Title: Sport 13

Publication details: Fergus Barrowman, October 1994

Part of: Sport

Conditions of use



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Sport 13 Spring 1994

Emma Neale

page 43

Emma Neale

6:35 am/pm

You take his coat,
his case.

He gives them up
as he would an argument,

his eyebrows lift a little
at this 1950s TV

husband-and-wife domesticity.
You carry on, take

his tie, his suit jacket,
unbutton his white shirt

cool as plastic

You draw him down
into the contract

the agreement line
of your shared bed.

He rolls over into the shape
of a sub-clause,

dark, tightly typed,
justified to one side.

His desire is less
than his tiredness.

page 44

You can wait.
In the morning

he turns, pulls you up
inside his knee tuck.

Against the blue sheet,
you curl close as two speech marks;

where it all starts.

May-July 1993

Hello, I am a New Zealander
living in England.
This is my language:
the BBC, Radio Four;
the Independent and the Guardian;
this is where the war is on.

The war is we were forced
to urinate and defecate
in the mosque.
A young Muslim man died
nailed to a cross.

When we spoke they beat our palms
with sticks. They cut off ears or noses.
They jumped off a table onto our chests.
I cannot go outside the city limits
to collect past months of evidence.

page 45

If I write of summer—

In a park a sixty-year-old
bare armed to the weather
discusses a New Zealand child’s
World War Two:
the dog tags make of leather
that would have burned through
in an air raid; the drills
in the local field.

Now he is in England.
This is his mother tongue.
He says we have been so lucky,
to have had no wars since that one.

Hello, this is our native speech.
This is where nothing can take place.
This is where they preach
that there is only one face
for the true crucifixion.

He says our differences are small—
a matter of diction.

And if I write of summer—