DAVID EGGLETON lives in Dunedin. He is a poet and writer whose articles, reviews and essays and short stories have appeared in a variety of publications. He has had published five books of poems and a book of short fiction, and has written or contributed to many works of non-fiction. He has also released a number of poetry recordings featuring his collaborations with musicians. His most recent book of poems is Fast Talker, published by Auckland University Press in 2006. His most recent book, published in 2007 by Raupo Publishing, is Towards Aotearoa: A Short History of Twentieth Century New Zealand Art.

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       Burn Rate

       Their faces blob
       and run in rain:
       electric rain that sizzles,
       burns to a stain.
       They are thin
       as phantoms,
       and made of pixels.

       A poetry book, whose greasy
       pages flutter — like wallpaper
       on a condemned building,
       like ghosts gathering in a flurry —
       begins to scorch and smoulder.

       At night, dots climb from an oil well,
       become dirt moving,
       people moving,
       a genome sequence moving,
       points that glow like circles of hell.

       What is the burn rate
       of a quantum of atoms
       that mushroom in explosion?

       What is the burn rate
       of galaxies that wheel
       gaseous on a pin?

       What is the burn rate
       of sweat that showers
       the vaporous brows
       of God?