Photo: Getty Images
Photo: Getty Images

BooksOctober 16, 2020

The Friday Poem: when i grow up, i want to be nothing at all by Rhys Feeney

Photo: Getty Images
Photo: Getty Images

A new poem from poet and teacher Rhys Feeney. 

when i grow up, i want to be nothing at all

people pen poems on the bar’s toilet walls
polemics for sucking peen & voting for corbyn

i read each poem & do a breathing exercise
before pissing & checking my phone

the muffled reverb of 80s music through walls
like a Netflix coming of age film

a tiktok told me to start romanticising my life
i let an algorithm select sad indie songs

i focus on the moments
that i promise myself will be funny in 10yrs

the sound of water coming through the kitchen ceiling
the numbness of the sunset harbour during the commute home

the brutal honesty of the morning frost
it doesn’t really help

mindfulness has become a capitalist tool
advertisers probs use my mood diary data

a tv show character tells me he is trying to see beyond fear
every day i trust fall without warning the other person

at 24 i’m much older than i thought i’d be
by the time this poem is published

i will have come out to my parents
i am scrambling up the dystopian pyramid of self-actualisation

each muesli bar breakfast is laying the foundations
for my one wild/precious life

when i re-join my friends
they all look so v tired

what a way to make a
(fucking) living

when i ask students in class what their life plans are
i am asking them how they plan to sell their labour

i say fake it ‘til you make it
at least 3 times a day

i tell myself i am tired
but like ~in a good way~

i shut my eyes & trust fall
& fall


The Friday Poem is edited by Chris Tse. Submissions are currently closed and will open again in early 2021.

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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