Sport 36: Winter 2008
The grasses hereabouts
are the grasses of Long Island,
the wheat-coloured grasses of a junkyard.
I prefer the short to the long,
the minor to the major. Bartleby to Moby-Dick,
A Portrait of the Artist to Ulysses.
I even prefer the fascinating programme booklet
to the film festival itself.
The jumbly dining-room
of the Loong Fong suggests
a steamship's not-quite-kosher saloon,
the brines and greenish fogs of old Shanghai.
The Haz Mat yard sleeps yellowly
and the airport talks to itself,
through a tinny megaphone.
It's pleasant here at dusk,
even when the sucky silver shrilling
of tall cowled jet engines
carries on a gentle southerly
to my back door,
the porch on which I'm smoking
a friendly cigarette,
a soothing cigarette not yet my last.
A new New Yorker,
Tonight's heroes are
Denis Johnson and J.M.W. Turner.
I'd like my work to be
all the things it's not,
but each of us is stuck
with his own particular schtick.
(Beyond a certain point, effort makes no difference,
effort simply deforms.)
of the adult animal:
I saw it in the steely eyes
of poor blue James Galvin, visiting poet.
I amount to something, yes,
as I almost failed to do,
and there's satisfaction in that.
But one gets older and outlasts ambition,
tires of the game of living and being liked,
outgrows the need for people.
And one becomes the vessel
of an odourless boredom,
and sex or one's imagining of sex
somehow detumesces. Becomes dilute, diffuse.
The fleshly gloss goes off it;
its potency's dispelled
and its magic drained away;
the sinful sin of it is driven out,
leaving just the colourless molecules of indifference,
the watery hormones of analgesia.
I don't remember buying this espresso.
I don't remember last night's television.
I don't remember Troy
nor the first dynamo
nor the first use of ether in dentistry.
I don't remember coal
nor the skittish Tiger Moth
nor Romeo's cute little hard-on.
As well as all of which
I'm struggling to recall
that winter with Celeste
in her bed above the harbour,
the ships like chandeliers
parked beneath her window.