the night they gave out red beer scarves and toques,
the pub drank like prohibition was coming back
to lie down with bear-market canada.
a few thrusts thereafter she was
born russet and potent, born to make her name
on the picket line, payloaded with a raging
nearlysexual need of her own
to throttle the conveyer belt’s
insistent yank at either wornout pulley.
big words aren’t cheap, and their prestige
is exploitative unworking. how many disarticulations
or severances comprise a life sentence?
anyone who doesn’t use their hands
is a leech, says the poster in her shared office,
or is the phrase reblogged from somewhere? she read
the catchphrase over, from one end to the other end.
how she started to love punctuation! how
she started to love those stops, pauses, snarls at
how little respect they receive.
she spurs the horses to autotomize the cart,
upend the gentry, without stinking of burnt horsehair
besides the white wigs. she works her ass off
and the rest. she’s a swarm of worker bees
flyering on/offline with her own sticky entrails,
honey spit, but the bees aren’t male marxists, so she’s
spent, but entirely.
Jenna Jarvis lives in Ottawa. Her poetry has recently appeared in such publications as In/Words, Bywords, and Keep This Bag Away From Children. Jenna received the John Newlove Award from Bywords in 2012; her chapbook The Tiger With the Crooked Mouth was released to commemorate this win in October 2013.