Photo: Getty

The Friday Poems: Three poems by Jackson Nieuwland

A new poem sequence by Wellington poet Jackson Nieuwland.


  1. They told me to be myself, so I entered the hive.
  2. Bees the size of my head descended upon me.
  3. They covered every inch of my body like a chrysalis.
  4. I continued walking forward, through a blur of buzz and fuzz.
  5. At the center of the hive, I found the queen.
  6. I knelt before her and asked, “How can I be myself?”
  7. She gave me a long series off instructions.
  8. I couldn’t understand any of them because I didn’t speak bee.
  9. When she finished speaking, I stood and left the hive.
  10. The bees fell away from my body, revealing the new me: reddened skin covered in swollen stings.




  1. I love to bask in devastation.
  2. Bathe in the musk of depression.
  3. No matter how long I wash my armpits, they carry the scent.
  4. I am beginning to smell like pasta.
  5. I am beginning to smell like my father.
  6. I’ve tried my whole life not to become him.
  7. My fondest memories are of the worst time of my life.
  8. I am at work, waiting for the final 35 minutes to pass.
  9. I am trying to figure out what to have for dinner.
  10. Fuck whoever invented the concept of time.




  1. I cut a 1cm square of skin from my finger, disfiguring the print.
  2. I plant the square in the backyard, under damp dark soil.
  3. I do this every morning.
  4. I am growing a garden of new selves.
  5. Rows and rows of them, buried to the waist, torsos protruding from the earth, palms resting on the ground.
  6. Their eyes are blank, cloudy, unblinking.
  7. Their hair blowing in the wind like ash.
  8. Their fingers without prints.
  9. I walk down the rows, feeding them sour lollies and fertiliser.
  10. Soon it will be time to harvest.

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