The Friday Poem: ‘Lana Del Rey’ by Joy Holley

New verse by Wellington writer Joy Holley.


Lana Del Rey


It definitely wasn’t love at first sight, for Joy and I.

It was something more like


“Who the fuck is this middle-aged ginger lady

and why do people think she can sing?”


Skip ahead: Track 12.

Joy can now provide extensive answers to both of these questions,


though she is still unsure of whether I was born in 1985

or 1986 (it’s 1985, no 30-year-old pretends to be 31).


She is also unsure of whether to believe

that I eat spaghetti and chocolate cake everyday,


but I was turning 29 and school was cancelled because of the storm

so she cooked both anyway.


My present to Joy arrived 3 months late. She set her alarm for 5am,

never straightened her hair again and decided this year was The Year


for ball dresses that looked like more like wedding dresses and

spending 4 minutes and 17 seconds at every party


dancing with a girl who made her feel tall. Twice, they

sat together and smoked. Joy liked the way her fingers


looked especially like mine when they were holding a cigarette –

flat and flexed with long red nails. When the light burned out


she curled in bed with a girl who made her feel short, playing

“Video Games” on each other’s back. It was always


the same lyric, the same lyric, the same lyric.

Joy remains unsure as to whether I was a bad influence.


I probably was. For months, I had her dedicating playlists

to the wrong kind of boy


(in December she fell in love with his childhood best friend,

but that was Radiohead’s doing)


and for a minute there, I had her thinking JFK was black.

But I taught her how to fix


a broken record when it sticks on

“I’ll love you forever”…


and lying on the couch in a house she didn’t know,

trying to remember how to fall asleep alone:


I was the only thing that sounded like home.


Joy Holley, 2017

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