FAP winner – Best Youth Entry, 19–30: Courier smalltalk

godspeed monthly budget. add dues to outgoing, feel vindicated until checking your account in the bottle-o. if trade unionism = wolf blass can it ever win hearts and minds? one knockoff at a time. new management, second reusable bag today; ‘boss thought the guy sleeping rough out front was a bad look & made us call the cops on him.’ ‘what can you do’ -?- solidarity w check- out chicks means not telling jokes. epic walk home, hi-vis sunset. handmade sign on the nature strip assumes all cats read french. don’t shit on lawn. ne chie pas sur la pelouse.

lunch break ticking over nicely. text from mum, the under 12’s doing very well this year, known locally as the ‘little dickheads’. get my boots repaired. pick up some soda water. the thing is once you’re in, you’re in. conditions are usually ‘fine’. better than closing a jobseeker ring, right? making a name for yourself in the food court. how to abstain from boredom. luxurious smoko. sign a great number of boxes in, out, ‘it’s really coming down out there’. ‘see ya mate’, ‘yeah see ya mate’.

all the villains in my life are ‘really nice actually’, or too abstract to quantify. my dad’s not a socialist but he did have a heart-attack. feel charming in my nikes — if i think of you economically we’d never talk again. write this on the clock. a year measured by suggested youtube clips, a dog tied up across the road. slow news day. a meeting in which you suggest structural change which is agreed to & never implemented. paralysed by annual leave. think too furiously about landfill, staring at the cardboard tube inside a roll of receipt paper– put the phone to voicemail & walk straight out the sliding door.

3 gates left open at the station, a ‘nod’ from the inspector. inherit yesterday’s to-do list. give directions to a french tourist. what does it mean to withhold local knowledge? only surfers really know. broken lift, reprogrammed access pass. ‘back in 5’ sign working very hard. a delivery of 600 water bottles. posties at the coalface of climate change, leave their bikes at home & go to the beach. cute old posties, hotshot posties, spunky posties– legionnaires caps over their sunworn faces as they stretch out on a beach towel. a state’s worth of fluro, stripped off & left on the sand.


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Harry Reid

Harry Reid is a poet based in Melbourne. They are a co-director of Sick Leave, and the author of the best way to destroy an enemy is to make him a friend (Puncher & Wattmann, 2021).

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