new zealand electronic poetry centre


John Tranter 



A whirring contraption whispers across the snow
in an outlying suburb of my anxiety;
lamps everywhere, and at their feet pools of light
and icy brine in a slurry. The scent of frying meat.
A tangle of cassette tape hooked on a branch
catches bits of glittery moonshine –
so much for the entertainment industry.

You, in your fur coat and the other luxury
accoutrements harvested from pawn shops,
you seem to burn with a strange heat,
your bare shoulders are steaming slightly,
and your contemptuous look ignites my cigar –

voices in the fog, a man and a girl,
something about ‘foreign affairs’ –

luckily the harbour’s full of fishing boats
to distract me from further gloomy insights.
A bird scouts the wreckage, a mast tilts
as a ferry passes, pointing to this constellation,
then that. Which star will answer my hot wishes,
which one will rain down ruin?

It’s bad luck to whistle, so I whistle.
The ring my old flame gave me
for remembrance – what was her name?
Rosa? – catches a glint from a street light.
The artfully cut garnet gleams rose-purple –
that, and the firefly of my cigar:
two stars on my fingers for luck.

Last updated 12 October, 2003