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Now what’s the best puripuri – stuff from Rabaul or from the Gulf?

Five Observations on a PMV from Gelegele to Kokopo



an old woman hops on a PMV
clenching a K2 note
she’s going to Kokopo

she’s getting some money
she’s giving some money not
the K2


an old man chews buai
and spits on the kolta
pikinini, em ol ston blo ples ya

they speak English
every one of them


a young girl stares at her phone
the truck hits a pothole
sending her into the air

she lands softly on her bum
and giggles remembering
old woman frowns

this is taboo
such things you don’t share
even on FB


a boy sits on the side of the truck
clutching the iron bars
as cocoa trees speed by

a moment of ecstasy then
grief settles


while all this is happening
I am making notes
not one notices

a poet doesn’t exist
he just happens

5 July 2018:


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Ward Barry

Thanks all. Appreciate your comments. The idea is to let the reader "complete" the poem. I'm glad you all enjoyed it.

Slim Kaikai

Great "Yaro Kombo" theme. Cheers.

Craige Brown

Paints the picture well.

Michael Dom

I like this tableau.

Mystified about who the English speakers are (II) and why "grief settles", but that adds to the flavour of the observations; it's the mundane unknown elements of private lives in a public place.

Philip Fitzpatrick

Good one Ward!

Iso Yawi


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