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Image: Getty
Image: Getty

BooksJuly 14, 2023

The Friday Poem: ‘I DREAM OF WRITER’S BLOCK TO SAVE OCEAN/S’ by Joseph Trinidad

Image: Getty
Image: Getty

A new poem by Joseph Trinidad.


I changed my Instagram handle to @FilipinoOceanVuongNZ,
just cause.
Just to see if it’s available — and it is!

Every time I write about myself,                           I write about somebody else.

Every time I write about somebody else,               I write about myself.

Problematic                            like how my peers confuse
a reason to make friends, and a reason to be nice.

I once slept with an Oz boy with a jar of Vegemite tattooed on his chiselled
I called him “Brave.” Because, like him, I wear my homegrown trauma on my
— no matter how random and disgusting it is.
He blocked me after that. Well, his loss,
I could’ve taught him how
I tailored my Trauma into a career path and set course for the stars!


The manicured brownness my parents helped me farm.

Even my student handbook, with its perfectly curated set of Coloureds,

rolled its eyes so hard it had a brain aneurysm.

Now,         I confuse sadness and creative fuel.

Now,         I leave my tyre marks on airport runways instead of office cubicles.

Now,         I can’t sink into my bed until I leave my glory on the mattress.

Now,         my courage cursed me to finally finish (!!) but only when I’m left

Why do I need mental rubble to make things that last?
When did my violence sell better than my sex?
And how am I still the one left reeling of hunger??
Have you ever seen a poem on the front page? Did it make you almost off
Or is it just me? No, really – was it me?

What am I forced to say
What am I forced to do
if I only have you when I’m resilient?

Can you (🙏🏼🥺)

let me be playful and rich

let me be strong and shallow

let me be a child

LET ME BE                           so I can fall asleep at night?

I wonder, how many Oceans can you name if we all slept soundly at night?

My dream is to thrum through his photo dump
and stalk his summers
and the ease he lands his metaphors
while I practise my silent flutter
and hover over his grid
like a baby owl.
And once
I snatch a feeling, finally
putting my pen to paper,
to unearth a line for
my discography. I hope for jealousy –

my tool, to inspire





a peaceful

blank page.


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

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