Written by: Elizabeth Bachinsky, Sonnet L'Abbé, Stuart Ross, Priscila Uppal, Paul Vermeersch and Zachariah Wells
To weather this hangover, abandon your bed, boil the kettle, smush on your sneakers, and start running. The race is on: from street to crescent to avenue to roundabout to dirty ditches on the sides of highways. Pull up your pants, turn those shakes into strides, into gusts of momentum. Cells unfurl, breathe out toxins, hair stands on end, Managers hang out "For Sale" signs, the lip of morning trembles.
Or cave instead to the temptation of sleep, nine more minutes and then nine more. The sun struggles through the blinds but finds a bloodshot eye, and you retreat from the early brightness to the underworld under your covers, where a turned pillow would have you settle in this hibernation and your heart and your heart and your heart is all you hear now, in your temples, rocking you from within, gently, to sleep again.
Neighbour, I've been depressed as a patient's tongue. And yet, like you, most plucky; you, most beloved; I will stub out this winter cigarette and that fog that's dogged me all these months will lift. Welcome back, teenaged girls of my city! Welcome back, hotshorts! Once I had a friend who, every May, came out of his apartment. He just, stepped out. Now, look, I am that friend! Come on, to the SADlight Super-Store to see what we can't take back.
For one, the eternal return of the infernal unfurling fiddlehead fern-it should be interned, interred, burned and inurned. Cruel indeed these drool-inducing paeans to green that blossom like chancres in this insipidly babbling syphilitic season. Love in the air? No, in your bloodstream, your brain, corkscrewed spirochetes eating your reason. Sprint into the street and hug the first horse you see. Call it Nietzschean.
Then again, even repression has been done before, and over again, that ash whole buried self not as inert, and over, again, as you'd wish. It composts, turns, over again, into rich soil, blooms maggots, worms, and over again, pushes daisies. Its rot feeds the wisdom, over again, that loves daisies and the seasoned love that, over again, lets the awful wound-washing maggots live. Over again, and again, and again, the growing pain, over again, of a discipline, and again, the mistake of disdain.
See, we are severe, unstable. My lip trembles. Our heads tilt towards the sun. The earth tilts. Our temples throb: churches, synagogues, mosques, bookstores, stadiums, sweet pinball arcades. Our immune systems need something to attack! My eyes water. I am that friend of something. This is the moment to lie down in the grass, to leave the shadow of a face in the grass. Then stand in the light: we got feet; we balance.
Order of poets:
Priscila Uppal Paul Vermeersch Elizabeth Bachinsky Zachariah Wells Sonnet L'Abbé Stuart Ross
Nathan Whitlock is the Books for Young People editor at Quill & Quire and the author of A Week of This (ECW Press).