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Live Encounters Aotearoa New Zealand Poets & Writers April 2023
Dark Matter, poems by Arthur Amon
it’s not only you or the dog
my thoughts gravitate to in the small hours
I’m lying awake wondering about dark matter –
the stuff that makes the galaxies hold together
the answer to the question: why are they in the shape they’re in?
all that undetectable fluff
you could say it’s weighing on my mind
one possibility I heard was it might be neutrinos
holding hands, as the physicists say
(an awful lot of them, because they are a titchy folk, the neutrinos)
but my theory is it’s made of virtual Nutella –
maybe God smeared it out between the stars with a condensed boson knife
crushed hazelnuts in an ether of chocolate smoother than the vacuum
(so sticky and spreadable)
some people love Nutella,
it’s the affection that makes the virtual Nutella work
a velvety field of love stretching between
the this and that
of all everything
love really does make the world go around
the galactic centre
that’s what happens when you stay in Sandspit
and I’m in Red Beach alone
I go to bed hungry and my mind wanders
next time I see you I say if my love were a physical thing
our galaxy would collapse,
and I can prove it.
I’d always wondered what it would be like to have a brother.
Probably a bit late for Mum to have more kids, I thought,
so I invested in one of those new robot siblings –
the Bruder Easy ROBRO7000.
It was great at first
He’d say “It’s like we’re blood brothers, but I’ve got different motors.
Ha! Get it? Motors!”
Yeah. Good one, bro.
And people say the Germans have no sense of humour.
I’d tell him about my relationship issues,
and he’d punch me on the arm and say:
“You need to harden up; take a titanium pill.”
I came home one day and found him reading small engine repairs in the kitchen.
He’d taken his leg off and was shorting out his wires with a teaspoon.
He looked guilty that first time, but he got more shameless about it
Not that I care what he does in his spare time.
Which he’s got a lot of, because he doesn’t have a job.
They say robots are going to take all of our work one day.
I tried to discuss it with him and he said:
“Whatever it is you’re trying to trick me into doing, I’m not interested.”
Eventually he stole my girlfriend.
He told her I’d grow dim and infirm,
while his parts were infinitely upgradable.
When she told me why she was leaving me, I was heartbroken.
I said “He knows nothing of brotherly love,
and he doesn’t seem to understand infinity either.”
Which made her laugh.
But she still went to Europe with him.
I heard he dumped her in France for a robotic vacuum cleaner called X93.
When he got back and I asked him why
he said “She makes more sense to me… comes with an instruction manual.
She’s a great kisser too, although she can be a bit of a whiner at times.”
At least his jokes were improving.
But X93 left him.
When he told me about it, he said
“That literally sucks! Or virtually.
He’s the future of humanity.
A model citizen.
The newest model.
Now he lolls around on the couch,
sniffing lead-based paint and watching kitten videos on the internet.
Often he passes out with his low-battery indicator flashing
and I have to carry him to his charging cradle.
He ain’t heavy though, cause he’s my brother
(and his parts are mostly plastic).
What’s up, Doc?
this morning Miriam calls me on her drive to work:
“There’s a dead rabbit on the road
at the bottom of Brick Bay Drive!”
I’m still mostly id from the early hour:
an emergency clean of the teeth,
a scramble into clothes,
and Lottie and I jump into the car,
gravel and tarmac flying
opportunity has hopped right up to our door
and we’re going to grab it.
I’ve been dreaming about killing them with a slingshot
is it legal? could I even hit one?
today someone else’s car was the necessary agent of leporine repression
a savage blow separating his Elmer from his Fudd
the body is mostly intact although the midsection is crushed,
the hindquarters have serious abrasions,
there’s no pulse,
and the skull feels fractured.
“I’m no paramedic Bugs,
but it looks to me like your carrot-stealing days are over.”
I pick it up in two bags and pop it in the back of the car
Lottie is having kittens beside me, desperate to check out the booty
her muscles quiver like a herd of prey animals running from the wolves
little sounds squeeze out through her filter
yipping, whining, fragments of barking
the call of the wild in the front seat of the Toyota
I have to physically hold her down with one hand while I drive
what’s worse, we’re on an important mission,
supplementary or main depending on which of us you ask,
so there are lots of opportunities for impulse control
(not her most solid habit)
if you were Peter,
or the Easter bunny,
would you be any less tasty?
not much canine gravitas on display here
in the build-up-your-superego class of 2023
she gets a B-minus,
climbing over the back twice while I’m in the shops.
© Arthur Amon
Arthur Amon lives in Sandspit, near Warkworth with his wife Miriam and step-dog Lottie. He has been writing poetry sporadically for 37 years, fitting it around his mathematical modelling job and his sculpting. This has resulted in two books; the most recent of which, safety matches, was published in 2003 – a veritable publishing phenomenon, and his website hasn’t been updated much since then either! Thank goodness for Instagram, where you can find him (and some of his more recent poems). https://www.instagram.com/amon.arthur/