Night of the Realm

Arise Sir John. For services to Christendom
and sticking it to Kim Dot Com,
for being you – a Kiwi bloke who likes a joke
and ponytails to grasp and stroke.

You saw us proud and reflected our ambition,
a mirror held to our 21st century condition,
an amiable void encased in a suit
performing your role for a nation of mutes.

A state house boy who sold off the state housing,
who smiled and shrugged off all the grousing
as you parachuted in from Merrill Lynch,
and made sure Paula took the part of Chief Grinch

and as the arse fell out of the Kiwi Dream
(as it has been doing since ’73)
you soothed and sedated and said “Actually…”
and so we remember this man they called Key.

You knew how to play this funny old game.
You played it well until the time came
to move along before the housing market tanks,
and receive queenly honours and your noble rank.

Maybe out there somewhere questions remain,
to this prize, this silver bottle top that you claim
affixed to the pinstripes of a merchant banker
but ignore all the haters who call you a canker.

A vision came before you, our anointed nobleman
and like an angel gazes on the Promised Land,
so does a Five Eyes high altitude drone
carry out surveillance of our South Pacific home.

Far below trail limpid cool streams of green!
The channels of bovine shit and rock snot stream
towards the ocean blue, where reefs are crowned
with container ships wrecked and run aground.

When mines blew up due to corporate negligence
you fixed on a face that showed deference
to our feelings, but made sure no one referred
how health and safety had been kicked to the kerb

by your National Party, the very same sombre crew
who turned up in Greymouth that day looking blue.
But let’s not dwell on these sad past days
and instead let us remember your smile and your wave

to the capitalists who made their bread
on the bones of the entombed and silent dead,
let us hear the cough of a child who sleeps in the dark
with her parents in hock to the local loan sharks

and all of those things that don’t seem quite right:
but these days we have lost any fizzle of fight
to stand up in the herd and offer dissent
because most of us are too busy paying the rent,

or a mortgage with its boot on our throat
wondering whether it’s worth it to bother to vote
as each borer spotted weatherboard of old
is now worth three times its weight in gold.

In our dominion, far flung, distant, antipodean,
where the paranoid Yankee billionaires now come fleeing
you welcomed all, at least those of means,
to buy their way in for a crack on our greens.

Your innovations were many, your vision bold
you reintroduced the knighthoods of old,
so the better class can still grab a gong
from the dead Empire to which we still cling on.

Arise Sir John. For services to Christendom
and sticking it to Kim Dot Com,
for being you – a Kiwi bloke who likes a joke
and ponytails to grasp and stroke.

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