Title: Sport 12

Publication details: Fergus Barrowman, March 1994, Wellington

Part of: Sport

Conditions of use



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Sport 12: Autumn 1994

James Brown

page 119

James Brown

I do not know

after Jenny Holzer

I recognise thin white bones
stretching into darkness.
I tick the box marked M.
Words are the worry
that never grows old.
To look within myself
I turn on the light.
I consume space
because it corners me.
When I call on my heart
it rings like an excuse.
Too much force
keeps me alive
but secretly I am
afraid of spiders.
I mark my offspring
but I wish they would
talk to me.
At work I employ people
to laugh at my jokes.
I can easily ignore
the consequences
of what I implement.
I deliberately hold grudges:
they help me
meet the challenge.
Indecision collapses me.
If you question my methods
I shit in the woods.
Tonight I let you
change the channel
but I cannot be sure
page 120 if I still love you.
I take a drive.
Where I go is
none of your business
Time is my dog
sometimes we play stick.
I know goal attainment
does not make me happy.
I know death
does not make me unhappy.
I wash off reasonable doubt
in the shower.
Protect me from
what I want.
I do not know
if this is a poem.
I do not wish it
to be shared.

In Point of Fact

Your earth
is my inheritance.
I play the game
to the best of my
natural resources.
I want to go places
but Daddy is
no diplomat.
All my friends
are called Dave.
I might like you better
if we slept together.
page 121 I am always right.
Public transport
swallows my pride.
Nirvana is
riding elevators
called Otis.
Each time I
sit around
I think I’m shot.
TV sets me up.
I am beautiful
and lazy
—which is fine.
Alcohol brings things
to life.
I tie people
to my feet
as shoes.
I saw this movie once.
What I hate
about Dave
is his give and take.
I imagine sex
to be like peaches.
Suicide is
a viable alternative.
I turned inside out.
I surprise myself
by not being hurt.
I am always wrong.
When I was young
I got the jug cord.
Everything bores me.
I masturbate
while thinking
about animals.
Good advice
page 122 is a treasonable act.
I lie with my lies
to find decisions.
My pressure is
in all the wrong places.
Help is not something
I cry for.
Important people
never say never.
I am not impoverished
spoilt and happy.
Appearances matter.
I am popular
with exceptions.
Don’t think I
didn’t warn you.
I eat my dandruff.
I have that
petrol emotion.
My privilege
is a human right.
In point of fact
I just can’t
ever ever ever
believe you.

page 123

Early Settler Song

Where is the girl
with the grateful curls?
—the treasure buried in paradise?
Where is the map?
and the cook? and the ship?
and where are the pirates they promised?

From Death

whose brain chops air like rotors
the sinews full of blood and fed
fed up with shit and full of lies
the mogadon kicks twice
and twice withdraws its pity
pricks and pulls the pretty
ribbons float and tighten up
and up behind behind behind closed

page 124

Short Poems About Fucking

You look like
the sort of person
who is likely
to like looking
at the sort of person
I like to see myself

During the interval
several expected stages
lapsed. Rain
abandoned clouds.
Your house burst fire.
No attempt was made.

Sex, the first time,
proves wellmade
if conventional
and comes to be
published in Sport.

Let us
let the phone
off the hook.
Dip into
a depth of
deep ends.

The other half
is not so much
the bit on the side
as the bit
in the middle
of the bite.

Say It Hurts,
there there
and there.
Say It Hurts,
there there
and there.

We were always
walking toward
sunsets. When
we finally reached
the edge,
it got
very dark indeed.

page 125

Blown Glass

We walked the long long road
alone—except for each other.
Our voices try out the air.

From a safe distance we
attend the flame. As blue
as water in tin weather.

The kettle sings and sings
to itself. The word ‘kiss’
is blown like glass.

We asked the glass blower
but he advised No.
We each withdraw to short mentions.

The day—like so many others’
better halves—is already better
than either of us.