Jal Nicholl

Double Feature

                                                             In the first film we watched
that night
                               machines had taken over
                the shop, so that the price of staying alive
kept on increasing
                                              NO CREDIT
                said the sign they kept mechanically pointing at like
a gang of old fashioned school-teachers. Meanwhile
the human race regressed to the amphibian stage
                (an "organic process"
                               or illness caused by as-yet-undiscovered
"chemical lesions"). It got so a parent
                was afraid to embrace their child; so people
                               who dropped a dollar in the street
wouldn't pick it up for fear of suspicion;
                               —then in one particularly disturbing scene
                a Parkinson's sufferer was
                               mistaken for one of "them", lynched
                & cannibalised


                                                                            To write
a successful work of science fiction
                               you should set it just far enough into the future
                               so your audience has something to look forward to ;
                then you'll have made your fortune before the plot
                                              turns out to be
                                                                            not a hoax exactly—but
then, it didn't quite "come to pass", did it?
                               —and if it was meant as an allegory
                               of things already existing, well that's what you should have said.

                (Of course, if you're Jesus the rules
                               don't apply : say you'll be right back,
then keep 'em waiting through 2,000 years of ads)


                The other movie
                was about a woman pregnant to a man
                               she'd never met—

then we had to leave :
                                                             (the phantom pain
                                                             in your 3rd leg was
                                                             flaring up)


                               But superstition dies hard indeed ! I mean
                               in the scheme of things we've only just recently found out
                               where babies come from

                                              when it gets quiet in here I rub
                his belly, say, Give me money
                                                                            —and money come !

                                              there's a reason why we have credit cards
                                              it's because we're greedy & unwise
                                              evolutionarily ill-equipped
                                              for long-term financial planning

                just like we've evolved to fear snakes and spiders
not power-outlets & cigarettes
                                                                                           if you ask me
                competition is basically a good thing
                at the end of the day the people vote with their feet
                               it's a free country
                it's not like we have a centrally-planned economy
                               & when it comes to fresh fruit and vegetables
                               the market is highly competitive


                But when you kidnap someone & inject him
with Substances
                               & keep him for three days tied to the bed
                                              & tell his children Disgusting Lies
                               about him—
                                                             it's completely against the Law
                (my ex-wife, she's in the Mafia). But when
                                              Jesus comes back
                                                                                           He's going to end the Mafia
                                              when He comes He'll come with his firepower
                               He'll come back with his FATHERPOWER

                                                                            When Jesus comes back this time
                                                             it will be for revenge

The Genius

being a genius falls into
an open manhole that wasn't made
for walking around, being made of stone,
might wake up a polyp
of gristle whom smell alone
identifies as animal (yes, they'll eat anything) those
are roots that were his legs
                                                             & so
The Genius fell into a hole, lair of an animal
so primitive it believed it was a vegetable
the lair was a bowl
the hole was a manhole—an underworld of stone having
only one meaning: the Genius
astonished, the soup a metaphor
for metamorphic stone, a loaf
thereof poised in a pleated pattycake paper skirt

Now in the phase of regression that follows trauma
look there's Venus in her Cyprian grotto :
she lifts up her skirt in the light
inviting you to join the communist party
to which all must come, eventually

A Corinthian Pillar

sculpted in sugar,
                the capital (called a "bijou") in the shape of an
                exquisite passionflower; the pâtissier who made it
headed to graduate top of his class until
                the ineluctable
                                                             happens !

                               But suicide is a cowardly act, so
                he goes outside and lights a cigarette

                                              je voulais être le meilleur, le
                                                             plus fort
                                                                            comme vous..!

                               Well, you know how to blow sugar, don't you..?

                Now the President himself hands out the awards to those
                whose late Rococo style puts me in mind of
those little dogs you can't help fussing over

                                              (we all know people like that, don't we, some
                                              vicious as pitbulls, or
                                              placid as pekinese)
—every time
they smell something we can't
                quite do, like pick
                the imaginary fly out of
the overpriced schooner
                without getting thrown out ourselves in the name of

those post it notes on trees inform
                               the public has recently been in the paper.


                               "SMOKING KILLS BABIES"

(though here I can hardly pause to pick my teeth
                but some kid comes in, sits down and waits to hear
                               whatever he's been conditioned
                                              to expect
                me to say)

there must be a more efficient way
                               for life to regenerate itself than by watering
                                              the lawn with a hand-held atomiser, like

                doing still further research into the
                               insecticidal properties of pyrethrum
                might get us there—


                                                             ferns knocking their little
heads on the lintel

                I mean the architrave
                                              At the time of the struggle between
                               the Old and the Young even they must have appeared
                               sisyphean promethean atlases!
                                                                                                          Wisdom to contrive
Strength to support
                                                             Beauty to adorn

                                                                                           Now we're talking
                                              7 scrolls per pediment, the voice
                               that of the Drum
                but who plays it, who finds his own

                                                                            in that of the violin?

Jal Nicholl's poems have appeared in various places online and in print, and are forthcoming in The Age. He is currently on a linguistic embassy to the Far East.
previous page     contents     next page



Post a Comment

<< Home