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Emily in Paris (Photo: Netflix)
Emily in Paris (Photo: Netflix)

BooksJuly 7, 2023

The Friday Poem: ‘dream girl manifesto’ by Amelia Kirkness

Emily in Paris (Photo: Netflix)
Emily in Paris (Photo: Netflix)

A new poem by Pōneke-based poet Amelia Kirkness.

dream girl manifesto

i’m gonna buy a trench coat and a vintage handbag.
i’m gonna wear sunglasses under my umbrella on a rainy day,
and i’m gonna peer tantalisingly over them as i climb into a sleek foreign car.

i want you to want to work my life out like a puzzle
and still never feel like you get me.

i’m gonna be such a private person, so
cabin-in-the-woods no twitter account once-a-month
aesthetic instagram selfie with a caption of less than 5 words
or a quote from a French film or something
can’t you just imagine the chicness?

me: silhouetted at sunset on a balcony in paris.
me: blurred in a bathtub, tastefully naked amongst rose petals.
me: in a black dress, from behind, under the gold of a streetlight.
stacks of books, pile of polaroids, pictures of only my legs
(in designer heels).
i’m gonna be a vignette baby. i’m gonna be artfully obscured.

i’m gonna be your favourite enigma,
be my own shadow self,
live like the version of me
in a fogged-up mirror after a shower.

i’m gonna be so secretive, and so seductively so, so tantalising,
so you want care and learn and stalk and whisper while i
mona-lisa-smile about it behind one hand,
holding a cigarette in the other,
with red lipstick stains on my coffee cup.

i want you to wanna be like me, but never
know just how i do it. i’m gonna be
unfathomable as the sea,
incomprehensible as the edge of the universe,
impenetrable as a bulletproof looking glass.

i’m gonna be a vagueness. i want there
to be theorising on how to understand me.
i’m gonna be shrouded by clouds of secrets and perfume.
i’m gonna wear a signature fragrance so obscure that
there are 489 pages of forum discussions wondering where i got it.
i’m gonna wear sleeveless blouses
so there’s nowhere for my heart to be on show.
i’m gonna gatekeep myself.
i’m gonna be not just a closed book,
but a secret library 200 metres deep underground.

all i want is to be assumed cooler than you until proven otherwise.

and then the umbrella and my spell break and i am drenched. the romance is washed away. it is clear i am nothing of the sort. what i am is something transparent, oversharer, painfully reachable, flesh soft and quivering. i cannot be a statue of myself. i want your attention so bad i crumble. i just want strangers on the internet to look at me, and i want people on the street to look at me. i need all of you to look at me. there is too much of me– i’m all supply and no demand. the book is open and it is my diary. my depths are fathomable. i am so very comprehensible. my facade is incredibly penetrable.

as the black car pulls up, i’m wrestling my broken umbrella shut, hair sopping, flat against my head, lipstick clown-like and mascara unattractively raccoon-esque. i more tumble than glide in and slam the door

and get my trench coat stuck and open the door again and slam it a second time. someone behind us honks their horn as we pull away.

oh yeah baby,
it-girl moves.


The Friday Poem is edited by Chris Tse. Submissions are currently closed but will be open again soon.

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