22 John Jenkins

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[The New Australian Poetry. page 255]

John Jenkins

      READ THIS!

      1 A Truly Distinguished Pleasure

McLuhan was a bore
You know it’s true
Opening the beautiful bound volume
Of fine new poems
The thick pages
Of rich white paper
That seem to breathe taste and discrimination,
Complementing your refined sensibility
Even before you read!
And when you do read, you are glad,
So glad that poetry
And pages of magic fiction
Exist to take your breath away
Thrilling you once again
As lines and lines of elegant print
Skim under your intelligent eyes.
There is nothing else you would rather be doing,
As mere celluloid cannot please this way.
Movies and T.V. are so crass
Throwing up everything at your ears and eyes,
There is no ‘special place’


[The New Australian Poetry, page 256]

John Jenkins

For your own imagination there.
The greatness of your own mind’s theatre
Which pure print allows!
Pausing a moment from the mellow nook
Of your own warm pleasure now
You treasure a thought
For the scribes of the past
Painstaking over their leather-bound
And beautifully illuminated books.
What a truly distinguished history —
An established and fine tradition —
There is in the simple art of reading!
Yet it requires no special breeding
Only the natural aristocracy
Of your own good sense;
The simple skill and taste of a reader of books.

      2 You’re Great!

Welcome to this poem. Why you? Because
you’re one of us, and belong here. You
have the right credentials: the taste,
sensibility and above all intelligence
to appreciate and enjoy poetry. Now,
imagine a breast. A shapely, tanned breast.
The sun and beach background is optional,
but I know you’ll want it too. You are
driving in your open-necked way, enjoying
the ocean view. You’ve always recognized
fine Scotch, and mix one in the cocktail
bar of your sedan. It’s good and mellow,
like sunlight through an amber windshield.
Very good, you’re doing fine. The girl strides
her slim, long-legged way to the beautiful
and easy shoreline. You admire her, the shape
of her tanned breasts beneath her sheer, silky
bikini. Then you smile again in your terrific
way, sure and cool above a new white cravat.
The girl’s golden undulations merge into the
smooth dunes rippling in a heat haze,
fading out into the middle distance: a beautiful


[The New Australian Poetry, page 257]

John Jenkins

shot! Then you throw your car into gear,
accelerating under tremendous power, thinking
of the clear certainty and amazing devices of
the poem. The highway is like a soft rubber
band stretching into sunset. You know just
how good poetry feels now and disappear into the
future; assured, impressed, another great reader!

      3 What It Takes

Sure, I’m a businessman. And a tough one. I have
to be, with my responsibilities. You don’t go to
top management levels unless you have what it
takes. And it takes what it’s always
taken: brains, toughness, the ability to make
decisions; and something else that looks like
luck but is more like horse-sense. You either
have it or you don’t. And I have it. Business is
a full-time activity with me, it’s my ballgame.
But that doesn’t mean I don’t know how to relax.
That’s why I read poetry. It calms the ulcers
as well as keeping my mind sharp and clear. It
saves me money too, by keeping me in touch with
today’s changing world. Reading one good poem
is better than wading through a hundred newspapers.
In a good poem everything is tight, cool and clear.
You have a whole experience at your fingertips,
compressed and where you want it. Sure, good poems
are rare, as rare as good businessmen. But then again
I’m lucky. I can pick a good poem with the same
ability that has made me a winner on the???” market.
See if you’ve what it takes too, pick a great
poem today.

      4 So Beautiful!

Your hair is immaculate, your garments are
individually styled; you are rich, beautiful,
with time on your hands. Just a trifle bored,
you pass ‘Vogue’ on to your latest male escort
Yves, who sits beside you on the luxurious
leather couch, and pausing slightly, take up


[The New Australian Poetry, page 258]

John Jenkins

a handsome volume of poetry in your long
manicured fingers. And, it is so beautiful!
You have found the answer. And why?
    ‘Poetry becomes an immediate feeling
of well-being for the adventurous few
who value erotic refreshments.
    Poetry may be like a shawl of tranquility
under the swaying palmtrees of a tiny coral
island more precious and delicate than a
gold-lacquered fingernail.
    Poetry is sometimes an exquisite tropical
butterfly that kisses your perfectly bare
shoulder with its soft powder-blue wings.
    Poetry treasures fresh peaches and a glass
of cool milk on the island’s breast at sunrise:
your hallmark of most simple luxury.
    Poetry dances in the sweet springtime
rain under cherry blossoms with colourful
Japanese umbrellas gliding against paper-thin
mists of pure sensibility.
    Twilight on the shoreline after poetry
with a hibiscus in your teeth is a perfect delight.
    Poetry will turn like a pearly metaphor
in your mind again and again until all the world
is new and stunning.
    Poetry is best when most like night-music in the
foyer, clean as seaspray and totally irresistible.’
You read on and on, enchanted, while Yves strolls
the illuminated patio, alone.

      5 There’s a Lot going on under the Bonnet of Today’s Poetry

If you have an eye for precision engineering, then you

know it takes a sophisticated infrastructure to assure

those lasting aesthetic thrills. Today’s Poetry is

definitely for you. Today’s Poets care about accurate design.

Days are spent over the shade of a cadence or the balance

of a single syllable. And in the big picture we’re just

as fussy, with the whole weight of modern linguistics

behind each stanza. It’s complex, and it’s sophisticated.


[The New Australian Poetry, page 259]

John Jenkins

So is a computer or a satellite. We’ve all come a long way from

the first T-models. At Today’s Poetry we’ve never

looked back. Each model is fully tested in the poet’s own

conceptual laboratory, using the most sophisticated

formalist and structuralist techniques. This guarantees performance.

Today’s Poem looks good, too. There are numerous wind-tunnel

tests for full aerodynamic styling. The poem is sleek,

powerful and modern. The fastest on the page. You gain full

directional stability, unlimited power, rapid acceleration

all within an electronically controlled total system. Remember,

our world’s already in the space age. Bring yourself into it,

too. Read Today’s Poem!


The noises in the corners are trapped in taking ways. (Three shades

of orange.) You choose one to come in a corner, with big taking

ways. You choose to eye in a corner with big ones and coloured

curtains. So I am here as a nice one choosing. I eye a colour and

enter the corners.

Now big noises are trapped in taking ways, catching in coloured

corners. The white noise eats the nice ones choosing. The white

sheets eat the coloured corner noise. No one notices. We repeat,

‘Eats. Nice. Choosing.’ Then corners, catalogues and curtains

sprout in big noises and coloured shades, in three concepts of yellow.

So, leave the big noises in white sheets, keep the catalogues, grow

quiet big ones.

Only coloured corners could. So go quietly, go colouring sheets, cornered by white sheeting noises.

There, now that’s a ploy. All here are nice ones and choose white sheeting in coloured corners, quietly.

Trap nice ones, big ones, corner noises, under the shades, in three concepts of orange.

And all eyes eating coloured catalogues, curtain colours, taking ways; all noisily. Eating nice big ones.