I had this belt buckle with a picture of Karl Marx’s face on it. It was a real talking point, let me tell you. A big brass depiction of the beardy philosopher around my waist while I was in the supermarket, in the street, at the garden centre, drawing people’s eyes to me and making them think of the great currents of history.
So what happened was I was swimming in the lake one Saturday and someone stole my belt! I sprinted to the shore like one of those daft frogs that runs on water like someone’s electrocuting it, but the thief was hotfooting it away already. Well, what would you do? I threw on my trousers, held them up with one hand, and chased the purloiner like an avenging spirit.
The thief was resourceful. He checked into spas and camouflaged himself in the mud baths, so I had to do the same, soaking in the hot, therapeutic slurry like some blissed-out predator. He’d go into a pub and disappear from view, so I’d have no choice but to order pints all day and watch the door to see if I could collar him when he made a break for it.
I did that for six months, and I was so tired at the end of it that I took a good long rest for another six months. So that’s what goes on my CV for late 2019 and early 2020, between “Office Oaf” and “Sales Dick.” No, I didn’t get the belt back.
Erik Kennedy (he/him) is the author of the poetry collections Another Beautiful Day Indoors (2022) and There’s No Place Like the Internet in Springtime (2018), both with Te Herenga Waka University Press, and he has co-edited No Other Place to Stand, a book of climate change poetry from Aotearoa New Zealand and the Pacific (Auckland University Press, 2022). His poems, stories, and criticism have been published in places like FENCE, The Florida Review, Hobart, Poetry, Poetry Ireland Review, the TLS, and Western Humanities Review. Originally from New Jersey, he lives in Ōtautahi Christchurch in Aotearoa New Zealand.