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Authors: Jon Paul Fiorentino

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Indexical Elegies

BOOK: Indexical Elegies
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Indexical Elegies
-- Jon Paul Fiorentino.

Coach House Books
-- Toronto.

copyright © Jon Paul Fiorentino, 2010

first edition

This epub edition published in 2010. Electronic ISBN 978 1 77056 271 4.

Published with the generous assistance of the Canada Council for the Arts and the Ontario Arts Council. Coach House Books also acknowledges and appreciates the support of the Government of Canada through the Canada Book Fund and the Government of Ontario through the Ontario Book Publishing Tax Credit.

LIBRARY AND ARCHIVES CANADA CATALOGUING IN PUBLICATION

Fiorentino, Jon Paul
Indexical elegies / Jon Paul Fiorentino.

Poems.
isbn 978-1-55245-234-9

I. Title.

ps8561.i585i64 2010     c811'.6     c2010-903887-8

For Marisa Grizenko

Elizabeth Conway
(A Montreal Suite)

the echo deferred, dispersal, the night declines its relays.
To explore: the ultimate intimate elsewhere.

– Nicole Brossard

The high ones die, die. They die. You look up and who's
there?

– John Berryman (‘Dream Song 36')

Life, friend, is boring. We must not say so.

– John Berryman (‘Dream Song 14')

Contents

ELIZABETH CONWAY

JOBLESS WONDERBOY

MENTHOLISM

MONTREAL SONG

POLICE DRIVE HATCHBACKS

WHAT'S THE WORST THAT COULD HAPPEN, COURTNEY?

HYSTERICAL NARRATIVE

CRUELTY-AS-TREND

GRIFT ECONOMY

MONTREAL IS AN IDIOT

I'M PULLING FOR YOUR NARRATIVE

CELLPHONE GLITTER

ABJECTIVE

MENTHOL HYMN

CAUTIOUSLY SOLIPSISITIC

TELEGRAPHIA

DO YOU FALL IN LOVE AT THE DROP OF HAPPY?

SELF-STORAGE

POLYCLINIQUE

HYMN

CSP

HYMN

CSP

HYMN

CSP

HYMN

CSP

YOU WERE MY ONLY TERRAN

HYMN

CSP

MY SINCERE APOLOGISTS

TRANSPRAIRIE

INSTRUCTIONS FOR SPROUTING A POET IN WINNIPEG

INSTRUCTIONS FOR SPROUTING A POST-PRAIRIE POET IN WINNIPEG

PROCESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT

LATCHKEYED

MIASMA MEDICATION

FAMOUS GREY CHEVETTE

ST. TRANSCONA

STOP KNOWING HOW I AM

CIVIC POEM

DYING IN WINNIPEG

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

ELIZABETH CONWAY

We visit Elizabeth Conway on Sundays, select Mondays

and stumble, habitually untied

above Snowdon, Mile End

We take the long way on these days

release captivating missives

wake up later

Maybe croon names like Edith McCord,

Ellie Dowling, or maybe not, still we

drive ourselves civic

One day, road-tripping ourselves

to l'Epiphanie, QC, we will

turn around just in time

Look for home firmly planted

on a Sunday, select Mondays, too easy to parse

and so still, so departed

There's a Montreal I'm

beginning to see and

you're everywhere in it,Conway.

Notre-Dame-des-Neiges Cemetery, Spring 200
8

JOBLESS WONDERBOY

Jobless little wonder

needs his antibiotics

Jobber never leaves

never earns his lesions

Got paper and markers

and motherfucking whiteout

Listen, sent you a text

message in 1983

One day you'll get it

MENTHOLISM

Cold is your gift

spend countless hours grifting

Sole proprietorship

of these barricades

Close eyes

pretend we have talent

Not swayed

too into too craven

Can't hold liquor

can't hold sobriety

Smoke Craven Menthols

not sure why

Get frigid

ride late night

Last call

scratch open white scabs

Walk-in therapist sees you

there you are

Don't have a problem

in writing

Need a

room in which to brood

An adjacent

room from which to watch

So hard to keep

the stories straight

This poem makes

sure of that

MONTREAL SONG

And then she said

being despotic is almost

as rewarding as being enlightened

Then he said

I love everything about

you except your company

And then we all agreed

that power politics were

depressing

POLICE DRIVE HATCHBACKS

Ask for cocaine

sane currency

petulant

continent

Walk the

strip-mined outlet mall

make eye contact

with retailers

Enter hostel

fall asleep

to your

bitmap

One weak moment

that won't

stop

happening

WHAT'S THE WORST THAT COULD HAPPEN, COURTNEY?

