Erik Kennedy

Erik Kennedy’s poems have appeared in (or are forthcoming in) places like Ladowich, Ohio Edit, and Prelude in the U.S., 3:AM Magazine, The Literateur, and Poems in Which in the U.K., and Landfall and Sport in New Zealand. He is the poetry editor for Queen Mob’s Teahouse. Originally from New Jersey, he now lives in Christchurch, New Zealand.


Dickheads in an Election Year


The casting vote always rests

with the voter who votes with a gun.

You can have a cloud of octopuses;

it’s a squid that squirts the ink.


The ink is supposed to be e-ink now,

but I won’t give up vellum.

An illuminated manuscript

is the best bedtime read.


In The Perfect Crime, Jean Baudrillard

solves the “murder of reality.”

The murder weapon is virtuality,

his client, the academy.


Some of my best friends are bankers,

says the man who lives in a vault.

The penny should be made of Valium,

not copper and cum and zinc.


What do you think? Instead of letting the few

ruin it for everyone,

why not just let everyone

ruin it for the few?


That’s what I’ll do, if elected,

and if elected I’ll serve.

You get the leadership you deserve,

and then it deserves you.



What Customer Feedback Forms Filled Out by Your Friends Say About You


Gerta loves me but not anything about me, and that’s pretty common.

Sonia thinks I’m vain but sees herself in that.

Yoni admires my thunderstorm-on-a-summer-afternoon-in-the-tropics-like punctuality.

Laura says I’m nice and actually doesn’t write anything else, so she’s dead to me.

Dougal suggests that I take all my old heartaches and bury them in a cromlech.

Masha sticks to my relative tallness and relative youth.

Zenobia awards me “all the stars” and draws me sitting atop, or perhaps emitting, a cloud.

Ning says only an only child would mewl for praise as much as I do, and she’s right—I do that the best.

Ramesh declares that giving my anorak a name means I have intimacy issues.

Oona thinks we met in 2009, but it was 2004.

Val imagines my death, probably smothered by ten thousand moths while changing a light bulb because I won’t listen to advice.

Isabelle jots down: “Seventy years ago, everyone made tea as good as yours, but you’re the only real tea-maker left.”

Will wishes that just for once I could see what other people see: a brilliant, warm, charming, generous, creative loser.

Jessica thinks I should worry less about people I’ve just met and focus on the end user.

Xenia comments on my race: to quote an obscure Victorian, I’m “as white as the virgin snow of an Alpine cleft.”

Ursula describes my smile: the tentative expression of someone who’s just won a year’s supply of pork fried rice.

Queenie wonders about my posture: do I sleep on my back on a Methodist church floor?

Elle respects my respect for traditions, but she’s not sure how much is tradition and how much is my own addition.

Corinna notices I make every inconvenience a test.

Heidi is amazed that, if I want to do it, I’m allowed.

Bunny resents being put in this position and implies that I’d prefer an abridgement of the truth.

Prasanna is so kind about that thing I do with my neck.

Fidencio hopes I get better soon, as if I’ve just had an appendectomy.

Trevor, the shit, unimpressed with my honesty, compares me to a ship that’s built in South Korea but takes Liberian nationality.

Kiyoko would like me better if I was a cat.

Antoine’s feelings about me look like love to the fanciful eye as the amygdala, to the anatomists who named it, resembled an almond.

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