Yankee Boys of Argentia & Carpentry

by Joe Bishop

Joe Bishop’s work has appeared in journals such as The New Quarterly, Plenitude, Tar River Poetry, and Innisfree Poetry Journal, and is featured on the League of Canadian Poets’ website. He is a recipient of a Newfoundland & Labrador Arts & Letters award for poetry. His first collection of poems, Dissociative Songs, was published in 2021 by Frog Hollow Press.

 

Yankee Boys of Argentia

I grew up beside an American Naval Base.
They called us Newfs; we called them Yanks, though

Many stationed came with Southern drawls.
I’d befriend Virginian brats like Peter York.

I’d crave the nicotine that tanned his teeth,
Laissez-faire vowels, taking their time on his tongue,

More than the stockpile of switchblades he smuggled.
I aped how Peter sloped like he favoured wounds,

Envied each Camel his thumb and index pinched.
I wish I could repeat his twisted Jody calls.

He traded Penthouse pets and Playboy bunnies.
Stains of his tributes stuck on centrefolds.

Peter served as fodder for filthy dreams of freedom.
We would kill our Sundays tenpin bowling.


 

Carpentry

Logging
is still high risk.
Mike, let me strip
your bark,
dress you in silty
Speedos,
vintage gold
medals,
nail you
behind a forest fire.
Let me brush you taller than
birch, Mike,
wearing only my
flashy sperm
and leather
tool belt
(the lighthouse strobing
cliff
backdrop, charcoal
afterglow)
draw you
up close
to killer whales,
plastered bergs
collapsing
now, or
eclipsed, a sketchy
stickman.
Let me bevel you into
a shell, Mike,
shave you
into my scrimshaw.


Joe Bishop’s work has appeared in journals such as The New Quarterly, Plenitude, Tar River Poetry, and Innisfree Poetry Journal, and is featured on the League of Canadian Poets’ website. He is a recipient of a Newfoundland & Labrador Arts & Letters award for poetry. His first collection of poems, Dissociative Songs, was published in 2021 by Frog Hollow Press.

☝ BACK TO TOP