Aidan Chafe

Issue 19

Epistle of the Inebriate

I went to the worst of bars

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxto drink with the other animals,

xxxxlifted the glass to my mouth

and I drank deeply, I drank so deeply.

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxMy head neolithic,

river of speechless current,

listening to the in-between despite the abyss at the edge of the table.

xxxxxxxxxxxxAs the empty cans dropped out of our paws

something caught inside our throats was released—some old grief,

xxxxxxxxxxxxsprung from the head of a thousand-fisted wretch.

Vomiting it all up on Pearse Street,

xxxxxxxxxxxxtossing off expletives into the sea of cab lights,

xxxxxxxxleaning on one another, too tired to go home.

Source & Method

This is a cento, a poetic mash-up. Each verse line is taken from a line of a particular poet. These are the source poets in order of appearance: Charles Bukowski, Laura Cronk, W.B. Yeats, Jerry Williams, sam sax, Jenny Xie, Pablo Medina, Tony Hoagland, Lee Upton, Safiya Sinclair, Lani O’Hanlon, Wendy Xu, and Hayden Carruth.

Aidan Chafe is the author of the poetry collection Short Histories of Light (McGill-Queen’s University Press). His work has appeared in numerous literary journals in both Canada and the U.S. He lives on unceded Musqueam Territory (Vancouver, BC).

Photo by JJ Ying on Unsplash

Hell Had Nothing to Do With Fires by Aidan Chafe

Issue 8

windowless room to perform a stack
of tasks that never goes down

nail a clock to the wall
numbers that connect to nothing

imagining different high places to jump off
despite prayers and effort

dusted the desk with his cuff
think beach when he starts to get antsy

with enough practice and concentration
you could stop your heart at will

the same way you hold your breath
impossibly slow the sound

of ripping paper again and again

Source: Wiggle Room by David Foster Wallace

Aidan Chafe is the author of the chapbooks Sharpest Tooth (Anstruther Press, 2016) and Right Hand Hymns (Frog Hollow Press, 2017). His poetry has appeared in Contemporary Verse 2, Cordite Poetry Review, Oolichan Books, The Paragon Journal, Scrivener Creative Review and Sulphur. He lives in Vancouver, Canada.