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Rebekah Burgess reads 'The fallout of transience' from More than a roof. Filmmaker: Emma Duncan.

The fallout of transience

Home tasted like soft 

ferns in a courtyard 

and smelt like solace 

at the bottom of a gully. 


Safety, where safe looks like 

unlocked doors 

and freedom to be. 


Until a river came and took it. 

Now home looks like exposed 

timber and ripped 

out kitchens 

and huge piles of memories 

taken to the dump. 


Now home tastes like suitcases 

and boxes and my girl's first steps 

taken on someone else's carpet 

and eating at someone else's table. 


It's losing identity 

and security 

and moving every week. 


Homelessness is not restricted 

to the poor. 


We were safe 

until we weren't 




This poem was written to quantify the life-altering disruption of being left homeless by a natural disaster. To capture poignancy in very human moments is to give life meaning. I have published two books of poetry and my work has been published by Blackmail Press and Manawatu Standard.

- Rebekah Burgess

This poem is from our new book More than a roof.

Cannons creek 1963

Six months after Niue the wind
blows day and night between the

state house rows so we fight over
coins down the back of the sofa
here, in the land of clover and
honey where bulldozers growl
between back and forth clouds of
Waitangirua dust wet washing
spins round and round cigarette
clamped in our mother's frown
Dad's flowers and veggies blown all

Left behind in the earthmovers'
scrape a brown undulating
government mistake.


Memories of a nine-year-old boy who found the weather and daily life so alien after six idyllic years on Niue Island.


- Rob Hack

This poem is from our new book More than a roof.

Generation renters

Up the price
Up the debt
Up the risk
Up the cost
Up the number
Up the demand
Up the expectation
Up the ladder
Up yours.


Up the public transport
Up the social housing
Up the community
Up the comfort
Up the culture
Up the homes
Up the parks
Up the ante
Up the art.


Sincerely yours.

– Kate Orgias

lingua franca

molten medals copper and coins

pour golden into the cast

a world peace bell

the world is one 


the bell tolls a call to prayer 


linked paper chains and paper cranes

take flight along metal rails  

rainbow whirligigs       cardboard hearts

clusters of candles with black wicks

lie among flowers rotting brown

3-D love signs    peace signs  flags and ferns

the gifts of supplication


messages run like tears into earth

autumn leaves bury outpourings

veiled now       easily forgotten


call out our changeling souls

pour us golden in a new cast 


the woman in flowing black 

          edges at her eyes

                   falls to her feet

                            kicks out in tiny puffs

 as she walks   into the hospital


lost for language I smile

dark irises answer

– Julianne Munro

Find more of Julianne's work in Somewhere a cleaner.

This poem is from one of the writers of our recently released book of poems by cleaners.


Jerusalem birds
flying from mosques to churches 
to synagogues

– Edna Heled

Find more of Edna's work in Somewhere a cleaner.

Here is another poem about cleaners from our book my wide white bed.


the surgeon

did three knees

two hips

and a shoulder.



the cleaner did

A & E at its slow time

5am, the gap between

last night’s accidents

and today’s emergencies.

She cleaned the admin offices

before they started work

and Coronary Care

and then Orthopaedics.

Now she says she’d do anything

to hop in the spare bed in our cubicle

for a few hours’ sleep.


– Trish Harris
Find more of Trish's work in My wide white bed.

This poem is from our new book More than a roof and has been picked as The Friday Poem for The Spinoff

open plan living

The architect

David Chipperfield


          a house is a private place

the frontier

between our

 private comfort

          and the first step

          of where we      meet people


I moved away last year

it was not comfortable

I met a French girl        who said

home is where she breaks           apart

so when she goes outside

she can keep herself     together


maybe the four walls

contain her

     maybe a body

is a container


We lived in a huge wooden house

when my family                 split

a parent left home, the house

looked the same

from the outside, I looked in

the structure still

standing, the wood split

          and splintered

through the gaps

between slats

          in my memory

I think it was already      like that


Isn’t there a term in psychology

for when inside–outside doesn’t match?

          some kind of



In the documentary about

          the architects

they walk around, looking in

other people’s houses.   It seems

to me that architects

live      comfortably

and that the best homes have

  a balance

between indoor–outdoor flow

whether you install French doors,

or find a quiet   space

in the garden.


I began writing poetry during lockdown in France, and wrote this poem after watching Where Architects Live.
Poetry about housing seems apt given how much time we’ve all spent at home recently, and how much we’ve thought
about the spaces we inhabit. I moved back to Wellington in 2021 to study publishing at Whitireia

- Anna Jackson-Scott

This poem is from our new book More than a roof.


My sister said,

I heard a house in Stratford

sold for 1.2 million.

In Stratford!

That's ridiculous.

I remember,

she said,

When that white house in Eltham

by the bridge

sold for one hundred thousand,

and we all said

That's ridiculous.

I’ve always loved poetry – reading, writing and teaching it – but this is my first published piece. I’m an almost-retired primary school teacher. Officially retired in fact, but I still do quite a bit of relieving. I spent some years doing amateur theatre and barbershop singing, but I’m now thinking that a new hobby awaits – writing poetry!


- Alison Kroon

This poem is published online on the Medium Website.

Language, Your Own

Struck destitute for words

Words known to me trapped in my heart

I remember my mother who

Used words from a chat

and began a song!

A word would evoke a tune

in my mother tongue.

– Sevgi Ikinci

Find more of Sevgi's work in More of Us and Somewhere a cleaner. 

No Standard

I have an extremely small shoe size.
‘You will not find your size anywhere in New Zealand.' 
Nowhere to find my shoes in all

the shops around,
in the capital of New Zealand!
Luckily I found them online
just before my tramping
and walked the Milford Track

without blisters.  

I am not the standard here
but I’m proud of my small size
and being accepted
in this beautiful tramping country.

– Kumiko

Find more of Kumiko's work in More of Us.

This poem is from our recently released book of poems by cleaners.

A fortune cookie

Somewhere a poet
is cleaning a bathroom.
Somewhere a cleaner
is writing a poem.

– Rachel McAlpine

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