Canadian Poetry Magazine Contemporary Verse 2–featured on multiple occasions on this site–primarily hosts fascinating poetry contests, including the Young Buck Prize for writers under 35. Every April CV-2 calls for submissions to a very unique competition: the “2-Day Poetry Challenge”, where writers are given 48 hours to create a poem featuring 10 specific words. The results are up (and just in time for Canada Day!) so I thought I’d share my poem with you all as well.
This year the 10 words were “gambit”, “bob”, “neon”, “rococo”, “relish”, “rank”, “record”, “trapeze”, “scrubby” and “sententious”. You can check out the winning poems here. CV-2 also features an “Editor’s Choice” and “Editor’s Mother’s Choice” award as well as multiple honorable mentions AND you have to opportunity to vote for the “Reader’s Choice Award” among 12 different submissions. I’ve left my poem below for your consideration on this wet and weary Canada Day weekend.
An epistle to Sir John A. on the current state of the Dominion
The opening salvo came in a flourish of bullets and bombs
And bright flashes that stained our skin blue – laptop tans
And television burns that baked our eyes and minds.
And we sacrificed your Policy so very long ago
As a hopeless gambit to preserve our haplessness,
‘Till your cousin Ronald permeated our plains,
And knolls, and woodsy backwater havens
To filch our bovine treasures and gilded spuds.
We now relish, as he once did, in the rococo pleasures
Of ketchup swirled beneath a bun:
The domed roof of our inconstant home,
Punctuated by crystalline onion gems
That dazzle from above like so many diamond nooses—
Fifty grown from thirteen seeds. The bittersweet
Tear-dropping rhinestones hypnotize the onion-eaters
Who install his bust in irony at the Immortal’s Hall:
They celebrate the birth of Fifty-One in all its nuanced glory,
While our polar white does slowly thaw to musty yellow,
And I fall in rank behind the other cannibals:
Gorging on our Albertan treasures,
Remembering a battle long since passed—
Dodging bullets and bombs
With a bob of excitement, bathed in the bluish light,
While ketchup drips from my shit-eating grin.
And all my words are colourless neon—hot air
Stained by the vapid fickleness of my appetite.
My soul adrift between the sententious romantic verses
That Ron stumped with his toothy saws,
And the scrubby words bitten by the Frost,
I walk the trapeze.
Perched high above myself I wonder
Who will record my thoughts when I am lost amongst the cannibals?
- Contemporary Verse 2-Day Poetry Contest (yongestreetportage.wordpress.com)