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Sport 5: Spring 1990

Bernadette Hall — Panda Postcards To A Businessman In New York

page 66

Bernadette Hall

Panda Postcards To A Businessman In New York


Freefalling in Auckland
a city of volcanoes, in the path
of a cyclone I can talk to you
by phone.
Pandas are solitary.
They find each other out by scent
over many miles & only for mating.


You are standing at the window
of the St Mauritz, South Central.
It is 1.30 yesterday & 20 below.
You are homesick.
Pandas have no
regular dens. They will make do with
any place that takes their fancy.


Soon you will drop
through the heated floor in a lift
to the ground,
from the moneyed hush
drift into the crowd where an elderly
bagman is knocked off his bike & knifed.
A boy with a red mouth will offer you
Pandas jaws can crunch
through bone as easily as bamboo,
however they prefer not to.

page 67


Pandas are good at climbing trees.
They come however very clumsy down
head-first & often fall.
          I winch
myself down with words
          New Zealand


On the wrong side of the wrong
I am lost in the biggest
supermarket in the southern hemi-
sphere, where young men with rasta
hair & blue tattoos kiss fat babies
full on the mouth.
          We all are stocking
up against the time.
          Panda cubs are
born in a white fuzz. Within a week
they have black rings under their eyes.


Restrained like Torvill & Dean
in our brave gestures,
          we narrow
down our points of view to a red
dot *YOU ARE HERE & we still
don't believe it. We doublecheck
our return tickets.
        In an overflow
of begonias, the pandas lie close
& motionless. Alongside is enough.