The blog of author Dennis Cooper

JM presents … Christchurch Day

This week a man walked into a community center and place of spiritual refuge with the means and intent to kill. He used a high-powered instrument of murder to shoot unarmed people, targeting women and children, as they ran. He shot the wounded at close range. He ended 50 lives and damaged many more.

Alex Pavlotski

“He is a terrorist. He is a criminal. He is an extremist. But he will, when I speak, be nameless.”

Jacinda Ardern, Prime Minister of New Zealand.



“I was not surprised. I will try to convey to you my absolute blinding rage.”

Anjum Rahman



Saturday 4 September 2010
4:35am (NZ time), magnitude 7.1. Centred 40km west of Christchurch. Epicentre near Charing Cross, 10km south-east of Darfield at a depth of 11km.
Widespread damage occured, but no loss of life. Disruption to water, power and sewerage services.

Tuesday 22 February 2011
12:51pm (NZ time), magnitude 6.3. Centred 10km south-east of Christchurch at a depth of 5km.
185 people were killed and there was major damage to Christchurch land, buildings and infrastructure.



What Is My Christchurch? JM to the readers of DCBlog.
Ka tangi te titi.
Ka tangi te Kaka.
Ka tangi hoki ahau.
Tihei Mauri Ora.
Ko Mt. Herbert te māunga
Ko Avon te awa
Ko Ngati Maniapoto tōku iwi
Ko Ngai Tahu tōku hapū
Ko Josiah Morgan tōku ingoa.

My Christchurch is a city of trauma. The collective dreamspace of our populus is one I love. I remember vividly walking the streets of this city one day perhaps a year ago. On one side, the city was in a state of resurrection – glossy glass buildings and overgrowth of capital, where on my other side, my better side, still lay piles of rubble. Those piles of rubble are where I grew up. Those piles of rubble are where many of our Muslim whanau grew up, and where many of our Muslim whanau have set down roots. These piles of rubble are widely documented as the most racist city in the country… these piles of rubble are where I learned how to explore and map my own body, so much so that my body feels a part of the same architecture. I saw Sean Baker’s The Florida Project with my then-girlfriend and now-love in 2016. We were later followed down the street by a woman collecting shards of glass from broken beer bottles. We came across a woman selling food stamps in the bus interchange.

We are also a city of blankets and puddles and cuddles. My family and I piled into blankets and ate pancakes when we watched the news pour out in 2010 and 2011, and I remember naively thinking my family had problems – perhaps these earthquakes would bring us together. They didn’t, but the last five days have. This city is not simply vulnerable. This city knows how to mourn. We have learned, and got better at it. We are so good at it that we run the risk of moving on before our Muslim whanau.

My personal feelings over the last days has been an intense guilt, and I speak now directly to Dennis Cooper’s readers. My art capitalizes on and trades in the pain of mass trauma. I have grown up in a city that reached new maturity three times over this decade, and it is all I have known. I write from within a bleeding heart. It took me years to write something I thought mattered outside of this city. Now I write something that matters inside this city explicitly to be read by those outside it. Because you are us, and I am you, and especially if you are white, because this is not something that we can ignore. Our worldspace is in flux, and it seems to me no longer satirical. There is no making sense because, as Pynchon put it, it’s all theatre. I will not edit what I outpour here. It is to be read as it is said. I am guilty of being a writer. I am guilty of being an artist. I am guilty of being able to attempt to process these events in my art. I am guilty because my art is a privilege.

As this city is.

I am told by somebody I expected to be close to me that our citizens are very good at parking cars. I am told by a bakery owner that our city is much so much more mundane than Australia. I am told by the movies that our city is not very much like the North Island cities. I am told by my father that we have a methamphetamine problem. I am told by the newspapers that suicides in Christchurch number higher than anywhere else in New Zealand, and I am told that suicides in New Zealand number higher than anywhere else in the OECD. I go to work every day with a videogame designer. I go to work every day with a cartoonist. I go to work every day with an actress. I go to work every day with a technician. We all work too little for too little money. I am ignored by at least one person every day, though many more pay attention to me. When I go overseas or to another city, I am surprised by how open everybody is. Christchurch has something rotten in its social core, some trauma, the proverbial worm in the apple. It took us eight years to get healthy after the quakes, and reconstruction is still underway. We are sick again until it is removed from us.

