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"The Politics of Pockets", "Double Happy" & "Plum Jam" by Melinda Szymanik

The Politics of Pockets

Skirts and dresses should be tight arses

and hips for our enjoyment nobody

wants layers for exercise these tight fitting

tights will make you more efficient

for our gaze - show me what you have

pockets will just interfere but never fear

we will provide other ways for you to carry

your important things you have too

many things don’t show me what you have

let’s make that deeper, wider, bulkier

leather handbags that are ideal this desirable

luxury one only $2000 for this fine pocket

alternative look we created a new industry

aren’t you lucky.

Double Happy

You say you can’t anymore

I poke holes in the silence

squeeze word grenades through

onto the battlefield of the king

where among the sheets

the vacuum of your mood

deadens the explosions

leaving only a charred smell

as if children ran through here

with strings of double happys

creating a lot of noise but

nothing lasting to show for

their investment

Plum Jam

The war made my father a recycler before recycling was a thing

you never knew when things might be scarce

gather wire ties and bread bag tags in a little box

cut the shampoo bottle open and scrape the insides clean

keep everything not eaten

make preserves, chutney, jam

the jars multiplying in the pantry

the plums always sour.

They say the effects of traumatic events can be laid down in the genes

and passed on to future generations

see my little box of tags and wires

as I steadfastly eat leftovers

cut shampoo bottles open

and always have a jar of plum jam on hand

do not tell him it is shop bought

and sweet

A Note From the Author:

I am an Aotearoa/New Zealand based award-winning author of picture books, short stories and novels for children and young adults. I also write poetry for children and adults and my adult poetry has appeared in Poetry Aotearoa/New Zealand Yearbook 2022 and 2023 and in Takahe issue 105. I was the 2014 University of Otago College of Education Creative New Zealand Children's Writer in Residence and received the 2023 Michael King Writers Centre Shanghai Writing Residency. 


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