The Second Coming/Living in the Dark—Doc Drumheller

The Second Coming

for Ben Brown

The Maori Jesus used to be my next door neighbour
until the church in the front yard fell down.

He moved up north to be with his whanau
and I planted my roots in the hills like a hermit.

His poetry was unlike any psalm I’ve heard
open mic stages were his sermon on the mount.

No false idols came before his beatitudes
dressed up in black leather and trademark sunglasses.

Thirteen apostles helped to spread his gospel
but they were more like ghosts of gang members.

Jake the Muss and Billy T James dined together
at the last supper of fish and chips and tomato sauce.

When he shaved his long black hair mine grew longer
and now all the young dudes call me Jesus as well.

Living in the Dark

In the beginning the earth and sky made love
for a millennia in the darkness.

Until the sky planted a seed in the earth
and Papatuanuku gave birth to the gods.

When Tane Mahuta separated his parents
Ranginui rained teardrops full of longing.

Ruamoko was never born and when he kicks
inside his mother’s womb volcanoes erupt.

Earthquakes rattled like phantom contractions
as the sun was setting on February 22nd.

I could see the sky embrace the earth again
amongst a landscape of erotic aftershocks.

The gods learned how to cope with the pain
of separation by making love in the dark.


The Second Coming—whanau: family

Living in the Dark—Papatuanuku: mother earth; Tane Mahuta: god of the forest; Ranginui: sky father; Ruamoko: god of earthquakes, volcanoes, and tsunami. 

Doc Drumheller was born in Charleston, South Carolina and has lived in New Zealand for more than half his life. He has worked in award winning groups for theatre and music and has published ten collections of poetry. His poems have been translated into more than twenty languages, and he has performed in Cuba, Lithuania, Italy, Hungary, Bulgaria, Romania, Japan, India, Nicaragua, USA, and widely throughout NZ. He lives in Oxford, where he edits and publishes the literary journal Catalyst and teaches creative writing at the School for Young Writers. He is the 2014 Hagley Community College Writer in Residence.