Three from Dang Me (above/ground press, 2020)

Here are three poems from my 2020 chapbook Dang Me, available now from above/ground press. Check it out at this link.

Shouldn’t We Liquidate Poetics?

What do I do when someone holds up a mirror
and it’s just a picture of Irving Layton wearing
sunglasses stolen from the “Deal With It” dog?

It’s Brechtian, you know, the way the sun careens
off the glass enclosures of this Toronto tech
hub directly off this screen and into my eyes.

Everywhere I look, it’s a funhouse where light
serializes experience into a million sources
and I’m left to fumble with the cables behind.

But that’s a metaphor, isn’t it, and here I am
with my reflection. No, what I mean is I’m
here reflecting as if my life depended on it.

My Own Puritan Idaho

When I figured
out that my
friends were
laughing at me
rather than with
me, I started
writing very
serious poetry.
Me? I wanted
poetry because
it gave me a shot
at saying these
things I couldn’t
articulate about
me and about white
masculinity that
became a party
trick for some
and, for me, the
choice was to
either be way
too serious or
demand that
people stop
enjoying things.

Have you heard
this one? The
discourse walks
into a bar and.

Is the tweet
“I only read
my friends, but
only in the
sense that all
these books I
bought are my
friends now”
a funny joke or
a cry for help?
Hard to tell
when you get
20 likes for
that post
(that’s a lot,
for me anyway).

It’s Quite A Bitter Pill To Take

Could I be both earnest and critical? In the
body of every great book, there is a barf bag
bookmarking its most critical overtures.

I’m sure he respects a hard line and what did
he do that was so terrible? His whole project
ridicules pathetic men, so isn’t he immune?

Where have all the soft boys gone? Personas
wittled down to inept sputter. Is self–critique
just a compression of value into great value?

I pulled my blanket over my head and that
spells survival. But if that line cuts publically,
then how is it transformed by performance?

What if my whole project was his project:
a critical upbraiding of toxic masculinity that
reproduces privilege. I wouldn’t trust me either.

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