This time the world is behind us.

But the world is sick until we boot it out.

Let us take stock and responsibility. Follow Sotos. Let us become so responsible we are indicted for it. Let us indict ourselves for things we must. I will bleed my menstrual blood into the concrete the day the city rebuilds. I am a male and I do not menstruate, but I will bleed my menstrual blood into the concrete the day the city rebuilds. I will ensure the continued flowering of my city in my respect for those that follow. I will step out of the way. I will let you read. I will not speak.



Our hearts and minds are filled with the love that is evident across Ōtautahi Christchurch. What occurred on Friday 15 March is unlike anything experienced in New Zealand, and in no way reflects the open and tolerant country we call home. We cherish peace and kindness more so than ever.
As a city and a community, Christchurch is strong and inclusive, accepting of all those that have chosen this city as their home.



If you’re seeking support in relation to your mental health and wellbeing then you might consider free counselling. Our counsellors use a solutions focussed model and a range of therapeutic approaches to better equip people to deal with life’s challenges. Our team of professional counsellors are gay and straight and come from a variety of different backgrounds.
This service is available to:
● People living with HIV
● People affected by HIV (e.g. partners, whānau and friends)
● Gay, bisexual and trans men

New Zealand Aids Foundation



Christchurch is affectionately known as ‘The Garden City’. In the city, and its big backyard of Canterbury, you’ll find many a green oasis of gardens, parks, forests and native wetlands.

If you’re the energetic type, these areas provide plenty of recreational activities to get the heart racing. Or, kick back and relax, and simply take in the beauty and tranquillity.



Armed with a brick in a stocking, 16-year-old Pauline Parker and her best friend Juliet Hulme, 15, became two of New Zealand’s most notorious murderers when they killed Pauline’s mother, Honora, in Victoria Park, Christchurch. The girls’ trial was a sensation. Much of the evidence presented by witnesses focused on the close relationship between Parker and Hulme, their absorption with one another, and their fantasies about becoming famous novelists. When their parents, concerned that the girls’ friendship had become obsessive and co-dependent, threatened to separate them, they had reacted violently.




“Regardless of architecture and urban planning and infrastructure, a city requires energy of thought to prosper, and I can think of no better example than Free Theatre to contribute voltage.”

Free Theatre incorporates a diverse range of forms and styles of movement and performance. The company has worked with exponents in everything from Chinese Opera, to a variety of martial arts, military training and Argentine tango and allowed this training to influence the work.

Training is an important part of Free Theatre work. In most cases, Free Theatre productions are ‘physical theatre’ in the sense that the starting point for each actor is not psychology (as in naturalism) but the body and voice. Training is therefore ongoing, even when no project is currently in rehearsal.

Free Theatre Christchurch



Free Theatre Christchurch





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Please check the spelling of the URL you were trying to access and try again.

Enabling Good Lives Christchurch



Christchurch Armageddon is scheduled for June 1st to 3rd (Queen’s Birthday long weekend 2019) at the Horncastle Arena.






Supermarkets in Christchurch are reporting record business as residents hurriedly purchased stockpiles of bread and canned foods in an effort to prepare for the coming snow, only to later regret it after checking the MetService website.

“I heard there was going to be snow this morning, so I went out and bought two trolleys worth of baked beans,” said Papanui local Jeff Mullins. “But now they’re saying it’s just sleet, and I hate baked beans.”

Despite the forecast downgrade, some residents say they’re still satisfied with their decision to purchase the entire city supply of sliced bread.

“We perhaps didn’t need to resort to Freya’s, though,” conceded one Christchurch shopper.

Mother-of-four Mary Price, 48, said she rushed to the supermarket early this morning to buy supplies for her family, and was still feeling pretty good about it.

