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BooksMay 27, 2016

The Friday poem: “Chris Tse and His Imaginary Band”


New verse by Wellington writer  (and winner of the 2016 Ockham New Zealand national book award for best first book of poetry) Chris Tse.


Chris Tse and His Imaginary Band

We were brighter when the world didn’t know

about us or our rock n’ roll dreams. Now

we dress in black, but we’re not depressed—

we’re just backlit, per record label instructions.

Fans come and go, but true fans stick with you

through the stigma of rib removal and that feud

with Jem and The Holograms. Nobody can win.

Nowadays, the world is made of oysters and

everyone’s had a taste. Can I just say that I think

I’ve done too many drugs. (Or maybe it’s gout?)

The bloggers won’t stop reading into our

matching tattoos. Yes, they’re of each other’s wives,

but what’s that got to do with the music?

Everyone has forgotten we’re an imaginary band.

A suggested path back to relevancy: nip slip—rehab

ten-trip—a greatest hits. It’ll take an untimely death

to seal our legend. No veins for overdose,

no doomed flight. Buried by a mountain

of French fries—that’s how I want us all to go.

Keep going!