Sport 2: Autumn 1989
Murray Edmond — Ode to Virgil Exner
Ode to Virgil Exner
He had led Chrysler, the last stronghold of engineering and sanity in the industry, away from substance and into flash. Thomas Hine.
Still weaving the body's ontogenetic narrative
and unravelling it each night
like the gym frock you took off, Lucy, and
put on in diurnal course ('the new shape of motion')
history decanted and recanted using merely
two bottles, never spilling a drop
(Did you ever see anything like that in the Lake District?)
and it's easier to open the doors of the heart
saying yes, yes, this is real
and to walk out into the storm of the mind
discarding borrowed style. Toot! Toot!
goes the image train
as it passes Poor Tom's A-Collier'd Station
just south of Tooting Fuck.
There were three puriri trees
and a body under each
and leeches in the swamp
(one had your name on, baby) ('Frenched headlights —
you could get five kids across the back seat')
and such sublime singing all afternoon in the hills
('E tika, nga reo O nga mate') — 'Marilyn Monroe
as a housewife' — and your orphan breasts
in silhouette through your blouse as the low sun
snapped you rising from a barbecue sea.
Jiving on the beach at night,
the tailfins etched into the moonlight
watching their buffer and part, her matador
legs shuffle the sand, sand, shuffle, sand.
We all got back too late that night
some with diarrhoea and some with allergies
and some who looked down into the plain brown murky
wrapper of the camp stream's glass
and saw nothing they recognised as theirs.
Your signature of superimposed boomerangs was on
everything. 'Suddenly it's 1960.'
The stylist on the spot decants your world.
Drowned Scottish sailors and disembodied patupaiarehe
singing. Murray, Murray, she were bonnie,
thou wert braw. Douglas came out of the bush
a centipede hanging like a scarab from his thumb.
Satisfactory pain glistened in his eyes.
The fifty-seven model's like a Lucy now:
'no motion has she now, no force'.