Tuesday Poem: ‘Against Boredom’ by Bill Nelson

Against Boredom

Let’s confess
we’ve never got on, sure we hang out
I play mind games, you
play yours which involve me
but are less
complex and there is
no strategy. Let’s face it

you have no face. You are a blank
inhumanity that sits on the couch
eating packets of Gingernuts
all by yourself.
I love you boredom
but I don’t know

how to let you down
into the crevasse and then yell
from the top that I won’t be coming
along, but
I’ll leave the rope dangling
if you need it. And you’ll yell back
that the flora is beautiful,

ferns and mosses like you’ve never seen
like the discovery channel only
with sublime
narration and everything smells
like laundry.

Bill Nelson won the Biggs Poetry prize for best poetry portfolio at the IIML in 2009. His writing has appeared in Hue & Cry, Sport, The Lumière Reader, Blackmail Press, 4th Floor and Swamp. He has also guest edited at Turbine and Blackmail Press.

Bill and I have been friends and writing allies for a few years now and his poetry consistently surprises and delights me. One of the strengths of Bill’s work is the way it combines a familiar voice with a surreal twist. Against Boredom is a good example of this at play. “[W]e’ve never got on, sure we hang out,” says the poem as though the narrator is talking to a friend or a lover. The reader knows this voice; we know what to expect. But the poem turns when we discover the faceless “inhumanity” sitting on the couch before being lowered into a crevasse. For me Bill’s work is part whimsy, part brutal and always slightly evasive, but never flippant.

For more poetry please visit the Tuesday Poem blog.

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