Skip to content

Category: Poetry

Poetry August 30th 2019

Really it’s more of a ramp

Every day I walk down the same steps as Katherine Mansfield; 
the asphalt zigzag where the fennel grows wild or 
I did until I realised I could shave five minutes off my commute
by going through the carpark, behind the skips.
My mother was born here, when the fennel still grew. 
She read me Mansfield when I was too young, and
could not understand. I know better than to reference better poets; 
you call their name, you welter in their shadow, so instead
It is mild today. A tui watches from the power lines. 
A tradie eats a six dollar pie. Steak and fennel. 
It is a three dollar pie, but moreso. 

Nevermind the world is ending

A tradesman on smoko, an old supermarket
a certain not-today-ness. Let us talk digital strategy etc. 
I am keyboarding; we don’t talk about the nukes. 
The world is afire, struck at dawn, whirling worldwise. 
It is the new unknown-ness. It is the place between Clouds. 
It is entirely companionable, the whole vicious mess of it. 
I have found another error. I am tired on the weekends. 
I mostly drift cloudlike, looming shadow on a warm day. 
I mostly drift.

Wayward and lorn and all that, you know? Does that make sense? I know what it means but I don’t feel like it makes sense.

A receipt fell out of my pocket 
for some food I don’t remember eating. 
I chased it and I do not know why—
maybe somebody could use it to steal my identity
or, you know, something. That’s a lot of work
for very little payoff. Just some receipts
for food I don’t remember eating.


Utilizing modern, AI-driven data warehousing and big data visualizations, our teams engage in a systematic analysis of all areas of our production pipeline in order to deliver elegant digital solutions.

Our engineers have a combined 500 years’ experience, and specialise in the optimization and refinement of systems. It’s not 1976 any more: modern problems need modern solutions. Our company uses a CRISPR-like blockchain process in order to streamline the delivery of crucial data analytics into your business pipeline.

Our ethos IS our digital strategy. We work hard, play hard. We enable small businesses to live their dreams. We will plant a flag on the moon for you. Utilizing IOT assets for maximum effect, we will come to your house for dinner.

Our CMS comes with built-in SEO and DRM, with a handy WYSIWYG editor that helps you take your eCommerce storefront to the next level. Our CMS comes with CRM. Our CSM is afire, atop a hill at dawn, staring down into the barren valley below.

Our digital strategy is to drink from the cloud. Our digital strategy is to pray in locked rooms. Our digital strategy helps to supercharge your small eCommerce business.

We are inside your point of sale, maximizing our efforts to engage in hyperbolic supercharging. We are circling the great drain, wreathed in Saint Elmo’s fire, sliding between the plug and plug-hole, splicing ourselves with the sky as the future bears down.

We are the bleeding edge of digital strategy. We are raw. We are riding the block chain, screaming skyclad, laying down salt to keep the self-driving cars at bay. The cloud will bring rain and the rain will wash the salt away and I do not know what comes next.

Sascha Stronach is an author, poet, and editor from Pōneke, New Zealand. If you’re here via WorldCon stuff, you can find more info about The Dawnhounds (which won the SJV Award for Best Novel at WorldCon 78) here.

Poetry: June 2019

New Zealand Fiction

I issued a complaint to the Ministry of Lost Causes
They responded: tena koe %clientName we’re sorry to hear
you were upset, but our staff keep flying away; 
the earth is too heavy, their shoes are too light. 
Nga mihi,

All these stories by straight old white men;
we need new voices, new perspectives—
like me, a young gay white man.
The future is here: it is %currentGeneration.

I’m not sure I can tell you

It’s a sorta fucky thing
galloping, downwards 
indigent, collapsing 
welt-foot, bareback
fragments of bone 
we lost at night. 
Does that make sense? 

No but okay, there’s heat right? 
There’s this instra-us wiring
that bends when we walk; 
that skeletons the silence.
Flashbulbs and nitrate-stink 
and little pieces of the night
and all that, you know? 

Okay yeah sorta but more like— 
the smell of lightning/the taste of a nosebleed
illuminating our frames as we stumble forward. 
It’s not a thing I have words for. 
It’s just a thing, you know?

Dear Ted,


Dear Ted, hello.

