we are both
poets – I’m
she never is –
that’s how we
achieve the balance
i don’t stop to look around enough
i’ve got my headphones on
i’ve got my phone in view
i’m walking far
i’m not thinking about much
beyond what’s right in front of me
and of course what’s going into my ears
i’m pleased about the exercise – and
i could say i’m doing my bit for the environment
but a better bit would be actually notice it
or else – arguably – it’s all for nothing
A guy with his clown face
still painted on, sits down
at the bar wearing a red tracksuit.
Just to clarify, it’s clown-face in
the red suit, the bar is dressed in stale
sweat, old farts and cheap dreams.
There are cracks in the make-up, peeling
like the paint that was once on the walls.
He offers to mime to pay for his first drink.
The bartender shakes his head
which is doubly sad since it’s a no
straightaway and a better mime.
He’s gone shortly after, out on the street.
I drop him my coins as I leave.
Tell him, ‘thanks mate. Great show’.
It’s one of those parties you never should’ve gone to,
you know it, before you go, and that’s why you do,
cos these people don’t know you. Like anyone
and everyone they have an idea of you, which, admittedly,
is a fable you’ve more than likely helped to create…
So, tempting fate, you dispose of a cask of wine before eight;
rubbish anyway. And further from nine, you arrive,
nearer to ten, when some guy, whose name you don’t recall,
you’d love to say it’s not important, but you remember Mrs Wood,
from primary school. And she wasn’t cool. Even back all those years.
Mind you, this guy, never made you stand on the table and recite
your seven-times-table in front of your peers…
Anyway, the guy who shall remain nameless
(you settle on it being his parent’s fault)
appears in front of you and with a crowd, in full view
asks you what you’re doing with yourself…
Oh fuck – and here we go. It’s time to play the music,
time to light the lights, what you didn’t know
when you first left home was that you’d be arriving
on set at the fucking Muppet Show.
There they are, two prototypes of Wellington’s Quasi-religious sect –
the clone cult of fashion androgyny: They both
have horn-rimmed specs, plain glass lens/no prescription –
you correctly guess.
And they won’t eat meat, and they don’t get drunk,
and they used to smoke pot before it became passé.
And “class A” is cliché. And they’ll have their say about yours,
cos if they wanted your opinion they’d give it to you…
oh but only in a strictly no-violence, non-threatening sense, of course
cos they hate all stereotypes, and hate people who judge,
the only two rules they were very clear on as they
made their own judgmental stereotype of sorts – and of course
you can’t be bothered with them and you know that they hate you
so you resort to the sort of trick your horrid flatmate thought was clever.
He reckoned whoever said fuck up first wins the argument.
You thought that was stupid and you gave it a go explaining just why,
and then of course and right on cue – he shouted out to “Fuck Up” right at you
and skulled his beer like it was the golden trophy. So you decide to try it now.
And shit it can feel good when you lower your standards to just the right level!
In a blur of “catching up” you’re sweating and you’ve
spilled red wine down yourself and smoked four cigarettes end to end.
And now, the two prototypes are staring at you
as you look blankly straight through them.
One of them suddenly recognises you, and what can you do,
you click too that he remembers you as the “Wannabe Music Writer”
that obviously failed to understand his band. And
so what – just because you said you wished they all were dead;
he shouldn’t have taken it so personally…
You tell him not to feel bad for what you said, you didn’t
necessarily want him dead you were being “controversial” and
besides all the best guys are gone right, so maybe you were just
equating him with Hendrix and Bob Marley and John Lennon instead?
But he doubts you and he’d be right.
You need to change the subject. Big time. And really bad.
And so you eye the alleyway gap in a political yarn
when they state their collective belief against eating beef.
You say, purely to stir, that it seems weird…
“What seems weird?” they query rightly, politely – “Well,” you slur,
“if vegetarians love animals so much, why do they eat all their food?”
They leave in disgust at all you’ve discussed, they, of course, find you rude.
But just before they go, you get a chance make another impression,
as you bite down hard on two chicken drumsticks and push one into each
corner of your mouth for a very special rendition of “I am the Walrus”.
You stumble away and then bumble and bump
into two little bunnies from your old school. They are rabbiting
on and on about something and you need an in.
So you pull an imaginary comb back through your hair and as you
brush past your own ear you say, just as smooth as you can,
“Hey look ladies, there’s, ah, more than one way to skin a cat…
but personally, I’ve always preferred a fucking big knife”.
The best logic you can offer on this night – an ethos of sorts – is that
it’s not a waste of time if you’re wasted all the time, again when
you aim word-darts at the joke’s bull’s-eye you miss
And someone yells loudly, calling you a dog on the piss.
You bark back that you’re not an alcoholic
if you can lie on the floor without hanging on…
And that is when you fall. (Victim to your own cross-examination).
While you’re down there, face pressed hard on the rug,
it’s a long time since you’ve been there in that position, you have
a suspicion that these hairs will
taste sorta similar, so you lick away at the carpet thinking
it funny and kinda thinking it’s neat, it’s been a long time…
and now everyone knows…at least those still watching, most
have ceased to believe that you were ever really ‘there’.
