point to point


Spend the evening pressing flesh and spending money.
That, after all, is what it’s for. And,
well, money’s money.

Fat and fatuous, a fatal
combination—when not being
utterly, utterly charming.

Stretching to 3 or 4, I’d say
and a slap on the wrist.
Hang back,

hang about, squeezed tubes in a rasp,
and the spitting, the spitting image
of suited shades loitering around
in the afterlife,
all on tenterhooks,
the very dregs,
too keen
with flickering porcine eye,
too keen by half,
a-trot in the half-dark,

one little pig, 2 or 3, 4
at a stretch
belted and buckled and gaping on,
buttoned and bottled
and raising a queer sort of
high-pitched sound,
not quite human,
a-squeal in the dust-yard,

the harsh cross-light of history, I’d say,
the torture-chamber herself,
steam and quite unmistakable smell
of freshly cut carcase,
a nose for blood,

5 and no more, tubes full
and the gutter-grey suddenly
a luminous shade of hope,
a pink-eyed shade,
falling over oneself,
over and over
as if entirely bereft of the scaffolding of bones,
fresh to the trough,
through the sublime carpentry
of our unmaker,
sliding down stairwells,
collecting splinters
in the hoof of the tongue
that pop like bubbles
on the roof and gums,

the heart sucks and quivers,
shoves the hub and heel
with the delightful infinity
of going against the drill pattern,
all the old numbers,
gown flapping open
at the cuffs and ankles,
streaked with heaven knows what stain,
ardent stain, no more naked clothed
than cut open by the gaze,
chest and armpit,
touch is the subtle retractor.

And the horizon deepening,
the departed on the farther shore beckoning
or, who can tell,
impossible clouds looming.
It has been like this always
but you have not noticed the lips on your partner,
his chest heaving and sobbing,
that apneia

her self-awareness quickened
by the sudden attention
of a, can it be? an oldish man,
to make it harder on her,
he is spitting forward his false teeth
and sucking them back,
to make it harder on him,
he is now retching into her lap,
now looking up into her eyes,
her lashes nothing flying can escape,
and fearing his gorge rising,
sending his questions flying,
and she is asking
what is the question he has for her?
but it is vomit

it hits the stainless steel at a bad angle
and splashes onto the friend
who receives as a gift,
who, quite unbelievably, saw it coming
and got him into the nearest mens

she is not there when he gets back.
The old man has taken her home with him.
Only the male interest remains.

The subtle retractor is brilliant at extracting information
under the disguise of chance,
a chance meeting
with the torturer after many years,
buying sausage at the same store,
thinking, I am not in the same torture chamber
I was before.

Only to feel the years rush away and the dryness
in the throat return
and the blood pumping in the guts again
and pinching of the tubes, throbbing,
a rasp and boot stamping down.

How out of place I must seem! You think,
at the delicatessen counter of the supermarket.
But it is not a private feeling.
The electric saw that cuts him cuts me.

Her lips that speak also refuse.
They lead to the rallies
and the rallies lead to the arrests
and the arrests will never stop
until names are named. They

The lips that refuse are removed.
They are removed in hospital rooms.
Not in butcher’s shops.
The light is flat,
sometimes at sunset a luminous pink
and the scent of fresh flowers beside the bed.
On the lavatory table.
The best of care.

The first surgery will cut off the tongue.
The second will take the teeth from the upper jawbone
and remove the lower jawbone in total.

The last surgery will join the skin where
the mouth was to allow a small tube,
no larger than a straw,
for food to pass down.

The whole procedure will be perfected
by erasing any trace
of there having been any surgery at all.

Without lips the subject will
look on without mouth.
And the flowers will be changed
beside the bed.
The curtain will be pulled to protect
her dignity.
No pain will have been meted out.
In the absence of words, all words
will have been reduced to
a simple whistling
from the hole
where the lips had been,
a high tone for excited
while a low one means relaxed.
A singing-along with everything.

The whole story will stay in the eyes
but the eyes will be in the background.
In the foreground will be the monstrosity.
The monstrosity will always be in the foreground.

How lovely to be able to give to the young
what their dreams and visions spell out
to them without benefit of hindsight or

Another one’s nose was removed
without the least trace being left
in a perfection of which
even the most consummate artist
or the best cosmetic surgeon
could be envious.

Not no nose to speak of:
one with no nose to speak,
one with no nose at all.
An immaculate disfigurement.

I have thought about these things.
About terrorism as the atom bomb
of the poor. And the murder of a young
child. Erased.

It was never a young child. It was a sucking
in foul street. We share breath
tonight you and it.

I, I will always be on its side.
You be on yours.
It was never a dairy owner.
It was that dairy owner.
You will never be a dairy owner.
On your side of the counter
are lined up the prime minister
and the camera crew, the minister
for justice, the twelve jurors, and you,

it has slit a neck and the weightless blood
bubbles and joins into larger bubbles
which rise
and float and burst,
according, as it is said,
to the breeze blowing from paradise.
Now lightly.
Now in a steady rain
gently falling on every man,
woman, and on those
who are scarcely even here, their
short lives, pets and children,
the animals left in the mist
of the species which did not survive.
On indigenes in general
count among the fallen
on your side of the counter
everyone after a certain number,
the certainest number

When you look at the face of money—nothing
but when you look at the face of age—living
hard to give it up
smashed in my car
the ribs clawing at the metal
the rods, racks, the pinions
poking here and there
pain like a crisp clear

like a crisp clear
hard to enter into because it is the last,
like waking on a dawn and refusing waking
no bed
no warm arms
no source
no support of life
no home
pain only
only pain
where there’s always room inside
the entry so narrow—
the exit is so wide

a slice even when followed next instant
by the crack of bone-break is different,
a connoisseur can hear it,
a victim feels it
but worse, much the worst—knowledge:
to know a hand cannot be re-attached
and know the ligaments, nerves and sinews
separated, to know the parting of the limb,
the eye, ear, the torn or cut, the split, the
lost organ, to know from this waking
no going back
to habit
the body at a point of no return

your body, I know
your body, your face billows
out from it and I want to take a pin
pop it

