Poem for a Precious Chapbook
A bird with a bum wing, it limps
like limping had valour. Pigeon
puts air in a headlock,
waits for air to pass out.
Wrench of the racketeer,
you haven’t been this scared of paper
since Valentine’s Day.
Pilates of the page
holds an opposing
position — a puppet
echoing its author:
talk, talk, talk.
Then applauding itself.
And always inserting
it mimes: carot, less than,
L, V, greater than, seven
and in French, accent circumflex.
In the closet, a Warhol wanting
a hug. A flag. A loaf in a drawer —
blank faced, a gift receipt —
its fabric hinges
creased, the crease a settlers’ museum
you can follow with your finger.
Everything warps, even your running tee;
after wearing it, how it surrenders
its shape for you.
How it smells like you, only worse.
How it flattens itself against the floor,
wallflower — floor flower. It loves, and
therefore is sad, like us. But,
when pulverized, it grows softer,
so unlike our other friends,
so unlike them.
Whoa. Notice the boy’s gun hunt, clumsy
uncle? Summer fuss, musky, made the sun-cooked
custard sweat. Flin Flon’s cousin ate the costs.
That buddy was a husky punk — buddy,
that badunkadunk tongue was a thrum-sucker.
Once we snuck under the junked Cutlass, chunky
Todd undressed some buttons, thumbed my undies’
broad band. What was the rush, I thought
we were going four wheeling? Got gummy,
the dust stuck to our clothes’ dark spots, ruddy
grew redder. Grunts turned jumpy,
eyed the auto body’s grimed-up shunts and
udders, his palm buzzed where
I couldn’t look. Everything torqued, we were
both the busted guzzler’s undercab and squinting.
We stunk like what we’d done, I guess. I felt
like we’d shot a skunk, got sprayed — that dumb — until
cunning we skulked out to the tracks and began again.
Tapped tooth taps back,
an injury gettting mouthy, bone
run up an iron pole.
And sulky! It locks itself
in, doesn’t obey. Where your tooth
went soft is a blooming
cereal bowl. The carpet
rotted — oh, crowbar, please
solve my problems!
You should have flossed
on a bass guitar, on wise
shoelaces. You should have kept him
in buzz cuts, in boy scouts,
when you run your tongue on him,
you taste neglect in revolt,
you’re getting the TV nodes
turned to reality, a gravel
acorn bit down on. You oughta
score some antidepressants,
your tooth is going to
slide to pieces, you’ll swallow
the shards, exclamation point — you’ll
never get a job in retail,
sad face, sad face.
“Poem for a Precious Chapbook” and “Tee”, from The Hard Return, Insomniac Press, 2012. Poem for a Precious Chapbook” first appeared in ditch,. “Whoa” and “Cavity” from Soft Where, Chaudiere Books, 2009. “Whoa” first appeared in Heteroskeptical (2006). “Cavity” first appeared in petty illness leaflet (2008).