Thursday, 29 December 2016

JASON HEROUX (Kingston, Ontario)


You’re a device      always channeling      one electrical signal

over another      into a sound      loud enough      to be heard

uptown      you came to get down      jump around      get some

feeling      we’re all devices      powered by impulses      we don’t

understand      what we’re saying      or hearing      you don’t

care      what we’re thinking      say what you like      do you

know      if anyone is listening      loudspeaker      your voice

is up for grabs      play what you want      the future is under

new management      we don’t know why      new snow keeps

getting stuck in old snow       waiting for friends      to come

dig it up      with their shovels      or why a dying battery loves

its toy      even though it won’t play      or why the moon loves

channeling      its lonesomeness      through our bones      who

knows if riot dogs      are barking I LOVE YOU      at the crowd

whoever wants      to be happy      must do it now      if someone

alerts us      to leave the premises      tell them we came      to get

down      we came to get down      not to give up      jump around.

Monday, 19 December 2016

LAURA FARINA (Vancouver)

Believe Me

You can be anything you want to be –
Ogled organic farmer
Uninhibited ukelele player
Fondled forest ranger
Up-for-it upholsterer
Curvy chiropractor
Kittenish kitchen manager
Inviting inventor
Nubile neurosurgeon
Groped gas leak inspector
Docile dentist
Impregnated impressionist
Coquettish CEO
Kneeling karate instructor
Willing welder with an 
Ass that won't quit
Demure dog walker.

Friday, 16 December 2016


Fuddle-Duddle Drumpf
You will not much care, of course
Our fury for your deceits, our frail
Unity rendered dumb and disunited.
For your gilt-rusted rage, you martialed
Untoward, unwitting brigades; and
Crowds did sway with indolence,
Knowledge mocking and afraid,
Illiterate to honesty. You grasped at
No greater good except to prod and
Grope the public sphere. You will
Deliver no promise but spite
Its remaining decency, hound
Civility into a sad corner, and will
Kick good with bad faith. Still,
We learn anew from anger’s focus
Are goaded by your ‘Great’ brag, you
Dare us this better rage.


You never know when democracy will choke
out a glottal-stopped death rattle
under elliptical bows of grandeur,
fences and steel that stand monolithic
under guile, the guise of greatness.
Can you hear the semantics cast in
knee-jerk frenzy
invoking the hysteria of red states?
Neville never saw the signs
glad-handing in clueless clucks
despite the world realigning 
in desperate coordinates.
Churchill read ciphers like constellations
knowing fragility threads muscle and spirit.
We never saw it coming! Only you kind of knew he'd
ape it, an orange marshmallow man teetering over DC
dancing a bigly toppling jig.

Sunday, 11 December 2016


You realize why no one voted for you in New York, right?
Or do you? You overgrown mutant
Uterus from the 2nd dimension. I watched
Fifty billion marathon runners pickling disfigured syringes
Under their arms as they stood paralyzed awaiting the
Crow of the cock at the feet of a century
Killing six baker’s dozen seagulls from a bored shadow universe
Into our distorted star system where
Nuance is no substitute for the sensation of blood,
Grits, and your
Dicksucking cabinet of homophobic hypocrites.
I am not impressed.
Could you at least not
Kill Chuck Berry, Paul McCartney, John Cale, and
Wim Wenders?
And while you’re at it, could you accomplish one redeemable, even
Decent thing in the next four years?


You wanted a celebrity president:
Okay then, losers. Very interesting.
Understand, you voted for me.

Furthermore, America is a disaster.
Unhappy? Hard to imagine.
Capitalism’s the only way. Believe me.
Killjoys will be locked up.
Immigrants? Not a problem.
No Muslims allowed.
Guns? I love them bigly.

Don’t say trickledown won’t work.
I exploit workers; they understand.
Caring didn’t make me rich. Let the poor eat
Krispy Kremes. They’re morons.
What about healthcare? Excuse me?
Absolutely not. Unless you pay bigly.
Dear white broads: thanks for the votes.

Saturday, 10 December 2016

MARK GRENON (Montreal)


You’ve slathered the world in apoplexy,
ornery oratory, braggadocio,
ultimatums commandeering Greenbackers in a future i.o.u. snafu.
Firing the falconer won’t conceal the falcon knockoff
under the falsetto flaggers, nor will POTUS-prompted Twitter jujitsu,
Captain Carotene, curtail the Great Invisible Wall of your climacteric.
Kowtowers, bluenecks, rednecks, thinking they’re gonna get some payback,
idolize you, mirroring the spectre of your red-hatted alibi,
not knowing the trajectory of your MAGA campaign
(gimmickry, hyperbranding, xenotrolling)
deaf to the arc of its rancor, is that the electorate’s to be betrayed.
Indignant, an ism unto yourself, darksuited, anti-
cogito, constantly clickbaited, ultraphallic
Kickback King, how did you lowjack,
without a clue in hell, the body politic, disavow,
aargh, the zeitgeist of some better America
dying to be born out of this jailbird jeremiad?


