Britomart is proud to present new poetry all over Britomart to celebrate the Auckland Writers Festival Waituhi o Tāmaki, rendered in posters by Inhouse Design. The posters are presented as text fragments, but you can read each work in full here on our website. This one is Laura Vincent's ACTIVITIES.




You know when you’re not strong enough


to articulate your feelings because all of your strength


is being used for one thing and that one thing is






when that person invites you to paper-mâché a to-scale volcano


or to ride a bicycle across the frozen moors


or to play Equable ‘The Game of Math’ and even though you had plans already


you say YES without hesitation


YES I’ll help you make your own soap


YES I’ll wander round Bunnings finding materials to make decorations for the party


you haven’t invited me to yet


YES I’ll walk with you for two miles in the middle of the night


to fly a kite in the dark


YES I’ll dance in a forest to your friend’s jam band


as he gurns behind a vape cloud


YES I’ll watch the final Hobbit movie but in slow motion


because it really brings out Tolkien’s intention that way


YES I’ll climb a hill




In Elif Batuman’s book The Idiot Selin goes all the way to Hungary to teach English to try to appease the withholding Ivan


In the TV show Fleabag the main character keeps having talks in the dark about foxes with the Hot Priest


In the film Carol Therese goes to lunch and then to get a Christmas tree and then to Carol’s stately home


so you see everyone’s doing ACTIVITIES


and you have to agree to them all because you can’t let it end


and if you don’t say YES you could miss the thing


that finally gets them to tenderly hold your face


and look you in the eyes and say




I’m so glad you’re here let’s spend the rest of our time on this Earth


making each other’s lives amazing everything’s so hard


but it feels easier when you’re around let’s do this together YES




Or at least




Would you like to pash


here on this cliff-face that we’ve just scaled




Or at least




I noticed that you’re not talking about how sunburnt you’re getting


let’s go inside




But they never do so you just keep forlornly agreeing


to more ACTIVITIES and I can’t tell you


to simply express your feelings because


I’m not that stupid and I’m not that clever


instead I suggest




keep saying YES to ACTIVITIES




When they ask you to hike through your city’s most forbidding swamps


say YES then stride ahead and playfully push them into the mud


just playfully PUSH them and when they suggest a visit to that paperclip exhibition


say YES but first let’s quickly shop for a QUALITY WINTER COAT


then make them watch you try on FIFTEEN coats


and then you don’t even buy ANY


and when they want you to watch them practise the violin for forty minutes


and then get a smoothie without asking you a single question


about your life


tell them YES you’d love to drop everything for that


and then grab the violin out of their hands


that will never touch you


just GRAB that violin and start playing Zadok the Priest by Handel


and now you’re in charge


and you’ve jolted yourself out of your accommodating submersion




and then throw their violin on the floor and run just RUN for miles




by yourself

Laura Vincent (Tainui, Ngāti Māhanga) is a writer from Waiuku, with poetry and fiction published locally and internationally. She is currently completing a novel manuscript and has a sixteen-year-old food blog called