Title: Sport 8

Editor: Fergus Barrowman

Publication details: Fergus Barrowman, March 1992, Wellington

Part of: Sport

Conditions of use



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Sport 8: Autumn 1992

♣ James Brown

page 122

James Brown

Turning Brown and Torn in Two

You—a perfect reproduction
after a long day.
Smooth—folding through thin air
like a dart.

You lean against a wall
dropping leaves
or laughter—your eyes
lined with titles.

Is it not amazing
the way fingers filter down
—that tracing clipclip
of the runout groove.

It is barely an idea
how skin sails across the body
—a sheet of paper
warm as a fresh photocopy.

Map Reference

I was out walking, when this car
pulled over, and the electric window
wound down. 'Excuse me'
said the woman inside,
but I'm new here—
I'm newer than that building over there
and it hasn't even been built.
page 123 Yet somehow already I'm lost,
I'm lost in this
big city. Everything I've seen
looks like everything I've seen.
I was looking for Tuesday
I was following the signs
but I must have taken
a wrong turn.
I just kept driving
it all looked sort of familiar.'
Then she smiled.
And her smile was like the swing
of uninterrupted coast line
from forty thousand feet.
I was sure I had seen her
somewhere before.
And I said, Perhaps?
Perhaps we could have coffee?'
And she said, If only,
if only I had a map, I could find
the centre—or one of them—
and I could just work out.'
She said, If only
I could find the right point.'
I told her I was unemployed
how I used to know about Tuesday
but that now I only knew about
Saturday and Sunday
—which are sister suburbs
just out of town,
where people tend to go
at weekends.
And she said she may have been there
but just passed straight through
without really knowing—did one of them
have a coffee factory? she asked
without really wanting to know.
Because she used to be married
page 124 she said, to a coffee magnate.
They used to drill for coffee
beneath the ground
beneath the forests
beneath the cities.
It was hard work, following the seams
through all that oil.
Her face lit up like the woman
in the cigarette ad.
And the diamonds on her fingers
were like the New York skyline
just at dusk.
Of course they're only imitation' she said.
It was like we were glittering in a rockpool
and the cars were waves
washing over us.
'After the seventh wave'
she said, there will be a break
in the flow.' She said, 'Are you with me?
But I couldn't go. I had lost
something—it had fallen from my pocket
I had been looking for it all day.
I needed to find it, to remember
or to forget, or to remember to forget.
She said, You will accept my card,
before the window winds up
and depart?'
Then everything happened
just the way she said it would.
First there was a break
in the flow; then I was accepting
her card; before the window
wound up and she departed.
And somehow, it was amazing.
First she said what would happen
and then, it actually happened.
Like a prophecy
being fulfilled.