Carpet hairs; cunt hairs? Who cares?
Your friends that you’re sure were there, turned up
with you at least, can’t be found, they’re not here
to see you drown and wallow in self-pitying detail
but back on your feet, you’re last seen and heard
confirming former carpet suspicions, lifting the blanket
of thought so to speak and crushingly admitting
to a hell of a lot of people, who never asked, and never
wanted to know that you’re crap in bed – but so what, you’re only repeating
what you know three women to have said. And god knows why
but tonight it works – it’s how you flirt, apparently. As one woman
takes a shine to the awkward truths revealed amidst your lies.
You’re forced to think on your feet and right now you’re struggling
to be able to accomplish either of those basic tasks. And is this
mind-fuck? And, hey if it is just a test, she’s already said
she’s happy to take the practical. Still somehow, some way
you’re sure she’s taking the piss. So to seal the deal you
ask her the old joke about what do you get when you put
a baby in a microwave. She’s long gone before you shout out
to the last people in the room, “An erection. You get an erection!”
And there’s obviously a huge – or not so huge – irony there as
that’s something you wouldn’t have been likely to get with almost
any hope – because even if she had laughed at that hideous line and gone
home to grind, she’d find it’d be like trying to play pool with a coil of rope.
So you try for one more joke of the night –
(since they’ve been going so well).
You say there’s a new drug they made in Auckland
and it’s called Viagra-Light:
It’s for wankers!
And you’re aware that people are starting now to tease you,
now that it’s too easy, another irony and you really hate this.
And then you half-hear one girl, whose mother was most definitely
never told to shut the fuck up, state, in exasperation, that
she doesn’t know how people like you can just let themselves go
and you think, fuck: If I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard that
(and it actually registered) I’d at least have enough for a taxi home.
And sure, so you’ve been covering your butt for most of the night.
So you must be bright, a wiser man however, would just have kept his pants on…
You’re left wanting one more drink, which you won’t even finish,
a cigarette to help you throw up, a kebab to replace
what you intend to lose on the street and
all you want to do at this point is get home safe and
avoid any more shit, as you start sobering, enough to realise
the error of some of your ways – you want to avoid
those two animals that you always seem to bump into but it’s no good.
There’s no vision of actually getting home and no memory
as you awake, next to no-one. Again.
Then the sun fingers its way in through
a gap in the blinds and casts a shadow of your
At first wake there is first doubt as to whether you even went out.
But those two animals have called past again;
yep sure as there’ll be debt collectors on your trail soon,
cos you told the dentist to do what a duck can’t and
stick his fuckin bill up his arse, those two animals
have called – again. In fact you struggle to remember
a single night drinking when
that mule hasn’t kicked you in the head and
that bird hasn’t shat right down your throat.
First phone call provides first flashback:
Standing on the table with your pants down
|round your ankles, you were screaming
your seven times table at some
guy who you hardly knew…
I guess my introduction to Daniel Clowes was the movie Ghost World – and then much later I read the collected strips of it when published as a single-volume graphic. There was probably the movie Art School Confidential in there too before I ever got to the comics. But in the last few years I’ve worked through quite a few of the best-known of his strips (David Boring and Like A Velvet Glove Cast In Iron, Caricature, Eightball and Ice Haven). But the one I have loved the most and the one that really spun my head was Wilson. Read More »
Dear Kind Regards,
(for your email)
but will we
I reckon,Kind Regards,
you’re never going to
message me ever let alone
say Thanks (Again)
How soon is then?
You know, when we
Talk Soon again just like
we never talked before…
This week – as the Fringe Festival gets going – the show I earlier previewed (which I’m in) is starting. However we’ve had a change in the way it will run – we’re not starting on Thursday. But instead of shortchanging you by a show we are adding two on the remaining dates.
The new run sheet for the show is Friday and Saturday, March 5 and 6, still at Meanwhile Gallery, 99 Willis St, in Wellington. Read More »
Dear Ngā Mihi,
thank you for the email
telling me it’s a no.
I’m curious, Ngā Mihi,
not about your decision, more
so about your name. It is beautiful.
Did your parents give you that
at birth or did you change it
for professional reasons?
Also, Ngā Mihi,
have we emailed before or
do you have a brother or
sister that works in a similar
department? It feels like there
are a lot of you – all beautiful
in white. Yes, a lot of Ngā Mihis
around. All of you Dear.
Yes, very Dear of course.
A couple of years ago I went to see this play called Cock. It’s about a man’s bisexuality – specifically about how that places him in the middle of a woman and a man and how they push and pull at his feelings.
He has been gay. He has been with a man. That relationship is over. And now he is with a woman. She does not know about his ex. They meet in the world’s most awkward dinner party.
It’s a wonderful play and what I loved most about it is the way the actors stand with their hands basically by their sides. Offering no gesture. Meals are referenced but you see no food. A small amount of mime is offered but basically the play is all about the words. Words can hurt. Words set up the cockfight of the title. Words make the wounds. Read More »