Terminus & The hotel
by Ailbhe Darcy
[ poetry - february 09 ]
When Arnie sliced a transept from his own burgeoning arm
the inventor went loose all the way through.
You could see it in his face, clear as a dolly shot,
that he would do anything the Terminator said:
and Arnie said he ought to quit inventing.
Even then - a boy joy-maddened with the explosions and chaos,
the adrenal-squeezing soundtrack, my private crush
on Edward Furlong - I could pick holes in it.
Would topping one inventor really halt invention? Still,
it was a film worth making the leap for.
Still not unstoppable as Arnie,
I'm halted at Hardington, hemmed in outside Heathrow, doubting
my own innocence. The planes we'd hoped to cull
buzz overhead. We rally, sing
protest without Sarah Connor's conviction.
I'd half kneel to pray to the future wiser, me:
Couldn't you send back a Terminator?
Not only would He lop the knees off those police cocks
picking round our squats, but take His pound
of flesh and lay it on the table:
How the machines, having what we've always dreamed,
the ability to fly to the high ground
when the ice caps dissolve,
take for themselves what's left of the world,
leaving nothing for us and the bystander animals...
But perhaps, as I've mentioned,
it wouldn't matter what he said.
The deliberate mistakes in maps:
I swarm in the pool at Livingstone
while you smoke in the shade,
I catch the eye of a beautiful man.
ascending down his ladder. I smile and arch.
I languish at him, preen. He sees.
When I pad off, all Brigitte,
he comes after. Calls. I waddle faster.
His weight on me a statistic
converted to a jerking digit,
imagination racked. What would I risk
for quick bliss?
Yours, certainly, but not my own death.
After that I insisted we swim at night.
I wake to it still:
the Southern Cross, the huge moon,
the enormous bat.
The rose on our watering can, our cats
parked ill-matched in the yard,
the man in the story on the ladder with the shears
who lopped the dolly's head off.