years old, single, and looking for that special someone
to ‘love me two times’. Apparently, I am allergic
to green apples and can see through polyester.
Who knew the dead have a sense of humour?
Dropped Bert into my wedding, my kid’s soccer team,
and the all-you-can-eat buffet in Cancun, Mexico.
Poked my mother, sent booty calls to coworkers,
and urged my high school reunion organiser to jump
naked out of a cake. A vicious bastard advocated suicide
to my stepbrother as the path to enlightenment.
One young woman – I know by the childish shorthand
and emoticons – writes endless epistles in Egret.
I have no idea who my contacts are: my list bloated to
the size of a small country. Pistols, parkas,
exercise equipment, herbs and sausages arrive by
the truck load. I get hate mail from celebrities
I’ve never heard of. I seem to owe money at every turn.
On my home page, I’m still smiling. And my cat videos
remain intact, but I have highly restricted access
to my thoughts and dreams. I could hear the screen
beeping up a storm last night, and barely slept from
all the chatter. Since when was death a social network?
Urgent Update: The planet’s population has doubled.
I have no need for this many friends.
Forward thinking is apparently better
Than backward thinking, or lateral thinking,
Or thinking standing on one’s head
Or with hands tied behind one’s back.
When we think forward, we think of moving
In a forward direction, and this directional motive
Is noble because it anticipates more forward
Motion in the future and momentum
Is everything. If you can think ahead of others,
Ahead of your cycle, ahead of your age,
You can arrive at the destination of thought –
The end – far more quickly than your contemporaries.
What will become of them? Oh, I suppose
They will fester in the thinking of yesteryear.
They will languish and lounge and sing songs
And eat things once called cherries or chocolates.
You will have better things to think about
Which will bafﬂe friends and family. When you kiss
Wetness will already be left in the dust. When you hear
Watch Out – You Are Going To Be Hit By A
– you will have slammed into your own impact
A century ahead of schedule. Local community groups
Inevitably try to bury you. But, you have thought ahead.
The earth’s orbit officially stamped outdated.
To My Suicidal Husband
Please do not look for poetry
in your death. Your drowning or
hanging or tsunami of pills & booze
will not be poetic.
There is no residue of poetry
in a bloated cheek snagged by a fish hook,
in a cracked leather belt swaying
from a light fixture or in a sludge of vomit
protruding from your throat like a second tongue.
And certainly no poetry will fall
upon your devastated wife folding
the last pairs of your dirty underwear &
ignoring the phone on a Saturday night,
piles of pizza crusts on the coffee table
one of your horror films running aimlessly
on the screen, wondering why you
never imagined her twitching hands,
the packing up of your extensive library,
or the signed book of your own poems,
To Priscila, my love, because nothing exists
without you, under her lumpy pillow, now
warm as soggy shoes left to dry in the sun, and
her sobbing the last of her suspect memories
of your tender eyes, your brisk, hunched
gait, the slow circling of your hands
across her belly, into the awful emptiness of
hangers, towels and toothbrush holders,
microwavable meals and refrigerator
reminders, because your imagination
failed to reconcile the oxymorons
of her & your death.
This is not poetry.
While I am still your wife, and not a warning.
There is nothing less poetic than your death.
And nothing more plain.
14 The Responsible Party
15 A Diorama of Your Anger Drifts Downstream
16 Class Action Suit
17 The Police Came for a Visit
20 A Fall from Grace
22 In the Psych Ward
24 High Tide
25 The Dead Have Sabotaged My Facebook Page
26 Union Guarantees Health Beneﬁts into the Afterlife
27 Compassion Fatigue
28 Leaving Sarajevo
31 Discussions Concerning Artistic Merit
37 Temptation Island
38 Cosmic Idol
39 Rehab with Dr Drew
40 The Amazing Race
43 Toddlers in Tiaras
45 The Biggest Loser
46 Survivor II: This Time It’s Genocide
48 In the Library
49 Let Me Bring You to the Brink
50 Inside Out
51 Forward Thinking
52 Advice for Burglars
53 We Have Nothing Else to Say to Each Other
54 To My Suicidal Husband
56 Who Will Bring You Breakfast When I’m Gone?
57 Epic Theory
58 Teaching is Becoming a Dangerous Profession
59 The Professor of Nothing
60 No Postcards
62 Identity Crisis
63 The Penguin and the Flamingo
64 There are No Time-outs in History
67 A Stranger Comes to Town
68 Extreme Eating Competition
69 Battle of the Blades
70 Vicious Cycle
72 The Delicate Synthesis
73 In Defence of the Canon
74 Rilke and I Exchange Emails
75 I’ve Stopped Counting Calories
76 I’ve Lost the Ability to Feel Pain
78 I Sold My Future Life on eBay
80 Why Would Anyone Go Back to Brazil Under These Circumstances?
81 An Exercise in Recovering Your Inner Child
82 Magdalene Desires
83 Books Do Hold Me at Night
85 I Spent My Savings on Salvation
86 The Happy Genius of Our Household
88 The Day the World Ends
91 Nine Lives
'Canada’s coolest poet – her subject-matter is dark and dangerous, but Uppal exudes wit and positive energy.' – Chris Moss, Time Out
'Bloodaxe Books…appears to have struck gold with the Canadian Priscila Uppal… a fresh voice with an upfront gender imperative powering her poems. She is frank about the female body, extremely honest about sex, and her talk of mortality is never mordant but frequently laugh-out-loud funny… her poems are character-driven dramas with surprising twists and phrasing whether it is the high jinks of a subject like reincarnation or the ribald and awkwardly erotic.' – Fred D’Aguiar, Poetry London
'A powerful memoir of a life spend testing and questioning herself, her family, and the world around her… Uppal manages to mix a self-deprecating sense of humour with a genuinely powerful and tragic voice… shows off her academic prowess where she takes classic literary works and myths as central topics… Uppal is an adventurous poet, daring and willing to expose whatever personal truths she finds on her journeys. Surviving this many successful tragedies has left Uppal battle-weary, but with an honest, fearless voice that’s both penetrating and moving. 4 out of 5 stars.' – John Challis, Hand + Star
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