Jeffrey Paparoa Holman writes poetry, memoir and history. His most recent works are Blood Ties: New and Selected Poems 1963-2016 (Canterbury University Press, 2017) and Dylan Junkie, his Bob Dylan fanboy poems (Måkaro Press, 2017).
Note on the poem, Recovery positions; from Shaken Down 6.3
The poems in this collection were written in 2011, after the deadly 22 February earthquake that killed so many. Most were composed in sleepless nights when PTSD was waking me up. Lines would surface in my sleepy mind, which I would write down semi-conscious and review in the morning.
Recovery positions meditates on our attempt to move on emotionally: the need to deal with the shock and grief, but to save our energies for the here and now, which in human terms is more than enough – and often too much.
This excerpt, the final seven lines, is a form of chant: a litany, almost a prayer, where concrete images of what we have lost are recited and laid aside for a later time when we have made some kind of recovery from the immediate impact of multiple trauma: keep it in the now for now, as the poem opens, and closes.