(click individual photos above for captions)
I’ve been staring at the completed painting for over two weeks and— like “The Hazard of the Die” before it — all I can think is “I really like this painting as is, and lettering the poem on top of it would…kinda ruin it. And that’s even WITH inking it onto an overhead transparency.
So I’m trusting my gut here and declaring the painting and the poem to be separate works.
My fellow kiwis,
Since my days of prancing flippantly through the meadow as a young hoglet,
I have prized my solitude as if the silence could weave gold, a perpetually-spinning mint
in which I need not queue, nor attempt in vain to recall my account number,
or scrawl my signature with an imprisoned instrument, brave ink confined twice:
first inside a burgundy cigar armed with a click-trigger,
and then tethered to a series of chrome spheres of inadequate length
The poets tell us that platonic rapport is one of life’s most rewarding delicacies,
but I prefer to scurry under those expectations, to break off from the array—
my brief engagement to Courtney Love in 1987 notwithstanding
And given my penchant for the solitary, you might naturally conclude
that my presence on this stage incites peculiarity, perhaps even invites
mutters deeming my candidacy perverse, an indecorous stain
But I assure you, friends, that such an assessment is the enemy of truth
For when I peer down from this podium and feast my eyes on the handmade signs,
ingest the enthusiastic gasps that we can hopefully parlay into at least a few
I am captivated by the beauty of our shared vision
I may be the one carrying this platform, but we constructed it as one moment,
with a single appendage and focus
We can, my co-patriots, realise the New Zealand our of deepest aspirations, and all I ask
is that this September, you support me, A Hedgehog,
to represent you in Parliament
Well, you are doubtless familiar with the groundhog’s reputation as a trusted sage
(and briefly, a saucy adversary sent to discourage Bill Murray)
You may be unaware, though, that my hog-cousins earned their predictive prowess
solely because German settlers could not consult a hedgehog!
My kind are not indigenous to the Americas—nor Australia, or even this soil on which I stand,
though “New Zealand” is emblazoned in every word I choose, in every deed
Immigrants get the job done, the poet reckoned
And this campaign shall continue to serve as a pillar of integrity for the country we wish to be,
I would also submit that no other candidate
is also an international weather service
My critics grandstand for the cameras, obviously sensing our movement’s magnetism
“That Hedgehog promises the Heavens, but how will it actually finance these policies?”, they grumble
And so simple is the solution! Our beloved country spent over $3 billion on defence last year, but
after my election is secure, those funds shall no longer be required
For underneath this sweater vest lies my armoury, six thousand missiles ready for deployment
Each boasts a complex series of air chambers; their transport is light, their impact shattering
Moreover, my people are not legally permitted to enter certain areas of the United States!
The local legislature classifies us as “wild animals,” a sure indicator of anxiety
The mighty American military, cowering at the mere mention of a skirmish with these quills
Warfare, my dear hedge-heads, need never be a budget item again
My election to Parliament shall foster in a new age of diplomacy and cooperation
The English will adore me; the insects devastating their gardens happen to my favourite snacks
Being of the nocturnal persuasion, I am intimately versed in fine dining, ballroom dancing, paintball
the essential talents of any stateshog worthy of the title
A responsibility of this magnitude demands that I report to work
with my focus pristine, my mind clear
And from whence does the stamina come to achieve my goal?
I credit the three consecutive championship belts that adorn my office wall,
bearing the seal of the International Hedgehog Olympic Games
No other Member has an equal history with sprints and hurdles
Also, I am impervious to most snake venoms and can, should I wish, devour a viper
Could my friends on the opposite side of the aisle claim as much?
Of course not
And that, my future constituents, is why on the nineteenth of September, I implore you to cast
an erinaceous vote
This piece was done as a request from @samldanach.
EDIT: I forgot to mention this earlier—a joke political party in New Zealand actually tried electing a hedgehog to Parliament back in the 80s, and the hedgehog got on the ballot! Sadly, though, it didn’t receive enough votes to get the nomination.
I am indebted to @macaronique, who answered a number of questions about New Zealand politics and colloquialisms.