Sport 16: Autumn 1996
Murray Edmond — Rant for Mickey Joe
‘builded here … among these … mills’—Blake
Up here on Boot Hill, this spring ‘94,
your squat cold monument still scours the sky
as it did when Keir from Grafton laid concrete
blocks by day & ran The Fat Landlady
for those with minds that could not sleep at night
up in Symonds St 25 years ago
& poetry freed the dérive of the word
by publishing the départ of the subject
(set fire to the sarcophagus
of good literature). But now
in this now
in this 1940 pee-yellow, grot-pink
reliquary concrete garden with its
plinths & pedestals untopped by intended
erections & its words that one needs not
more fame than comes from the love of the people,
from this cliff-edge where the grass chokes with
phthisis of green & under a pergola
one person nuzzles another / territory of the
Nation made over to the quickie
where the present is all past
& every animal is sad afterwards
an arbitrary seagull dips east
into the bleating wind watched by the eye
of the savage sea (East! East! This East
is wholly West!)
Fly East, young gull!
Now left has been made right & right made left
a warp rags the weft of the sky,
up-harbour distant winded city,
Ist of October—
yeasterday my daughter turned 12, she’s
down below the point right now celebrating,
child of a child of the welfare state
riding Kelly Tarlton’s simulacrum
Listen! Tourist voices climbing
Bastion Point (‘In San Francisco
even in January the air was brighter’)
to the Look-out. Look out! Look back!
‘Hear but do not listen,
See but do not look,
Place your ear to earth
& read it like a book:
if you prise the hero from the story,
you must find you own way home.’
Take the road back, pick up the threads
where your death began, back there where
that river slides under charred fog, hugs shaggy
banks of gravel sand, acacia & willow trail,
periscope eyes of eels gimlet, that creek
up which I found myself born sans paddle,
the stepping-into-never-twice into which now
I step again / you make me see again
its green eyes keen under the town’s high
bridges / from source to mouth do you know?
does the water stand? is it the banks that flow?
from desire to illusion? What now’s
the look out for the language, the you
plus you plus you of history, & which
language do you mean when you say the living are
already dead but the dead, they live, they live!
The graven kibosh on your stone
reminds some of the simple tasks
God never cared for like
making the flesh word or cancelling the invasion
or building the city of heaven on earth or
climbing here to speak with you to make
an old love new except you are not here &
cannot be. But are builded in this now.
The invasion began again today. The Herald
said so. Saigon. Waikato. Port au Prince.
When a person dies, it said, a whole world
dies with them. & when a language.
Sorry, comrade. It goes without saying.
Old mate, the kiss of talk awakes desire.
Supernumerous reasons swarm
to pull it down, stone by stone,
& begin again. Begin. Again.