Yesterday was better, yes we will change things, he suggested.
On the line he places billionaires vested in themselves

Under covers, coil and recoil, I watched rants and numbers
Flutter across invisible signals.

Ugliness rears its head in (front of) us all.

Cars are called by a phone app called Uber.
Kids hear better than the rest of us, identify difference.
Ice melts are shifting the jet stream. But
No we are not responsible for any of this.

Give me another whiskey. License bad
Decisions. Everything is off kilter.
If only we could stake it all on satire.

Consider counting down the days with good news. This
Kris Kringle kills my buzz. I can’t
Watch Home Alone 2 without cringing.
Arnold will have to carry me through, along with
Donald Duck as Scrooge.

JIM SMITH (Toronto)

Yurtfuls of flaming democrats
owls highspeed collision with building
unspeakably amped infants in the dating pen

fat jiggles state borders
urine reservoirs full of pale supremacists
catlike aneurysms void guts
kicks just keep getting harder to find
inside your endless suit
nazis cuddle
groping underage objects

direct Ivanka to the surgical procedure
in which she is remade in your  likeness
collect her biologic waste
kinder, ich liebe nicht dich
where shall we meet
against all reason, when
death wants us coming in hot?

A. G. PASQUELLA (Toronto)

Yonder lies The Pyramid
on top of another pyramid
under an ocean of ash.

Freedom tasted terrible.
Uncle Sam didn’t want you after all.
Cookie Monster was deported,
knife still twanging in his back.

Ill-met, my friends, ill-met.
Nurses in bikinis
gasp as Leviathan rises from the deep.

Demons blow dandelions.
Igloos melt; we mortgage the puddles.
Cookie Monster dies in exile.
Kermit-skin coats crackle in the bonfire.

Weathermen weep; The Pyramid burns
as Leviathan
dumbs out the lights.

MARILYN ROSE (Cobourg, Ont.)

Yet even as I
Overcome the perhaps
Fear. After all there are hummers at the feeder, chilly desert dreaming
           of blooming

Useless gnashing…bi
Cuspid against canine…other more
Knowing voices soothe
Invoking the inherent reason in
“Not to worry” as a way of
Going forward.

Donald sucked
In his fetid breath and spewed forth more inciting rhetoric
Calling spades spades.

Keep on the wide straight roads north out of this desert, the
Water of Lake Ontario
Ahead, providing my escape, the
Dollar worth only 75 cents. How lovely.


this president-elect (since you ask)

of course this
ugly orange
keloid (that’s scar tissue bub) this

ignis fatuus marsh gas or idiot’s delusion this ignorant
night-soil head or dung-head or fecal matter head manure head or stool
democracy this indecent

cockroach infestation this
kiss-of-death this

warlock this wattled wall-street washrag this waddling warty weak-minded
weasel this
weirdo this butt wen this wormy waste of space this
avaricious atrocity this appalling anus of a duplicitous
dog this debauchee this deviant this dissipated drip disease or death rattle this
            dreary deranged dark and dirty dog

NATHAN DUECK (Cranbrook, BC)

Friday, 9 December 2016


Lesson for Someday

…You’d probably expect that such an event would start another dark period in our history.
Of course, if that were the case, the title for this lesson would be much grimmer than “The Last Blip on the Path to Progress.”
Under that sort of regime, it would’ve been easy for people to lose hope, since
Fear and despair combined with oppression and ignorance are breeding grounds for – Yes?
…Unfortunately, the mechanisms to prevent his inauguration lacked enough strength to succeed without causing more chaos.
Change is slow in the absence of dramatic events, as we’ve already seen, but thankfully this particular election proved sufficient to – Yes? That’s fine, go ahead.
…Kill him? No, we weren’t that barbaric! You were paying attention to our previous lessons, right?
I’d like to get to my point: yes, the twenty-first century was a time of great uncertainty, but
No, the voices of reason weren’t extinguished. No, most people didn’t fall for the easy distractions, the glib lies, and the hate-filled rhetoric.
Gone was faith in the establishment, perhaps, but not faith in humanity…
Don’t think I missed you rolling your eyes.
It’s easy to sit here in this room and think, “Clearly it all worked out because we’re still here” and “Clearly things couldn’t have been that bad, and the old man is just using his gravitas again.”
Clearly you’ve forgotten one of the key points about our history: in the moment, no one knows how things will turn out.
Knowing the future has always been beyond our grasp, and the world back then was much more chaotic than it is now.
When we saw those election results roll in, many of us almost lost hope, at least at first.
And then enough of us spoke up to remind the others of one of the most important lessons that carried us forward to today:
Do not ever lose hope. Not for an instant.


