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Ursula Robinson-Shaw

BooksMay 3, 2019

The Friday Poem: ‘Everything is Nice’ by Ursula Robinson-Shaw

Ursula Robinson-Shaw

New poetry from Wellington-born writer Ursula Robinson-Shaw.


Everything is nice

they have announced the last day

mel waters the garden

the dirt is hard for summer


everybody is hard for summer

to drink lavish cocktails

to meet-cute on the table

of the harsh dissolving seasons

to take girls back to our houses

             in our bone-dry arms       the angel of history

              scissors with her back turned

             i take girls back to my house and tell them

             that they have announced the last day

the water runs downhill

to where the bats roost


they have announced the last day

the gentle nihilism of pop songs

the righteous luxury of tolerance

the assembly line of ageing            counter-vindicated


it was a joint effort        human and mechanical error

everything bright

beneath the blanket      of a nuclear winter

the faint whine  of youth receding

like a sweet         mosquito cowboy


                if bats are from hell         then hell is nice

                the bats are from hell     and hell is nice

                i watch the bats               uncuriously


they have announced the last day

we are tired and grateful

the last day is like a dream on purpose

it is a bushfire    i move slowly

like an old mare in the mud

like sponge cake thrown at the ceiling

cream dripping down the wall

i move up the drainpipe

through the guttering

through the roof               up and up

there       in the smoke     the last copper light

the bats at their work      i look out


beforehand          the last day was neutral

it nestled invisibly           between its keepers

like divine error in a landscape

between the shoulders of conspirators

             it was restful         like graves it was expecting


but they have released the last day

the last day has dropped

and the properties of the real world

collapse like a thumb puppet

the bubble of my person

flattens into a circle

an office worker rising

with her hair

into an air vent                  sliced up by the rapture

              the roller blinds backlit    with force and heat

permafrost melting          ancient bacteria     blooming in the dirt


the last day creeps up      and i don’t have time

to arrange a romance       and die with you

               nobody gets to put their affairs in order


they announce the last day at a press conference

             with corrugated mumbling

             not looking at each other

there are headlines about agriculture

there are hurt feelings

there are old ladies staying in their houses


they have announced the last day!!

will you love me

               this sinkhole is our party

the cheap conclusion                       of every unhad thing

mel waters the garden     everything is nice    the whine grows louder

                             and a great slap resounds                         across reclaimed land

Keep going!