Poetry to Warm You on a Cold Day

It's been a bitterly cold start to 2014 here in Ontario, as it has been for much of North America. We were reminiscing about our research trip to Venice exactly one year ago, when all we had to contend with was fog and rain. That reminded us of a poem about fog by our friend, the Kingston, Ontario-based poet Jason Heroux.


The fog manual
is written in fog.
In fog the fog
manual is written.

Full of fog safety
directions the fog
manual is for you,
fog owner. For you

the fog manual is
full of fog warranty
information and fog
assembly instructions

for you to read, to read
when the fog manual vanishes
in the fog, fog owner, in the fog
when the fog manual vanishes.

Jason Heroux is the author of three poetry collections, Memoirs of an Alias, Emergency Hallelujah, and Natural Capital, all published by Mansfield Press, and the novella Good Evening, Central Laundromat (Quattro Books, 2010). His most recent publications are the poetry chapbook In Defence of the Attacked Center Pawn (Puddles of Sky Press, 2013), the prose poem chapbook Let Us Now Praise the Empty Parking Lot (White Knuckle Press, 2013), and the micro-chapbook The Vending Machine of Earthly Delights (Origami Poems Project, 2013). His poetry has appeared in chapbooks and magazines in Canada, the US, Belgium, France, and Italy, and was featured in the anthologies Breathing Fire 2: Canada’s New Poets, and Best Canadian Poetry in English 2008 and 2011.

Here's another thought-provoking poem:


The wind chimes are a gentle alarm
warning everyone that nothing is wrong,
even though ants creep through the grass
like little coffins carrying themselves

and hospitals sneak up behind the sick.
Even though the rickety days are kept
together only with sunlight’s sticky tape,
everything is fine: the birds in the trees

sound like cheerful ambulances,
every moment is a tiny kingdom,
and our brief shadows appear permanent
as tattoos on the sidewalk’s skin.

Both poems, which are used with permission, are from the collection Natural Capital.

Jonathan Ball of the Winnipeg Free Press writes:

In Natural Capital (Mansfield, 64 pages, $17), Kingston's Jason Heroux continues to develop his bold style through the delightful fusion of otherwise jarring images. In Heroux's acrobatic jugglings, "wind chimes are a gentle alarm / warning everyone that nothing is wrong."

Many of Heroux's poems present miniature narratives through surrealistic matings. In one poem, Heroux imagines a strange locale that could be either "a hospital or a coffee shop." The pairing seems gimmicky on the surface, but Heroux manages to make the conflation engage the emotions, while retaining its black, comedic edge.

We hope you enjoy Jason's poetry. To read more, please visit his website.

Stay warm!

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