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Sport 25: Spring 2000

Nick Ascroft

Nick Ascroft

page 126

Shy Away from It

When it's something important that has to be said, it's best
To shy away from it. I don't mean to be a sour lemon,
I'm not posturing as a fatalist, if it feels schmaltzy,
& It smells schmaltzy, it'd probably sound schmaltzy,
Who're you kidding. I suggest geniality, be so genial,
So warm & ungrudging, no one could fault you on it.
There are always ways of papering things over,
A veneer is not a sin, it's your medicinal necessity.
& It's the ugliest word, faith, but you need to summon up
The willpower, & gee, have a little.
You'll get over yourself, take it all out in the thanklessness,
Martyrdom is the soft option & I recommend it heartedly.

page 127

Moonshine on Leith

It was some pristine glassie, one of those lamblegs, hovering
All high-school & shy over the tables,
That broke the spokes on Carthew's heart.

What was to become of that proto-bartender,
Grasshoppering up to its bar, an armful of handles, once it'd
Puckered its wings, bashed heads in all the liquor-holes

& Crashed its boaty backside in all
The alcos' caves; & brrr waking up,
Eyes popped out like frogs, in Port Chalmers boob-naked.

It swept over the tables, meticulously melifluously polite,
& Definitively furtive, Jesus the way it posed
By the coffee-machine, like an owl, beak on its shoulder.

The catalogues of style it pinged & ponged around—
Robbing the crystalware,
The cocktail of nonchalance & nerves—

They were direct code to the entire mode of its being,
& Were nonsense to Carthew; a peculiar
Exact nonsense, but utterly disabled from understanding.

He tugged at his dog's collar & charged
A sad glass. The walk home foghorned in the wee haze
Of his thoughts, to the Gardens, through the puddles

Of the University, the undeserving ducks,
& The pull-it-together-get-a-grip, overcasting night; shit,
The glasswasher was one-up from a kitchen dish-pig:

Let it be plucked.