Poetry Shelf Monday Poem: Zarah Butcher-McGunnigle’s ‘From the discomfort of my own home’



I had a brief period last week where I didn’t hate everyone. But now I’m back to hating everyone. Someone from an online dating website asks me if I am going to this music festival because everyone he knows is going and he feels left out. I’ve never heard of it, I say, I don’t even know what that is. I say I don’t have any friends though so maybe that’s why I don’t hear about these things. He says, everyone loves to say they don’t have friends when they actually do. I say, Yeah, and everyone loves to say to people who say they don’t have any friends, that they actually do have friends because they’ve never been in a position where they haven’t had friends so they can’t actually imagine it. Well, your negative energy is probably putting off potential friends right now, he says.




Woke up to a message from someone I haven’t spoken to in a while that said “hey so if u could send me nudes that would be appreciated, I’m going to jail soon for 2-3 years.” The only thing I have going for me right now is that I have good nipples and good eyelashes. On the train on the way to a job interview I’m looking at my own nudes to build my confidence. The interviewer asked me what I was doing between 2013 and 2015 and I didn’t feel like I could say debilitating depression and poor physical health so I said I worked as an English tutor for an educational company, but then she asked for a reference from them.




Is the noise I can hear coming from the inside of the building or the outside, I can’t tell. No one is replying to any of my messages. Last week I was supposed to go on a date with someone who already cancelled on me twice. The first time he said he was too tired, the second time he said the weather was too warm. I said to him, look, if you have changed your mind about meeting, that’s ok, let me know, otherwise we could do Thursday. He didn’t acknowledge the part of the message about changing his mind or not, he just went ahead and made a third plan for Thursday. But when I woke up on Thursday, there was a message from him at 7.50am that said he couldn’t meet up. He said he’d gone to his therapist and realised he wasn’t in the right state to meet people at the moment. Well, I could have told you that for free, I wanted to say, but I didn’t reply.



©Zarah Butcher-McGunnigle


Zarah Butcher-McGunnigle is from Auckland, NZ and currently lives in Melbourne. She is the author of Autobiography of a Marguerite (Hue & Cry Press, 2014). Her chapbook, nostalgia has ruined my life, was recently a finalist for the Subbed In Chapbook Prize 2018. You can donate to their fundraising campaign here






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