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Salient. Victoria University of Wellington Student's Newspaper. Volume 31, Number 7. April 23 1968

The Bongo Heart

The Bongo Heart

I think I shall retire into myself,
Read only esoteric books, avante-garde
Stuff, hang paintings on black stone

Walls—abstract—with swooning colour
And curve, strawberry splotch
And pulsing hearts, dull maroon.

How would you like your heart
Tacked to the wall, the stone
Cold, impersonal, an anatomy student

Prodding? It would be some sacrifice.
Fresh human heart, possibly fit
For transplantation. "It's a wonder
He lived so long, held on so
Long before he died"—according
Too . . . . Buggar life with its

Bamboo curtains, skins rugs, jeans,
Suede jackets. Buggar the intellectual
Babble about deep things, the frowns,

Scowls, the occasional reverent nod,
One's piety unquestionable. Let us
All drink wine, sherry, eat rubber

Cheese, cultivate long flowing hair—
A speedometer test from crown to waist—
Collect driftwood and precious stones;

Become rock-hounds. Throw
Away the alphabetical blocks,
The numerals, the numbers one to ten.

I shall spread dyed, patched
Scrim and sacking on a bare
Board floor, then stoop, bowed

Like a ruptured nun over a
Dead boulder in front of a roaring
Fire, flames licking piebald

Skin stretched taut across
My autumn face. And all the while
The bongo heart thumps away inside.

Brian Turner