I find myself laid out before the horn of morning–  

I last wrote from the grey and yet

my hands shake still. The dew

holds a memory of frost yet

I wander ever onwards.


Dear Ted,

I have been diving again. I chased

a strange gossamer worm

to the bottom of the world.

It taught me nothing.

It made me afraid.


Dear Ted,

Do not worry. I have said it before

but I mean it this time. There is a cliff

with a giant below. His eyes are open

but mine are too; I know his name.  


Dear Ted,

I became lost somewhere in the whirl of it–  

a thousand channels blaring and the men

in my mind cannot handle the traffic.

I am laid out upon the tarmac as the sun rises

and the sky is bruised by fire.


Dear Ted, hello


Dear Ted, I am fine. Thank you.

I have left the grey and the sky

spreads open before me in shades

of pink and gold. My fingertips

are frostbit; my core is filled with fire.

Shaq is About to Eat Five Gyros

NB: this piece was written for the I Don’t Even Own a Television podcast’s short story competition, where the prompt was ‘Shaq is about to eat five gyros’. It was soundly and fairly beaten by the actual winner, but I’m still very proud of it, and to this day I’m sad I never got to hear Chris Collision read it. It is immensely silly, and for some reason remains one of my most popular stories.

Shaq stared at the menu, and wept. He wanted the gyro with fries. He wanted the gyro without fries. He wanted the chicken gyro, and the lamb gyro. Most of all, he wanted the dark pleasure of the Everything gyro, which contained chicken, lamb, and a superposition of both fries and no fries – it contained the sum of all human knowledge, and some knowledge beyond the reach of man.

Coach Basketball had forbidden the Everything gyro. He said that there were some things men were not meant to know. Shaq wanted that knowledge: to fill his own boundless curiosity, and also for basketball.

“I have a large belly,” said Shaq to the gyros man. “I can fit five gyros within it easily.”

He pointed to the menu with his titanic arm. “I would like those five specifically.”

The gyros man went pale. “Four gyros and the Everything gyro? You are surely mad, Shaquille O’Neal.”

With a boom like a timpani, Shaq slapped his gigantic stomach. “ᴅᴏ ɴᴏᴛ ᴅᴇꜰʏ ᴍᴇ, ɢʏʀᴏs ᴍᴀɴ,” he roared.

The gyros man wept a single tear. “You have convinced me, Shaq. You are ready for five gyros.”

He disappeared into the depths of his food truck. Shaq waited, and smiled.

Election Season 2017

Waiting for Winnie

In time, Labour ascendant

Winter for the Hosk

came Winston, surly, unto Wellington

and surely crown’d Jacinda Ardern Queen.

The Hosk’s despair was palpable: his mouth

a twisted scream. Let’s laugh at Hosking, Lol.

Jacinda rises —

after nine years, some sunlight:

Hosk melts in spring heat.


He sees the towers rise into the sky and wonders if he was once a god or a king or a man with two gold dollars to rub together. In a life before life, was he locked in his sar-

coughing as a bus rolls by and he inhales the stale gasoline air and wonders whether–  

there was once a gold top atop the grand pyramid; now there is only stone. We stand amongst wonders of stone and steel, and marvel at the delicate tyranny of the open sky. In times of old we stand clad in gold and we wondered whether–  

there’s a Cairo, Illinois, where the Mississippi carves its way between three States. There’s a Cairo, Georgia, just north of Calvary. Their pyramids are nothing but memory, their Niles are dressed –regal– in tarmac and stone. The men of Cairo sleep fitfully, dreaming of temples that rise up in defiance of an empty sky; they wake amongst TV dishes and cell towers, and choke their way to work along roads that wrap around the land.

Where is Moloch now? We can see him no more than fish can see the sea. His teeth are chrome and glass, his heart beats with the brittle tick of a monstrous clock. His eyes are LCDs that hum and glow in the dead of night. Moloch, eater of children; taker of teeth; salesman of dreams. We sit in tombs of gold and wonder whether–

a man sleeps on the street with his old coat wrapped around him, and dreams of a life he never lived. In Cairo in Cairo in Cairo men work until their hands break while the pharaoh sits in silence, in robes of gold.

On the river, on the interstate, in the valley of kings, the gods are silent.