Title: Sport 3

Editor: Fergus Barrowman

Publication details: Fergus Barrowman, October 1989, Wellington

Part of: Sport

Conditions of use



    mail icontwitter iconBlogspot iconrss icon

Sport 3: Spring 1989

Chris Wallace-Crabbe

page 102

Chris Wallace-Crabbe

Mental Events

The brain,
a fat grey flower,
     on a stem
          of bone.

The colours it desires
are unbounded,

It feeds
on darkness
like a flock
     of vampires
          sucking away.

The whitecollar bosses
require it
to shake hands
     with a terminal.

'Up you,'
it cries,
flouncing away
     on clouds
          of homespun gold.

Bouffant, suave, grouse,
orchestral music
by Handel
     skirls through
          the tossing hair.

page 103

The Concept Of Mind

Where is it
and how big?
Does it have curved walls
or else particleboard compartments
with a dancehall for the past?

Is it like
a suspender belt?
Are its doors the eyes of a tree?
Has it room for resurrection pie?
All the maps have passed it by.

Is it like
a blue wren
or a body and a ball?
More the shape of a hectare of landscape,
largely humdrum run-of-the-mill
but with creekbed loams —

yet perhaps
it is more
like team spirit or the C. of E.
and hardly hydraulic at all,
so my thoughts don't call for wings

and won't fall.
But suppose
that modestly mousy mind
gave up on point of view,
what immodest expansion!

It would be
the whole bouquet
of Ego's red letter day,
page 104 demanding equality
with the huge mailorder catalogue:

all of those
leaf-thrashed greens
and hyperbolical oceans,
throng, brick, plain and grain.
What if they went fifty-fifty?

Mind on tiptoe
in the left-hand scale
and world like an old balloon
squeezed rubbery into the right
while Justice kept her eye on the needle

having herself a ball.

But anticyclonic
winds are gusting
and the scales aren't there at all,
or so I think in a dull blue-grey
when I get to think about thought.

How does it work, then,
flat, slant or vertical?
Mind is a close call.

Odd Man Out

He staggers out of the Bahnhof holding his head. There is a sense in which vertigo is almost pleasant. He staggers out into the street. Only at moments are his reactions touched by the finger of dread. He did not notice anything until he got up in the carriage. His journey had been long. The flat fields grew sugar beet. He staggers out of the Bahnhof. And now, how was he to find Fraulein Q? It is not unlike drunkenness, but purer. Vienna was not a city that he knew. It swims before him now. Tenses collapse or will collapse, myriad stucco greys blur to one tone. His head loses its taste for the vertical. He is quite alone. He staggers out of the Bahnhof, feeling oddly light. page 105He ignores the cabs, their steaming horses. Morning is crisp. This tall city is a field of swirling forces. His staggering indirection, does it spring from the brain, is it rooted in the soul, is it a fever? One could fall dead any time, any how. He staggers out of the cold Bahnhof. Low misted sun bars the busy street. Hawkers shout and prattle. Their cries run together. He fumbles at his watchchain, letting the vertigo take him where it wills. Shafts and harness rattle. Pot-pourri of smells. Coffee would serve the occasion. He staggers into a classy cafe and sits down. By the gilt-lettered window he is ringed with light. Head steadies: the world whirls.


From navyblue inside
the old friable self
a newly-minted fronde
burns through to power
taking over the way
a computer virus moves in
so that the self you were
is no longer state-of-the-art
nor even really there
having been superseded
by the postmodern You
a plan you cannot recognize
but it has to, willy-nilly,
having been given the boot
by that bumptious corporate raider
(also fallen, of course)
who has sworn upfront now
to represent more you
in the tailored blues of power
larrikinizing your past
from less or more within
a timeframe on the run
since the package is your life
and the software I'm afraid
torn out of your side.