Tuesday Poem: ‘Paperman’ by Aleksandra Lane


It is always on Sundays that he sleeps in. The bed covered in notes, in hundred dollar bills. His tongue likes the salt that comes off; he likes the slick metallic flavour of the ink. The faces do not bother him. Paper-lover, soft and thin, adheres to his thighs, his stomach; leaves prints on his lean white arms. Week after week he is getting slimmer, wasting away. His bare Sunday existence the climax of each weekend, month after month, year after year.

I couldn’t resist this piece from Aleksandra Lane. Aleks has just completed her MA in Creative Writing at Victoria University (I believe the ink is still drying). Her poems have been published in Swamp, Snorkel, Side Stream as well as two poetry collections in Serbia. Some of her poems will also appear in the New Zealand feature issue of the International Literary Quarterly. When I met Aleks a few weeks ago she said her work talks to themes of immigration and isolation. For me, this poem is about the way a person can become emotionally thin. Ironically it manages to pack a lot of substance into a small piece of paper .

For more poetry please visit the Tuesday Poem blog.

2 thoughts on “Tuesday Poem: ‘Paperman’ by Aleksandra Lane

  1. Still thinking about this one – the emotional thinness is so well drawn – but why the $100 bills? that throws me – is it is pay? what he wishes for? And does the ‘paper-lover’ or ‘paper’ adhere to his thighs? I love ‘the faces do not bother him’ – the implications of that in his solitude – and the lovely lapping sounds and short ‘thin’ sounds … Makes me think of Sylvia Plath’s disturbing Thin People poem. Thanks Sj for this – as usual stimulating…

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