“The weathermen say there’s snow or not snow and possibly rain coming,” she said. “I’m just happy to be prepared, particularly if it gets wet outside.”

28-year-old Doug Lane agreed, though said if he’d known there wouldn’t actually be snow, he probably wouldn’t have bought the two-foot-long Toblerone.

“That was probably a bit much,” he admitted. Though he was still pleased with his purchase of 20 loaves of bread, and while he wasn’t sure why he’d bought a three-litre bottle of tomato sauce, he was confident that it contained “a lot of sauce.”

The Civilian



The historic walkway was originally constructed in 1850. It was the foot route across the Port Hills for Canterbury’s first European settlers travelling between Lyttelton and Christchurch and there are a number of memorial seats for the pioneers and the first four ships on the walkway.



The contemporary site of first Maori settlers to Christchurch.



For the very first time, a te reo Māori production will be staged at The Court Theater in Christchurch. It takes the form of a play written and directed by CPIT’s Bachelor of Māori Language and Indigenous Studies programme leader, Hohepa Waitoa.
The play is called Ngā Tai o Kurawaka: He Kura e Huna Ana and will be conducted entirely in te reo.







NB: I close with a funeral poem I wrote for a dear friend. This poem closes my first book, Inside the Castle, available through Amphetamine Sulphate. I have not provided a link to purchase the book out of respect for Christchurch in its time of mourning. This poem has taken on a new light over the last days. We mourn the carcass of a city that has well and truly faded. We stand together in the belly of the whale.


I would never this party alone.
Nobody drives the speed limit.
I’m screenprinted a photocard.
My torso’s tight cloud you stretch into a silhouette.
I’ve dropped a few pounds everyone’s weeping.
I never a church Ecclesiastes speak strangers.
My bible Sappho [it’s no use

mother dear] mini club sandwiches delicious.
Anyone’s there they dressing black.
Everyone drunk in no time
if not already.
My photos line the wall all of them.
I’m finally famous.
Everyone my name.

I never walk this without you.
Nobody knows what to say.
I’m disgusted my fancy dress.
My face a lid you can’t open.
I dropped in the ground yes I’m melting.
I never latte like you.
I walk the door you’re singing my favorite song.
Your neck for mine.

Christ’s blood stain the soil. Member my
reflection like a ghost. You’ve spilled all our milk.

We back together now we are.
We’re back together now.
Our arms are all around us now.
Our arm surrounds us now.


To Donate to the terrorist attack recovery effort in Christchurch, click here.




