Title: Cartoons

Author: C.K. Stead

In: Sport 18: Autumn 1997

Publication details: Fergus Barrowman, April 1997, Wellington

Part of: Sport

Keywords: Verse Literature

Conditions of use



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Sport 18: Autumn 1997

C.K. Stead — Cartoons

page 3

C.K. Stead


Scientists discover
there's been life on Mars
though dead for aeons,
that's to say yonks.

President Bill says
if there's life in space
he wants the United States
to have an input.

Somewhere is Siberia
a bronze statue of Lenin
falls over
and kills a man.

Watch out for the dead!
They leave their traces—
ideas for example
and heavy statues.

A lost tribe is found
in the Manokwari
jungle region
of Irian Jaya.

page 4

Pale-skinned and timid
when spoken to
they hide
behind trees.

Mornings they gather
food in the forest
they fist their lake.

Maybe they sing
at evening
omba omba
the reports don's say.

Their sentinels
are green parrots
taught to screech
when strangers approach.

Today it's revealed
that ex-Prime Minister
Paul Keating
Kept a trampoline

in his back graden
and bounced on it
to ward off cancer.

At the weightless
of each bounce
he believed

page 5

was the nanosecond
when bang!
the malignant cells
were expelled.

Ronald Reagan
no longer remembers
he was the world's

most powerful man
carrying in a flat case
the codes
to corpse a planet.

All forgetful
he knows however
that Nancy
is his mother.

So why
after his haircut
does she lock him
in his room?

When the big light
goes down
he sits at his window
in pyjamas

hearing the moon
mumble to the hills
its threats
and rumours.

page 6

A Catholic Bishop
runs off with
a Mrs McPhee
and sells his story

to the popular press
but the cash is to go
to his teenage son
by a former mistress.

His housekeeper
who used to browse
in his wastepaper basket
says there were others.

Everyone's distressed.
The ailing Pope,
the nervous clergy,
the sad parishioners

of Argyll and the Isles—
even (I think)
I am distressed.
How could it be

we ask one another.
Isn't a handjob
good enough
for the modern priest?

page 7

In this state
the dead man rules.
All bow at morning
to the figure in bronze,

all sing at evening
the late leader's song.
Here is the Future
as the Past saw it

and it doesn't work.
In the countryside
peasants and workers
inherit the earth

which is barren.
Evening television
offers ‘ten tasty tips
for cooking grass.’

Faber and Faber
the beautiful woman
among publishers
has a stalker.

A disgruntled author
he threatens
by phone and fax
to slash her tyres

page 8

and smash her face
if she won't oblige.
It's rumoured
her biggest boyfriends

Hughes, Heaney, Harold
Pinter, and the like
are taking turns
to see her safely home.

After two centuries
of displeasure
Horsham will acknowledge
its famous son.

A sculpture
honouring Shelley,
poet, atheist
and adroit eloper

will be unveiled
in the town square.
Three thousand
gingerbread men

each with a fact-sheet
about his life
have been distributed
to local schools.