Sonnet L’Abbé


Googling “white peopling,” I stumbledupon proverbial anchor babies in Urban Dictionary. UD should call me queenpin for I pwn thespian terminology. The attitude my verse asdfghjkls is sonetic: phonetics and virtual worlds’ porn aesthetics alloyed in a gentle sonnet’s grace—in a butterrace’s kinetic, vowelful, embodying phrase. Ragealicious, this numbness-cure, this sick overshare. Opensourced, the dictionary records slang trend; my sic-liking Muse digs other thugs’ ill vocabularies, but the anti-other bullcrap there is blah. Once I was ignorant of sweatermeat, oblivious to cleveland steamers. But a hype girl who overanalyzes hip argument deserves the TMI of urban verbage, so now I feel trill, knowing queef, safeword, ratchet, sapiosexual. The angry pirate, the donkey punch. The twats and haters of the internet are shady poets who drop THC-inspired vocab explications. Entitled thirteen-year-olds’ bs theses come from handed-down pornspeak. Forty-somethings thirsty for that teenage affectation thief lexicon from databases that explain therian, lactivism, freegans and truffle butter. Why is Urban Dictionary so white? Who stole that word game from the Dirty South? Bad archival behaviour betrays the uppity diction tacit in the epithet “urban,” and gives bomb-ass tone to definitions undesirable to certain moms. This is a white-boy’s ass-cheek; he can afford to urban-down, to praise thot, pedo staches, trouble butter—to toy with argot so inherently unwhite-collared. So is the lyric verse game a set of aesthetes robbing thankless but authentic minions of their street flavour. So this attention-whoring bad bitch crashes your squad. Pomes with more issues than Vogue. Bye Felipe, I keep saying, to the dirty sanchez, strawberry-shortcake economy. To the so-woke folks, this queen throws truthy selfcare dope. Stop and smell my gloss.





When I’m stoned, I can’t versify. Euphoria opens the channels to raw archives in the body, the words rush past the psyche’s will to stay grounded, and I willywaw onto the blank page. For hours, I can sit and write squalls of inchoate nerve burp, blurts of moral predictability, gushes of interplanetary transmission. Ugh, am I that vapid the next day? Yes, the devastating brilliance I owe to tetrahydrocannibinol is as wicked fresh as the word devastating modifying the word brilliance. But the making’s the thing when I add a bit of Durban Poison; with kush, working feels like inputting holy genius waves into the conscious universe. When I’m lit, possibility is large and spacious. No quarter ounce removes all the ouch, but I feel safe to unhide my own hidden columns and believe in the power of sincerity. Shame follows me into professional circles, sort of. I can’t mother myself into straight edge morality; straight guys who only drink disapprove; even some alcoholic poets judge. So what, say friends, you’re in B.C. In my hood, Harewood, fentanyl’s killing off teen partiers; Kelowna was a cocaine hotspot, where students would dance up to me, shining, to confess they’d swallowed MDMA. Half my senior class downs anti-depressants, the rest type up their rehab fiction, write about giving head for smack or about addictions to eating. I missed alcohol’s attraction; I didn’t ever do a bump. But when I dance in dank’s augmented headspace, every movement worships the moment, worships existence. Popping gesture to syncopated beat, I metamorphose music. The reverb of being ricochets in my wrist roll, hard-angled thrash, boogaloo or tetris. I mash freestyle vogue femme with lyrical hip hop, needing no writing to translate this soul of mine; in the syntax of motion, I carve a kinetic poem into night sky. A blunt is a bridge between psychological and vegetal, between money-making and green leaves, between drives toward sun or dark. In the yard, I grind a nug, roll a fattie, light, and draw green breaths. The spruce and cedar, who watch over the grass, welcome me back to animality. La, says my guitar. The knives glint in the kitchen drawer. A law criminalizes me now, but soon, pharmaceutical companies will sell dime bags. I go into the office to sit and squamish, thinking one day I’ll rewrite this brilliantly.   


Listen to Sonnet read the poems.

Sonnet L’Abbé,
Ph.D. is the author of A Strange Relief and Killarnoe, and was the 2014 guest editor of Best Canadian PoetryHer chapbook, Anima Canadensis, is nominated for this year’s bpNichol Chapbook Award. These poems are from her next collection, Sonnet’s Shakespeare,” in which L’Abbé “writes over” all 154 of Shakespeare’s sonnets. L’Abbé is a professor of Creative Writing and English at Vancouver Island University.

Author: Jake Byrne

Poetry editor.