desert sand in the mirror glass
people made plastic and rats dancing and leaping
outside the restaurant, in the ivy,
where the mallard makes its nest/ the silted river
and water wrinkles under a plumed wind, chef on the stoop
feeding tame ducks during smoko, a generous dispensation
of stale bread, and an eel thick as an elephant’s trunk,
how, flat-mouthed, voluptuous,
do you tickle a trout? or wring a duck’s neck?
warm & with life vibrating inside it, like a human member;
Christchurch’s ugliest fountain plays,
a brass tubed dandelion (…the one in King’s Cross:
whores are the only persons, in these antipodes,
to have learnt how to walk in high heels: lycra shimmies
the tight arse) postcards
of our duplications
show the nature scene
exploding with beauty,
behind the Tourist the Tearooms the provincial stage,
the fiord and volcano, an arras of mist, rise
out of the sea: the whole South Pacific backdrop
scintillates, cut out hunks of biology, its architecture,
sculpted out of light, dripping & gleaming, behind
in NZ Australasia;
And New Zealand’s own
forms a racial frieze,
and the principal characters get stage-fright, lose their lines,
and the dramatic situation recalls Chekhov, Moskva!
our sad eye turned to the setting sun & waning empire
of the West
North, which collapses like an umbrella,
as the threat of War is replaced by the threat of Trade,
and the Colours of all Nations run together, black,
red gold white & blue, as Water and as Progress runs,
down the easiest route
a dead sea.
The great dumb earth stares thru the eyes of cattle
and a mountain of fishes… I think anything so passive
asks for slaughter … second-rate jazz
and a cafe called Rossini’s make a gesture
towards sophistication, downtown Christchurch,
lacking only the european sense of style, or the american,
which is its inverse; ladies haute couture
walk like rugby players; this could be
the Eastern Bloc: a black & white imitation
for the Western visitor:
Yen, the hard currency, buys food without finesse
and waitresses with natural charmlessness.
Humanity is a team sport
the Greek torso at play on a field of jade
in perfect community chasing a pig’s bladder
or in the amphitheatre
its athletic suggestions of sex and death, death and sex
and the public cross
gives Christ professional status
making us all spectators. Is it Marx?
or the French Revolution
restoring us to participation? There are no
pivotal episodes we can turn from or learn from
in history, just men & women in common becoming
as undifferentiated as a flea circus
or advertisement hoardings on a motorway
before a major city, city of the ideal relationship.
And facing uncertainty
and the besetting illnesses of our age, can we say,
I have endured mortifications
in order that I might give myself up wholly to pleasure
like a champion, each of us?
O what de Sade can teach us! Hoof strikes the frost at dawn,
it is Goethe’s libido saving him from seriousness,
although Gretchen retain gravity
and the sensual thought remain, a fountain of crystals,
the charm of his or her illusions and contour
of the body’s lover’s blurred and dissolves
into other bodies and illusions.
So, can we say, I grow bored? Attention,
poetry is simply the algebra of names
and the young poet’s soul empties itself of content
in a leaning tower of rain
and cloud is a handful of grey doves dispersing…
Ideas create impotence. Regard the mad poet in his cage,
the mad poet is a cage and in his soul
a stinging shower of rage, even the primitive mind
can be made to grasp the rules of simple logic, brought
into a state of impotence,
and when the world ends there are no jews we can blame,
no conspirators to name, nor women we can shame,
criminals to maim, history bears no witness,
can we say, thought has failed merely?
An endless chain of mouths & words meaningless, you
are the weak link perhaps. Courage friend, join the team:
cooperation will descend from above
like a trade initiative scheme, we have the technology,
we have faith in the human organism’s capacity for survival,
we’re coming to the party, turning the economy around,
and pinning the tail on the donkey.
You and I became children of the human condition
when we joined together,
opening our legs to the proposition
cutting it in half with a feather.
We were mannequins
we were carbon copies
and we were possessed by the spirits of animals,
animals desiring to possess identities.
And because the sex was better than expected
and our aphrodisiac was knowledge
and the language was inflected
there came a language of bondage.
There was a time I did not want children,
I’ve had to abandon my former position;
healing love, there is only contradiction,
there is only contradiction.
You and I accepted this condition of hell
and its happiness, its malady;
it is song without refrain, perpetual
change, continuous melody.
