new zealand electronic poetry centre

J A C K   R O S S


Zen and the Art of America’s Next Top Model

Don’t listen to
what we say
but what we mean
when the dancer tried
not looking like
a dancer
at her next photo-shoot 

Now we’re in heaven
above the clouds
but soon
we’ll go back down
the semi-finalists
on Table Mountain
awful with energy


Miss Tyra
seven feet of bone & lust
rolling on the floor
displaying passion
screaming at a loser
to wipe that smirk
off her pinched face

The photo-shoot
an open grave
for the girl
whose schoolmate
had just

passed away

Watching it with Simon
as I prompted him
to see the subtleties
you’ve got to write this, Jack
no-one would dream
the bollocks you think up
about this crap

Too commercial
not high fashion
not versatile enough
too young
too fat
too old
never too thin
The art of teaching
breaking down
the will
not because you’re right
they’ll never start to learn
without it


Auckland, April 2006

Free Love

(after André Breton)
Girl of the wood-ember hair
flash-photo wit
hourglass waist
otter-cub in the tiger’s jaws
bouquet of sunflowers in your mouth
teeth white mice tracks in the snow
teased-amber tongue
tongue stained blood-red by the Host
tongue of a Barbie batting her eyelids
alchemist’s tongue
lashes crayon slashes
swallowtail eyebrows
forehead fogged-up
greenhouse panes
champagne-flute shoulders
– dolphins butting through sea-ice –
matchstick wrists
card-sharp fingers          my Ace of Hearts
harvest-shock fingers
marten-fur armpits
(Midsummer bonfires
of blackbirds’ nests)
spindrift arms
ground fine as grain
skyrocket legs
sparking like clockwork                       or despair
calves shoots from the Rata tree
feet like initials
feet like keyrings          feet like bung-taps
pearl-barley neck
whitewater throat          (my love-nest
in the torrent’s bed)
night-walking breasts
sea-otter breasts
crucified breasts
rosebud nipples spiked with dew
belly like a folded fan
a giant claw
your back         a jump-jet hovering
quicksilver back
beacon back
nuque of the neck         a rolling stone
a glass that shatters in your hand
coracle hips
flared hips
pale as a peacock
tipped head-over-heels
asbestos bum
swansdown behind
Spring booty
leaf-dagger sex
sex panning for gold      platypus pussy
sex soft as anemone       jujube sweet
mirror sex
eyes pricked with tears
violet eyes          my magnetic north
nomad eyes
eyes water to a dying man
eyes one second from the chop
eyes deep as a well         eyes free as air                        eyes dry earth and eyes
                                                                                                                             cool fire


[first published in Magazine 3 (2005): 25-27, ed. Raewyn Alexander].


Last updated 28 April, 2006