Support 100 years of independent journalism.

  1. Culture
  2. Poetry & Stories
8 July 2020updated 09 Sep 2021 2:36pm

Dear Postie

A new poem by Joe Carrick-Varty

By Joe Carrick-Varty

If no answer please leave parcel behind rhododendron –
if storm hits and rhododendron blows away
please leave parcel inside wheelie bin with brick on top –
if crying baby can be heard on approach
tap three times on bottom-left panel of shed window –
DO NOT ring doorbell – if rainbow windmill
spins slower than usual open phone and call alcoholic father –
if rainbow windmill stops spinning at any moment
come back in month with picture of alcoholic father
eating fish and chips in park – if phone rings out
wait for nesting swallows to return from Africa
then call again – DO NOT mention alcoholic father
to friends colleagues woman you love – DO NOT
kiss woman you love – DO NOT eat sleep
shit watch TV until alcoholic father is spotted
leaving Tesco with Guinness and Hula Hoops –
DO NOT I repeat DO NOT drive to 24-hour Shell Garage
spend following afternoon outside alcoholic father’s flat
old ladies watching – bay windows blue with Countdown.

Joe Carrick-Varty is a British-born Irish poet living in London. He is the author of two pamphlets, “Somewhere Far” (The Poetry Business), which won the 2018 New Poets Prize, and “54 Questions For the Man Who Sold a Shotgun to My Father”, forthcoming from Out-Spoken Press.

Sign up for The New Statesman’s newsletters Tick the boxes of the newsletters you would like to receive. Quick and essential guide to domestic and global politics from the New Statesman's politics team. The New Statesman’s global affairs newsletter, every Monday and Friday. The best of the New Statesman, delivered to your inbox every weekday morning. The New Statesman’s weekly environment email on the politics, business and culture of the climate and nature crises - in your inbox every Thursday. A handy, three-minute glance at the week ahead in companies, markets, regulation and investment, landing in your inbox every Monday morning. Our weekly culture newsletter – from books and art to pop culture and memes – sent every Friday. A weekly round-up of some of the best articles featured in the most recent issue of the New Statesman, sent each Saturday. A newsletter showcasing the finest writing from the ideas section and the NS archive, covering political ideas, philosophy, criticism and intellectual history - sent every Wednesday. Sign up to receive information regarding NS events, subscription offers & product updates.

This article appears in the 08 Jul 2020 issue of the New Statesman, State of the nation