Letter to the Editor

Don't ever let them write love poetry for you
about moonlight or softness 
about holiness or 
damn girl, 
your sweet, sweet curves 

Don't let them pontificate on 
mapping the blueprints of your lips 
and for God Sakes, if they talk about your 
just smack them 

Also, don't let them quote at you 
when they've gotten lazy 
(unless it's Al Purdy and you're 
around a campfire 
then maybe 
a blowjob is in order) 

Refuse that sexy verse 
even if it really flatters your legs 
or that dip in your clavicle you've 
always fancied 
And even if it's delicious to hear 
"Hold on, let me grab my pen"
as he stretches from your 
crummy hotel bed 

But, seriously, don't let them 
insert themselves 
when they're writing from 
brazen insecurity 
It'll just leave you feeling like a 
literary harlot 
thumbing for a ride 
as you stumble through their pages



Break-Up Song XXVII

A necessary clearing of the table
            “sorry, I don’t have room for this in my life”
            (not sorry, just the Canadian in me)
Cut that shit





A luxurious foot-tapping distraction of
you walk in and I suddenly breathe
poetry as though contemplating red
brick and desperately clinging autumn
leaves is sketching intricate
blueprints measuring each tender
angle and being reminded that my
god Purdy was right things are
alive and squelching with desire



Portrait of the Degenerate as a Young Artist

These moments at 5 am where 
I cough up paint like blood and 
hasten to arrange meaningful form 
asking what does sex look like as it stretches 
over canvas? 
A gaping hole of interlocking pieces 
thrown up casually into place 
like taking a midnight drive on a
country back road with 
no plan or reason 
          pressing the pedal 
          out of boredom 
and something succulent springs

"Maybe the canvas is already sex," you say, 
"with all the woven strings tightly bound, legs over thigh, over knee, over leg."
"Well that is beautiful" I say, "but I still 
wanna see all that dripping red paint" 



Arguments with a paper cup

What words are left
What pithy punctuation can note
will this still work tomorrow 
will I write/be

An anxiety plagued by water
Filling up to my eyeballs my ears are
swallowed and my faith drowned
Call up the moment to work
show me what you have hidden 
Please let me turn your static into beat
Turn your back into bridge
I need to find poetry in your presence 
Just hand it over and I won't
chuck you in the bin 



Walks with Wendy

A judicious slice
of ramen striped across
a screeching pan
A shared bottle of vodka/Pepsi
(mostly vodka)
on a sidewalk current
downtown to the
park where hobos sleep
where we can reach out
to the longest pier
and breathe with wind
windowless but for
an aimless suburban pathway
to water
just bring me to a piece of
water beyond the puddle
that belches from green
manhole covers
I’ve burned myself on
a screaming tarscape



A Deep Forest Debate

Follow the rhythmic footsteps of Dad
see if I can look up without falling over
to catch a staggered glimpse of
squirrels rush dangling in treetops
scurrying icicles

Plodding down a snowy isle
toward a twisted hardwood altar
to be handed respite without question or barter

Ghost of Grandfather trods behind
a taste of Coca-Cola and kielbasa on rye
He shouts that the land was meant to be
tilled and not
Though he bends
as a rusty crane over
a patch of strawberries
picks from a raspberry bush and says
“Eat” with smiling eyes
A red and juicy Eucharist
For a life of poverty sings,
“Feed above all else”

Dad looks back
pauses and

Now full




A man in a frosted toque envelopes the recycling bin
peering shoulder over rib
as if the traffic would note
a twisted, slacken form 
his dig for sunken treasure
the discarded booze bottles of careless students 
He rises
        still in ashes
and slips like oil
to his next venture 




November 1

A scrub bush bursts from a manhole cover

the lid lies slacken against the careless tangles
Some pylons are erected to divert the drivers
a student takes a photo of the assault
neighbours wonder why the city doesn’t cut it out
like a pimple, burst the thing from our streets

This is the in-between month,
I tell myself on the commute,
trees are bare and cracked like Winter
leaves collecting in a rainbow of Autumn underfoot
slate pavement blends into the grey horizon
I’m projected into a smoke/fog that forms a
non-line between terror and calm
between invasion and emergence

