Photograph by V.Billot
Shadows flicker beneath the greenstone waters
where the past is inundated by a billion litres of unobtainium,
while a ghost road fathoms deep
leads through the drowned mountains of an inland sea.
Megafauna of state capitalist uberdevelopment
plug the valley’s neck below waving constellations of tussocks,
dusky anemones on a reef of ironclad ranges
and gravel berms beside ice blue streams.
Honest stonefruit and dust stained ewes crowded out
by vigorous hybrid forms of economic gene splicing:
self seeding boutique wineries spring from the grey soil,
bundles of fat grapes liberally irrigated by cashflow liquidity
while first world psychodramas play out
in skyscapes of high altitude vertical helitourism
where paragliding knuckle crunchers snap selfies
from mid point vortices in dice rolling death plunges.
Once a destination for steam powered diasporas,
Hibernian chancers and Cantonese exiles
are suspended in a hologram of alluvial gold flecks
and Victorian era get rich quick schemes.
Spindrift snowflakes scattered in a timeshare wonderland,
where scratchings and etchings on the hills
annotate a century of busywork by scrappy toilers,
their faded palimpsest of efforts now eclipsed.
A five mile tall nimbus sits on the horizon,
contemplating the innovation of gourmet stone baked pizzerias.
Zig zag peaks recede behind scenic double glazing,
slo mo freeze frames in the tuck and knead of the tectonic kitchen.
A grid subdividing the heart in an eternal revision
of the district plan, where high rolling global financiers
take time out to drop dark currency on rustic stations,
enduring frenzies of native replanting to achieve eco-purification.
Fine living features in pull out supplements
feed an arms race of aspirational overcompensation,
blonde enbobbed made it matrons wrestling power steering
in late model eurotrash SUVs the size of oxen.
A rubber tube steers away on glacial melt
before jet boat hearties short circuit the bay
shattering the crystal heat of the afternoon
with a rude burst of gurgling clangour.
Tag teams of blue arsed blowflies,
opportunists loitering on a sad lamb carcass:
pink blossoms hammered flat
by a cold front’s frigid grapeshot.
Fire alert on permanent high, Naseby’s sluiced and raddled clays
are colonised by the lime shimmer of exotic larches,
while an optimistic billboard counsels the weary
Avoid Fatigue – Stop At Ranfurly.
The silence of the Maniototo is a blank totality,
an inverse shock wave of nothing.
On the rise from Ida Valley, wild thyme sprinkles the dusty slopes
in a purple haze over rubble and bones.
A row of dinged utes cool off in front of rural pubs,
lonely as dead end roads, drinkers whiling the hours
hidden from the infinite heavens and day long tempests,
awaiting the postponed judgement of the long now.
Above Wakatipu, plastic bubbles ascend in parallel symmetry
to provide a ten dollar view of million dollar apartments,
lakeside gloom pooling in the lengthening evening,
as Airbuses touch down in a sweet end times aroma of peak oil.