Jeffrey Paparoa Holman

posted by Michele
Universal Hone

Well fuck it man
that’s the bucket well and truly
kicked (I was a lonely pisshead
on the rebound from Oz in the year
of 1970 I think it was when I bought
a copy of Come Rain Hail from
Peter Hooper that great West Coast
intellectual in his Albert Street Greymouth
shrine to Thoreau, Walden Books)! O

yes: you are the universal Hone
and you really are to blame
my kupu came from far away
no more

they came from here and there
Kaikohe, Karl Marx, old fishguts
Shakespeare and the Friday Flash, from
rhythms in your soul they flared
those karakia soused in jazz. Tekoteko
totem man, you handed me my tongue
and said ‘Let’s sing! Let’s put this hoha
country back in tune!’ My ticker thumps

to think of yours all done. Go have a feed
of mussels, man – you won. You won
the biggest raffle ever run: the Universal Hone.

16 January 2008
First published in the Press (Christchurch)

Jeffrey writes:
The day he died I found myself singing at the clothesline, ‘He's the Universal Hone and he really is to blame, my kupu come from far away no more...’ to the tune of Donovan's most-likely forgotten 60s ballad, ‘The Universal Soldier.’ What a brain.

That got me going – I'd been thinking how with Hone, a universe had just disappeared, the same thought I had when my mother died in 2005. The rest, the kick-off, was just me swearing my way into the house of death, I guess.

The reference, ‘my ticker thumps’ is from his poem to Baxter – ‘no more thump in the old ticker,’ which I quoted to Roger Steele on the day Mum died, when I rang to cancel a dinner in the Green Parrot.

I now have the dubious reputation as being the first person to get the word ‘fuck’ into the Press, and on the Obituary page at that. Hone would laugh at this distinction, I reckon. But as you will intuit, it's a splash of condensed emotion, not an attempt at obscenity – I knew kicking the bucket would follow right on.

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