Read Needs Improvement Online

Authors: Jon Paul Fiorentino

Tags: #Literature & Fiction, #Poetry, #World Literature

Needs Improvement (2 page)

BOOK: Needs Improvement
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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


Let jargon

let twinning

Find frail ones

find, kill them

Execute without extremities

execute with outsourcing

Precision in the playlist

precision – the oldest dreck in the book

Couplets are unkind



No such thing as comebacks. Treacle


When that happens

you will know the reasons

Because the reasons are the things –

mistakes, sight gags, people you've hurt

Now on a loop ordered from least

to most malignant

A score. Let's just

call it that when it begins again


The most impressive diarist –

such a meagre diary

One million documentaries

such unkind documentation

A torrent of confessionals –

a gush and the land is yours

Infinite eulogies

you know the elective logic here –

You made it and

you slay it every time


If you bandy about protocols for the dance card; it is okay and
it's ok to speak in clear sentences even though there isn't a
dance (there never will be)

You may propose and propose. Let us be clear and let's be precise.
Your purpose of things is borne out of exalted forecasts,

The broadcasts diminish in real time as we diminish slightly
faster. It is okay to speak in clear sentences and it's ok to say a
thing before the broadcast's end

It is sooner than you applied for. The quickened wretched
hubris calms you – an
swaddling. The thing is, it is okay.
it's ok to speak in a clear sentence or to even

Risk more than one. It's okay and it's ok to not let the terrible,
accurate tune pass you by; it is okay and it's ok to feel alone and
Dopplered. That is what it does and that's what

Totally okay to have lost it in the process of nothing other than
losing. Totally and it is okay. it's ok. I promise. Although these
things called promises never quite exist. I promise


This testament seems perfect

so perfect so right – is it new?

So obvious entirely oblivious that our

distance is orchestral, choleric

You're in rim-shot pratfall proximity

control this sanguine scatter

Suck the chloroform choir dry –

revisionist hymnal tablets touch

The song lies and you knew it

but that's the thing about aging –

Some songs might


Because poetry is very, very far from –

and those who therefore thrive insist it remain so

And also contemplative drones drone

inside cabalist cocooneries

Not to mention domain names reserved for only the most

wicked eloquent –

Plus flaccid fraternities with their

heightened-flaccidity-as-aesthetic-mandate flail, swing

Most meritorious solder wand weld torch trophy crooners

croon the comments, the walls, avoid the wells

And wasn't this ambition supposed to be in the writing, not in its

product? In tenor and vehicle and not in laurel and mantle?

Fuck me.
as flail as anyone


All love is careless

bleating sadly into some thing or other or

mainlining its way into varicose

The millionaires of summer

swelter away in Old Montreal

delve deep into marry me's

I'm scared all the way

down the skill hull

it's always a point of almost-pride

No setting to this poem

but your mind's all right

and the pediatricians are sleeping

so just skulk softly


Live stream

Nothing here

but anchors

Home never lasts, outlasts

there are windows walls ceilings

broken bottles respirator floors

dialysis terrace instant messaging

machines and mescaline fails

I've been alone and I like it –

collectivity of nouns running

vacant – city hall unencumbered

one incumbent in the mix splitting

sides taking names for day surgery

It's never felt more like

homing beacon dirge drop the shadows

on the porcelain orange surge the long

way make it stick pray to something smaller

than myself go to hell make it humour


Entirely my idea

not a great one but entirely mine

There was a bicycle and an objectivist poet

sort of riding it

Not red or blue

entirely my idea all twig and spoke and gag

I gag often these days like as if it wouldn't catch up

never my bicycle always entirely my idea

And i share the poet with a post-mountain

time scholar from out east


not silver but entirely grey


There is a mostly red, cylindrical ashtray. Right there. On a
picnic table. Concentrate. It is mostly empty. You will notice
there is one half-smoked cigarette in it. A Viceroy. The red ashtray
on the picnic table is in the park and so are you.

Does the ashtray belong to someone? No. It did but it doesn't.
What kind of red is it? You donet know the name for it yet. It's
similar to what's left of the red on your nails. You tell yourself
Pantone 185
. It is Pantone 185

Do you want it? You do but you don't. You don't smoke anymore
but you want to. Cylindrical Pantone 185
appeals. Why did
someone bring and leave Pantone 185
in the park? What was
that someone thinking? Your first thought is he wasn't thinking.

But if he was, what was he thinking? Did he think it was too
precise? An emblem of a person he no longer wants to see in
emblems? Someone who had hurt him? He doesn't like to be
hurt. So he brought it and left it. Emblems, in poems as in parks,
are boring.

You know this. Why are you drawn to it? You are drawn to it
because you look up and there are old women, young women,
old men, young men, children, whole families, half-families in
the park. They all wear little squares of Pantone 185


1  Shut the door. lock the door. Wash the students.


2  Ensure that kindling from previous exams is removed.


3  Any scrap of confidence, kindness, goodwill, etc.,
be removed.


4  Arrange the desks in a panopticonic manner. In the middle, fashion a watchtower out of chairs, Saran Wrap and duct tape.


5  Existential angst should be instilled in students
. Meaninglessness
be insisted upon.


6  Write the following information on the blackboard:


Examination date

Current calendar year's Gross Domestic Product of Denmark

Number of retirement homes within a three-mile radius of classroom

The Internet


7  Look at your exam envelopes. Then look again. And again. Keep looking. look some more.


8  Students writing deferred exams must be tethered together as a group by a strong rope, preferably a double-braided rope made of polyester or polypropylene. The knot
be a Flemish knot.


9  Hand out exams. Sing the national anthem of Denmark. Wave starter's pistol in a cavalier yet confident fashion.


10  The students may now begin and end.


Proud fiends do prattle, do probe

not telling one very long moment

but reified excess, rarified sextets

seasons of sorrow are not units of exile

but windows of why I am of write manner

epistles are simple thistles in the months of stasis

pulsations are intertexts

the sainthood has no debt

to the displeasing anachronism of binary code

sorry never unmakes; adjectives are nothing


I lace words into swill

rhetoric soothes the pragmatist

maximally, the individualist seethes

recreate a creative faculty first

and steep yourself in hills exactly as in art

this is half-me

what does the body absorb

when the mercurial absolutes retreat

type and test the autobiography you will never write

and as austere as you are, you do not know a thing

let's agree to one thing in a season of sorrow:

no fears, so and so

BOOK: Needs Improvement
11.39Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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