an Aotearoa poetry journal | ISSN 2744-3248

Poems by Rhys Feeney

seeing a video of my great-grandma from 180,000km away

Rhys Feeney

Published on
page 18 of Tarot #3
(Dec 2021)

mum sends me a video of my great-grandma
        framed by concrete & balloons & the carpark-coloured sky
                a canted view of her waving out the window to my family below

it’s her 104th birthday & the 13th month of lockdowns
        evening clapping & beautiful bloo passports
~
i try to imagine what’s it like
        i print off analogy maps tht i use to teach year nines simile
                i fill them in: what are the aspects of this
                        what do these feel like?

~
she was born during the first world war
        had a child to an american GI
                consumed a bottle of whiskey a week
i hate to admit therapists have been right
        but it must be one foot then another foot

~
i sell my body for 55 hours a week
        & it feels ordinary
~
i am just one of 78 billion agricultural animals
~
the titanic sank for two hours
        people had time to distract themselves
~
watching the video i can’t help but feel like
        tears would be a commodity
~
no one in close family has died
but when they do the content will remain
        the thumblike selfies w generous ceiling views
                will acquire reactions in-between sponsored posts

~
all the while a new wave of intergenerational tension is crashing down
        in the form of the hatred for skinny jeans
it took me so long to realise i didn’t hate boomers
                i just hate landlords

~

tht i was so righteous in poems about politics
        when i was buried in the landfill of propaganda
~
how is it different when my grandma believes
        tht the EU wouldn’t allow the sale of bent cucumbers
we are all in some big tent
                we all are hooked by something

~

bc between the crying & the working
        how was i supposed to know rocketlab
                were sending US military payloads into space?

~

how was i supposed to know about shelly bay & the wellington company
        when i was too busy killing the planet stuck in commuter traffic
~
i can’t possibly drag myself out of the primordial soup of the infodemic
        to go live in the woods now
all i do is watch
                paralysed by ddos of petitions
flailing my arms like a tube man
        sad reacting to every post

the years start coming & they don’t stop coming

Rhys Feeney

Published on
page 51 of Tarot #3
(Dec 2021)

some things get funnier the more they happen
        like getting a lynx africa 3-in-1 set for Christmas
it is not the same with years
        each is long & full of gruelling personal growth
like how i thought the year was a palindrome
        until i realised tht i didn’t really know
                what a palindrome was
but still it had a certain symmetry
like: one cat dies / then the other
i share a vape at a party in the warm country
        / think about grandparents in the cold country
                waiting for bake off after the pm announcement
still there’s something to be said for the good moments
how i hiked up the hill with tht tinder date
        just in time to look through a telescope
                & see two planets the closest
                        they’ve been in the sky for 400 years
the oval smudge of one planet’s
        rings / the glinting moon of the other
how the year started with birds mimicking sirens /
        & now when i sit in the garden listening
                they’re making bird sounds