Illustration: Callum Devlin
Illustration: Callum Devlin

BooksNovember 15, 2019

The Friday Poem: TURDUCKEN by Freya Daly Sadgrove

Illustration: Callum Devlin
Illustration: Callum Devlin

A new poem by writer and performer Freya Daly Sadgrove.




I blow my body around like          the huge clump of brown hair

that I once saw blowing up Cuba Street

I follow its movements with interest

I put a video of it on the internet


my favourite brag

is that a groundskeeper once told me I was the whole package –

good bants good body he said

he also said I was a piece of ass     and then apologised immediately –

said he’d never called anyone that before     put his head in his hands


I use up my body like bait     I keep my body in a bucket

I keep a bucket by my bed

once after boning a drug dealer     the drug dealer asked me

to read him a bedtime story          I read him the whole of The Velveteen Rabbit

then he thanked me kindly and went to sleep


I remember everything –

it’s one of my bad habits


I remember a nurse once tried to convert me

to Christianity in a hospital bathroom

just after I’d done a shit………………..job     of trying to kill myself

at first I misheard her          I thought she said the thing that saved her life

was finding gold          I laughed and laughed in her arms

then I stopped and said     wait


I’m much better at suicide jokes than I am at dying

and I’m not even that good at suicide jokes     so I may be immortal

my jokes are very cheap     just like me

but I can’t help it – I’m on the benefit – the sickness benefit

my sense of humour is in itself     a sickness benefit          it is my right


I suppose I’m a new bigot     in that I spread hate –

but the hate that I spread is bespoke –

it’s artisanal baby     bad poetry is my small business

with the brand statement : a little self-loathing goes a long way          like

don’t go for a jog            do not do     a face mask            don’t take a bath


I put my body in a bath once

I sat in the bath and ate a bag of Twisties

the Twisties were orange     which is normal for Twisties

the bathwater was also orange     which is not normal for bathwater

but I had used an orange bath bomb     which was a way of pushing the boat out

my body is a boat     no

my body is a car in the sea with a drowned thing inside

and they talk about bodies of water

and they talk about the body of a car

my body is a car in the sea with a drowned thing inside

my body’s in a body and a body’s in me

do I need to say it………………..turducken

no     I did not need to say it

my body is a car with a drowned thing inside

pulled up and away from the sucking sea floor by a crane

my body is unswallowed and dangling above the water

dripping orange drips


I remember everything

but my body always tells it wrong

which is a terrible betrayal :

the nurse said I was lying when I said she had tried

to sell god to me in the bathroom

I wasn’t

but my body was too tired to convince anyone


From Head Girl by Freya Daly Sadgrove, forthcoming in February 2020 (VUP)

The Spinoff Review of Books is proudly brought to you by Unity Books, recently named 2020 International Book Store of the Year, London Book Fair, and Creative New Zealand. Visit Unity Books Wellington or Unity Books Auckland online stores today. 

Mad Chapman, Editor
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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