John Stintzi



If I could care less for your fucking sonnet,

My chest would bloom wide open, and—in spite
Of small decisions to live and the small lights

On shores that call me—I’d out my heart. Pawn it.
You say your love “falls like leaves in autumn,”
And my eyes “stand the suppression of your fears,”
But how can I, when counting all your dears,
Commend your words for anything but chum—
Chum as chopped fish, surely, not close friend.

Is it Calliope who you invoke when you pray?

Who writes a sonnet of seventeen lines? To mend,
Call Erato, she’s the girl you’ll need to fix your cry.
Love her, bring her your post-coital breakfast tray,
Or, pity, put down the poet’s pen. Give fiction a try.





Winnipeg is a paper crane unfolded, and I walk her urban ridges seeking the strength to relapse, to recollapse myself into my words, my skin. Take the bulldozers and the übermensch to my body’s limits. Lift my fringes from this rural dirt. Circumscribe new parameters for perimeter. Square me. Origami. Let my wing-folds become the searchlights coruscating, the global sweep for a new nest to nestle in. Winnipeg is a city of papercuts. My body, scarred, is still folded. Inside, a small boy lives with a posterboard heart. A sign: Keep away from open flames, like You.





She lifted up her lines and took to the paper streets. The magazine’s editor, a tailor of sorts, pulled her away by her little, cold hand. He had fallen in love with her, assuming revisions. He wanted her hair to be trimmed, just a little at the ends, and for her dress to be shortened, if only a touch. The more vulnerability she showed through the revelation of calf the more the public would desire her. He claimed she was so stunning that his readership would memorize her, long for her shape: the enjambed curve of her shoulders, the prosaic circumference of her waist, the juxtaposed colour of her eyes—one blue, one gold. He loved how she was so irreverent to expectations of form. And I let him take her, because I’d offered her. Back at the offce he primped her until she was perfect and brought her back to me once more. She stood before me: a collaboration. Better, but alien. After I agreed she was more beautiful than ever they both left, skipping. In a month they sent me a pin-up print of her and a modest honorarium, which was followed by fan mail, all of which I tacked above my desk, as more reminder than roadmap, careful not to prick the fresh, little nymph of a thing that was lounging, so lightly, upon my typewriter. A new Venus rising from the foam.



John Stintzi is a poet, artist, potential novelist, book reviewer, and Winnipeg expatriate currently working on his MFA in Creative Writing at Stony Brook University in Southampton, New York. His work can be found in Los Angeles Review of Books, filling StationThe Malahat ReviewCV2The Southampton Review, and Geez.

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