If So How
Opportunity I love you
Windows and watermelons march down the street
—Robert Winner, ‘Opportunity’
Please detail any future opportunities
you secured as a direct result of the project
I have a feeling I will be stabbed
and I wanted to tell someone.
Sometimes my neighbour’s crying
sounds like music and sometimes it sounds like confession.
At eel o’clock
the air fills with ferns and gelatinous dark . . .
I get opportunities
and release them back into the water,
their colours autocorrecting to grey . . .
Sometimes my crying feels like paperwork and
sometimes it feels like an argument
bleeding through my earplugs.
The opportunity never to do this again;
the opportunity never to be this again.
Did you meet with any people
(including festival directors)
who could have an impact
opportunities for you
I was walking on the street one morning
and, yes, festival directors were winking in the snow.
One of the festival directors hid under a car
when a group of school children approached,
and I crouched down to see if he would come out,
and I saw that the festival director had lifted his body
right up into the undercarriage of the car, as if possessed.
Did the event help to increase
your long-term international
If so how
You leave the room for a moment
and when you come back, not only
has the jug come to the boil
but someone has died.
The lesser greens start to fray as
a new jag of green comes out of the soil.
I’m in over my head.
I remember praying
because I dreaded school
and the future
and I prayed to be hit in the head by a cricket ball
and to spend my last days alive hurtling
back through all of the profiles of my life. How? as if pushing
into a row of warm office shirts on the line
and some part of me (neck?) increasing within them,
their tiny frayed parts,
and all the workplaces they might represent.
Have you identified
any further markets
or future audience development
as a result of this tour/event
I will go on a tour
of my future
I will identify
which of my selves
to plant in the cool damp soil
and which of my selves
to boil alive
and which of my audiences
to take down with me.
Ashleigh Young (from How I get Ready, Victoria University Press, 2019)
Ashleigh Young lives in Wellington and works as an editor at Victoria University Press. She is the author of Magnificent Moon (poems), Can You Tolerate This? (essays), and How I Get Ready (poems). She writes a fortnightly column in Canvas magazine and is the poetry editor at The Spinoff.
Victoria University page
Ashleigh appears at Auckland Writers Festival event Literally Lorne on Friday May 17th.