new zealand electronic poetry centre


Alan Brunton

Fugacity 05
Online Poetry Anthology


Eight Fugacities from Fq  


Early days yet, he headstands on pillows,
revving up for his epoch,
writing THE POETIC &
unable to deduce from this ‘Oooo’ anything
irreducibly true; phantasmagorical memories
of the careless years
occlude his thoughts like bugs
(What did the kid want to know?
Yeats & the Occult ... )
On the other side of the fourth wall, a television
booms, a distraught man pounds the floor with a
broom, crying ‘I was okay till I met you!’,
writing COW-WORSHIP &
‘We had a fellow before like you,’
said the professor.
‘At the garden party, he shouted from a stupor
“Who put the **** in S****horpe?”
and fell over.’
The Casino glares
like NebuchadneZZar’s palace of faiences beside the
smoky river
where Shoe wanders for the love of saintgod
quando will beings be free from Babylon with
 the waters thereof unfit to drink?
Each step is more delirious than even a line by
Alan Brunton,
life’s supreme uranic poet,
Overseer of the Scribes of the Great Records.

22   FEVER

The sage lives in a tower where bits of saintgod
fall on him at a million degrees
from magnetic clouds every 27 seconds,
he has brilliant teeth
and skin that never grows old;
saintgod does nothing since
our village abandoned Truth
except hang out on the precipice,
waiting for us to find something
for him to do;
our century is saintgod’s obituary.
His divine image
is unstable, he decays into fluoride.
That sage says
saintgod’s present economic potential
is less useful to us than bananas.
We simply pray to keep our grand
mothers happy
because we know that in the beginning
there was the B i g   B (h) a n g—
3 seconds later: galaxies,
solar systems, life
as we know it,
the anguish of the twentieth century,
one space following another
while, billions of years away, stars
crash into each other
sending shockwaves down on us.
One night I saw the light.  
That is the truth.
We don’t know why
we cry out to saintgod
but our crying never stops.


The old soldier said ‘Endaxi’
for his souvlaki
and hopped down Edgeware Road,
his medals jinking on their strings.
‘Sleeping in mud with a man
you get to know him—
especially in Crete,’
he said to his companion.
‘Anyway, that was nice,’ he said.
‘It always is at this time of year,’
she replied as he
stretched out, hyperventilating on a hedge.
Saturday twentyfifth. She held him
up until they were at their house.
The National Programme’s suave announcer
played Home Sweet Home
to thank those who fought
so we might all be free.
The old soldier looked into the clock
like Malinowski in the jungle
seeing into the night, the lino crawling
with bodies and arms and 1000 eyes;
he kept his whistle
in his fist, he had no blow left.
There are not enough amps in the universe
to erase
the final expletive of filthy memory:
flies in the ditches
sucking the eyes of those
proscribed by Y.—and ‘wanting
and wanting and wanting to die,’
he said, ‘but no one said my name.’

Z is a jigsaw
one night, he showed us some of the precious things
he had gathered, using high-resolution satellite
reconnais­sance maps to find the clandestine factories
where the tissu he sought was made for immortals not
for men

he studied clouds in situ, going through their webby
turbulences to the places that stuff he wanted most
famously appears

he interpreted for us the unique features of particular
designs, unfolding and folding the cloth, telling us
which family had made it, how much he’d paid them,
whether the colour of the supernatural is deep-blue or
deep-green, the intricate nature of the relation-ships in
the matrilineal society of those villages

soft-eyed with reverence, he described the breakfast
prepared for him the morning he left

he opened drawers, unfurling the collectanea of robes
he wears to prayers: bisma memm issimissima, etc

to accumulate value, he explained, I buy time when
it’s cheap and expand it, whereas most people live like
they’re fucking in front of TV cameras

he held his flute to the firelight, astonished that such a
fragile thing could be made from slag, how it could be
‘described, judged, measured, compared with others’

