Wednesday, December 29, 2010

411. Haka

Train train a sky of blue,
a winter morning crisp and tight
like ice, like trouser creases.

My heart lifts, it rises,
as I head off in the wrong direction
looking at the hard-etched houses
lined against an azure sky,
viewing the sharpcut yellow stubble
of a tiny rice meadow
that can feed five families
angled between two rather squat
office buildings with a flourish
of Chinese characters.

The return train,
it seems I am running late
and I couldn’t care

less. The fellows are still
waiting for the stadium bus,
knocking back tinnies at the stop,
and then there is Aya, a sad Filipina
with purple contacts and a helluva
bad story. I have heard so many of them
that I feel like a hidden priest, perhaps
I should parade in rough Christian robes
to hide the ice within.

I could learn to like Aya,
trouble is Aya's been "liked" before,
repeatedly, been badly done over

and so I’m only half listening,
as you do, politely. Then the match
begins, and it goes on for a bit,
with oohs and aahs from the crowd.
I used to love this stuff, this rugby,
in my young youth I played on the green
lumpy fields of three continents,
one of the gay silly things I did
before old age took over.

Rugby, savants say, is a metaphor
for war, for the playing fields of Eton:
untrue, but it can be physical chess

when the many healthy resplendent lads
stop fussing around a badly bouncing ball,
with their girls all bright and smiling, pretending
an interest they could never conceivably possess
in the furthest tiniest re-cess of their capacious
rapacious female brains. Aya is looking over
now, and I'm sorry, but I'm not looking back. I am
on the track of an over-priced fizzy beer; if a man
won’t drink, he could be labelled an Irish queer

for trailing the ladies instead of the booze.
No, no, for all of my life I've been looking, searching,
waiting to choose, hope sadly slipping away.

I reckon in the end we all may lose,
even in the hardass canyons of the USA
where rugby, I presume, is a pussy game.
We had a joke going, one of them weak no-brainers,
as the pink-cheeked girls, annoyed, yanked off their boots,
figure that one out; but then Shem tapped me
upside the head. Fuckin hurt, too. Didn’t even
know the gentleman, a situation soon
and forever about to change.

Stick out your tongue. Wha’?
More, more, more, is that the best you can do?
Was I talking too much? Glaarh --; glaa...aaarh!!

Roll your eyes: flex your knees and elbows,
Jesus Christ, man, are you bleedin paraplegic?
and what happened that tongue, that tongue,
it should be licking the end of your pimply nose!
The fuckwit silly losers they send me down
these times would wear the balls off the Virgin Mary
had she had any, beggin yer pardon, Ma'rm. Sir? What?
Can I stop licking my nose and go back to the crap
daily rhythms of ordinaryl life? Ho, Irish are we?

Limber up, Paddy, for I’m going to teach you once,
once and once only, for the first and for the last time,
how a man should feel, how he should live ... and dance!


The Haka is a Maori war dance. The New Zealand rugby team performs it before every international match to intimidate their opponents. It works.