Billy and his babe, armed , up on the roof,
appears at this distance, well - quite aloof;
one bullet drills headmaster through the eye,
his gown flutters, he flops like a magpie.
She cocks one leg like a stork and giggles,
puts a hand on her hip, pouts and wiggles;
'Oh neat one Billy! another dead bod,
I say, there's quite a pile down in the quad.'
Matron by the oak, dashes for the door,
too late! - her tarten skirt splattered in gore.
That fat kid, bailed up, holding his tum,
is gut-shot, why he's screaming for his mum.
The chaplin holds up his cruxifix, begs
them to stop, but cops one between the legs.
Billy dreams he's in a computer game
against his will and every day's the same;
enough! enough! enough! enough! enough!
he has no future, couldn't give a stuff -
gets a head in his sights, sees it explode;
takes the girl from behind and blows his load.
This is the world then, what it has become;
therefore, let us rejoice - evil's great fun!
The title of this poem is taken from one of the oldest known European student songs, usually sung in the original Latin, as celebration of the 'free and easy student life.' The melody is notably famous as a German student drinking song from at least as early as the 17th century.
Even today, many a middle aged German businessman will sentimentally recall Gaudeamus Igitur and the lost youth of his student days. The melody first became popular through its inclusion in Brahams, "Akademische Fest-Ouveture" for orchestra published in 1881.
I would suggest to the reader that if he/she wants a Hollywood version (not without its appeal) then Mario Lanza's rendition of the following verse from the 'Student Prince' is as rousing as any.
Otherwise, I recommend the legendary Viennese baritone, Eric Kunz: German University Songs, Vol . 1 . My Poem is, therefore, to be seen within this context as rendolent of '70s movies like 'If' and 'The Ruling Class' . A translation of the familiar, first verse from the Latin is as follows:
Juvenes dum sumus;
Post jucundam juventutem
Post molestam senectutem
Nos habebit humus.
While we're young, let us rejoice.
Singing out in gleeful tones;
After youth's delightful frolic
And old age (so melancholic!) Earth will cover our bones.
from & Interviews (1978)
Spring out of October into the next month
the winds chasing bits of broken growth
even against the deadened tree / that bird / & peeling bark
Oyster/catchers dabs of tar on the factory roof
throats noisy & in on the act right now
the whole crazy arithmetic of the species.
Sawyers Bay. Port Chalmers. Careys Bay. Deborah Bay.
The severe brush strokes of the sea at Aramoana.
Pulling at the tubers ferns pulling at the chopped
soil, at the neatly cropped rows
pooling the pockets of the market/gardeners
(God's yards) in on the act. Spring.
Wisteria scrambles along the weatherboard
to our casement windows, framing this.
Against cloudwork the bruise spread yellow
with some dismantling to the west.
These structures of / distance / balance / perspective
tarnish their plaques owning (not us)
: words that doodle in the cloudstrokes
to remake the boundaries & the commonplace of seasons.
Mt Cargill continues under detonation to loosen
giant cubes a mouth widening over the years
& elevated terraces look east to the harbour
where the dredge lets the shipping run back to sea
[ this poem is taken from Night of Warehouses: Poems 1978-2000, HeadworX Publishers, 2001]
from Unmanned (1999)
B R U N O L A W R E N C E
Bruno, do you remember the Me and Gus stories,
way before Barry Crump got keen, when a cow cocky
was a bastard you met on gravelly roads? Recall
the nights playing community halls, and days making
a few records, only to break a few more? 'Ricky
May's Jazz Combo', 'Max Merrit and the Meteors',
'Qunicey Conserve', plus, the all-stars-road-show
Blerta* travelling Aotearoa, through khaki paddocks,
down thistle blown highways in that diesel bus -
seasonal rhythms you doubtless gathered, drummer
extraodinairie, on your final journeying off Cape
Reinga, the spirit freed to ride the rain - you backed
the loner to the last, death the bottom line to stave
off cancer. Bruno, you did that thing. R&B, Jazzman,
film star (didn't Jack Nicholson say get on over to
Hollywood?) but you preferred back blocks, sought
small towns, river shingle, the hollows of the land,
and a home around Waimarama in the Hawkes Bay.
A shifting romantic, hoon and hangman, a real joker
you played yourself-sans-bullshit in a heap of movies;
The Wild Man, Ute, you leapt from life to art
without a hitch; A Bridge To Nowhere, The Quiet Earth,
how you loved women, warmth by the bus load,
produced that classic - My 12 inch, record of the blues.
* Bruno Lawrence's Electric Revelation and Traveling Apparition.
The Grey Glas Song
I am the cold watery current of the air,
I am the wreathing hand of mists,
I am the many-windowed firmament
I am the coloured winds on the cloth of night,
I am the cloudy shell around the earth
I am the four chief winds of creation,
I am the speckled winds riding the world
I am the beaked-boat emerging at dawn,
I am the eight encircling servant winds,
I am a thousand lamps breaking in the wave,
I am the weight of a waterfall from a cliff,
I am the red plain of the earth at sunset,
I am the spear thrust of streams from a hill,
I am the lake bursting forth upon the plain,
I am the tall stones circled for strong memory.
Who counts the stars at the well's bottom?
Who is it follows the sun in his circuit?
Who is it keeps the sun fixed on his path?
Who thrice blesses the tides lifting and falling?
Who welcomes the morning of grey dews
knows fiery arrows pierce the breast for vision.
The poet's breath empties up into the night
who calls his answer across deep waves.
[ Taken from the Ms. Ballads, Satire & Salt - A book of Diversions].