Now that National Poetry Month is over, it’s time to recover from the full schedule of festivities (spring detox cocktails, anyone?), and to share poems which garnered Honourable Mentions in Torontoist’s Toronto Poetry Contest. Watch out for five new Toronto poems and poets in May.
Our first poem, by Matthew Tierney, was written at the intersection of King and Yonge streets. Of “The Man Who Knew from Cool,” Matthew says:
I could argue that this poem had its genesis in the late 80s, when Sheriff’s “When I’m with You” was re-released and climbed to #1. I hadn’t known they were from Toronto until then, and I think I had a psychic break. Those formative years persist through the static, undeniable in that I can only have arrived in my present by following a single trajectory from a specific past. Absurd.
Or maybe: cool? Either way, we hope that you and/or your tea kettle (see the poem) don’t find yourself singing, “When I’m with you-OOoo-OOOOOOOO-aaaAA” for the rest of the day. If that high-pitched memory doesn’t leave our heads soon, Matthew is going to get a nasty email or two!
But of course, Torontoist forgives, so please allow us to say a little about Matthew. His first book of poetry, Full Speed through the Morning Dark (Wolsak & Wynn, 2004), is based on his travels through Asia and the UK, including a journey on the Trans-Mongolian Express. The Rocket Scientist, his second manuscript, won the 2006 K.M. Hunter Award for Literature. You might have seen his recent work in THIS Magazine, ARC and Maisonneuve.
Oooooh babe … read Matthew Tierney’s “The Man Who Knew from Cool” after the jump … and feel the warmth of the sun.
The Man Who Knew from Cool
by Matthew Tierney
Shot through with gut rot, perched on the edge
of Revelations, the goldfish, Judd and Nelson
dead in their tank. M*A*S*H on the tube, kettle
whistling “When I’m with You.” Who put that on?
The voice in your head’s got a bad case of uptalk.
Fire the ciggie off the burner, Grandma’s trick
when they took away her matchbooks. Torque
tight the D Cells in the flashlight, head outdoors.
Forage for Cheetos at corner after corner store,
settle on a Sesame Snap. A dead ringer for
Darryl Sittler’s asleep in the back of a soft-top
Eldorado. Whatever became of the pillars, Bono,
Geldof, you know, righting the wrongs, four
on the floor. If only you’d been punk enough,
in the day, maybe goth. Pink shirts with collars,
who’d a’thought? Run a shopping cart through
the Hudson’s Bay display, bask in the alarm
till the cops show in retro yellow cruisers.
Beat it, they say, as if it wasn’t you there, lying
in wait, in pain. As if. Shards cover the pavement
like asteroids. You’d cough up all the quarters
between the cushions for one hit of hyperspace,
a chance to set aflame all that mega-hold mousse.
Somewhere off in the inner ear, a Molotov
cocktail hitting its mark, the slap of Top-Siders
down Yonge. Echo of the bust, generation of
the day and after. Never more than six degrees
from preppie to you: reductio ad absurdum, boyo.