new zealand electronic poetry centre


John Tranter 


Invitation to America 

It’s a day for daydreaming: rain
choking the gutters, wind whistling at the window.
Put down that coffee for a minute
and think about it – a ménage à deux
at the other end of the planet, floating on a culture
with a blank mind, or rather, surfing
on the waves of fashion, asleep on the wing,
splashed by each passing trend.

The way the sun lifts up from the backdrop
so enthusiastically and lights up the windblown
clouds from behind, it’s a knockout,
a patchwork canopy of blue and yellow.

The storekeepers, the cops, the culture vultures
remind me of you – deliquescent con-artist,
blinking and lying through the convenient tears.
Like a paint job on a new convertible
the talk is brilliant and skin-deep.
No history – who needs it? The furniture
seems to know what you’re planning, day by day,
the air conditioning blesses you with perfume,
the mirrors are discreet in what they remember
and what they choose to forget.

The vernacular of the shopping channel
and the sale catalog is on everybody’s lips –
nothing but beauty and elegance, and the houseboats
and the matching housecoats are just right!
Along the canals, the clink of ice-blocks knocking
in a jug, the traffic lights are only ever green or amber,
and the big orange moon rises on cue,
haunt of astronauts. Think about it:

a voyage that takes you to yourself;
a movie that reminds you of its own locale.

Last updated 12 October, 2003