Mark Pirie

School’s Out

Autumn leaves; ain’t no
summer up here, I’m crawling
along the roof
school’s out
and so are the lights.

Not much of a weekend –
usual entertainment: a DVD
a game and a piss-up;
instead I’m
up here. The night-chill
stiffens my cheek. I prise off
the copper right beside
the High Voltage
power line.

I make it, just, and inch back
towards the others. They’re
working on the middle block.

I used to go here once, so I
know my
way round the sheds and backs
of the houses, know where to go if
we need to escape…

Hurry, pigs’ll be here
someone says. A neighbour’s
lights go on up the hill. I topple
down with my loot, and wait to
We did good,
a man says as the youngest of
us falls with a spark and a crackle
and a loud thump to the ground.



By Mark Pirie

(Wellington, NZ) is an internationally published New Zealand poet, editor, and critic. He co-founded JAAM (Just Another Art Movement) literary magazine from 1995-2005 in Wellington and currently edits the chapbook journal, broadsheet: new new zealand poetry. He is the managing editor/publisher for the small press HeadworX. Many collections of his poetry have appeared (including Gallery, Salt, UK, 2003) and he has edited anthologies, including The NeXt Wave (Gen X New Zealand writing, 1998) and A Tingling Catch: A Century of New Zealand Cricket Poems 1864-2009 (2010). He currently co-organizes the Poetry Archive of New Zealand Aotearoa (PANZA), with Niel Wright and Michael O'Leary.