Paula Harris

Jaam9

won’t you be my neighbour

hey hey hey
                  sista
how you
             how you doin’ t’day

i live in the room
  down there
                                     a bit
you know me
                          right?
i need
           a rock
  sistah
i need it bad
can you help
                  help me
you ain’t got a rock?
please
          please sistah
you gotta
               you gotta gimme somethin’
you ain’t got nothin’?
please gimme somethin’
i need somethin’
you ain’t got nothin’?
you sure
             you ain’t got nothin’?
all
    all
        alright then
                         sistah
have a
          have a good day now
                                             y’hear

First published in JAAM 9 (1998)
Also published in sign language (1998)

Paula Harris

About Paula

Paula Harris lives in New Zealand, where she writes and sleeps a lot, because that's what depression makes you do. She won the 2018 Janet B. McCabe Poetry Prize and the 2017 Lilian Ida Smith Award.

Her poetry has been published in various journals, including Berfrois, Queen Mob's Teahouse, Barren, SWWIM, Glass, The Spinoff, Poetry New Zealand Yearbook and Landfall. Her essays have been published in The Spinoff and Headlands: New Stories of Anxiety (Victoria University Press).

She is extremely fond of dark chocolate, shoes and hoarding fabric.