Title: Sport 9

Editor: Fergus Barrowman

Publication details: Fergus Barrowman, November 1992, Wellington

Part of: Sport

Conditions of use



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Sport 9: Spring 1992

♣ James Brown

page 87

James Brown

Clearing the Air

The sky, sky blue—
a space completely
And nothing
I can do.
And nothing
you can do.

For we have implemented
our dissatisfaction
grumbling like an appendix—
its (pre)text of thunder
scrolled heavy over our house.

Days and nights
back to back
and now this gap,
this split, this ease,
the air so fine
I find I
cannot breathe.

page 88

Small Obligations

Hindsight pinched like penny wise.
Penny wise collected like small obligations.
Small obligations insisted like spelling errors.
The spelling errors grinned like a self-made man.
The self-made man was as plausible as air.
The air sustained like anticipation.
Anticipation was deferred like responsibility.
Responsibility concocted like the blue remembered hills.
The blue remembered hills seduced like a first love.
The first love burned like neglect.
Neglect rattled like a windy day.
The windy day nosed like a detective.
The detective extrapolated like fractals.
The fractals reinvented themselves like rock and roll.
Rock and roll was commodified like gratification.
Gratification faked it like TV.
TV deadened like prison.
Prison yellowed like a bruise.
The bruise ripened like revenge.
Revenge covered its back like the small print.
The small print confused the issue like a lawyer.
The lawyer accumulated like a tax dodge.
The tax dodge was blocked like not passing go.
Not passing go made progress like a subcommittee.
The subcommittee settled in like the long term.
The long term stretched like truth.
Truth, like an accident, may have been pushed.
The accident raised questions like premiums.
The premiums stiffened like tradition.
Tradition excused like money.
Money swayed like the government.
page 89 The government was as reliable as a teenager.
Teenagers are as reasonable as passion.
Passion is not like anything.
Passion is a flummoxed metaphor.
Mixed metaphors deliver as comfortably as new shoes.
The new shoes creaked like a hinge.
The hinge widened like sudden possibility.
Sudden possibility braided like a river.
The river curved like her voice.
Her voice filled like his eyes.
His eyes distanced like far-away thoughts.
The far-away thoughts distorted like old glass.
The old glass thickened like algebra.
The algebra made sense like a sole survivor.
The sole survivor lay broken like a promise.
The broken promise echoed like an echo.
The echo was reintroduced as a cliché for dreaming.
The dream's song swung swindles like a tongue twister.
The tongue twister interrupted like the Person from Porlock.
The Person from Porlock wandered lonely as a dislikable child.
The dislikable child closed up like a fist.
The fist flowered like popcorn.
The popcorn was fingered like souvenirs.
The souvenirs were misplaced like good intentions.
The good intentions were extra like parenthesis.
Parenthesis seemed like a good idea at the time.
At the time horizons spread like honey.
And honey stuck like memory.
Memory side-swiped like not being remembered.
Not being remembered bided its time like a secret.
The secret gaped like silence.
The silence ticked like sealed waste.
The sealed waste was as honest as diamonds.
Diamonds were forever.
Forever seems just like yesterday.
Yesterday sharpens like hindsight.

page 90

Diary Extracts from Scott's Voyage
to Discover the West Pole

—'The sea is a woman who never grows old.'
The crew sing to keep their spirits up.
Yet song cannot silence our disappointment
at being forestalled to the Pole by a bear.
Although this Pooh is, of course, a stout English bear.

—The sea can never be judged too quickly.
It is never as it appears / as it reappears.

—We ate our last pony today——'Bolger.'
I shot the brave little beast myself.
Oh but he was lost and lame with no sea legs.

—Sun, salt, and more sun.
How the green waves boil!
How I long for ice and a cool breeze.

—I see the future as uncertain
with my deteriorating humour.
Yet our struggles are already immortal.
Knock Knock we say.
Amundsen who?

—Food is short.
The tractors were not a good idea.

—This tropical heat does not agree with us.
We have become argumentative.
I am constantly having to cite the Concise Oxford.

page 91

—The most wondrous wave formations today!
Like sastrugi. But in this humidity
our photographic apparatus fails to function.

—We have lost Oates. We had gathered on deck
during a particularly bad bout of calenture.
He simply stepped over the rail to pick flowers.

—All hope is fading.
The sea is just there, it shines and shines.

—For God's sake look after our people.