In last night’s dream I was a gridiron professional in L.A.
and ‘in a relationship’ with no-nonsense Aussie actress Rachel Griffiths
whom I dislike as the gawky Sarah in Brothers and Sisters
but adore as crazy Brenda in Six Feet Under. ‘Brenda’ and I
couldn’t persuade the puppy to romp on the bed
with us. When I tried to crawl home through the wire mesh tunnel
that led from our place to the street torn up for gun emplacements,
I ripped my best suit. The puppy was whining, ‘Brenda’ was in the window,
but I was snagged, there, in full view, the rip in my Boss
making a noise like icebergs breaking loose.
Tūī grawking and dial-toning in the Green Belt
among the obliging Aussie eucalypts
whose red dirt nectar they relish more
than the pale citrus, herbaceous local drop.
Was this a dream? Who cares. ‘And then I woke up’ is such
a cop-out. Sipped flowers falling before us as we walked.
Wild turkey at the back of the driving range
It sits up nicely for you under unbelievable azure
but keep your head down. Hang on to your turkey sandwich.
After dark they floodlight the range and you see
red eyes down there at the back. Trajectories, they go up
and over, they sky then earth, a line that can’t be straight
because it’s too full of meaning. A thoughtful pause.
I see where you’re coming from, but settle down,
earthed and ready for impact.
Ten minutes in The Warehouse is enough to make me want
to kill myself. It’s the material inertia of New World aisles
that makes me want to end it. You’re doing well
if you can even find the Modern Tretchikov in Moscow. Tusiata and I
walked for hours over a bridge and finally
through a kind of art store. Our shoes were made of cardboard
and fell apart in the rain. There was a sculpture cemetery, and a tent
for drinking beer and vodka. In the art warehouse
Malevic’s black square was barely displayed at all
but my entire past rushed eagerly into it. In the Palazzo Rosso in Genoa
the opposite thing happened. The darkness at the back
of Caravaggio’s Ecce Homo just kept redeeming it.
The klieg lights, the dark,
dripping forest, the rank flanks
of horses, a sneery hound pissing
on wet tents. The collapse
of public transport, the unhygienic
orphanage, the barracks, the unpredictable
success of tour discounts. A lake
in which a lake
is reflected. A mountain
superimposed on another where
thoughts race along the boardwalk
losing touch with their bodies.
Ian Wedde’s latest poetry book was The Little Ache — A German notebook. Victoria University of Wellington Press, 2021. The poems were written while he was in Berlin researching his novel The Reed Warbler.