p.s. Hey. JM aka the writer and multi-talent Josiah Morgan lives, as many of you may already know, in Christchurch. He has understandably been going through a lot in recent days, and he has kindly devoted his great talents to giving us a sense of his city, a city whose name is ubiquitous at the moment but which the vast majority of us can only and barely imagine. Please go with him today. Thank you very much. And, Josiah, this is an enormous gift, thank you so kindly. ** David Ehrenstein, Belated HBD to Mr. Lee. ** Steve Erickson, Hi. Oh, very interested to read you review of ‘Us’. Previous word from people I know who’ve seen it say it’s impressive but has the same problems, incl. a big let down in its final 1/4 as ‘Get Out’. Anyway, … great. Everyone, Steve has reviewed the anticipation-central new Jordan Peele film ‘Us’ right here. Also, he recommends a new music blog to us, so get yourselves over there if you want free and no doubt cannily curated music. It’s called no airhorns. ** Sypha, I can always count on you to like anything remotely cat-referencing in my posts. Sorry to hear you’ve been feeling shit. I hope that speeds out of you. Wow, the chapbook! Crazy, great! Everyone, a gift galore from the one, the one James ‘Sypha’ Champagne! Here he is to explain: ‘Oh, a story I wrote back in 2017, THE MAN WHO MURDERED HIS MUSE, is being published by Eibonvale Press as part of their chapbook line. Having read a number of their books over the years, I’m needless to say very happy about this.’ Go score that little book, duh. ** _Black_Acrylic, Me neither. My icebox is skint. Big hopes that the class loves and rewards your 500 worder! How did it go? ** Bill, I believe there is a way. I believe I saw a way when I was making that. I believe I forgot to link to that page. Darn. I just sent both of those links to Gisele. My guess is she hit them up when ‘Crowd’ had its shows there, but … Thanks, Bill! ** Misanthrope, Well, you can still stick your freezer with them, although most of them are eBay-only fodder at this point. Wait, so, with the new laptop, you wouldn’t have to to go to the office to work? That’d be nuts. Tentative whoo-hoo! ** Jeff J, Thank you, sir. Blake’s back in Atlanta now, but he was here for 6 days. I think it’s going well. I know he did a bunch of public stuff for it. Sorry Asheville was a bust. If I can trust my memory at the moment, no, I have not read Geoffrey Hill’s “Mercian Hymns”. Wow, sounds delish, actually. On the hunt. Thank you. Got your email. Great news!!! I’ll see if Zac, Gisele, and whoever else are interested. I am for sure, duh. The next script step is, upon finishing, probably tomorrow, to send it to a French translator and also send it to our producer — along with a long ‘treatment’ and a ‘logistics’ doc laying out the number of locations, actors, scenes they’re in, etc., to help figure out the film’s budget — who may or may not want to read the script in English first. He read the ‘PGL’ script in English first, and that worked out okay. ** Nik, Thanks, bud. Mm, your list of prospectees is as good one. Honestly, my brain is overfull at the moment, so I’ll have to wait until our script is finished on Saturday to think of other possible suggestions. Mm, I would say gif novels aren’t about things in the way written novels are, or that the form allows such a fracturing of subjects that it’s difficult to identify what it’s about. When I get closer to being finished I can probably answer that better. There is an overarching thing, that’s true, not that I can quite put it in words at the moment, but yes. And, yes, this new one is a novel, so it works as an overall single work rather than as a collection of short pieces united only by the interests they share to due to having been composed in a group, if that makes sense. Hm, I don’t think I’ve ever heard of East River Pipe. Which is weird if he’s in the lo-fi Sebadoh-like realm since I was very into that realm back then. How intriguing. Okay, noted and saved for exploration once my coast is more relatively clear. Thanks a lot, man. ** Corey Heiferman, Hi. No, no verdict yet. I haven’t had a moment to do anything but work since we last saw one another. But a listen is set for my upcoming brief recess. Sounds nice: the physical manifestation of that publisher. Huh. Uh, hm: that poemhunter thing. I’ll have to investigate more carefully. None of the words in that thing printed there are mine, so I don’t quite understand, but hopefully I will. Thanks, weird, thanks. ** T, Hi, T. I’m fried/busy atm but good. You? Nice to see you again. You’re coming to Paris! Oh, uh, yeah, there are probably a lot of things to recommend, this being an amazing place, although, as I hinted at, my brain is pretty dead this morning ‘cos I’m working/deadlining. But, yes, let’s take a walk or hang out, and I can point you at things then or make suggestions much more cogently starting on about this Saturday my time. So, yeah, let’s hang. Do you have my contact? You can email me at Take it easy. ** Okay. Explore Christchurch in the company of JM today, thank you. See you tomorrow.


  1. JM

    Thanx D. & everyone else for having me. Steve, cool to know you’ve seen Us and have thoughts. I will do my best to get to it!!

    My thoughts are with Jeff Jackson today as I prep to buy Destroy All Monsters. And Gaddis and the new Sulphate arrived in the mail.

    Again, big love, and thanks to you for the everythings


  2. David Ehrenstein

    Thanks for this JM. We need to have more coverage as thorough and personal as this when such incidents occur. And they’re occurring with alarming frequency thanks to Trump.

  3. David Ehrenstein

    Walter Benjamin in Ibiza

    BTW, I’ve been meaning to ask you, Dennis, what do you know about Rennaud Camus. Back in the day he wrote a marvelous book about his exploits called “Tricks.” Roland Barthes (no less) wrote the introduction. Now he’s re-emerged as a foaming-at-the-mouth racist whose words inspired Charlottesville. How did this happen? Howmuch influence does he wield in France?

