Hera Lindsay Bird


You have to look people in the eye, and say ‘oh no’
You have to drag your heart across the room like a heavy chair

You have to tell yourself what you need and do the opposite
You have to be staggered by the cruelty of it


You have to think like this all day in a moisturising facemask
You have to lie very still and wish you were dead

You have to think ‘love has radicalised me’ and walk around like Helen of Troy
You have to walk around until the ships burn off


To make a small ugliness large is a grandiose mediocrity
It’s like the World of Wearable Art

I write this poem like a chastity belt made of bottle caps
Please don’t blame me for all the terrible things I am about to say to you


It’s a bad crime to say poetry in poetry
It’s a bad, adorable crime
Like robbing a bank with a toy hairdryer

I should never do it—and nor should anyone
But it’s boring to be so tasteful
It’s like never masturbating to Lucy Liu


I write this poem like double leopard print
Like an antique locket filled with pubic hair


This is a premature ventriloquism
Like a séance of someone who isn’t already dead yet

This is a fatal pretension—like hanging yourself with a velvet rope
I sign it like a death receipt


This is a pyrrhic victory, like falling in love
It’s like having so little to say, you hire a skywriter to stay home

This is walking out in the middle of a bar fight, your bonnet strands streaming
You cry and cry, impressing no one


This is like eating pussy with a monogrammed napkin
It’s a bossa nova cover of the Crimean war

This is an upmarket nonconformity like a Trelise Cooper eco bag
It’s like a pentagram in your cappuccino foam


This is: stop hitting yourself!
It’s like pushing pork roast in a vintage pram

This is an empty cuckoo clock, approaching the stroke of midnight
This is a ransom note with no demands

Author’s Note


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