new zealand electronic poetry centre


Bill Manhire

On Originality

Poets, I want to follow them all,
out of the forest into the city
or out of the city into the forest.
The first one I throttle.
I remove his dagger
and tape it to my ankle in a shop doorway.
Then I step into the street
picking my nails.
I have a drink with a man
who loves young women.
Each line is a fresh corpse.
There is a girl with whom we make friends.
As he bends over her body
to remove the clothing
I slip the blade between his ribs.
Humming a melody, I take his gun.
I knot his scarf carelessly at my neck, and
I trail the next one into the country.
On the bank of a river I drill
a clean hole in his forehead.
Moved by poetry
I put his wallet in a plain envelope
and mail it to the widow.
I pocket his gun.
This is progress.
For instance, it is nearly dawn.
Now I slide a gun into the gun
and go out looking.
It is a difficult world.
Each word is another bruise.
This is my nest of weapons.
This is my lyrical foliage.






Last updated 31 May, 2007