‘During John Travolta’s Face/Off Operation…’ and ‘Good Day I am A Horse’ by Nick Ascroft

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During John Travolta’s Face/Off Operation …

… they discovered he had 39 faces all stacked one on top of the other
for easy access.
Always another face underneath.
SLICE this one’s Christian Slater SLICE here’s Jeremy Irons SLICE
Margaret Thatcher, etc.
Who’s your plastic surgeon asked one of the face/off operators.
This is some intricate work.
John Travolta looked at the guy.
Regulation company jumpsuit. Nondescript.
Body-count fodder. Guy’s gonna die for sure
and probably not in his own shot.
Probably three of these guys get wasted then the camera swings up
to the metal walkway.
Always a metal walkway in these places.
Guy’s got a grey-blue jumpsuit and a blue-grey gloved hand
on the circular saw.
Not gonna see it coming.
Who’s your plastic surgeon, Mr Travolta? Then BANG BANG BANG:
brains, guts, balls.
SLICE Darth Vader SLICE Freddy Mercury SLICE
Mr Miyagi out of Karate Kid.
Karate Kid 3 though. Trying to be professional but less you know fire.
John Travolta looked up at the walkway.
Where’s that go, he asked the anaesthetist.
Fuck you, thought the anaesthetist. Just so fuck
completely you.
SLICE Little Mermaid SLICE Liberace SLICE White Fang SLICE
who’s that?
That’s you. Deep in the face stack.
Thought you were something, but no.
Another face in Travolta’s deck of visages.
Just another cheap grin in John Travolta’s club sandwich of faces.
It’s like Alberto said.
Dr Alberto, sorry. You know.
Sorry, the anaesthetist. Name got cut from earlier due to run time.
Fuck you.

Good Day, I Am a Horse

And hello, I am a beaver.
To you my sincerest, I am a starfish
with an old-fashioned disposition.
Ever yours, a beetle, one of many, writing,
amid a rainstorm, of commas, to an eagle.

Wotcher,

says I back,

an eagle, via telegram (stop).
Rustling in its seat, from back in the 1990s,
some undergraduate lofts its hand.
It drops it. It mutters the word
‘anthropomorphisation’ and wonders at a tut.

Get a grip, thinks a chorus

of skinks,

in French.
An extinct moa laughs in an extinct dialect
of Maori and slaps its beaked forehead.
A kitten on the internet holds up a sign:
Yoo iz so speshl hoominz haha.

Nick has a new and selected poems out now, Dandy Bogan (Boatwhistle 2018). He’s a New Zealander mad for indie Dad-jangle.

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