Title: Sport 20

Publication details: Fergus Barrowman, March 1998, Wellington

Part of: Sport

Conditions of use



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Sport 20: Autumn 1998

Geoff Cochrane

Geoff Cochrane

page 64

Illness and Relief

A curry roll and chips for tea.
It's morning now, and cold.

In 1986, the German Expressionists
came to the waterfront.
I bought the poster depicting
a jackal-headed creature
reared like a man on goatish legs,
jagged, shaggy-ballocked.

The steroid's pianism taps my flesh.

I concluded long ago
that life was terrific, wonderful, sublime.
Having won a couple of million bucks,
who could feel otherwise?

I bathe in numinous joy.
I'm washed in it—truly.

And I've always known about
that contrary black will in the body,
that organ hidden in among the others
which sleeps or closes down…
and then begins to tick again, as now.

My innards twang and sluice.
I creak like a sailing-ship.

page 65

Seven Hectic Takes

She's scornful; she's cross.
Or you hear in her laughter
the menace of sex.

You're rehearsing worship.
You're preparing a place in yourself.

You court her—none too bravely.
Give chocolates, a card.
You catch her wearing a sloppy pullover.

She's kind, capricious, lazy.
You're very aware of her bust;
you're all of a sudden aware
of her very breasty breasts.

‘Visit. Ring. Do something.
Spare me you frivolous silence,’ you write.
She unbuckles (you imagine) some Adonis.
Her fingers fastidiously weigh
cleft mauve tulip, balls.

And now, ah ha,
the fat brick wall of nothing,
of no further events—
beyond what doesn't happen
of happens only for you,
in your imagination.

The sun comes up. The buses move.
A strange estrangement fills the weeks and months.
Do birds explain or bees apologise?
You remember her devoutly.

page 66

Disposable Camera

For those unexpected moments
seeming to warrant cheap memorial,
there's the Fujicolour Quicksnap at $9.95.
I buy one—but who is there to shoot?

My friends look insufficiently important.
She's long gone, of course,
hopelessly wronged, impossibly distant now…
The fact of the matter is,
it's her picture I'd like.

Summer Alarm

Palmerston North
is rabbits in a window,
a few flattish clouds
like crushed tin cans,

Ella Fitzgerald singing,
‘I've got you under my skin.’

Back at the hospital;
my father is conscious.
He doesn't look so very ill,
just tousled, in need of a haircut.

page 67

Fettered and laced
by coloured tubes and wires
(needled and taped; hooked up to jeopardy),
he says he thinks he's in
a James Bond movie.

Something is open
that should be closed.

Is closed, that should
be open.

Meanwhile he plays
the sharp young blade,
as suave and dark as in
his air force photograph.

And winks at my sister.


All right,
let's engage.
What are you,
after all?

I'm everything
and nothing.
Don't you like me
just a little?

page 68

Pile Diary

Day One
There's disorder down there.
Tenacious muscles
pleat and pucker and pop.
Axiomatic too
that if I want to adjust
there's an Arab in the car park.
I go for Doctor Unguent
and ride home in a cab
with forty dollars' worth of Xylocaine.
The sky's a dish of creamy lime delight
forecasting needles, blades…

Day Three
‘What can you tell me
about X?’ she asks.

It's Sunday. I'm in pain.
I have to sit in a certain position.
‘He was once in the navy,’ I say.

‘He uses little words.
He asked me to suck him off.
I'd like him to fuck me
without a condom,’ she says.

In the absence of God and soul
and any afterlife,
sex itself becomes holy.

page 69

Day five
Tomorrow, the op.
I'm frozen in the act
of giving birth to grapes;
as the hours pass,
they tarnish and dry.

The clues of the crossword
make a surreal poem.
I'm a cast baboon
presenting her bulging vulva.

page 70