Nobody’s Sleeping


Poor man retirement still

ye ole sorghum The thwacker

round his pile of butts never gone


and the landlord’s lungs still

     halfway to drowned

on the porch lawn chair at 2am


    Our wee widowers still

         spot-checking the village

for young blood and dead skin


our four-bypass lord

still king of the carton

         and not dying


the better to shut down

whatever’s not his love

    for his departed marta


          I can always smell



So for now home means


knowing you can’t ever

         be here to listen in

    to how far this is


from you melting down on me

like the softer of our softies

         in the theatre district


    Remember that day?


Then our mouths numb

working lemon water easy


Now the month

and six hours in between


a white noise machine


and so sleepy


Our dick and slit gifs

just so tiny


and your voice is cracking


and how drunk

is a drink?


What did you say?


    What did


What did you say?

Welcome Home


12 chappies sold     I am touched

    like a superstar     Topical and down

         working up my knack

    out of love from the open


I read Dodie’s been saying

    knowledge     never adds up

and my people are into it like herb wisdom     

    Just      Greet do not capture any selves

         mmm          feels good


Like Jacquie getting me a cookie

    on one of our work dates off Palmerston

              pushing gladness for what we got


John Irving barber fresh

    as hell in moussed bouffant hair

complimenting my reading voice

          in the Steady lounge


Prince Edward wined and snowed in

all of Kirby’s     What’s your mom’s name?      

They’ve got names     Let’s name

    them      Big man feelings off Nassau

         for his Ohio’s sister Jesus

Knives forks books all over his Insta


Like our half of the roundtable

    Suzuki southbound on Black Creek Drive

worked up as the full free range

         of a 3 egg salad


Rose up on queering the damn doors off

Lindsay on housemates partnering

    Franz Wright poems     Room is       

              appropriate     for everyone

Like 3 Hyuaikai 300 thunderclappling

    out our Bessie hearts live


All over     _____’s work on

rad punkers of hysteria     Acker quote     Ooh

    that time _______ sang a puppet frog


Deep down talk about beauty hazards

    Acker quote     Can’t you tell

              our souls are hot?


A slash of Ontario’s fresh body

past the 401 dirt bike jumps

    saying      Here comes home

               via Landsdowne


All its expenses



Even Ways of Looking at Nothing




It’s hard

enlivening any of it

without living


Handholding is a start




To think

we’ve each managed

season-long flits


our bones

light as feathers

the illusion

of each other’s pelt




Now you hold my foot

with your ice-pack toes


We’ve just been journaling




Shadowing lives

we neither wish

to write or live

or can

quite yet





polishing haikus

about polishing



unearthing Stevens


for the both of us




Whispering his vagaries

for you  under the covers


    at every tidy confusion




My sotto breathing

To touch a woman



Your hand reaching

for something other

than my hand




And trying again

David Bradford is a poetry editor at Knife|Fork|Book and a contributing editor at Lemon Hound. He is the author of Nell Zink Is Damn Free (Blank Cheque Press, 2017) and Call Out (K|F|B, 2017). His work has recently appeared or is forthcoming in Prairie Fire, Vallum, and Toronto Lit Up’s The Unpublished City. An MFA candidate at the University of Guelph, he splits his time between Toronto and Verdun.

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