  4. Sypha

    A very thoughtful blog post, JM, well-expressed. I read that New Zealand will be putting a ban on such weapons soon? Now that’s what I call decisive leadership… too bad the spineless lawmakers in my own country lack the kind of intestinal fortitude to do what’s morally right…

    Dennis, thanks for the shout-out!

  5. Gp

    Hi DC
    It’s been a while…. I always read but only ever comment maybe once every three years. Thank you for the space you create here and thank you especially for this. The relationship between Oz and NZ has been close all my life; every time I visit NZ I am stunned by the beauty but also by what they often seem to do better and Christchurch this week is an example of that. The prime minister’s response, the people’s response, has not gone unnoticed. Meanwhile the pig fuckers here in Australia are playing their usual blame games and our prime minister won’t rule out preferencing the far right above the greens and the centre parties. All unhappy families….
    but back to Christchurch… I’m going there for a week in august to just do nothing. To sit near the beach and watch the winter storms.
    And I wanted to say thank you to JM for their honesty, and send hugs from across the Tasman and say how sorry we are about the dickhead who did this, and how fucked up this is, and how… Sometimes knowing how fucked up the world is doesn’t help at all… But sometimes knowing not all of it is fucked can help fill in, by tiny amounts, the in between spaces of going on in life…… *hugs* to you, to JM and to Christchurch

  6. Steve Erickson

    This is a great, powerful response. The Christchurch massacre is one of those events that make one think “something serious has to change.” Since Trump’s election, it’s felt like something like this has happened on a weekly basis and resulted in numbing Americans or arguing in social media more than effective activism. I wonder if this will lead to any real changes in the mainstream or social media to try and disempower fascists.

    The odd thing about US is that the final third over-explains certain aspects of the story while remaining very elliptical about others(perhaps as a setup for a sequel.) But in a way, I respect the film for not trying to answer all its questions.

    Best luck finishing the script in the next few days!

  7. KeatonSucksDeehzInHell

    Haha, a bit of a looker that one. I was out last night with my friend from England. I have this awful fantasy that every where that was conquered by the English is just an extension of the Queens-Ego, or another of England’s prison colonies. Sad about shootings. It seems theres no shock to it anymore. Just the power of the weapons and the anomic alienated passage l’act. Haha, the icecubes post is wonderful. I saw some just the other day, shamrock ones. I used to have some skull ones. Domestic stuff is so fun. My favorite piece is a parfait piece from Tupperware. Used to make Jello in them. Ice is so disappointing unless its that like jujubead kind. Im learning to drink with out a straw as straws have been outlawed in my city. I could be mistaken, but Im pretty sure I have seen Glenn Benton twice in the past week, haha. I hugged my crush last night and he proceeded to tell me that boys are just throw-away and I dreamed of how to get him to sleep. So cute. Anyhootie, not sure which ends up today, theres never enough caffeine lol. Hope youre good good lovin

  8. _Black_Acrylic

    @ JM, thank you for a very poignant post today. Here’s sending love and positive thoughts to this lovely, grieving city.

    @ DC, so the short story writing class is now finished until September. I never got feedback for my Matriculation story but there were some helpful suggestions for Joy, Super Smeller last week and those have been acted upon. Folk in the class are all very interested in The Call zine and I’m looking to expand the contents of that inaugural issue before it goes to press in a few weeks’ time.

    I notice from the blog’s sidebar that PGL is scheduled to appear at Glasgow CCA on May 2nd! Is this a definite as there’s nothing as yet on their website, and will yourself and Zac be in town for it?

  9. liquoredgoat

    Josiah, this is a devastatingly intimate and daringly inventive piece of work. Maybe my favorite guest post ever. I would read a chapbook or book length iteration of this. Thank you.