Satan tonite and I signed a contract,
I could see the eyes under her skin,
a million spiders weaving the act;
I admit to some trepidation.
If we invite these barbarians into our home
will they be friendly?
If we are a couple, we are alone
and we copulate freely.
And she came out in her knickers
when I was drinking late after the party of intoxication,
her fingers were like sickles
and rape was clearly the implication.
Stench of bitumen sunshine
men lean on spades at the roadworks
sweating over a tank of tar, hot carpet of asphalt;
lawns tooled to an edge, & ticky-tacky
homes locked in quiet hysteria of the stations of the clock;
the railway guard
hung like a donkey
alights on suburban platform to violate
or make an assault
on her chastity,
and, as if the door
before the battery arrived, he bursts in – clickety-clack
through the Johnsonville tunnel: those narrow-gauge
See their toes curl, on the day-bed in the early afternoon
their two backs
striped like tigers,
butter-yellow sunlight thru cracks in the venetian blinds
(little black sambo) their
horizontal love-making, missionary
zealous, in order she may procure
If we can think of nation
as an individual,
Imagine the state nude,
and glowing, in the greenhouse
on a satin topaz ocean,
its genital proportions
exaggerated by the media – a national
in the bordello of international relations -:
Appollinaire went out in a blaze of lilies, for example,
at the end of culture,
Ethos of economic self-advancement
I will attain my full potential tomorrow,
I will shed my inhibitions, you are my realisation,
Natural Selection bred me,
Land of Milk and Honey fed me,
I have suckled on the tit of cosmopolitan & opportunity,
shifted like a fish in a tide of telecommunications
and modernity, I will satisfy primitive want
and reconcile my higher nature, I’ll transcend Democracy,
achieve maturity, cash in orgasm, wear brogues
and suck cocaine, You are my Future, tomorrow…
Tonight I attain only nadir
and shed six hundred and sixty-six tears.
And the dog, the dog looks at you like an arm
you might need the use of.
And these children need a father…
But tonight your mind’s a metropolitan refuse station,
your heart’s a term so porous, so dry,
your body-clock’s an iron predetermination,
you’re a cul-de-sac in a deadend generation, do do, & I
in crocodile alcohol melancholic style,
I’m doing the smokedance,
praying to the ashtray, What does the wind say? thru its teeth,
that the rain laughs in its drain
and “flies buzz in the golden room… baptise me in gin”
that I rise again, do do,
let the breath speak through the breach in the word,
and the wound to body bleed;
Let God talk big and fraudulent,
till from the husk of the lord
no juice come. Rise up,
rise up again, I am underneath you.
And a tourist in our lives says,
You have each other…
You are both frustrated… I feel a song:
If you’ve ever hitched your wagon to a star,
if you’ve ever hoped or loved from far-off, dreamed,
striven, sought or followed after, then if you’ve
borrowed and then bought, set a trap and caught,
you will know how hollow O is having,
what bitter sport!
Time‘s children, we suffer as children
suffer the polarities of convalescence;
who mops the brow of the delirium?
Pain produces no suitable epithets.
Being an instance, the passion passes,
into nostalgia, empty of meaning;
salt on the tongue, the rattle of paradise:
the voices are angels’ screaming.
And I can read on your face the deliberate mechanism
of the animal, that is the aftertaste without flavour,
the mask of horror trammelled into the skin,
and I can see traces of inexplicable, unselfknowing behaviour.
And the rape of experience
of the rape of experience is incommunicable,
taking power of speech, restoring his/her innocence;
a sense of humour determines what is meaningful.
So hilarity is primitive
in the formation of the personality,
and society constitutive
of our unwillingness to take it seriously.
Tribal dance will be reinstated in the livingroom,
the social bond redefined as sexuality,
and the invitation to oblivion
will stress party dress and informality.
And that because you do not understand
power in the darkness;
the lie of the land
is that she said no when she meant yes.
And the skin condition of pain
becomes the music the laughter the drunkenness,
because you will not try to explain
power to the darkness.