November 3

Homeland for my Birthday
a resounding anchor that pulls us northward
The stretching highway pierces the land
dividing equally the bachelor apartments
and condemned used car lots
flea markets and
discarded coffee cups along the center divider

The weeds and leaves push up against the road
blur the edge
framing a disintegrating cracked tarscape

In the passenger seat I lace my fingers
and futilely revel in the weighty place
that draws us forward
as if we are on a line or rope
with an idea of home cranking the pulley
Without realizing that the fog is pasted to our car
that I carry the smoke in my mind

November 8

A dream scene
I walk in to find you in a forest
with tin foil leaves
laughing, you ask me to hop on the back of the ATV
I am surprised at my indifference
We fly along the brookside
the water is carbonated
burning through the soil
I regret this invasion for the sizzling
but am drawn to the collapse
A spindling copper weed rises up and says
“Why don’t we just thrust you out
like quicksand, just swallow you?”
The slate sky starts crumbling
a corrupted purification

November 15

Dreaming of Homeland on the Birthday of my Mother
a tightening of laces
pulling together my shoes
that call me to continue
A faraway foundation of poured concrete
reached through the underground
cables and heartbeat
a radiation
I pray for you on this day
I send my pulse through eight floors
and call you on the phone

At times like these
I cannot condemn the numbers that reach your voice
but I cannot keep my blood from the garden soil

A Scorpio dreams in extremes
but your protest calls for balance

November 23

I drink you in like liquid lead
you secure me to this space
as though you’re carefully sewing me to 
the bricks of our apartment building
murmuring softly
“this is your place, your place is me
and I move away from and with you all the time”

In this dead city
of retired memories
the basis of the commute
forms only as a basis of emptiness and longing
you carefully sew me into some place
as if it could be any place
as if any space could build its home around me

The building rocks on the waves of the street
on the currents of wind
you drop your words out of the window
and anchor us

November 30

What I’ve come to realize
here with you
is to celebrate

to condemn the opposition
and see myself like 
the facets of a rope
intertwined with you
stretched across our highways
across our scrubland
I rub up against you and this place
I feel your edges

feel the edges begin to converge 



Exclamation Point

Fig. 1 I take so many pictures of things that are beautiful
to try and prove myself wrong 


thoughts on depression

a cold so complete it starts to seem necessary
a grip so tight it remolds your skin
leaving sunken imprints
until your bones crackle into
disfigured glaciers 
until you start to apologize for your offensive form
hunched into crescent moon
and with each assurance that 
you're a selfish inward tilted bitch
a vertebrae disassembles 
an electric stream intertwines your ears
and you mantra on your way:
I'm just getting buried closer to you
a tepid fingernail floats to the floor




Scrambled into a downtown bus 
reminded of the discreet charm of the 
sweating college students
Looking for relief in the terror of 
crystals that coat
Southern Ontario, clean
That mummify discarded coffee cups and
cigarette butts
to be reincarnated next spring
An escalator swallowing and spewing the 
tokens of our numbers
of our innumerability 
and our lovely, sweet desperation to be meaningful
as we hoist bubbling garbage bags and crumbling
recycling bins onto the front, wet bank for collection



The Lonesome Dalek

That sense of pushing hard to make it fit
to make the words appear
Waiting for the gate between awake and sleep
that will finally open
where dream and thought meld into slender shape

The desperate choice between depression and contentment
inspiration and nothing
Let’s try to make this work
to pull together creation and joy
like a zipper torn off its track 

To realize that I now feel in black and white
where I once was
re(a)d all over
Forced into boxes labelled 
survival and passion
Up your dose or let it loose

These antennae are starting to chafe 


A whirling spinning grasp

I wish I wrote that poem down
I can remember the rhythm 
and there was that unsure half rhyme 
Between the space of sleep and awake 
the words appeared like nothing
but I let them go and

Copyright © a contemplation (Emily Jones) 2013. All rights reserved.