Finalist for the 2014 Walrus Poetry Prize

Our hero runs the beach—he’s ex-police—
he reads the idiot books—All you need to know
to seem a Soviet submariner
—so longfully—
if you wonder what he looks for in a woman
it’s this—has she mastered classic American disguises?

The stripper mom who works her way through college—
minivan-driving adulteress empty-nester—
director of films about slutty teenagers—
bingo-winning coffee-slinging diner Dixiecrat—
spinster of poems dedicated to the forest wildlife.

He daydreams badges for aspiring world leaders—
Egomania—Fanatical Obsession—Electronic Amusement—
Pornographic Information Management—False Consciousness—
Unrealistic Expectation—Idealistic Entanglement—Etceterism.

What really turns him on is when she blends right in—
a pilot powers up the seatbelt light—not that there’s
turbulence—the attendant’s just sick of that kid
on the flight who runs the aisles—but he’s tired—
so tired—his eyes are heavy—heavy—why?

Too late—it’s time—he passes out—the stewardess
sheds her wig and locks the cockpit—she radios
her client—on the ground the passengers are led—
heads-bagged—through a hangar—she’s been told
they won’t be harmed—and promised prompt payment.

Her clients want a Canada Council grant—dental visits
for fourteen political prisoners—release of dissident MPs
from the party whip—full pension for the Ottawa Senators
and amnesty—mandatory labelling of Mendelian modified
maple trees—savvy PSAs for kitchen products that really work.

Elsewhere on