new zealand electronic poetry centre


John Newton

Fugacity 05
Online Poetry Anthology


The Beats

So just how cool do you want to be?
Think about it, white boy, write down your answer
on the back of a matchbook and leave it in the tip jar.
His date with Ms Wichita Strangeways, the esoteric Ice Queen.

The Old Town belongs to the tourists now, gargling Coronas
in the Stuka Lounge, suntanned Scandinavian sinews,
feckless and wholesome, in the blossoms of their sins.
Staring at foreigners, he figures, is a kind of civic duty.

Later it’s all gleaming bridgework in the ultraviolet indigo.
He’s waiting for that bombastic groove
before he gets up and detonates himself on the dancefloor,
waiting for Mswch to finish her drink before he tries out

the old tale of back when and which way it turned him.
The thing about women, his buddy once told him,
is keep talking, don’t stop and give them a chance to think —
unless you’ve got a granite jaw or something. Left that one

hanging, in the lunch-boxy fug of the Common Room.
The waiter embarks with a bucket of bubbles,
ahem, from the gentleman across the way,
and the DJ just knotted his T-shirt round his anorexic torso.

Now’s good.
Coiled at the base of his spine the serpent’s still sleeping
but it wants to get busy, and he’s up for it, fuck yes, if someone
wasn’t back in his ear again:

Nobody cares about your suffering, you poor lonely bastard
— I know, just wait —
but that doesn’t mean, you see, my homesick amigo,
that you shouldn’t worry. Now tell me, had you thought about that?


Last updated 22 April, 2005