Two More Poems by Nick Ascroft


I Coo Haiku High, Eh

(For Ames)

One Use a toothbrush, eh,   to clean your goose-
flesh ballbag,  then icewater it.

The use?
Sweet fuck all.  Momentary relief perhaps.
The itch, eternal.

Two Then Jesus claps:
Oi!  Throw no stones, you hypocrites!  (The king
Of killjoys.)

Pilate’s wife’s repulsed.  A thing
so brutal. Why? Yet …  It’s just so right now.

Three Always, we bring plagues:  in the cacao,
Minute mites;  moths, mice, flies and ants.

How scabies
crazed me.  Like fleas that bite the baby’s
brow, the unseen seethes.

Four His fluorescent
shite,  I scoop an iridescent  crescent
round his bits.

Am I infectious?   Are these
Disease-borne fingers?  He wees, sighs: oh please.

Turn to Camera in the Birthing Suite

(for Kate at 35)

At this – attaching a maternity
pad’s sticky wings to either side of your
gigantic knickers – I wink, turn to the
omniscient camera and say I am sure
that none submersed in postmodernity
as low as you have soared above their raw
and unrelievable eternity
of pain, fought unironic through the flaw
bonanza of the hypnobirth, the TENS
placebo and such taciturnity
or absence as the stand-in midwife lent,
and stayed so measured. I discern indeed
the greatest heroism in your labour.
And here’s to Entonox to blunt the sabre.

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


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.


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.