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TEST PATTERN

Limp meat and a hangover
Slumps in the living room;
The test pattern sucumbs to soap and suds,
And meat raises a beer to suckle meat's lips,
And yells at the kids to turn down the volume a bit,
While the long-leg blonde drools over deodorants,
While the smoother razor shaves smoother,
While
The kids hunt for glue and petrol,
While -

Six legs lost in a maze of electrical torques,
Climb like a vein of metal amid radiations
That would skin a scream from anything less like armour.
Antennae probe and scan
For the road to the cinnamon hive.
A laughter shakes the world, high and hysterical,
Applauding a waterfall of tampons,
A fountain of cholesterol,
While
Plastics burn from a blistered wire
And armour fights against oblivion.

Meat murders a packet of peanuts,
And yells at the wife to
Cut the yakker on the phone,
While
The faithful dog is faithful,
While
The deodorants deodorise and the razors shave smooth,
While -

Six legs lost in a maze of electrical torques,
Places on the slippery ply of magnet and force-flux,
Darkness and devil-lights.
Every step is a gamble - but to stop,
Starvation's stalemate. And who could endure to stop
Here in a ringing world
Crashing with laughter and gunfire,
With the screams of limbs strung up on barbed wire
For the entertainment of the nation,
With the slobbering joy of lips and saliva
Acting love for the loveless,
With the slobbering greed of lips and saliva
Clamouring for toothpaste and icecream.

One leg slips, and burns out,
A white-hot agony. But still the struggle:
Joints, claws, carapace,
Lever and hoist,
Endure death within murder -
The last wish
A wish for the wings of farfalla.

Meat screams murder
At the screen more dead than a test pattern,
At death in the afternoon -
The death of his afternoon.

Copyright © 1979, 2003 Hugh Cook

Picture of front cover of ARC OF LIGHT poetry collection by Hugh Cook.

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