Death by Drumpf

Yo! O Canada! From
Under rocks vile Yankees crawl,
Foul with folly, no soul at all.
Undeterred by rhyme or reason
Consuming rage assails the season,
Keeping fools so blind and dumb.
In the White House -- hateful scum.
Not a glint of truth may glisten.
Goddamn rednecks
Direct this show.
Instead of dope we got bad blow.
Can I sail aboard this wreck--
Kicked in the head
With racist dreck?
Amerikkka, I've had enough of
Death by Drumpf.

BRENDA SCHMIDT (Creighton, Sask.)

Yoga, you note, is what real leaders do
On boardroom tables
Uplifting the masses with asses

Firmly pointed at glass ceilings
Underhanded simply meaning
Confining the edge with a grip
Kinky types get off on, so you stretch truth
Instead of just sitting there, do the downward dig
Nodding and tweeting up a snowstorm
Governing the climate of each well-

Dressed cheek accordingly knowing the chair,
Inert when empty, ergonomic, and fully adjustable,
Can practically roll from Washington all the way to
Kansas or Montana with a simple push. Note:
Will crooked Canada, wherever that is, stop sending
All those freeloading snow geese
Down to do the dead pose in America’s open pit?

J.M. FRANCHETEAU (Harrow, Ont.)


Yuge and baffling the task before you.

On every principal’s wall, in every post office,

Under the portrait of Obama, less

Faded than the surrounding paint,

Unseen, a white space awaits another white face.

Consider Charlemagne, King of Franks, and his
Kingdom that could not outlast his power:

In a thousand years, how will your

Name ring out?

Great again, or a shovelful of worms,

Dented coins of the realm,

Insult hidden in every mention.

Consider your billions in people now, our billions.

Keep quiet a sec: listen to the breaths. This

We who carry you like a wound includes you;

And you must include all of us,

Dark figures massing at the borders of night.


Yankee say, “Go home, fellas, nothing to see here,”
Over the braying Bernardistas chanting in Central Park
Under a moon alarmingly close to our timorous,
Fragile planetoid chockablock with untapped carbon.

Unless you hug a polar bear, you can’t imagine the savagery
Constant evisceration of the topsoil impinges on
Kindred spirits who host other religions in their most
Intimate moments, desert hearts inscribed in left-leaning texts.

Now, it’s not a question of authority. You have it,
Great satchel-jowl sunset-tinged plutocrat, behold!
Down to the last dime and demagogue, you go, Sam!
Intimacy isn’t something you cultivate. No, you

Commercialize it — make it part of the go-home message.
Kentucky has its jars too, Tennessee, auburn and succulent.
We drink, on your behalf, Manhattans in Manhattan.
Absent absinthe and arak, we tumble through this charred swill

Down for the last drop too soon to be witnessed. Come with.

Thursday, 8 December 2016


POTUS Acrostic

Yea verily

Oh great Orangeness

Uge — you are bigly in all dimensions and things


Urge us with urgency

Chinese climate change will not stop you

Kick those illegal imbeciles out!

Insure our insurance, say no to Obamacare

Nourish us with branded nourishment

Grow us good

Disgusting Rosie O’Donnell — total loser

Ignore her, she’s fat

Clowns have failed us

Keep America Great Again
Work tirelessly for nothing because you are very very rich already

Anoint the chosen

Dish out the death penalty to perverts and biased media elites


Only the Best Words Are Good Enough for You

You say you’ll make America terrific; you said so
over and over again. Surely by now you
understand how quickly parties end, how
first love dies, how fires flare and burn, ferocious,
until nothing is familiar anymore?
Chris Hadfield knew his path when he was nine,
knew he had to be an astronaut. When was your first
inkling you’d be the brat who grew up
not to be lauded for floating in space,
guitar in hand, singing Bowie, but for
dragging a once-proud nation into a swamp?
I don’t know who will speak for us,
croon away our worries, soothe our sorrows while you,
king of kraken, squire of sordid, overseer of odious,
write off the cautious progress we fought so hard for,
apologia, politesse and reason being just a few more things you’ll
drown like kittens in the trough of your miasma.


Study the universe and reveal the reason optimists
stopped searching, or S.T.U.A.R.T.R.O.S.S.

