Photo: Edith Blake
Photo: Edith Blake

BooksJanuary 24, 2020

The Friday Poem: Howl by Katrina Upperton

Photo: Edith Blake
Photo: Edith Blake

A new poem by Palmerston North poet Katrina Upperton.

 

Howl

 

I

Buy the biggest jacket you can find

and let your synapses back up till the machine fails, 

pick at your sparking fingers.

Check out that Robocop radiator:

the wiring is something you would not believe.

C’mon, man, think:

you’ll never get the depressive comedian’s face right,

never get to impress your hypothetical future niece

with block letters. 

You’ll never see Family Guy again.

 

II

Contemplate jazz, a Sappho fragment, a supermarket at night.

Stall choosing the perfect font for your suicide note.

Carve yourself out of your body with a dull blade

even as you swear off sincerity for the last time.

Think about how Degas became an artist to meet little girls,

how we only remember the last ten years of Matisse’s career.

Remember Ginsberg died of hepatitis, and keep quoting 

the same movies you’ve loved since you were nine years old.

Share a coke with Frank, your almost-uncle, share a fried egg.

Optimism is only a sunny side away. 

Drawl slow and slower still 

till you’re like Keegan-Michael Key in the Turbulence sketch, 

lips no longer forming words.

Pour out those ridiculously long sentences and hug someone from behind

like Henry James would hug a comma, like a sarcastic speech mark,

like the rings of a target, the concentric teeth of a shark.

 

III

They started filming Jaws before they even had the animatronic.

Flip me for it: the head, the tail, the whole damn coin.

 

 


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

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. 

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