Title: Sport 23: Spring 1999

Publication details: Fergus Barrowman, November 1999

Part of: Sport

Conditions of use



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Sport 23: Spring 1999

Tom Weston

Tom Weston

page 120

The Geopolitical Barbarian Situation

We made ‘em like sausages, implying a squeezing out,
missiles on the flat deck, that sort of thing.

The Leader was ambiguous. His foreign audience
was ready to think the worst, strings of rockets

like crackers exploding in their backyard. It was all
just bread and skin, no bite—the prototypes

had crashed in flames. These fakes looked sullen
on their trucks, sagging into the suspension

as if the earth had claimed them one last time.
Sand behind the empty scowl. Otherwise

they would have bounced on the cobbles like papier-
mâché, a child's bluster. In May 1965

the World Powers believed in the give of springs and
the truth of the spectacle, that the goose-step was

essentially honest. There was the smell of imminent danger
that would not go away. Panic followed. Foreign dollars

built a ring of fire to extinguish the sawdust bombs,
effective as the bombs never were, efficient

for the inefficient enemy, as necessary as walls and turrets
on the fortress state, alert and focused.

page 121

Deconstructing the Holiday on a Wet Day

Dust has gathered on the windowsills
smothering the shells of insects, wrapping them safe
for postage to an earlier year
where it does not rain, where one day
does not slide into another in the sly delight of ennui.

It is summer by the sea. The geologists of holiday
pick through stacks of magazines, bumper editions
for Christmas past, a sediment caught
in the superficial sludge of summer reading, browsing really,
digging through trivia with an indiscriminate pick.

Whole years may have one magazine only.
Others put on a variety of faces, haphazard like a mosaic
of sun-baked bricks, covers faded
where they have lain in the sun
unprotected by another's long possession.

Of such chances wet days are made. Whole histories
are rearranged with little thought. No doubt there could be deductions,
chronologies guessed at, families reacquainted
with the magpie urge of acquisition. And as more years pass
these magazines will acquire the certainty of fossils

allowing their chance accumulation, the work of moments once,
to represent epochs, sifting out their sequestered
trends through an arbitrary strobe.
Each of the magazines becomes a static exhibit in the hall
of half-truth, authoritative because that is all there is.

page 122

In the Option of Daylight

The fire came later.
It seemed scarcely possible in the first fraction

of time after detonation,
your head flung back into the seat.

Time had stopped. In the second fraction
noise returned or, perhaps, simply caught up.

Why was the tree across the bonnet, and
why was the car stopped at all?

Questions swooped around the roof before
heading for the door. You went to get out.

A man was there, arms reaching to you.
You did not move. Something about your foot

on the pedals
joined to the compelling brake.

And the fire came later, although later
seemed so little time. The voice said Jesus

and moved away from where you could see.
The shapes and colours were bloody astounding.