Billeh Nickerson: Two Poems


Suppose you’re invited to a Christmas party,
and when you arrive at the condo lobby
something feels familiar,
which is strange since it’s not your kind
of building and you don’t recall
ever coming there before.
Suppose on the flight up
it hits you that the building
occupies the space once home
to your favourite night club,
Luv-A-Fair or Love My Hair,
as you affectionately called it,
and even though elevator plays Christmas carols,
your head starts to fill
with the thump thump thump
of the club along with visions
of your favourite bartenders,
the punk rock cocktail waitresses,
the woman with the long brown hair,
who you swear wore the same black dress
as she danced on the speakers
over a decade’s worth of Tuesdays,
all this and more comes back to you
as you exit the elevator,
and just as you knock-knock-knock
on the door you’re taken back to the moment
a beautiful stranger pushed you into the stalls
and gave you your first anonymous blowjob.
As the host opens the door
instead of saying hello you say,
Someone gave me a blow job here
twenty years ago,
which makes him a little uncomfortable
and you a lot ashamed.
This isn’t the first time
ghosts have haunted you
as most of Vancouver feels like a graveyard
of nightclubs past,
and even by just walking around
you’re bound to realize
just how many of your pivotal moments
have been cemented over
like Jimmy Hoffa.
Maybe it’s just ego
not being able to let go
of geography
or your need for connection,
a  little bit of ownership
in a city you’ll never know.




The woman on the plane tells me
her husband proposed while they were on a rowboat,

which strikes me as charming
until she mentions they were floating

on Loch Ness looking for the monster
while on an amateur research expedition.

She tells me the location wouldn’t have been
her first choice for such an occasion

though her husband did manage
to keep the boat afloat while he scrambled

onto one knee and presented her
with the most beautiful ring ever

He thought he was being romantic,
she says with a tinkle in her eyes

though it kinda creeped her out
committing to him at that moment,

given all the rumours and uncertainty
hidden beneath those waters.

She says she would have preferred
Disneyland or even a  simple picnic

with the birds singing in the background
and the sun warming their skin,

so I offer up that Loch Ness
is a wonderful place for a proposal,

that maybe the monster was watching,
maybe he blessed her marriage somehow

with some ancient monster ritual
that only monsters know about,

but it seems to unsettle her
for she looks at me like I’m crazy,

a crazy person she must now sit beside
for the duration of our long flight together

No, the monster never blessed us,
why would you say that? 



BillehNickerson_creditMichelleBrayton2013Born in Halifax and raised in Langley, BC, Billeh Nickerson is the author of the poetry collections The Asthmatic GlassblowerMcPoemsImpact: The Titanic Poems, and his most recent, Artificial Cherry, as well as the humour collection Let Me Kiss It Better. He is also co-editor of Seminal: The Anthology of Canada’s Gay Male Poets, and past writer-in-residence at both Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario and Berton House in Dawson City, Yukon. He is also a silver medalist at the Canadian Gay Curling Championships, and Chair of the Creative Writing department at Kwantlen Polytechnic University in Vancouver.