Loneliness Studies


If you’re sad,
go to a busy street
and talk to some strangers.
Now you’re sad
and getting suspicious looks.

Twelve percent of people
have no close friends.
A quarter of people
read zero books
in the last year.

Connected phenomena?
Hard to judge,
but it helps
to have something wonderful
to talk about.

Get involved.
Model planes. Parkour.
Orchids. Metal detecting.
Dogging. Whatever.
Even weird things are ‘networking’.

You’re almost never sorry
you met someone.
Not really.
Even the worst people (me)
have something to offer (pub quiz knowledge).

Humans are the only animals
that think they’re not animals.
Chatbot chimps programmed
to miss each other and
to miss missing each other.

Passionate About Home Cookery


I’ve had relationships
that were shorter
than the time it took
to cut up this pumpkin
and they were less dangerous

if I’ve still got two halves
of my left hand left
after pumpkin-cutting
I’m winning

the wrist strain
from five minutes of
vigorous pumpkin manhandling
is equivalent to
an hour of typing
apology messages
to people I’ve infuriated

why go to this amount
of trouble

a pumpkin’s silkiness
isn’t some precious gift
like the ultrasonic songs
of mice

the pumpkin’s sweet nuttiness
connotes winter
not paradise

a part of me suspects
that this stubborn use
of a formidable vegetable
is just an excuse
we give ourselves
to attack something
with a knife


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 THWUP. He co-edited No Other Place to Stand, a book of climate change poetry from Aotearoa and the Pacific (AUP, 2022), and is the poetry editor of takahē. Originally from New Jersey, he lives in Ōtautahi | Christchurch in Aotearoa | New Zealand.