Joanna Cho's muse / provider of sports jargon. Photo: Joanna Cho

The Friday Poem: Dig deep! by Joanna Cho

A new poem by Wellington writer Joanna Cho.

Dig deep!


I have to write a poem

but I’m finding it quite hard

so I call Jos and he says

‘Dig deep!’


He is driving back from basketball

in Palmy, where he trains three times a week.


I say ‘I just wanted to run some ideas by you’

and he says ‘You know Jo, it’s a game of inches’

and I go ‘Huh?’


Picture him, drinking

a large bottle of protein shake

in an old Corolla, on the open road,

at night.


I proceed: ‘I’m not sure if the voice is mine’ and he says

‘Trust in the process. It’s a long game, you’ve got

plenty of time’ so I go

‘Yeah but musically it’s not working’ and


he adds ‘Have you been studying the

plays Coach sent us?’ and I hold

the phone

a little away from my ear,

look at it disbelievingly, then place it back.


I try again: ‘Do you think writing about making dumplings

in conjunction with an inability to communicate well

is a cliché?’

He is excited now. ‘Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard!’


I say ‘I am working hard! I just wanted to run some ideas by you

because I am feeling stuck’

and he says ‘Find your second wind, Jo. Are you getting

enough electrolytes?


You can’t get by on just fitness, not at this level, it’s about practise,

there’s not much more to it.’


I wonder if he knows

who he’s talking to, so I say


but he must think I’ve said something else

because he goes


‘Teamwork makes the dream work!’



The Friday Poem is edited by Ashleigh Young. Submissions for The Friday Poem are welcome at

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