I, I, I sign my name everywhere, and everywhere is mine. Still I crave. I will never settle. I will never have enough. There is never enough. There is more to take, always, opportunity bends over. One must be present. One must be subscribed. The tentacles of my desire spread exponentially. I take over. I remake. I circle the globe with my eye. I feel war approach and I work harder. I feel my roots penetrate and command. There are a million ways to profit. There are a million ways to split.

– "Every day I dig up. I unbury relics of myself." by Sina Queyras, from Lemon Hound

My life an expressway; my life telephone poles, felled and erected, felled and erected, a great precession of uprightness. My life standing outside the motorcade willing myself to enter the great streets, the ‘sanded paths of victory driven through the jungle.’ My life up and down Yonge street. My life wavering, ‘even my thin legs ripple like a stalk in the wind.’

– "Little animal that I am, sucking my flanks in with fear" by Sina Queyras, from Lemon Hound


“We demand that sex speak the truth… and we demand that it tell us our truth, or rather, the deeply buried truth of that truth about ourselves which we think we possess in our immediate consciousness.”
― Michel Foucault, The History of Sexuality

Darren C. Demaree’s “Unfinished Murder Ballad: The Only Dedicated Cowboy in Columbus, Ohio, Objects to the Price of His Black Coffee”

Slenderness worn from where muscle once wanted to grow, then grew only to fit the active frame and casting of a man who had no room in his world for the modernity of the city he lived in, he knew that if he was going to have the energy to make it through his day as a chew-spitting communications technician at AT&T, he would need a lunch time coffee. Up at dawn, he has tended to his crop on the fire escape, he had fed all the animals before he fed himself, and all three of his cats appreciated that sort of man. Now, though, the slack before him was demanding two dollars for a black coffee, and that wore on him the way a bad hand would have worn on the Duke. His father had been a tax attorney, and bequeathed him no rifle. He would need to go to the pawn shop again.

—Darren C. Demaree from the Spring 2014 edition of The Dalhousie Review


Read my review of Demaree’s collection of poetry “As We Refer to Our Bodies” HERE


The waves wash in, warm and salty, leaving your eyebrows white and the edge of your cheekbone. Your ear aches. You are lonely. On the underside of a satin leaf, hot with shade, a scorpion sleeps. And one Sunday I will be shot brushing my teeth. I am a native of this island.
—Frank O’Hara, from “Pearl Harbor”


The waves wash in, warm and salty,
leaving your eyebrows white and
the edge of your cheekbone. Your ear
aches. You are lonely. On the
underside of a satin leaf, hot
with shade, a scorpion sleeps. And
one Sunday I will be shot brushing
my teeth. I am a native of this island.

Frank O’Hara, from “Pearl Harbor”

Tonight you’re thinking of cities under crowns
of snow and I stare at you like I’m looking through a window,
counting birds.

You wanted happiness, I can’t blame you for that,
and maybe a mouth sounds idiotic when it blathers on about joy
but tell me
you love this, tell me you’re not miserable.

So far as we feel sympathy, we feel we are not accomplices to what caused the suffering. Our sympathy proclaims our innocence as well as our impotence. To that extent, it can be (for all our good intentions) an impertinent –if not inappropriate– response. To set aside the sympathy we extend to others beset by war and murderous politics for a reflection on how our privileges are located on the same map as their suffering, and may –in ways we might prefer not to imagine– be linked to their suffering, as the wealth as some may imply the destitution of others, is a task for which the painful, stirring images supply only an initial spark.

my friends, my sweet barbarians,

there is that hunger which is not for food —

but an eye at the navel turns the appetite


with visions of some fabulous sandwich,

the brain’s golden breakfast

eaten with beasts

with books on plates

let us make an anthology of recipes,

let us edit for breakfast

our most unspeakable appetites —

let us pool spoons, knives

and all cutlery in a cosmic cuisine,

let us answer hunger

with boiled chimera

and apocalyptic tea,

an arcane salad of spiced bibles,

tossed dictionaries —

(O my barbarians

we will consume our mysteries)

and can we, can we slake the gaping eye of our desires?

we will sit around our hewn wood table

until our hair is long and our eyes are feeble,

eating, my people, O my insatiates,

eating until we are no more able

to jack up the jaws any longer —

to no more complain of the soul’s vulgar cavities,

to gaze at each other over the rust-heap of cutlery,

drinking a coffee that takes an eternity —

till, bursting, bleary,

we laugh, barbarians, and rock the universe —

and exclaim to each other over the table

over the table of bones and scrap metal

over the gigantic junk-heaped table:

by God that was a meal

"A Breakfast for Barbarians" by Gwendolyn Macewen

Last summer in the garden you palmed the sun summering beneath the skin of our first ripe tomato. What to do with a man who ate it whole, putting half inside his mouth and biting down? Seeds, pulp and juice ran through your fingers and down your shirt. Pomodoro. Love apple. The Chinese thought it poisonous. There’s a bit of the devil in you, taking a risk denying the thin slice with salt and basil. This was going to be our supper, you glutton, with bacon and mayonnaise on pieces of bread. Your second bite—the air burned up; the leaves on our tomato plant and I unbuttoned. What was green reddened, what was sour sweetened, what was fruit and flesh burst into flames between your teeth.

– "Changing into Fire" by Lorna Crozier, from Desire in Seven Voices