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Sunday Service

(Canadian) Sunday Service: Jon Paul Fiorentino poem

NOTE: Canadian poetry! For no particular reason, I will be taking over Melissa Broder’s column for the month of the October to spotlight poems by contemporary Canadian writers. Today’s poet is Jon Paul Fiorentino, whose latest (and also, I feel, career-best) collection, Needs Improvement, was just published by Coach House.

It still means fuck all to me

Write of the solitary fence post
of the day you heard the incantatory wisdom of birds of Alberta
and how the peculiar birdsong of the tundra swan once set your
spirit free

Write of the struggles of your fathers
of the linguistic imperatives that shackle you and keep you from
articulating the particularities of non-heteronormative and
alternative identities

Write of the land and how it’s shaped you
of the small things like the footsteps you hear when you wish
to hear nothing and the incomprehensible strangeness of being
and exactly what you have gleaned

Write of the day that you lost her
of the day that you lost him and everything collapsed into
emblems and metaphors and similes and other tropes blending
into the cruellest and sharpest unit of metonomy

Write of the city that you left there
of the Winnipeg half-jokes, the myth-making memos, the spray
paint and solvents, the cult of new money, the rebuild and letdown,
the angst of personae, the collective of lonely

Jon Paul Fiorentino is the author of the novel Stripmalling, which was shortlisted for the Paragraphe Hugh MacLennan Prize for Fiction, and several poetry collections, including Indexical Elegies, which won the 2010 CBC Book Club “Bookie” Award for Best Book of Poetry. He lives in Montreal, where he teaches writing at Concordia University and edits Matrix magazine.

October 6th, 2013 / 11:04 am
Sunday Service