Your hands lift your face like wet clothes
try to put it back in place
and hold it, feel it slipping
from your fingers, dripping heavy
as wet clothes, a drapery impossible
to fix back on its scaffold

Your face today so full of self-satisfaction
unlike money: to stare at the face of money
is to feel the blood drain out
nothing come back at it with its privilege
to be nothing joyless
like looking in a shop window.
somewhere in the distance
the sound of boots
steadily approaching

Hell to be got by humans, by human
hands, before the flood
hell to be erased from face to foot
hell to waste all the flesh has put away
for the soul to enjoy
in old age—not to laugh, of course,
the soul is artificial, which is why
it lasts but an instant
burns everything up
even the reason for its existence
the air itself. There it is.

There it is.
There is nothing else. May as well
admit it. A burden. But to get rid of it
would be to assume there’s something
else, something other than this. There
isn’t. Bear it.

The children are arriving.
Hear the boots?
Somewhere a shop window
with all its five fingers
and five toes
a monstrous thing
smash it!
a monster
smash it with a brick!
do its head in!

something’s wrong
something has gone very wrong.

[performed 19 November 2016

at Auckland Old Folks Ass. by Minus Theatre:

Chenby Dien

Michael Ferriss

Jeffrey Gane

Alex Lee


Felipe Oliveira

with the assistance of Monique Wakaka

directed by Simon Taylor]

luz es tiempo
point to point
theatrum philosophicum
thigein & conatus

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Jacques Lacan at The Catholic University of Louvain in 1972

point to point

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for Craig

walked among the wild comfrey and the weeds
naming fruit trees in nasturtium in the borage
bees worried and we about them on the edge
Craig in a collared shirt with an open face
of the day flung wide and garden earth
like the palm of a hand tilted upwards to it
as if accepting a gift held out in expectation
holidays coming to an end he said
the same disappointment when the doctors
told him he’d be going back to school
this time is not last time a moment came
in his clear enjoyment of our pleasure
excited to show him our place and company
between beds of bolting heads of broccoli
silverbeet racing to the sun we stopped
turning his glasses his teeth and belt-buckle
a slim man smiling with a similar excitement
of something that is always happening
still the bandage hope sickness gentle courage
and just to be in a good place like he was
he said how pleased to see us find our
good place too he was laughing
with joy just to be travelling
in the middle of his life
as at the end in the present
presence packed and holding out
a predicament like a ticket
because all ready
and on a journey

point to point

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and all I had to my name
these lines

a spider
knitting in cheese-wire

point to point

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I have composed a list of bodies
entering the cordon of the homicide
the victim lying in his cold cocoon
I have included my own
without compassion without enmity
my childhood bedroom
my father’s coffin
I have compiled the names
of femicides
opening the present to
continuing mutilation

to direct a calm gaze
and not to turn away
from this world
what kind of hell
has literature become

point to point

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because I can be seen almost everywhere I go
and the information is attached to my person
so that my physical location is for all practical
purposes a mere indexical and the actual
presence of my head and hands heart respiratory
and alimentary organs is a dimensionless
point and feet and legs which permit my per-
ambulation in space and get me around
do not amount to much of anything except
like the other things I carry from place to
place head and arm breast and genital
exist as liabilities and targets I am
constructed as a site for data flow a
limited silo over a lifespan
occupied by contesting interests their
sum monopoly on the nothing
of mortality
because of this
age ethnicity gender
passport number
this credit
and the rating
your gift to me
I cannot be fixed
I am

point to point

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The love of the body is the longest lasting
because the body does not age
its breakdowns and desertions
where it was liquid now it is mineral
where it would move turning to stone
taking its leave falling ripening
sagging ripping folding in wrinkles
dappling blemishing dying to itself
and its touch deaf in its voice muted
by the noise of collapse shrinking in its
vision and its habits failing in its reach
and its holding dropping lacking in sight
of itself—foolish, its battles with disease
growing from its substrate its own senseless
vegetation wrapping organs in leaves
tuberous growths and wooden tumours
taking over the fatal defeat is not a process
to be managed because the body does not age
it is animated and has life at its essence.

point to point

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when did history become so thick
and fat you could no more find purchase
for thought or feeling on its moving surface
or in its soft back for your hooked head
and fingerholes than stand on soup or plot
the action in the atmosphere of each atom
on every other when exactly did it become
slippery so no one could gain a hold on
its heaving neck or break its horizontal rush
but only sink in without a single thing
sinking in to the limitless vertical depth
we are all of us in suspension still animate
carried on in aspic limbs congealed
with carrying on where we gesture with
one another our chins tip forward meaning-
fully eyes roll and brains progress on jellied
wheels from one thing to the next and back

point to point

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things could have turned out differently
you might be forgiven for thinking
but I wouldn’t presume

if you’d taken another path
where the way forward was somehow
clearer instead of walking in deliberate

error even while knowing better it
would appear to me you had nothing
nothing left to lose does that mean


what difficulty can excuse and
ought judgement ignore
dark within the heart of disbelief

or neglect that negligence

point to point

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Australian poverty

the children

who look after the children

every so often an adult shouts from indoors

sunlight breaks the brick-line in a sharp diagonal

and the kids’ toys

and the barbecue and the washing basket

and the lawn scuffed into leprous tufts by dogs and men

lie sad

bright and unattended

point to point

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