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Jacket 16 — March 2002   |   # 16  Contents   |   Homepage   |  Catalog   | to New Zealand Contents list     

New Zealand feature

Alan Brunton: In the Wilderness of Being

From Moonshine viii

In the Wilderness of Being
the communal piano
was dragged dampiered through the waves
in its bread and ecstasy
              SO HA HA HAHA
and there were new algebras
like Avogadro’s number
and almuchabala too.
There followed a Great Winter
and daylight was a whisper
that was just inertly there;
mass began gently to glow:
‘le ciel était charmant.’

O had not moved all this while,
for a diuturnity,
her mail was redirected
to 1000 Manuka Road
in the capital of Oort
(which some scholars call ‘Po’ though
others refer to ‘Ao’
= Existenzialia/

The Shadow of the Mundane),
but now she could feel Whoosh was
near, Crabs had dropt from the sky!

There could be no more delay,
this was now the wished-for day—
                 the choreographic poem:
                 He’s my
                 O’Jerusalem and I’m his Po!

She arrayed herself in wild
sulphur silks, a spangly jupe
and violine boarskin boots,
took three paces into space
fantastic, fatal whirling
as yet modest to a fault,
love gasoline rinsed her hair,
the moon shimmed the morning sky
peopled with its wheeling zoo,
the light of chandeliers
made it phosphorus-finger’d —
‘ka kha,’ crayed the blinded crow
who had been her allallu...

Letter A

O jagged through a galaxy
on her mechanical horse
—cavallo pegaseo.
She came to the Casino
where J.J. (ah ha!) kept bar.

She joltered the swinging door
but glanced not from side to side
as she chasséed to that Room
lit by a single gas lamp
making shadows on the walls
where high-rollers played Revenge.
There, Bachelors in Y-fronts
like anthills at a table,
sat, sere faces wreathed in smoke.
The ice-box in the corner
was the ashtray of desire.

It was twiggerlight by then
the night
so long
and as rain juiced the window,
Ana Suromai walked in.

Outside, Chocolate-Grinders
(a seedy tuxedo’d Three)
glockenspielt their anxious waltz
for idle apprentices
and beggars huddled to fires
of cattle-dung, eating bugs.

Letter B

Her gaze caught them unawares.
The Oculist looked at her,

his mouth overt like a hinge
with wormwood swizzling his teeth:

‘Wench came you?’ asked Evil Lu
splintering the long silence,

‘Wit yo callipygian stew?’
Then Mouse lisped too: ‘She’s, I’d guess,’

looking up from telegrams
in his flabbergastation,

‘some gold-digger from the East
but where’d she get those peepers?’

‘Do you find us trivial?’
barked the Scriv., oversetting

his cucurbit of corn mash
with a jaundiced expletive.

Blood speckled their irises
when they heard her soft reply

(the slightest hesitation):
‘I’ve lost so much sight of time,’

she gasped, counting the stars like
nine holes in the window-blind.

‘The Jeux are played,’ shrilled El Mouse,
lifting the deck from his shoe.

Rapt, they each stared at the baize.
O counted her cards, they were:

Merchant of KANES
Nester in the Mirror
Mr Sure-to-come
Unique Hombre I
Unique Hombre II
Monarch of the Glen
Dead Surt
The Big Transformer
The Great Communicator
Ronaldo of the Fissures
Cronus with his Worldly Harmonica
usses cynnes
Joyous Gard
Flamel Shirt
Master Blihis
The Great Sage
The Desert Sage
John the Climax
Fernando Po
Seventh Beatitude
Endless Trail of Light
Iron John
Cuneator of Iron
Pyx of Nyx
Object of a
Lord of Gorm
first lord of Hurtreford
— of Villanova
The Jake
Terminator II
Doctor Double Happy
Rapid Converter
First Generator
Engraver of Gold
The Crimson Pyretic
& Company ...

You could’ve heard a chin drop.
Evil Lu’s daiquiri froze.

The Scriv.’s cigar singed his brow.
‘Gentlemen, we’ve lost,’ sighed Mouse.

O fixed her glims on Joe Wurtz,
lightning joined her to the sky.

‘I know who you are,’ she moaned,
Whoosh’s arteries congealed.

‘Speech ends,
this is my Revenge:

resplendent son,

change the stream of destiny!’

           pedal point on A#
           sustained to the last

    G L O R Y   I S

    T O   G O D   A L O N E !

Photo of Alan Brunton

Alan Brunton has published ten books of poetry including the book-length poem Moonshine (Bumper, 1998) and Ecstasy (Bumper, 2001) plus a cd 33 perfumes of pleasure (Free Word Band, 1997). Co-editor with Murray Edmond and Michele Leggott of Big Smoke (Auckland UP, 2000; reviewed by Philip Mead in this issue of Jacket). Co-founder with Sally Rodwell of the experimental theatre troupe Red Mole (1974–) based in Wellington since 1988 and previously in New York, New Mexico, London and Amsterdam. Most recent theatre script Comrade Savage (Bumper, 2000); most recent video production Crazy Voyage (Red Mole, 2001). See

Photo: Alan Brunton,
wearing a jacket
Photo: Joe Bleakley, September 2001

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