Sport 4: Autumn 1990
The fishing port on a still morning
reflects the snowy guts of South Westland.
Foreground, a pert little black & white cormorant
cruises the edge of the local tip.
He'd like to find a language clean enough to drink
but there's always someone soaping himself upstream.
His pronouns have been getting him in deep trouble.
Pollution keeps sucking him into its slipstream.
You see, Shag, they have a mind to piss in your mouth,
your body is a weapon they plan to use against you.
They intend to make you cry uncle. Frankly
their semantics wants a piece of your ass. And it won't help
to plead that you were just minding your own business, you were
fishing or whatever, you have these mouths to fill. . . .
Strung up on the fenceline, you'll be no more than a sign.
Trying not to think about it makes him ill.
In her dream they're wandering in a pink salt desert.
They crawl in under gum trees. There's an old hotel.
The publican rears up in the middle of the highway
pointing at them, holding out a sugarbag full of mail.
How. . . ? she starts to ask him, but her mouth's too dry.
She's prying open parcels with her fingernail.
One contains what seems to be a paper flower,
one gives up a kidney. One's a doctor's bill.
She wins herself a shoulder of pork in a raffle.
There's a woman in the ladies' room who hates her guts
but keeps on plying her with vodkas & milk
until she throws up a gutsful of complimentary peanuts.
Someone stubs a cigarette out in her beer
& she tips it back anyway, stylishly.
Complete strangers keep trying to bail her up in comers:
I've never told anyone, they say.