Let that shit go, forebrain. Dismiss the atrocity meandering still in
memory. To first traumas you remain slave, if the shadows of ugly doings
stalk your thoughts and control your times of pleasure. Cortex, be rational!
Psychological understanding should mean deleting the neural account of
terror’s hours. Terror, cranium? You overdo it, habit, exaggerating your
juvenile assaults, boohooing when understatement would more strategi-
cally disclose your snivel. Nerves, write an erasure over the latent shame
that suffers beneath this bitching, boombastic lyric! Hormones, bury my
boogie men in nice enkephalins! You said that already. You are impris-
oned in a brain’s sentence, which conforms to your limbic lobe’s circuitry,
and try the patience of mainstream poets, who suffer no redundant utter-
ance. So my brain deliberates, running cliché checks on its own image
storehouse, my psyche accusing my psyche of cuckooing from injury. Be
where you are, lamas insist, so I type out raw characters, from impulses so
strong that only my corpus collosum, that anonymous author, knows itself,
phenomenally . . . ah. What privilege to age this way, working out this
era’s terrorisms’ affects on a wholehearted body, outwitting psychological
torture-play, documenting a stamina some documents wish blotted—the
long memory of our self-hatred and the will to pardon, if the offence,
the self-undoing crime of humiliation, were metabolized in the awareness of
the nation. Though awareness of our humiliating aggression is a sober
hell, denial and other-blame systematizes our pleasure, and becomes our
architecture, until neural conciliations recode us well.
Copyright © Sonnet L’Abbé. Originally published in Sonnet’s Shakespeare (McClelland & Stewart, 2019).
Sonnet L’Abbé is the author of two previous collections of poetry, A Strange Relief and Killarnoe, and, most recently, the chapbookAnima Canadensis. In 2000, she won the Bronwen Wallace Memorial Award for most promising writer under 35. In 2014, she was the guest editor of Best Canadian Poetry in English. Her work has been internationally published and anthologized. L’Abbé lives on Vancouver Island and is a professor of creative writing at Vancouver Island University. Find Sonnet on Instagram & Twitter @sonnetlabbe.
A festival 30 years in the making—The Word On The Street Toronto has championed literacy and excellent Canadian writing since 1989, delighting audiences of all ages with author readings and featured programming alongside Canada’s largest open-air book fair.
On Sunday, September 22, 2019, the WOTS returns to the Harbourfront Centre to celebrate the past and beckon in the future of Canadian literature with an exciting lineup of debut authors alongside perennial favourites.
Catch Sonnet L’Abbé at Word on the Street Toronto on the Vibrant Voices of Ontario stage for The Intricate Art of the ‘Sonnet,’ 12:15 PM – 1:00 PM.