    Dennis, reading Alfred Doblin’s brick of a novel Berlin Alexanderplatz. Rainer Werner Fassbinder made it into a fifteen and a half hour long movie. I indeed enjoyed Period. The layered narratives kind of fucked with my perception as a reader, in a good way. I also read a book of short stories by the Argentine author Mariana Enriquez called Things We Lost in the Fire (I think, unrelatedly, of the Low album bearing that same title, a favorite) spooky stories with dark social undertones. Hope you’re well!


  10. Misanthrope

    JM, I always forget that you’re Josiah Morgan when I come on here. Never again. Thanks for the post and your perspective, which is unique and something great to see after watching the regular ol’ coverage of everything on TV.

    Dennis, Well, the dollar stores tend to carry some of these too. I think even Walmart has some. The character ice trays, that is. They’re rubbery. Next time I see some, I’ll buy them for shits and giggles.

    Yes, a laptop and working from home…wow, that’d be great. And yes, a tentative woo-hoo…thanks for that. So I could get up 2 hours later, be finished with my workday an hour and a half earlier, and then have a good 6 hours or so in the evening to do the things I can’t do now because I have so little time.

  11. Nik

    Hey Josiah,

    Thank you so much for sharing this. Sending love to you and everyone who’s been affected. If you want to at any point, although we haven’t talked much, feel free to email me if you need any support / wanna chat.

    Hey Dennis,

    Honestly, I think I have a lot of internships in the air right now, so it’s okay if I just stick with the one’s I’m looking at right now. Sorry your brains so fried dude :/ hope script work proves to be rewarding today! Did it?
    Yeah, everything about the gif novel makes sense. I’m just curious. I actually think the gif novels and editing movies have made reading complex stuff a little easier for me. Like, for class I’m reading Maldoror right now, which I feel like a year ago I might have been a little stumped and frustrated by, but now is really fun to daydream about and play with in my head, like playdoh or something. Does that make any sense? Anyway, that’s cool that there’s an overarching thing, can’t wait to see it in action.
    Oh, yeah, I was almost sure you’d have heard East River Pipe. He made some really brilliant stuff that is definitely in the lo-fi GBV/Sebadoh camp. I think he never toured or did press, which is why he’s super forgotten / never recognized to begin with. He was on Sarah records and Merge, which is the only reason I know him now. His classic record is called The Gasoline Age, it’s a really incredible one imo. Let me know if you end up checking him out!
    What are you up to this weekend?

  12. Corey Heiferman

    JM, it’s evident you love your city, and I’m sorry for all you’e had to go through. It’s seemed to me for a while that truly loving any community involves an I-Thou relationship of full recognition rather than an I-It relationship of merely using the place or group to get what you want. As my honeymoon period is coming to an end here in Tel Aviv I’ve been thinking about this a lot.

    I have a cousin in Wellington whom I’d love to visit at some point. I actually just heard from her on an email group where we both turned down invitations to a Passover celebration in USA. You definitely got some gears turning about possibly visiting the Southern Island too.

    The drag show was fabulous. It’s always a big boost to see them. They sold out a large standing room only venue. I hadn’t been to one of their shows in 9 months or so, and it felt great to understand 95% of the emcee pattering rather than around 50% last time.

    What’s new, Dennis? Will there be rest for the weary this weekend?

  13. Robert Siek

    Hey, Dennis! Per your request, I’m sharing with you the link to that new online poetry journal I spoke of the other day. It’s called Bad Dog and the editor/founder is the Canadian poet Joshua Chris Bouchard. I haven’t fully dove into it yet but I love the look of it. Anyway, issue one is here:

    I’m excited to be part of something new, and I’m pleased with the two poems of mine he chose to publish.

    As for JM’s post today, I need to return to it later today and read it slowly and carefully. Again and again, our world is a horror show, but thankfully there are people who care, who in my mind balance things out to some degree.

    I have to read Steve’s review of Us as well. I’ve been anticipating the movie’s release for a while now. I’m hoping to be genuinely freaked out by the film, or at least entertained and slightly shaken.

    I hope you have an excellent weekend. Best to you always!


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