Sport 19: Lightworks
An Aerial View From a Rescue Helicopter, a Shot In the Arse
Dunedin snaps you awake
Quicker than smelling salts;
Even the drunk & delirious
Falling into the streets
Find the priggish puritanical focus
That these streets demand.
In a rescue helicopter
As a woman in a white suit needles
My buttocks with anaesthetic,
The aerial view,
What should be a giddy dream-washed blur,
Has a Presbyterian crispness:
Regiments of uniformed intersections
Square up in stubborn silence,
The buildings refuse to wobble,
The Octagon remains a perfect circle,
Only the ants dare look like ants
& The people, people
(As frozen obstinate as their water pipes
In the moment before my eyes roll back,
I see the woman's face
More clearly than anything
I have ever beheld.
There is the spirit of this city in her,
Like gin in her blood.
Her eyes are not at all like gems but
Functional assemblages of jelly,
& Her lips, colourless & stiff,
page 56 Have a mumbling penitence about them.
She holds her face firmly together,
300 metres above Dunedin, a city, which,
While I lose my own,
Kneels on the sober side of consciousness.