Title: Sport 19

Publication details: Fergus Barrowman

Part of: Sport

Conditions of use



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Sport 19: Lightworks

Nick Ascroft

Nick Ascroft

page 52

When I Was Fat & You Were Ugly

Look at your bruised expression,
Your features a thin grid over
Some deep & gaping absence,

Like the drains around varsity,
Gargling and scratching their pipes,
Thinking back to when there was some

Great watery garbage, when the world seemed
Packed with sludge, the foulest smelling
Grittiest bubbling sludge a drain could hope for,

When the world had an honest place for everything
No matter how dirty,
No matter how rancid & maggoty.

Look at you—
You're an open book to me sunshine!
I've got the keys to your filing cabinet!

I've rummaged through your glovebox,
I've sniffed through your litter blue eyes!
I remember it all,

Your eyes lost in the beckoning ceiling
Bring it all back.
When you'd collapse around the plump shins

Of any grease-guzzling whinger
& Erupt into pinguid conversation, cooing
& Burping kisses.

page 53

Ah mirror on the wall,
My empty-faced reflection,
I remember when you were fat

& I was ugly—
Life was stained with sweat & vomit,
But made sense.

Where are we now, writing poetry to ourself,
Clucking about town,
Gawping expectantly at our face in windows,

Our arms held out like letterboxes?

The Pig in the Hedge

There are at least
A thousand spines in my back &

I would apologise for each but
Will remain under the hedge

With the thorns, my lookalikes.
I will wear my heart,

Not at my wrist, but
Buried deeply in my chest &

Further buried
In tucking my legs &

Arching my back over
Into a ball of pins.

Like the pig in my name
I will hog my heart.

page 54

Take Me To the Vault

Here, where
The terms & conditions
Of endearment are held

In trust,

Take me to the vault,
Through the bars & dials,
Closing their affairs

Behind us &

Here, I will watch
The evanescence of your balance
Like the ever-thinning oxygen,

My withdrawn darling.

Here, I will watch
(Detached, calculating &
With untenable interest)

Here in the vault,

Safe from the hands,
Pockets & fists,
The prying eyes & cables,

My beloved, my treasure,

Here, I will watch
You, in whom I have invested
Too much to allow any

To profit in your withdrawal.

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.