Read Needs Improvement Online

Authors: Jon Paul Fiorentino

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

Needs Improvement (5 page)

BOOK: Needs Improvement
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An odd dream

with only characters, no self. Yes, I am

aware it's not interesting.

There were three men and one

woman in a shared apartment, itself

an odd dream.

Each of the tenants' rooms was

decorated peculiarly, contained its own narrative

aware it's not interesting.

The first was draped in pure simulacra –

the woman's with wallpaper of a photocopied letter telling of

an odd dream.

In which the third was adorned with anachronistic

Xmas and the last with just one sad halogen placed

where it's not interesting.

The simulacra slayed me – here was this man

with mad props of bed, books, art. Present in so little,

dreaming an odd dream

unaware it's not interesting.


Take one and stall – you want

an antidote to your

customs, habits, mores.

Love to text and other verbs

in any order, you powder addiction –

take one and stall all. You want

restraint, income, imperative

productivity, tacit ascendancy. You gut new

customs, habits, mores.

Have you ever delved gutter depth

well beyond your shelter level? Dive –

take one and stall all you want.

Drag your way toward grown-ups –

they can't love you as per their antonymous

customs, habits, mores.

Focus. You aren't the focus of this epistle

you haven't the synonymous heart to

take one and stall. You don't want more

customs or habits anymore.


Would like to be open heart

ready, click-giddy, prepaid and pleased but

haven't the firmware

to chance it. Never ever

no one like that sad semaphorist who

would like to be open heart

willing, instead of flailing dead signals

at newly commissioned drones that

haven't the firmware

to land a line, or break a phrase, or

unsettle a simple notion like unfair.

Would like to be open heart

able, bogged down in emotive

drive, unabashed, aware, hinged, yet

haven't the firmware

required for entry or trance, yes, land.

No, there is no point. I

would like to be open

source firm.


Salvation through harmony

is a fallacy: skewed, satiric saltire, a

royal gift

of cigarettes and dep wine

and the knowledge that any kind of

salvation through harmony

would not require you to learn

notation but your tone-deaf

royal gift

grub, cross-clutch self

would no longer stand.

Salvation through harmony

can only be a sick twinning –

an abstraction, a don't, a receipt for a

royal gift

unopened. What more do you need in this

anachronic city of tracts proclaiming

salvation through harmonious and

royal regifting?


Diversity our strength through

civic shame, vigour on

stand by.

Toronto – bold and brackish

monolithic, lithographic witless

diversity our strength –

a platitude poem etched on the

a blow torch to transport.

Stand by

for further failures, greater

hit and run – our

diversity our strength

in number games, or

faith in prime numbers, so proud to

stand by

and see real people scurry as one

unreal person peddles responsibility – no

diversity; our strength

a bystander.


One with the strength of many

alone in the distant North End.

People before profit.

It's a seemingly endless descent.

Marlyn's streets do not resemble

one with the strength of many

morbid singularities

entirely unaware of

people before profit

motive or profit projection or

the very ones who long for

one with the strength of many

ways of both ways – Nichol's heart

can be ours. H as a door to many

people before profit.

Listen, it's a healthy nostalgia if it owns you

or at least not the worst thing ever if you are

one with the strength of many

people before profit.


‘Summary: Cultural Hegemony' is for kevin mcpherson eckhoff.


‘Summary: The History of Sexuality' is for Susan Holbrook.


‘Blurbists' is for Darren Bifford.


‘Hey, Carol Maker' is for Christian Bök.


‘Moda' is for Elizabeth Bachinsky.


‘Tenants' is for David McGimpsey.


‘Salter Street Strike' is for John K. Samson.


Thanks to Evan Munday, Alana Wilcox, Susan Holbrook,
Jeramy Dodds and everyone at Coach House Books. Thanks to
David McGimpsey, Elizabeth Bachinsky, Maryanna Hardy,
Tara Flanagan, Heather Stewart, Jacob Spector, Julie Mannell,
Ian Orti, Darren Bifford, Mike Spry, Sina Queyras, Nicole
Brossard, Tyler Morency, Jess Marcotte, Emma Healey,
Genevieve Robichaud and my parents.


Special thanks to my writing teachers.


Very special thanks to Lilly Fiorentino.


The text from ‘Winnipeg Cold Storage Company' is appropriated and manipulated (with the most love) from
Excitable Speech: A Politics of the Performative
by Judith Butler.


Some of the text from
is appropriated and anagrammed for satiric purposes (and with the most love) from the following texts, their titles and authors, in order of appearance:

De Profundis
by Oscar Wilde

by Roland Barthes

The Pleasures of Hating
by William Hazlitt

Excitable Speech: A Politics of the Performative
by Judith Butler

Seed Catalogue
by Robert Kroetsch


The text from ‘Rubric for the Evaluations of Poetry, Dedicated to Ms. Castro's Sixth Grade Poetry Students at Mater Academy Middle/High School in Hialeah Gardens, Florida' is appropriated and rearranged from a rubric for the evaluation of poetry, prepared by Ms. Castro for students and teachers at Mater Academy Middle/High School in Hialeah Gardens, Florida.


‘The Report Cards of Leslie Mackie' is a narrative sequence of visual poems that sets out to critique the culture of homophobia, transphobia and bullying in early childhood education.


‘Moda' uses the slogans for Expo '67 as its refrains. ‘Concordia' uses the mottos for the city of Montreal and the town of Mont-Royal as its refrains. ‘Bystander' uses the mottos for the city of Toronto and the town of Burlington as its refrains. ‘Salter Street Strike' uses the mottos for the city of Winnipeg and the community of the North End as its refrains.


Earlier versions of some of these poems have been published in the following journals:
PRISM International
The Winnipeg Review
, Lemon Hound,
Contemporary Verse 2
The Toronto Quarterly
New American Writing

About the Author

Jon Paul Fiorentino is the author of the novel
, which was shortlisted for the Paragraphe Hugh Maclennan Prize for Fiction, and five previous poetry collections, including
The Theory of the Loser Class
, which was shortlisted for the A. M. Klein Prize. His most recent poetry collection,
Indexical Elegies
, 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

This ePUB edition produced at the Coach House on bpNichol Lane.


The print edition is typeset in Albertan and printed in August 2013 at the old Coach House on bpNichol Lane in Toronto, Ontario, on Zephyr Antique Laid paper, which was manufactured, acid-free, in Saint-Jérôme, Quebec, from second-growth forests. This book was printed with vegetable-based ink on a 1965 Heidelberg
offset litho press. Its pages were folded on a Baumfolder, gathered by hand, bound on a Sulby Auto-Minabinda and trimmed on a Polar single-knife cutter.


Edited by Susan Holbrook

Designed by Evan Munday

Author photograph by Lilly Fiorentino



Coach House Books

80 bpNichol Lane

Toronto, Ontario M5S 3J4


416 979 2217

800 367 6360


[email protected].com

BOOK: Needs Improvement
10.13Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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