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Sport 19: Lightworks

An Aerial View From a Rescue Helicopter, a Shot In the Arse

page 55

An Aerial View From a Rescue Helicopter, a Shot In the Arse

Dunedin snaps you awake
Quicker than smelling salts;
Even the drunk & delirious
Falling into the streets
Find the priggish puritanical focus
That these streets demand.

In a rescue helicopter
As a woman in a white suit needles
My buttocks with anaesthetic,
The aerial view,
What should be a giddy dream-washed blur,
Has a Presbyterian crispness:

Regiments of uniformed intersections
Square up in stubborn silence,
The buildings refuse to wobble,
The Octagon remains a perfect circle,
Only the ants dare look like ants
& The people, people

(As frozen obstinate as their water pipes
In winter).

In the moment before my eyes roll back,
I see the woman's face
More clearly than anything
I have ever beheld.
There is the spirit of this city in her,
Like gin in her blood.

Her eyes are not at all like gems but
Functional assemblages of jelly,
& Her lips, colourless & stiff,
page 56 Have a mumbling penitence about them.
She holds her face firmly together,
300 metres above Dunedin, a city, which,

While I lose my own,
Kneels on the sober side of consciousness.