Vortex Mega Howler

Dan and Steve, Steve and Dan, in a field, at the beach,
with some lads, having a throw, having a laugh
feeling the Power™, feeling each other, feeling.
The gift of innocence lands in their palms with a hush,
they let it rip. Pretty boy come hither rugby sirens call us
with their mesmeric whine, as we lose the voice of every
other language and forget all natural and manmade knowledge,
especially the fact that Steve Devine now suffers chronic migraines
and depression from years of head knocks and institutional negligence,
and Dan Carter sells Cryptocurrency.
I throw it counter-clockwise with my left hand and pray
it will suck the scream from the air and send us back
to a place where we are guided by noise.
When does a howl become an interrogation?
When was the last time you went outside for pleasure, Steve?
What remains in the age of undiscovered yearning, Dan?
When will the solar system stop spinning us into a perpetual newness?
If you could do it all again, would you? Would you dive into the sand
and wake up, a child, once more? How far would you go
for one last moment under an unspoiled sky? 30? 60? 90 metres?

Photo by Ebony Lamb

Jordan Hamel is an Aotearoa writer and performer. He was the 2018 New Zealand Poetry Slam champion and represented NZ at the World Poetry Slam Champs in 2019. His debut poetry collection Everyone is Everyone Except You was published by Dead Bird Books in 2022 and debuted at #1 on the Unity Books NZ bestseller list. Alongside essa may ranapiri, Rebecca Hawkes and Erik Kennedy, he is a co-editor of No Other Place to Stand, an anthology of NZ climate change poetry, published by Auckland University Press. He is currently an MFA candidate at the University of Michigan Helen Zell Writers Program on a Fulbright scholarship.
Jordan comments: 'Any millennial will fondly remember the famous Vortex Mega Howler TV ad from the early 2000s: two of New Zealand's national footy heroes, Dan Carter and Steve Devine, tossing the Vortex to each other (30, 60, 90 metres!) surrounded by a bunch of adoring children. I wrote this poem during a poetry tour of my homeland, the South Island, with partners in crime Claudia Jardine and Rebecca Hawkes. On a tour filled with childhood memories, small-town bookshops, Speights Gold Medal Ale and cheese rolls, I found myself nostalgic for a different time. A time when all you needed was a couple of All Blacks, a positive attitude and some terrible animation. That nostalgia became this poem, with the advert's undertones of homoeroticism and existential dread ramped up to a thousand. Vortex: Feel the Power.'

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