Poem for a Sweet ’16’

 January 1, 2016

Happy to celebrate Sweet ’16’ with a poem here!

“An Ounce of Essential”, http://www.byandbylit.org/penn-kemp/
By&By Poetry. January 1, 2016: http://www.byandbylit.org/issue-two/.

An Ounce of Essential


My sweet oils implode upon his sinus as cough.
Red-rimmed eyes implore me to come clean.
Stripped of perfume, I’m a layer naked, still
aggrieved to lose those ancient pleasures I
was so accustomed to wrap myself around.

What’s noxious to one is humdrum to another’s
sense. Out at the service station, I hide my
throbbing head in scarves, breathing in old
scents while, undeterred by oil or gas spill,
to fill our tank, he braves car, truck or diesel.

Their fumes set me fuming: rendered direct to
my temples as dark clouds over the autobahn.
I’m off and roaring before the car is. Exhausted

by exhaust, what was my nervous system crawls
to its last redoubt and screeches, shrivels like a
cockroach sprayed by Raid. The map of my brain must
be all nose, homunculus sniffing out new terrain for
sachets of fonder memories in the glove compartment.

Flowers, I gasp. Give me instead whole acres of bright
pollen pounded to mere ounces of essential oil.
“So,” he announces, hopping back into the driver’s seat.
“We’re all gassed up. Ready for a day in the country?”

Our coniunctio oppositorum is the margin of air where
Pollution Gage meets Pollen Count. “I am if you are.”
In partnerships these days, sensitive is sensitized.


“It’s a pleasure to read such well-crafted poetry—I anticipate that our burgeoning readership will enjoy it immensely. Thank you.”
Jason Sears, editor.


London, ON poet, activist and playwright Penn Kemp (M.Ed.) is London’s inaugural Poet Laureate. Penn is the League of Canadian Poets’ Spoken Word artist of the year and their 40th Life Member. Her most recent work is From Dream Sequins, Lyrical Myrical Press, Toronto, and Jack Layton Art in Action, which she edited for Quattro Books, Toronto. A prolific artist, Penn has to date published over twenty-five books and had six plays produced. She is one of Canada’s most active performance poets, with ten CD’s to her credit, many videopoems and Canada’s first poetry CD-ROM.




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