The Simple Life


In this city you can be whoever you want
and I’m still so much myself it’s disgusting

nothing else fits, nothing is comfortable,
I just want comfort, I want, I want

poorly-aged fish-out-of-water celebrity voyeurism
to remind me living can be so, um, uncomplicated

there’s nothing left for me here except reality
sleep demons waving performance plans

mandatory psychometric pub quizzes
where every answer is a ghost you’ve buried

and every competitor is an auditioning persona
each more insufferable than the last

waving from the bar, shouting strangers shots
dominating the karaoke machine

blowing each other in the bathroom
scared of being wiped away like a bad pour

let’s show them all we can last, we can
join a startup incubator as endurance art

double our screen time as endurance art
develop imposter syndrome as endurance art

collectively dissolve into the void to protest
my own expectations, but it’s alright,

I’m still a thing with a beginning, somewhere
to return to, paddocks, bales and sheds for miles

I’ve got my roots, my boots and shovel. I’m ready
to uhhhhh…  work the soil… You hear that, soil?

no one is ready for this man of the earth, pulling up
the best version of me, no one has seen a body so tireless

I mean tired, so tired, lying in bed, Amazon Prime night-light
Paris and Nicole crawling out of my laptop screen

wet with manure and static, a weighted blanket
of hair extensions smothering me soothing me

as I disappear into a peroxide swaddle, blonde follicles
entering every orifice, kneading my brain making me happy

to disappear as they tell me I’m not cut out for this tell me
ssshh who’s a good boy? who tries on the remains of others?

tell me to rest easy, and be comfortably forgotten





Jordan Hamel is a Pōneke-based writer, poet and performer. He was the 2018 New Zealand Poetry Slam champion and represented NZ at the World Poetry Slam Champs in the US in 2019. He is the co-editor of Stasis Journal and co-editor of a forthcoming NZ Climate Change Poetry Anthology from Auckland University Press. He is a 2021 Michael King Writer-in-Residence and recently placed third in the 2021 Sargeson Prize judged by Patricia Grace. He has words published in The Spinoff, Newsroom, Poetry New Zealand, Sport, Landfall, Turbine | Kapohau and elsewhere.