Yet we look for it with map and torch in every corner:
our search takes us to new beds, old bars. We look
under patriotic rocks and see pill bugs scavenging,

feeding on their own shit for the copper. So we go
underwater, to hot vents where the secrets mount, where
copepods thrive in impossible dark. We chase our big

kills. Endangered species. Meat. The brag of the hunt. 
It’s not a freedom we miss, but a loss of comfort
near our rarest carcasses. All joy is faux. No

Gods ever presided. We’re out of little guys to kick.
Don't say we didn't look. We whirled. Old logic
implied we'd get what we worked for. That was super

childish. We congregated, repeated We’ll be okay. We
kid ourselves with pep rallies. We leave each other 
wounded. It was gobbledygook that a common good

annuls specific evil. The fables are a typo. Rocks reject us.
Deep, so deep, a squat lobster smiles in its cozy blindness.


Yes. I understand now that I have misread everything.
Or I have been misread.

Unless the clutter-stock, the Mad magazines and
Forbes annuals and the notes I wrote myself in passing,
Underlined at every passage where I felt the
Civic resolve weaken, unless these were the documents that
Knew me, all along,

I have been lied to a little and it looks like I liked it.

Going forward,
Don’t condescend to me.
I know my votes were counted. I counted them myself.
Can you crayon an America that doesn’t flex for ruin?
Kingdoms don’t perpetuate their kings.

Whatever will become of us,
At least I’ll remember the dates.
Don’t remind me. I know it will be January always.


Presidential Prayer

you and I are reasonably close in age, Donald 
our time on earth has been lucky for the both of us
unless you decide to throw sand in the works now

for what seems like forever but it has only been a year, your
ugly promises have spewed forth like a bursting pustule of
cancerous intentions defying logic and reason and soul
know that this is not the way
inside that ornate orange husk there must be a human
now is the time to be that man instead of an evil Caliban
grow a heart instead of that selfish coal

did no one love you as a child
is it time for you to be held, read to as slumber approaches
can kindness break the bleak out of you
know we are now in your hands
wonder at the wonder of this
and find compassion, astonish us all
dare to be kind

MARK LABA (Vancouver)

Yellowish pelage with pinkish underparts, this
Organ-grinding toad nourished through his rectum,
Under or between the seats the gravedigger calls,
Funny how the suckers flock to the parasites,
Unctuous film
Covering their gargoyle skin.
Kissing cousins and contagious kings
Interred in a harem of past, present and future shuddering,
“Now,” said the President,
“Give me some murmuring chickens and I’ll show you my
Demon breasts and manure dance.”
In his little black book he wrote,
“Class dismissed, grab your garters and Canton dialect,”
Knuckle hair nimbus incandescent and radiating
Womb death
As he groped about the shrimp boats and evening gowns,
Dumb as a waterboard on its wedding night.


Building the Wall

Yo-Yo Ma, a noted cellist, was born in Paris to Chinese parents, but American.
Osama Bin Laden, who founded al-Qaeda, was from Saudi Arabia, and died in Pakistan.
Uranus, seventh planet from the sun, is a gas giant named for a Greek god.

Freddie Mercury, whose parents were Parsi, was born in Zanzibar but moved to Middlesex.
Ulysses, aka Odysseus, great-great grandson of an Olympian god, returned to Greece via Troy.
Che Guevera, a Marxist Argentinian, revered in Cuba, was shot in Bolivia.
Karen Blixen wrote Out of Africa. She was Danish.
Idris Elba, English (Sierra Leonean and Ghanaian parents), had a Baltimore accent in The Wire.
Noor-un-Nisa Inayat Khan, descendent of Indian Muslim royalty, was born in St. Petersburg.
            Her mother was American, from New Mexico.
            Living in France, the family escaped to England at the outbreak
            of the Second World War, and though a pacifist, Khan joined the Resistance
            against the Nazis, the first female Special Operations agent
            sent into Occupied France, posthumously awarded the George Cross
            after being betrayed, captured and then executed at Dachau Concentration Camp.
God is also called Yahweh, Jehovah, Allah, Krishna, Nkosi, Jah Rastafari, and Shàngdì.

Darth Vader was raised on Tatooine, but died on a space station built by his own Empire.
Ibn Battuta, a Moroccan, is considered one of the greatest travellers of all time. 
Christina, Queen of Sweden, spent much of her life in Rome.
Kaspar Hauser, an idiot, was raised in complete isolation in a dungeon.
Woody Guthrie, American folksinger, wrote “This Machine Kills Fascists” on his guitar.
Adolf Hitler, patriot, was a colossal asshole.
Donald Trump, businessman, grandson of white immigrants, married to a white immigrant,
            has yet to release his taxes.



—You always wanted to be someone else?
—Oh, no, I didn’t.
—Understandable. So, you thought too much of yourself?
—For your information, I like myself very much.
—Can we have a new topic?
—I like to fly kites. Really big, expensive kites.
—Nothing in there, is there?
—Doubt it.
—Is anyone listening?
—Can’t tell. Can you?
—Well, are they?
—Another question, please.
—Done. We’re done.