(Photo: Fiona Goodall/Getty Images)
(Photo: Fiona Goodall/Getty Images)

BooksFebruary 14, 2020

The Friday Poem: Insulation by James Brown

(Photo: Fiona Goodall/Getty Images)
(Photo: Fiona Goodall/Getty Images)

A new poem by Island Bay poet James Brown.


My barber says that people no longer
being able to afford houses
is a no-brainer opportunity.
He turns on the tele.
Cue the leafy suburbs. Cue the dawn chorus.
The tent of realty is specially crafted
to respond to inequity. Its breathable fabric
repels applicants arriving by bus
while allowing bond plus four weeks rent
to flow out unchallenged.
I could go on about this, but I don’t want to
ruffle feathers, so I just mumble how
buying a second house and renting it out
is a bit like dismantling a tree twig by twig
to build yourself a giant nest.
What’s going to happen to all the baby birds,
especially our natives?
I don’t know if I say this or think it
in the voice of someone from Forest & Bird
or my barber says it facetiously.
The voices in my head get muddled
with the voices in the world. Someone waiting says
Dawn Chorus and the Leafy Suburbs
is a drag act. Someone else waiting says
you know what’s beneath those
Supremes’ dance moves and spangly dresses?
The usual suspects. Wink wink. Someone waiting says
you know what’d solve the housing crisis?
Triangle rooms. My barber says
to stop the whining
put bananas in the diff.
No charge for the advice.
It’s about Kiwis helping Kiwis.
He preens grey nodding heads
and sweeps up their locks
for the birds. That’s a dead end,
if ever I heard one.



The Friday Poem is edited by Ashleigh Young. Submissions are welcome at thefridaypoem@gmail.com

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Aotearoa continues to adapt to a new reality and The Spinoff is right there, sorting fact from fiction to bring you the latest updates and biggest stories. Help us continue this coverage, and so much more, by supporting The Spinoff Members.Madeleine Chapman, EditorJoin Members

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