Poetry Shelf Monday poem: Jordan Hamel’s ‘Te Papa’s giant squid dreams of the moana’


Te Papa’s giant squid dreams of the moana


school kids stare in awe and disgust

I’ve learnt more about my own

history from science teachers


giant soldiers mourn my captivity

the earthquake house shakes

in condemnation, docents wipe

away rebellious fingerprints


Did you know the Architeuthis has three hearts 

and a donut shaped brain?


my ink is responsible

for love notes in math class

complicated café orders

ratifying bilateral trade agreements


are you reading this in hard copy

sweet saviour

if so…  you’re welcome


once people have extracted

everything from you that’s special

they put you on display

and tell the world

how special you were


like the rugby hall of fame

where the 1985 All Blacks are kept in chains

destined to tackle each other into eternity

or permanent brain damage


I can’t find my edges

I’ve forgotten my reach

membrane liquefying

in industrial brine, I’m just

sinew floating in a historically

significant chowder


if you’re reading this before 2040

take an E-Scooter to the waterfront at midnight

break into the nature exhibit

pry open my colossal jar

let me Shawshank out of there

sliding back to my mother’s dank embrace


if you’re reading this after 2040 it’s too late

she’s already taken me back

Te Papa too


Jordan Hamel




Jordan Hamel (he/him) is a Pōneke-based poet and performer. He is the co-editor of Stasis Journal, which you should definitely check out. He was the 2018 New Zealand Poetry Slam champion and has words published or forthcoming in Poetry New Zealand, takahē, Landfall, Sport, Mimicry, Mayhem and elsewhere.





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