Jokes

Jokes

Don't tell me jokes,
I know about jokes.
They think they are funny.
They think they can get away with things.

I don't know everything about them,
just enough. I know this:
that they refuse to be remembered,
slipping the mind's fingers,
a shoal of laughter, vanishing.

And this: that they hide still inside,
deeply. Delinquent poems,
absconders from custody.

Of course they think it a great lark,
sneaking back again and again:
the grenade of laughter,
then silence.
I prefer to find it tiresome.
And a little sad.
All that repetition!

Don't pigeon-hole me:
I appreciate a good joke.
I said appreciate, not laugh at.
For I will no longer laugh.
I will not answer their ridiculous summons,
I refuse to accept their subpoena.
Never again will I eagerly rip open
the scented envelope
filled with strange plastic.

There are only four jokes anyway:
the custard pie, and the breaking of taboo,
the game of words, and the thing
we are each most afraid of.


from New Selected Poems (Duffy & Snellgrove, Australia, 2001) and This Goes With That (Leviathan, UK, 2002 - further information from m.w.hulse@warwick.ac.uk), © Peter Goldsworthy 2001 and 2002, used by permission of the author and the publishers.

Recordings

Peter Goldsworthy

Peter Goldsworthy Reading from His Poems

1A Statistician to His Love

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2Razor

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3The Operation

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4Chemistry

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5Eye of the Needle

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6The Dark Side of the Head

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7Evil Eye

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8Four Morbid Songs

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9Music

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10After the Ball

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18Cimetière Père Lachaise

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19Piano

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20Mass for the Middle-aged

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21Hip Hopera

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22Song of Solomon

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23Room

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24Ode to the Potato

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25A Small Bestiary

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26Nocturne

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27Sunset

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28This Goes With That

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29Winter Piece

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30The Nice

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31Roy G. Biv

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32A Brief Introduction to Philosophy

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33Selected Numbers

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34Six Songs from the opera, Batavia

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35My Last Rabbit

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Books by Peter Goldsworthy