Title: Sport 42: 2014

Editor: Fergus Barrowman

Publication details: Fergus Barrowman, 2014, Wellington

Part of: Sport

Conditions of use



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Sport 42: 2014

Geoff Cochrane

page 5

Geoff Cochrane

Wonky Optics

I’m under the influence.
I’m under the influence of influenza.

Yesterday, I sat in this chair and did nothing,
sat in this chair in the sun, dozing and dreaming,
dreaming and dozing,
my hot blood squishing through my plastic head
in effervescent pulses.

Today, the same, except that I try to reread
Joan Didion’s blue book
and have to keep stopping because
I can’t see for tears.

Cheap tears. Easy tears.
Tears big and round and grossly magnifying.

page 6


Tu Fu flips open his cell and speed-dials Li Po’s number. ‘I’ve been
spinning my wheels,’ Tu Fu confides.
‘So drink,’ Li Po suggests. ‘So drink and fornicate and do narcotics.’
‘Spinning my wheels and running on empty, of late.’
‘So get yourself a kick-arse tattoo.’
‘Is this the toxic dusk at the end of Literature? Are our centuries of
effort at an end?’

Tu Fu flips open his cell and speed-dials Sinbad Greene. ‘I’ve
written nothing for weeks,’ Tu Fu insists.
‘Perhaps you’re trying too hard.’
‘Possibly. Probably.’
‘Make use of what presents itself. Or chill and learn to wait.’
‘Make use of what presents itself?’
‘Yes. And remember—First Thought Best Thought Always.’
‘You can’t possibly believe that.’
‘Believing it makes it true.’

page 7

Contemptuous of time zones and expense, Tu Fu rings Wang Wei.
‘I’m working on a screenplay,’ Wang reports. ‘Here at the The Pink
Motel, it’s always noon, and today’s a photocopy of yesterday.’
‘Let me ask you a question, friend. How many books do you love?’
‘I couldn’t say. I’d have to have a think.’
‘Just how many books do you love, old son? But really and truly
love, finally?’

Tu Fu flips open his cell and decides to go for broke. ‘Paint me a
picture, Maestro, if you will—a picture to inspirit and inspire.’
‘Glad to oblige a colleague,’ says Mark Strand. ‘I’m sitting at a
table at the end of a white pier. An orange sun is sinking through
the carnage in the west; it tints and taints the sea’s busy surface; it
tinctures the decoction in my glass and slightly stains the front of my
white shirt.’
‘And what are you quaffing, Mark?’
‘Ambrosia. With ice. The dead in their grey pyjamas know the last
ship has sailed, and I’m drinking the nectar of the gods.’

page 8

After The Snow

Emanating from a matt-black Pontiac,
the long barbed fuzzy buzz
of a bass note’s insolence.


His beard is forked and matted,
his fingernails filthy.
And then there’s the stoop,
the spinal curvature.

I used to know his name
but can’t recall it now.
Though not as old as I am,
he’s been dirtied and bent and fatigued
by a lifetime of doing nothing,
a lifetime of being mad and lost and idle.


James Galvin’s Elements.
Time and Materials by Robert Hass.

I was here in the library
the day it snowed.
Looked up, aware of subtle alteration.
Saw the broad windows full
of a silent white turmoil,
the tumble of an eerie alpine brightness.

page 9

The Great Wall Café

The major gave us a chit
and we took it down the road
to a basic Chinese joint in Ghuznee St.

1974? Our not entirely wholesome covenant
would end when I got drunk,
bought two bottles of Glenvale’s sweetest sherry
and caught the train to Auckland.
Meanwhile, we had a room and not much else.
Meanwhile, we had one another.

Eggs and chips and white bread in abundance.
Worcestershire sauce in a faceted, pressed-glass shaker.
And we paid with our Salvation Army voucher.

Her breasts were small but boldly, starkly nippled.
She was avid and game, my golden-skinned nymphet,
and she had great faith in me. She had great faith in me,
and together we’d admire my splendid erection.
Her breasts were small but loudly, brownly nippled,
and I fucked her frequently, but frequently.

page 10

Our City And Its Hills

for Bill

The steampunk city’s Buddhist rain
Is marvellously hushed
It always thus affects my brain
And stops me getting lushed

The steampunk city’s Buddhist rain
Wets rooftop flue and tank
It makes me want to catch a train
And ride through cuttings dank

The steampunk city’s Buddhist rain
Is not unkind to cats
It falls on cenotaph and crane
And blackens many hats

Some put their faith in sleeping-pills
Or brash domestic wines,
But the rain has altars in the hills
And cloisters in the pines,
The rain has altars in the hills
And cloisters in the pines

page 11

Pinksheet #9

A certain slick anthologist
removes me from the literary map.


Duchamp remarked that art
is created partly by its maker
and partly by its audience.


A Chinese façade
of lime and heliotrope.
And this is the mucky slum in which we’ll film
winter’s wet addictions, derelictions.


Are blue booties cute
quite what we’re after?

Life’s incremental judgements take their toll.

Let’s go to Astroland and ride the rocket.

page 12

Iffy Iterations

The fluffed-up sparrow puddling splashily
(watery wingding or wet kerfuffle?)

impinges not a bit
on whatever the weather thinks it’s doing.

That I dreamt I was drunk again (again)
is worth recording (or not):

my inner troughs and cisterns brimmed
with sweetness and light (for which read joy),

with sweetness and light (for which read bliss
and thrilled belief in bliss),

the red heart trusting blood and what blood knows,
the red heart trusting blood and what blood knows.