She slides out of a launderette

No, wait.
She struts out of a café

Check that.
She stumbles out of a bus

Or not.
She steps out of a bank

Too dull.
She stirs out of a dream

That sucks.
She slips out of a clinic

The washer is old; the smoke is thick

the transit is slow; the credit is wrecked

the fear is real; the doctor is sick

Her clothes are stained; her coffee is cold

her transfer is lost; her money is low

her mind is made up; her pills do not work

HYSTERICAL NARRATIVE

Shouldn't think so

I've been so thoughtless

Mispronounce
hegemony

that's nothing

Announce too candidly

my candidacy

Something I hardly know

protects itself from being happy

Years saunter by, increasingly devoid of lyric

thankful, they say, wheezing:

It's all about your breath all about you breathing

every beta male needs a better Maud Gonne

Very well aware: close readings

find me lacking or treading or tactless or fruitless

But here's something: it's 4:07 a.m.

you are asleep; and I am in the midst of

an historical narrative

CRUELTY-AS-TREND

Suppose you supplant someone

suppose it's not unwelcome

Suppose you uproot or unseed or unseat him, that

certain someone, and discover cruelty-as-trend in the process

Suppose you have an art project to work on now, but no

matter, because you haven't the ethic or ethics

Suppose you understand process a little better now

but don't feel convertible in your own skin

Suppose you will need this, this making strange

this continual troubling

Suppose you've been found out and you find out you

don't care. Suppose you process this supposition

GRIFT ECONOMY

Manage to in syntax

Xerox massage it

Bedsores soothe, bedsitters swoon

Back when X cared about things

Intentions pulped or stapled

closer

So close to sleep

yet so closed

The epiphany changes

whenever the font does

It's easy to look down on you

from this basement suite

MONTREAL IS AN IDIOT

in October as the slumlords

slur the ruddy Plateau

Third-hand bicycles

gun-toting angels

last last cigarettes

activist boyfriends

projectivist adjuncts

protectionist tracts

And at night the mayor

gets colder than we could

ever imagine

And we love him

and we love her

I'M PULLING FOR YOUR NARRATIVE

It's a trope

I think you know it

The atm looks lovely tonight

if you believe in the word
lovely

You kill an adjective

and then

The word
lovely
wakes

you up at 4 p.m. and says:

It's been a while

it's lost its charm

You sleep too much

you drink too long

CELLPHONE GLITTER

Write long line

angry young kick

Gain Saint Joe; lose Saint Joe

daddy bank robber sputter

Stroke cellphone glitter

rock suffocate coke

Protest too much

protest tumult

Drain muse battery

suck fake epic on

prick strike for

Lo, the tired are punch-drunk

let's get 'em, Uncle Job

ABJECTIVE

Abject stirring

prose project stalled

Stab injection

the wrecked and the appalled

When does the second head

drop

When does the adjective

leave you alone

Jab injure

zero

When does the crop

come?

MENTHOL HYMN

What do you mean
right on
?

extract life menthol

what do you mean
unhappy
?

excursion retreat menthol

what do you mean
my fault
?

cure yourself again menthol

what do you mean
your fault
?

children crave sick menthol

what do you mean
not now
?

make it new menthol

what do you mean
hurtful
?

hey it's only menthol

what do you mean
virgin
?

shame on you menthol

what do you mean
never
?

preen espouse menthol

what do you mean
twenty bucks
?

sexually transmuted menthol

what do you mean
leaving
?

montreal city menthol

what do you mean
verb
?

aim low miss menthol

what do you mean
noun
?

first thought best menthol

what do you mean
problem
?

literal mean menthol

what do you mean
dead locution
?

liked your recent menthol

what do you mean
archive
?

it's not you it's menthol

CAUTIOUSLY SOLIPSISITIC

If self is dishappy

cautionary tale stuck on repeat

If posed self is paused

solitary drive drivel

If drive is inward

sociological, heteronormative slapstick

If you feel you can drive it home

power outage, gender outrage

If triage is trendy

crack and hiss Christmas illness

Don't let yourself let

everyone know you get paid

TELEGRAPHIA

Real ones happen when you are post-telegraphic

almost at sleep

Real ones happen when the mind trips post-

Sapphic

Real ones are itches and pre-dream clutter

they happen shallow

Dream curvature and whisper inertial

the mind wakes up at dreadful times

Deep

post-happen

DO YOU FALL IN LOVE AT THE DROP OF HAPPY?

Do you fall in love at the drop of happy?

are you brink? did you clean?

do you miss yourself? are you dripping?

you are taken for

Did you fail?

are you held? did you internet café?

do you slum? are you napping?

BOOK: Indexical Elegies
8.59Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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