Paula Harris


won’t you be my neighbour

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

i live in the room
  down there
                                     a bit
you know me
i need
           a rock
i need it bad
can you help
                  help me
you ain’t got a rock?
          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’?
        alright then
have a
          have a good day now

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

Paula Harris

About Paula

Paula Harris lives in Aotearoa/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, and was a semi-finalist for the 2020 92Y Discovery Poetry Prize. She was the recipient of a Vermont Studio Center writing residency in 2018.

Her poetry has been published in various journals, including Passages North, Barren, New Ohio Review, SWWIM, Gulf Coast, The Spinoff, Poetry New Zealand Yearbook and Aotearotica. Her essays have been published in The Sun, Passages North, The Spinoff and Headlands: New Stories of Anxiety (Victoria University Press).

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