Title: BMW

Author: John Dickson

In: Sport 12: Autumn 1994

Publication details: Fergus Barrowman, March 1994, Wellington

Part of: Sport

Keywords: Verse Literature

Conditions of use



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Sport 12: Autumn 1994


page 116


the car we part own is a BMW.
It’s a V6 painted green, and when
the used car dealer took us for a ride
we approached a seventy-five k S-bend
at one hundred and sixty ks an hour.
Fifty yards from the first curve
the oregon pine was dense, and then
we’d passed through, breathing
while we talked of this and that.
As a car, it’s fabulous to drive.
You can cruise at a hundred and ten k
and feel its reserve power
enough to drive all the way
to Bavaria’s famed Black Forest
while blitzkrieging your head
with industrial folk tunes
Blue Oyster Cult, Motorhead, Can.
Yeah, the BMW is just fine, except
we’re still paying back the loan
and speaking for myself, I don’t want
to bivvy in parks, and survive
on slabs of bee tripe; so twice a week
we drive to the local food bank.
And though the BMW’s only a coupe
it’s got a large boot, large enough
to hold ten bags of groceries
lark’s tongues in aspic, goose liver paté
asparagus, lettuce, artichokes, pork
almonds, oysters, beans, such food
plus a dozen crates of Veuve Clicquot
and a carton of the softest
family strength biodegradable shit paper
you know what food banks are like
providing the best free of charge
otherwise no one would say a prayer
page 117 for that fucked up cage
the late capitalist economy.
Actually, before continuing this poem
I lit the fire, vacuumed the carpet
then drove to the Robbie Burns
where I bought two bottles of wine
talked to a Samoan friend about work
and on the way back posted a letter
to my closest friend in Christchurch.
Once home, I opened a bottle
and very soon, like the BMW
I had no imagination at all
you just climb in and you drive.
Thing is. If you follow our leaders
those lunatics of the level field
on which even the unemployed
can parachute from a worm’s arse
you’ve got to be stuffed
with all kinds of myth
men are rational
pigs can fly
markets have force
wealth trickles down
you certainly can’t be surprised
by mass murder on the farm
let alone a notion so fuzzy
as rising crime rates
they’re a simply a condition
of free fire playing fields.
No matter what they say
no matter what they quote
World Bank reports
Reserve Bank studies
capitalist functionaries
who have written on Sartre
or the existentialists
from the Stock Exchange
when you’re eating flea hearts

page 118

such leaders have as much use
as an ashtray on a motorbike
(and given the way they grip
their feelings, perhaps
better off put against a wall).
Besides, next time we drive
from Christchurch, we’ll start
about 5 am (too early in the day
for the food bank at Ashburton)
and travelling as fast as we can
somewhere on the straights
between Timaru and Oamaru
just as the sun downsizes night
and the breakfast news
restructures mount cook
we’ll turn off to a beach
and though in these latter days
when I smell the sea, I speak
only of quotas and never of hope
amongst the oregon pine
(reams of paper, billions of matches)
in the back seat we’ll find out
if a BMW is really the
ultimate driving machine
bunker of tenderness
it hurts to be separate
free the hungry cage
we burn like firewood

The car we own is a Dodge Charger.
It’s a V8 painted red, and when
the used car dealer took us for a ride
the economy was much worse
than when we bought the BMW