no, no, they can’t take wonder away from Z


The orthodontist reads something about adolescence or
something he wrote as an adolescent then, Shoe’s turn.
He starts out strongly but gets gripped by throat-ice.
Someone has hurled his chair to the floor so hard it
bounces as high as the fluorescents hanging at crazy
angles from the ceiling.
Yeah, Terror has just blown in from his alternative
universe, belching Hi, lining up carved idols out of his
sportsbag in a circle around Shoe’s feet. Each wears a
little skirt made from the foil that once contained his
pills. The King races to the podium waving his small
yellow finger in circles, prodding Shoe, We’ve had
enough of you. Shoe senses any move he makes could
endanger the cosmos. One falter and he’s dead meat.
He remembers a poem in Somali so he starts saying it.
Terror lies on the floor moaning Fuck you, fuck you.
The audience watches from the labyrinths of their own
abstraction without blinking. The dentist-poet jerks a
finger too, I Knew It Would Come To This, offering to
chill things with a verse he wrote for Karloo Staid
when Karloo had run dry, aged 24. Shoe can’t believe
the slobber building up on his shoes. He says No, as if
suddenly inviolable, like if there’s a fence around him
he’ll walk through it, anything to get out of this gulag.
The dwarfish King flubs, letting out a strangled cry—
Wind it up, buddy, holding out three low-denomination
notes, avoiding contact with their hands.  
Shoe sees the cross carved into Terror’s brow (It’s X-
MAN!), edges through the door, determined nothing
will destroy him , repulsing ghosts, hailing the tram to
the city. It’s filled with venture capitalists drinking
piss-yellow chardonnay. Shoe counts the money, the
ink already running through his fingers .


Niu Gini natives cut the legs off the birds for centuries.
The Rajah of Batjan gave some to Del Cano when he
came circumsailing 500 years ago. These are Birds of
Paradise, they cried in Europe, for they always fly and
drink only from heaven’s douche.

When a horse steps on a duck in Hagley Park, Shoe is
all empathy. He takes the invalid bird home in a
newspaper and baptises it with bathwater: Lady Duck.

On Tuesday, the doctor slices off the bad leg.
‘It’s a mallard.’
But when Shoe calls it in the morning,
it still answers to Lady Duck.
On Wednesday, the doctor says
‘You must release this duck.’
Shoe takes it to the Avon. He throws it in.

Thursday, a horse steps on a duck. The same duck.
The doctor says it would be best to put it down than let
it live as a double-amputee.

Friday, Shoe releases the legless apode again for, ‘This
bird will live on dews of Paradise!’

but it flies into the arc of a welding torch in an
engineering shop on the corner of Salisbury Street and
North Durham Street and is fried.

Duck Suicide screams The Press.

Shoe throws a brick wrapped in newspaper through the
window of a restaurant with duck on the menu.


A leaky spigot with a notice that names names
marks the place where the First Fleet knelt
for their first lick in this Waste Logos.
Flames shoot from raindrops
on sapid blooms
and suddenly it’s the miraculous fountain
again, on a sunny day,
oh lady, dearest of anyone
and Padmini of the sveltest sway,
more than money
invested in a foolish scheme,
look, words are the wind
that blows away snow
in the playground, I should be
back at the office
but let’s pretend: I am the goliard
with the real news,
engaging lip to lip
with natives in the plantations
of the moon, patrolling the Rim,
you are from Aqua,
seamless lady: bless me
while you’re here,
cancel grief at my sins
you hot platter
before whom—I can’t help it—
I deliquesce, the ‘memory
of an amnesia’, I is an I
standing still,
just a little bit longer
caress me and end my frailty.
This Is My Prayer.

132   LAST DANCE (Calling Out)
Nada más—Che

I leave for you my unreleased catalogue
the A and O of my substance
my fugitive pieces my cowboy songs
the postcards I never sent from
the Hell I lived in without you
the 883 messages I did delete
the This I did not
this That this Everything
I leave you
bayadere as you go
I give back the bird you gave to me
the bowl I carried everywhere with its  
few drops of the Great Juice
distilled on your Silk Roads
the miracles I purchased
at fountains of mineral water
decisions made at tables
in cafes where citizens
regulated the Public Interest
likewise I leave you
the memory of nomadic nights
I searched for ‘the herb Lunatica’
there you go
because that’s how much I
enjoyed your company
—life goes from A to B
bayadere that’s the   •

Alan Brunton, Fq (Wellington: Bumper Books, 2002).





Last updated 13 May, 2005