Ryan Fitzpatrick: Three Poems


When the morning starts with a crisis, I turn to my
social network. I’m caught in a series of Kodak
moments and it makes me feel so lucky. I tear up
when colour swells into my recombinating diary.

My lungs hurt during the moment of silence. The
odds favour me leaving by Sunday. I remember
each matte finish with a border. Theatres bolt
their seats to the floor. I reason out connections.

The place I want to live is labeled and documented.
I chase sprinklers in the sun. I get hopeful when
the day ends. I subtract everyone from the street. In
the future, maybe you will love me in a real way.



I want to feel free love, but also need to get
control. Our deepest kiss happened on the
night of Harper’s first election victory. My GPS
keeps me on the right track. Je suis un American.

If tonight was the last night of my life, would
I suffer because I’m white and middle class? If
I jump rails, will I hurt myself? If I favour any
welfare, will it throw a match and brick me in?

Honestly, I’ll try acting with you. I’ll watch you
push the paper ballot in. I won’t obsess over the
way you breathe air. I’ll smoke cigarettes to fix
the city’s shifting demographics. We make all this.



Recall that our words slowly trickle from the
rich eighteenth century. Who hurt us in the past?

Who turned mute and liberal? Who tipped our
cabling hearts into an overgunned friendship?

What raw parking lots sprung up in the mirrors
of our aviators, beating back a truncheon law?

Growth is no raw cursor. Growth is an emptied
surface properly stamped. But how cute can it be?

How fundamental? How defensive? How kind?
How many rights? How much luck? How calmed?

That your talent is brand and mine is attitude makes for
a powerful friendship. Growth is the only sequence.

We sink in for a moment to become someone else
in the enchantments of recalled cribs or lead paint.

We separated our records and stood still for hours.
I tipped my shades up and you pushed me over myself.

I made a career of the clown class and you made
lingerie of tabloid firings. Which arrows poison us?

Which imperfect patent will be all we have? Which
wallpaper will make a fair compromise between us?

How might I plead for eligibility as you plead for
help? How will the next set of scenes play out?

We chose to whitewash puberty. We erased the
compromises of our development and went feral.

I got emotional and remembered things. I remembered
the blocks around my apartment. I took it apart.

I bought it and took it apart. I made it bigger and the
same. I was in bed with it. I began to horrify it.

If only we could make out in our visions of the raw
Victorian era on a covered bed of plush automatons.

You might have your secretary place a call. I might
employ a nurse and companion. It will make us closer.

We beat each other with batons and keep the baby
because of it. It became the grave error of friendship.

It became the grave error of shocking evidence. I was
shocked by it. It made my heart beat again with yours.


from Fortified Castles, with permission from the author and Talon Books.

ryan fitzpatrick is a poet and critic living in Vancouver. He is the author of Fake Math (Snare Books, 2007) and the just released Fortified Castles (Talonbooks, 2014). While living in Calgary, he was an editor of filling Station and an organizer of the Flywheel Reading Series. With Jonathan Ball, he is a co-editor of Why Poetry Sucks: An Anthology of Humorous Experimental Canadian Poetry in English (Insomniac Press, 2014). With Deanna Fong and Janey Dodd, he is currently working on the second incarnation of the Fred Wah Digital Archive. He is pursuing a PhD at Simon Fraser University, where he works on contemporary poetics and the social production of space.