Can Poetry Be Happy?

By | 1 September 2023

In Narre Warren South there are suped-up cars driven by bogans and arabs and there are boring cars driven by middle-aged anglo men. My push-up app sends me a push notification (a sign!): IT’S WORLD ENVIRONMENT DAY: A sweet deed for the planet will benefit the environment and your mental health. I have planted my seed and now I do push ups on top of it. Fifteen, one for every year since the legendary party.

I walk to Casey Central to pee. It’s more stimulating than [redacted] Drive. It is a place for community. The car park is packed. The streets out here feel perfunctory, merely pathways connecting private property. A ‘fresh green apple smoothie’ catches my eye. Now that I’m in the Shopping Centre, I’m in a Shopping Centre mood. This drink is so sweet that it makes my custard donut seem plain by comparison. From a circular table, I can faintly smell the fish from the fishmonger across the way. I am consuming all this sugar to go back in time. A girl is crying for her mother. I have never been this far east before. The smoothie: apple sorbet, apple juice, and an apple. ‘Electric Feel’ fades seamlessly into ‘Toxic’. Dear Corey, can you hear me? Can you hear me buying two gnomes for Harry, for his 30th birthday? It is, I think, natural that my ritual has devolved into shopping … This is the Lucky Country: money means a fair go …

Still Corey-ish, still wearing my sunglasses, I note an ad for Love Island UK, about to be airing on Channel 9. I could get into that, as me or as Corey. I sort of failed my ritual, or no: I did it like I was always going to, and you know what, it’s still going. The nutmeg is still in my pockets. I was always going to fail. CA Conrad says to bring a note inscribed ‘can’t talk – doing a poetry ritual’ to hand to friends you may bump into. I had my phone on me and I was texting people about different things, I was writing notes (psychogeography? autoethnography?) in my yellow notebook, yellow pen, riding backwards in time.

I’m still going. I continue to eat beige and brown with now a hit of green. The beige stands for my body, the brown stands for the dirt, and green is grass, flecks of green in the cheese of my twist I’m eating now at my RMIT hot-desk. CW is a rogue saint; I am an angel, on angel duty, at work, today, a Monday. I keep getting distracted by my phone. What does this do to my soma (body)? Oh, it wasn’t a ritual, I did what I wanted.

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