Against Paradise was published by McClelland and Stewart


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Against Paradise

All The God-sized Fruit


For more Poets
Shawna Lemay Shawna Lemay


The citizens have a weak belief in the pineapple state.

Most fruit comes to earth by way of paradise
but these
are from the first circle of hell.

Dante forgot
Hieronymus Bosch omitted
the workshops for reticents in purgatory
where finials are made
modelled on a misinformed phoenix
then sent up
to gather the yellow juice of the sun
to anticipate the guillotine
during a short surging existence as crown
charismatic, hieroglyphic
of fruit.


In the raging quiet before expulsion
there was exultation.
Sacred laconic conversations with the apple mainly
consisted of huzzah
and huzzah.

Then came the brief tyranny of the slithy chaperone
or was it the blood-gilt and inscription?
or was it the pie and crumble?
the antidote? the cult? divination of the flaying?
The time-line is irrelevant
it all happened at once
and many thanks to prevailing utopian dreams
and general reluctance to operate on a need to know basis
and beauty contests where the appearance of the baby grand is gesture.

Made to speak oceans and grafted to mountains
pursued in the name of over-articulation
reached for in the holy abyss of prayer
used as decor in tympanum and tapestry
employed as paperweight
and now at last with nary a disclaimer
this impatient disclosure:
the apple is tres fatigued and begs to be temporarily left alone. The apple cries
but only on the inside
only a very very little.
A few
black pips, tears
are the reliquary's treasure.

Blue Hydrangea

Romantic yearning for the infinite
takes a knuckle sandwich in the old kisser.

Novalis, in a bar
watches Chet Baker get his clock cleaned
chiklets knocked out
realizes the sap will have to learn to blow
all over again.
Blue stars, he tells him afterwards, think
blue stars.

Thank you for understanding
heartless cerebral bastard.