House of Unfulfilled Dreams
by Stephen Morrissey
The prose poem has always been a welcome form of poetry in the pages of Urban Graffiti from the very first issue of the litzine. It allows the poet to freely explore sometimes extremely difficult territory unhindered by form. The prose poem also allows the poet to rise beyond metaphor and begin to speak with an allegorical voice. I don’t know of a single major Canadian poet that hasn’t written in the form. Many appear in one of my favourite anthologies of prose poems, The Lyric paragraph : a collection of Canadian prose poems, edited by Robert Allen, published from Montreal’s DC Books in 1987. In the inaugural issue of Urban Graffiti, the very first prose poem I happily accepted for publication was a poem entitled, “House of Unfulfilled Dreams” by Montreal poet and small press publisher, Stephen Morrissey. In this poem, he explores those dark spectres of anger and rage which sometimes haunt and kill a marriage. I’m pleased to reprint it here for your enjoyment.
Since it’s inception in July, 1993, Urban Graffiti has always received far more poetry than it could ever possibly use — rejecting almost 95 percent of the poetry submitted over it’s eighteen years as a paper-based litzine (largely due to the UG’s specific mandate). That said, ever so often a poem submitted would not only stand out as both an excellent poem in its own right, but an excellent example of the litzine’s overall mandate as well. Such a poem was Lyn Lifshin’s poem, “The Mad Girl Dreams of Cleaning Women” first published in Urban Graffiti #6 in February 1998. I am pleased to reprint it now for your critical enjoyment.
Death Valley Days
The TV was straight ahead. In my hand was the remote control. I was pretending it was a gun.
A person flashed across the screen. I pressed a button, shooting him dead.
Another face appeared. There were twelve buttons on the remote control. I pressed them one after the other.
Oprah Winfrey. “Bang! You’re dead.”
Family Feud. “Bang! Bang! Bang!”
Vanna White. “Bang! Gotcha.”
I had won the TV in a raffle six days ago. I had been lying on the sofa ever since. I hadn’t slept. I hadn’t bathed. Bags of potato chips and jujubes littered the floor. I had filled a Giant Slurpee with piss.
Mandie Lopatka is an Edmonton poet and radical confessionalist notorious for her excessiveness and her inability to keep anything to herself. Mandie’s poems have appeared in Blood Ink, Fait Accomplit, Notebook Magazine and Urban Graffiti #11. She has a complete manuscript of her work called, loose moral people, that she has no clue what she will do with. “The Architecture of Language” a video poem, was produced by Michael Hamm of Frame 30 Productions. UG is pleased to present this hot, sultry, vivacious video poem and poet who never minces a single well aimed word.
they are fucked mostly in the head
giving head to books
written by white guys
and leaving poetry about
molestation and fucking
mostly white women
black and brown women
write about the fuck/in land
and fuck/in white people
white people write about themselves
and whatever the fuck else
they don’t know
white guys are mostly fuck/in each other over
brown guys fuck each other over too
women hate each other
and fuck each other over too
lesbians and queers write about isolation
getting heard in every
parade on the streets
national radio plays every black guys plays
and every queers guys poetry
about getting fucked up the ass
and six white guys opinion of it
white women can be seen at every reading
with what is new and fucked up
and what the fuck is up