Night chitter of sparrows
and illumination sodium reanimates the pigeons
a mephistophelean cat appeared along the ivy,
a twenty gallon drum of scraps, a young man
engaged in entrepreneurial activity
stands in the doorway of an edwardian facade:
he is a grandfather, whose mother lost her budgerigar
and had it returned intact by a fire-engine;
his eyes have folded wings as he consorts with a gentle skinhead
and he affords comparison with a political scientist
flying in the anodyne of a solid revolutionary prospect
in a drugless faculty,
except that he has lost his buttocks
and the firmness of his belief in the social fabric,
like a child
at a cock-tail party,
he looks at the knees of the people
and sits at the feet of the city,
city of the capital accumulation process
head swivel neck vibrant musical feathers
is the inscription of desire
on the stone facade
commerce of dreams
migration of language
island of birds,
inheritors of extinction:
((Penguins wear mourning black tuxedo,
Antarctica also, black ice-floe, and oiled waters)
Exxon, industrial stallion, Exxon,
seals remove their eyes,
(a drunk ship foundered on the smutted beach)
and the gulls preen in the grease-bath,
Thighs of Alaska:
no chemical douche can expunge that excessive lubrication.
(With a single masturbatory finger, Sir H. raises the point
and conducts the meeting
Song of the Kiwi
and a saint and visionary executive saves the city
with a festival of mediocrity)
(and a feminist births on a tabletop)
a manless womb-world
ethnic ecological intuition
and ceaseless gameshow challenge
of the handicap & disadvantaged person))
cheap, cheap dreams and extinction
island of birds.
Brothers, Sisters, take my arms,
lead me through the abattoir,
where there is a swimmingpool;
you cannot see the instruments,
they are buried in the carcass.
this is the environment.
Listen to the organisation of the harmonies,
there are a million possible consequences,
an unreasonable profit. I know,
you have nothing to confess,
but there is no consolation
for those not wishing to be saved.
Between your word and mine,
being in the space within the question,
in togetherness on a big bed,
there are only so many permutations,
different positions and opinions, to be exploited
in our intimacy, for the stimulation
of higher levels of consumption.
And pleasure does not increase
with rigidity or quality, but in proportion
to the play of high numbers and quantity
and the enumeration of possibilities, their multiplication,
which is the work of large bureaucracies,
pornography and the new technologies.
Her bounty is boundless,
and nature recognises no restrictions;
at the limits of personality,
we are exceeded by our preferences;
because the economy of the provisional
constitutes itself tightly in a lifestyle
and family of man and solidly in a prisoncell
and asylum as an endless labyrinth of thresholds,
like a threshold through a doorway into heaven or hell
and a threshold into the world of atomic quanta,
barcode, mirrorglass, georgian portico & virginity:
so that the provisional interposes itself
on behalf of the absolute,
and Freedom is absolute,
because Slavery can be bought or sold
and any limit consumed over time’s unseen topography…
But whether either’s true,
but as necessary abstractions,
but as the reasonable margins of public acceptability,
opening up a field for the deployment of the commodity
in which all relations are spatialised & depersonalised,
and as to whether truth is an appropriate category
for the ‘games people play’ is unavailable
at the present moment,
an old model with a fresh label and no containment.
Returning to our pigeonholes
we bear messages of condolence:
that is the extent
of my sociability.
You and I cannot be held personally accountable
for our bankruptcy, nor for the actions
of our children and the demonstrable
anatomy of their intimate patterns.
If we consider the problem of the arrow
where it flies from bow to bullseye,
we are illegible presents of an uncaring attitude
made legitimate by an impoverished responsibility.
And, painted in gouache on a broad canvas,
reality comes to resemble a meathook,
jerking us out of limbo,
this refrigerator and dream-garden.
We have been gods, miracle risings,
pursuing the proper avenues and vistas,
welcoming domestic life
and entertaining hysterical visitors.
“I am immaculate. Don’t touch me.”
Imagine the ghosts who walk these lines and frames
(as years click by on celestial chinese abaci)
where miraculously so much is unchanged.
Their exquisite figures and unspoken genitalia,
their infantile predisposition towards prawnpink icecream;
we are ballooning above the superintendance of the mystery
of love, all the graces gone before & fascism.
The unfamiliar habitat
is penetrated by a highway
of scenic paradoxes,
and, in this way, all knowledge is mirrorplay.
A lozenge of departures and arrivals,
do we meet at the vanishing point,
does the river run still,
does pleasure pass through the body like a glass of water.