On a Stupid Husband

O Kelowna, who has rolling hills
winding on forever upward

and hell’s angels drink well
and are ready to dance,
though you fear
the useless law
the burning forests
will raise the price of furniture
as they tumble with flame
and lie in deep ash:
let a good chair
be made from cinder,
dust and brine
to sit on in a game
of leap-frogging
some will call Frogger

Kelowna, give me that greatest gift,
a good prawn.
I want a fellow-citizen of mine
to go summersault straight
into the deep
from your rooftop bars,
on a night of rubbish
when the blackest sky is tarred

The man’s totally skull,
knows no more than
a two-year-old chimp,
asleep in its father’s
lice-pooled arms.
some poor bride
is in chains and tears!

We tire of passing figs,
eating grapes
discussing your weak new love
We fill a Ligurian ditch
with fog and hearsay
Who knows if your wife
is real or phantom art

Such is his prosaic nature,
he who doesn’t see, or hear,
he who doesn’t know
what day it is,
or whether he is
pet or houseplant.

Now I want to toss him
Hercules style
from your rooftop
happy hours,
the mules
will nudge his bloody shoes
with their useful noses.

Questions and Answers

Do you use any resources that a young poet would find useful (e.g. books, films, art, websites, etc.)?

Reading old poetry books is the best way to discover poetry. The internet is full of it (poetry) but go to a local reading and hear what is being published now, buy that person’s new book. Go to a new bookstore and buy a foreign poetry book. Go to a used bookstore and buy a used poetry book from a thousand years ago.

As a published writer, what are your tips or words of motivation for the aspiring poet?

Fall in love with everything you write. If you don’t love it, come back to it. You should feel giddy about what you write. You should sweep yourself off your feet!

What inspired or motivated you to write this poem?

I’ve been obsessed with Catullus for more than 20 years. It’s astrological I think, being a Cancerian, I simply cannot let go of his past!

How did your writing process unfold around this poem? How did you write, edit, and refine it?

I wanted it to flow and fall, like a small human being tumbling down the stairs, I wanted it to go somewhere. And since it was a free association translation of a Catullus poem, to reflect some of the original poem’s intent which is mockery and a bit of scenic description. There’s also a Seinfeld reference in there, if you look hard enough.

Please note that works on the Canadian Literature website may not be the final versions as they appear in the journal, as additional editing may take place between the web and print versions. If you are quoting reviews, articles, and/or poems from the Canadian Literature website, please indicate the date of access.