The newspapers said it
was a car crash that had
claimed your life but it
didn’t mention the strife
you had faced in the days
before sirens screamed at
the sight of bloody gore.
You were the boy that I
was meant to marry but
instead now I must watch
your brothers carry you
down the aisle all because
your car hit a tree and you
simply ceased to ever be.
Unruly brown hair and
that cheeky little stare
was what I first saw in
you and I tried my best
to help you from feeling
blue but at the end of the
day the devil wanted his
chance to play this game
and watch your life start
to slowly fade away in the
first light of yesterday.
It was obvious from the
start that the alcohol had
stolen your heart but we
never thought it would
be the last thing to keep
our souls forever apart.
Broken shards of glass
were found at the scene
and it was only a sign
of flattery for Jim Bean.
Gin and tonic used to
make you vomit but
it was clear there was
more at stake the night
you left my house with
a kiss goodbye and the
tattoo on your thigh
fresh and as darkened
as the evening sky.
Those last few months
had dissolved you into
the stranger I loved and
your parents had talked
in hushed voices to me
about how much you
drank and that you’d
not been at work for
days at a time and it
was absolutely not fine.
So we sat you down,
your parents and I to
ask you why you were
drinking like this and
was there something
amiss to make you feel
so alone that you found
comfort in the contents
of beer in an attempt to
counteract the fear?
But our concern was
pushed aside and you
were adamant that there
was nothing to hide yet
it seemed like you were
always hitching a ride to
the pub and then some
sleazy club just for the
shots that made the blood
in your veins feel hot.
We had fought over it all
and you knew I would just
leave if you continued to
fall into the bottle of a
demonic beer glass.
You didn’t think I was
being too harsh but you
cried and lied saying you
would get clean now so
I could lean on you but
none of it was to be true
because it was the very
next day that I lost you.
So that is why I sit at
a creaky old pew in
amongst family who
loved you and resist
the sickening panicked
urge to spew on a pew.
The priest will talk but
I will not hear a word
he is to say because I
wish you hadn’t gone
away in that bloody way.
The images will replay
in my head of the night
you died and I let my
hair cover my face as
I cried into the shoulder
of my mother and felt
a hundred years older.
So once the words have
been said it still will not
change the fact that you
are dead but we will go
out into that rain again
and be reminded of that
summer Tuesday night
when you flew into the
light and we felt such
hurtful unhealthy pain.
We will lay a wreath
of grief on top of the
casket and your father
will pass around a little
cane basket with mini
toy cars in it for us to
bury with you because
you were never far from
your beloved old car.
Your father will ask
to say a prayer and cry
wishing his eldest son
was here but instead
we’re just left with this
damp cold air and the
realization that this life
is never completely fair.
One last look at the wet
ground in an attempt for
your much missed soul to
be found but it is not to be
around in the shape or form
we once knew as the way
you would yawn and kiss
my cheek in a way that
made my knees a bit weak.
Dirt on top of the casket
and a choked up crying
fit sitting deep inside of
my throat as I shiver in
the depths of your old
coat and watch as you
are lowered into an early
grave all because of the
empty promises alcohol
made but in the end it was
to be your life that paid
as you became a slave to
the way it tasted in your
mouth but not how it
affected anything else.
There is a clear blue sky
now yet the winds shall
still howl because all
it took was a gin and
tonic to turn your pure
heart and soul into a
comet that is now apart
of a bigger plan that any
of us alive will understand.
© Courtney Speedy