You’re not a has-been, you’re a never was!
I used to think I was meant for great things
until I nearly died choking on ‘Very Thin’ Vogels
watching The Mighty Ducks: D2 after
chairing a Flash Fiction Zoom conference.
Like God reaching into to my Scrabble-bag mouth
dropping mixed-grain marmite letters onto my
Iphone spelling out ‘stick to poetry’ immediately
ending the game and the indoor rhino stampede.
Fear of mediocrity paralysis is a privilege
I should be cancelled for. Yeah you can
write ‘Qi’ with your remains but what
have words done for you lately?
Most things that happen are distraction
and I think that’s……………….. fine???
Casting spells to liquefy eternal rigidity
is exhausting and historically underfunded.
Purpose is the lure of friendship
senior kids sell you in the gym.
before the dodgeballs, as if hope
wasn’t a more sustainable cruelty.
Sylvia Plath had a tree and she burned
a limb in mourning for every wasted day.
If you split me in half the sap would taste
of honeyed-fear and dead potential.
Some poets make shit arborists.
Some poets make great scrabble pals.
I don’t know why I don’t do more
of the things that make me happy,
writing my way into contextual relevance,
Soy and Linseed sliding down my
well-lubed throat, Words with Friends
with literary acquaintances, Emilio Estevez
slapping pucks and dreams at plucky teens
I’m not convinced the small things are
at fault for keeping me from what i want
like Sylvie with time and no forest
I grew them to keep me away.
quack, quack, quack
Jordan Hamel is a Pōneke-based writer, poet and performer. He was the 2018 New Zealand Poetry Slam champion and represented NZ at the World Poetry Slam Champs in the US in 2019. He is the co-editor of Stasis Journal and co-editor of a forthcoming NZ Climate Change Poetry Anthology from Auckland University Press. He is a 2021 Michael King Writer-in-Residence and has words published in The Spinoff, Newsroom, Poetry New Zealand, Sport, Turbine, Landfall, and elsewhere.
Pingback: Poetry Shelf Monday poem: Jordan Hamel’s ‘You’re not a has-been, you’re a never was!’ – Pattimouse
Pingback: Poetry Shelf write-ups: Jordan Hamel on Lōemis Epilogue | NZ Poetry Shelf