Canada: Case History: 1973
No more the highschool land
deadset in loutishness
This cat’s turned cool
the gangling’s gone
guffaws are for the peasants
Inside his plastic igloo now
he watches gooks and yankees bleed
in colour on the telly
But under a faded Carnaby shirt
ulcers knife the rounding belly
Hung up on rye and nicotine and sex-
y flicks, kept off the snow and grass
he teeters tiptoe on his arctic roof
(ten brittle legs, no two together)
baring his royal canadian ass
white and helpless in the global winds
Schizoid from birth, and still a sado-masochist
this turkey thinks that for his sins
he should be carved while still alive:
legs to Québec, the future Vietnam;
the rest, self-served and pre-digested,
to make a Harvest Home for Uncle Sam. . . .
Teeth shot and memory going
(except for childhood grudges),
one moment murderous, the next depressed,
this youth, we fear, has moved from adolescence
into what looks like permanent senescence.
Birney, Earle. “Canada: Case History: 1973.” The Collected Poems of Earle Birney. Vol. 2. Toronto: McClelland, 1975. 175.
Reprinted with the permission of Wailan Low, executor of the estate of Earle Birney.