i want a poem

i want a poem
so shit-stirringly good
that every fourteen year old girl
who’s ever forced to read it for
english homework starts
crying and every fourteen year
old boyfriend who argues
‘poems are for wimps’ secretly
reads it at night, too.

i want a poem
so bum-fuckingly awesome
that people smile when they
overhear someone saying the
title - a simple title - one
word, ‘rain’ or ‘bench’ or
‘troglodyte’, something the poem
can lock in a submission
hold and squeeze until
it taps out.

i want a poem
so titty-jiggilingly superb
that even that guy you know
who always quotes
bad song lyrics out of
context then howls
because he’s so much
goddam smarter than
everyone else can
never make it look bad
no matter how slowly
or obnoxiously he recites it,
no matter how many times
he pauses to laugh
along the way.

i want a poem like that.
i want it so badly.
i dont need to write it
i just need to see it
or at least find a few more people
who believe that it exists.

from the March 2006 issue of High Altitude Poetry.

read more of my poems in HAP here.


chapter book

I've come up with a chapbook, splattered earth. It features a fistful o' poems inspired by some time I spent in China. Here's the set list:

the cops in hong kong
bus across the chinese border
all i can do
modernization eulogy
while admiring headless terracotta warriors
pen pal (2nd printing only)
i'd studied mao

If you'd like a copy, they are available at the People's Coop Bookstore (1391 Commercial Drive, Vancouver) for $2.00, or you can track me down and buy one in person ($1.50, or $1.00 each for orders of 3 or more). Also, you can order one through PayPal now for $3.25 and I'll send it right to your doorstep. I'm also certainly open to chapbook trades.

IT'S HARD TO BELIEVE, I KNOW, BUT IT GETS BETTER: While supplies last, all in-person and online sales will include a bonus poem, "viciously in our throats", from my upcoming chapbook child of saturday.

You can order a copy from the sidebar by clicking on the "Pay Pal" button ======>

A sample page from the chapbook can be viewed here.

A brief review of the chapbook, by Leopold McGinnis, editor of Red Fez Magazine, can be read here.

Thanks for your interest!

x / ?

iamb, sfu's creative writing journal, just launched it's third issue. good on 'em. got a couple of poems in it: "all i can do" and "the furthest away". pick up a copy pretty much anywhere on sfu's burnaby campus and (hopefully, maybe) some other places too.

iamb's been nice to me in the past, publishing four poems previously ("thief", "so i was at this reading", "2005", and "cassius").

here's one of 'em (from issue two, fall 05):



as close to
the middle of nothing
as possible

we seem unable
to construct a name
for this decade

the 'tens' sounds ugly,
especially when
compared with

those glorious,
shining 'twenties',
but still

it is infinitely
better than
this decade

which must be
the 'zeros'
if anything.

we launch cameras
up our asses, explore
the outer reaches of our colons

but still stand
around, mumbling,
wondering how to

describe this decade
we find ourselves
squeezed inside.

maybe that's why
the 'nineteen-zeros' were
void of history

a century of wars
famines scandals
plagues terror

maybe the
nineteen-zeros were
the same

(pestilence, death,
squalling babies:
the works)

maybe there were
tear-jerking stories
to be told but

no one could
lay out the
timeline so

they skipped on
to WWI and hoped
no one would notice

and the devastation
of the zeros was lost to us,
the terror erased

or lulled into
hibernation, waiting for
the zeros to return.

now it has
begun seeping up
through the grass

corroding our
pipes, raining down
from the sky.

we're trapped here in
(as close to the middle

of nothing as possible)
with this terror we
can't explain, we

can never write
down and a century
from now no one

will know how
to describe this
time, they'll say

"you know,
the 'two-thousands'"
but no one will understand.

it will be
the death of us.
it will be

terrible and calm.

high altitude poems

poems o' mine in high altitude poetry (pdfs):

The New Canada (july 04) [fulltext here]

I sometimes wonder about fruitflies (september 04) [fulltext here]

foreigner (november 04) [fulltext here]

irradiated (january 05) [fulltext here]

i'd studied mao (march 05) [fulltext here]

these two dogs (july 05) [fulltext here]

questions to the stars (september 05) [fulltext here]

howl (september 05)

a long story
(november 05) [fulltext here]

i want a poem (march 06) [fulltext here]

upon my graduation from simon fraser university (may 06) [fulltext here]

The Next Great Proletarian Revolution (july 2006) [fulltext here]

midas (september 2006) [fulltext here]

on women and CFCs (november 2006) [fulltext here]

the warmth at the heart of stones (november 2006) [fulltext here]

five hours from Tamale, back of the bus (january 2007) [fulltext here]

January 17th, 2007, Ada Foah (march 2007) [fulltext here]

my body has been devouring me for months (march 2007) [fulltext here]

after the game (september 2007)

my wife tells me about the plane crash (november 2007) [fulltext here]

Hastings and Carrall (march 2008) [fulltext here]

spinal, roman, etc.

i've been writing bi-weekly columns for SFU's student newspaper since january. six down, one to go (now added). here they be. if yer in a hurry, my favourite is number four, written in the middle of the Jyylands-Posten cartoon excitement.

p.s. if you have no interest in sfu campus politics, ignore numbers three, five and six. if you have no interest in anything, ignore them all.

#1: Beer and Popcorn

#2: On splits and ditches

#3: Stealing is bad

#4: The same toilet

#5: Varsity Blues

#6: Free Lamb Shanks!

#7: On truth and tenancy


"five things" archive

This Morning in a Morning Voice - Todd Boss

The Sea Eats Our Land - Kwesi Brew

jasper texas 1998 - Lucille Clifton

Alligator Boots - Doug Draime

Savannah Rain, West Africa - Daniela Elza

Non Redibimus - Jill Alexander Essbaum

Without Roots - Edith Faalong

The Colonel - Carolyn Forché

The Other River - Terry Glavin

Canada - Henrietta Goodman

Oceanic - John Grey

Feeling the draft - Bob Hicok

At the Galleria Shopping Mall - Tony Hoagland

Station - Maria Hummel

Cactus Love - Jeff Latosik

TDCJ Reel - Donato Mancini

In Time - W.S. Merwin

For Sue: Lev's Late Wife - Joseph Victor Milford

What will I say of this time? - Kerry Mulholland

Hole 2 (East Facing West) - Sachiko Murakami

The Lie - Don Paterson

Song in my Heart - Diane Seuss

The Melon - Charles Simic

Korean Echo - Tom Sheehan

A Good Fish - Derek Sheffield

The Mysterious Arrival of an Unusual Letter - Mark Strand

for k - Jeffery Van den Engh

Skunk - Zachariah Wells

Honest Things - Kelly Jean White