Jack in New Zealand: Damp/Minor Annoyances


The Condensation Gods are displeased

They’ve cursed the city of Dunedin with wet air

The humidity permeates our sinuses

Two running nostrils accompany every student

A chorus of sniffles in every class

Panes rendered opaque with dew obscure morning views

Water pools in bathrooms up to ankles after a hot shower

Towels soak up airborne moisture like compressed sponges in a sink

Drying racks exist only notionally

A perpetual wet sheen on every dish

Clotheslines outside a sort of cruel joke

I’m going to track down the speaker producing the intermittent high-pitched whine outside. I’ll search every street in Dunedin if I have to. When I find it I’m going to lock it in a soundproof room. I’m going to play heavy metal music through it at dangerously high volumes until the cone pops. I’m going to mount the remaining housing on the highest point of my flat as a warning to the next speaker that decides to scream at odd-hours of the day.

I’m going to take the heater and set it on high. I’m going to seal it in a box until it gets so hot it melts itself. I’m going to take the box and get on a boat and sail far out to sea. I’m going to tie a cinder block to the box and throw it overboard. I’m going to bring the replacement heater with me. It should see what happens to those that heat improperly.

I’m going to remove the upstairs door and jamb. I’m going to repurpose the glass into a windshield, affix it to a car, and sell the car to the nearest crash test lab. I’m going to take the leftover wood and use it to build a fire, and I’m going to heat the doorknob over it until it’s nice and malleable. I’m going to take a hammer and bang the doorknob into a flat metal plate and I’m going to take that plate and etch “I didn’t close” into it and mount it across from the new door. That should teach the next one to shut.

I’m going to yank the broken burner from the stove. I’m going to uncoil it. I’m going to find all the dull knives in the kitchen and grate each and every one against the rough metal until both burner and cutlery are reduced to bits of mineral dust. I’m going to wait for a windy day, and I’m going to hike to the top of Mount Cook and disperse the dust in every direction.

I’m going to remove every wall from the bathroom. I’m going to take the boards and use them to smash the drywall into gypsum molecules. I’m going to take the gypsum and use it to fertilize an expansive vegetable garden. I’m going to pick the vegetables and I’m going to eat each one angrily. That will teach the walls to collect condensation.

I’m going to dismantle the washing machine screw by screw. I’m going to melt down all the metal components and make myself a baseball bat, and I’m going to smash the remaining plastic to pieces. I’m going to gather all the pieces, take them to a volcano, and throw them into the bubbling magma. I’m going to film the entire process, and I’m going to make the rest of my household appliances watch. Woe to the next one that malfunctions.


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