All Submarine Movies Are Christmas Movies


Because they really capture that stuck-with-the-family dynamic
that is characteristic of Christmas

Like, you all wish you could escape from each other
but the only way to do that is to surface and die

To die in a hail of 5-inch shells
or mild social disapproval

No, you must stay down below the cold unforgiving water of the thermocline
with your sweaty, offensive shipmates
and your sweaty, offensive relatives 

A mad alcoholic lone-wolf contrarian megalomaniacal skipper
daddy mummy patermaterfamilias scans for threats
with harrowed dilated eyes like two holes in plasterboard 

And there’s the smell of something burning
turning the already stuffy air poisonous

Some poor over-hormoned bird
or an electrical fire in the aft torpedo compartment

Does it make a difference

It spells the beginning of the end
or the end of the end
a fire that will consume all the air in our unhappy underwater house 
And eventually the only solution is to shut up 

Just shut up
the enemy destroyers will hear us
they’re trained to listen for
racist post-dinner conversation 

Just shut up, shipmate
I can’t stand your horsepiss opinions about crypto anymore
and the destroyers will hear us 

The sonar readings indicate that they hear us
and they’re coming
with depth charges
and Jesus Christ is that more guests arriving
at this ridiculous hour
with even more Christmas crackers
exploding all over us 

Please will you just shut the fuck up,
Uncle Trevor,
before we run out of oxygen



Erik Kennedy (he/him) is the author of the poetry collections Another Beautiful Day Indoors (2022) and There’s No Place Like the Internet in Springtime (2018), both with Te Herenga Waka University Press. He has co-edited No Other Place to Stand, a book of climate change poetry from Aotearoa New Zealand and the Pacific (Auckland University Press, 2022). Originally from New Jersey, he lives in Ōtautahi Christchurch.