Literature 12-17-2007

What Light: This Week’s Poem: John Vick

Read this week's winning poem, "personne agaçante" written by John Vick and selected by What Light judge, Sarah Fox.


personne agaçante
(“a fuck,” as in, “Brian est un personne agaçante.”)

even in Calgary there were numbered coat hooks
you got kicked off the soccer team, a team sport Brian
not one kid from his family gave a shit, Miss Babineaux
there isn’t a way out of detention with a spit wad habit
no one cared about pronouncing French correctly; or about Quebec
it was like sleeping next to an elephant, but you’re a mouse
Jean and Julietta said so in the primer; and we believe their every word
there’s a lot left over in those cellar bottles, let’s just drink them instead
Brian, you have chocolate sundae on your bib and it’s a neck tie too
there isn’t a reason in hell for you to be in this position
any words to the contrary, there is a room reserved for you, Brian
Miss Babineaux said, “ça alors, you boys fiddling at that rocket!”
there was a way to stay playing in the basement forever, Brian
anything else you’ve done is pretty much screwed up
we read your fiction and say, “well, that doesn’t suck.”
it’s a real deal in that olive drab zip-up your mom bought you
your cousin Florence drove a toy M1Abrams through Smucker’s grape
your other little friends are hooky players and we aren’t
there isn’t anything easier than not thinking for yourself, Brian
Brian, there is a whole lot more to the PJ sandwich than corn-husk jelly
every time there is a variety, you complain everything isn’t yours
all said and done, as Miss Babineaux reports, “Brian est un personne agaçante.”


I hope I live at least forty more years, until I’m 85, and die unhappy with the last lines I write, but satisfied they are better than the day before when I was so god awful. I have a penchant for audio poetry and created my project at in order to further satisfy my obsession with sound. I have to be reading and taking classes to write. On top of the disarray on my desk, I currently see Richard Siken, Sharon Olds, Cornelius Eady, Marilyn Chin, Frank Bidart, and Carl Phillips. It always changes.


John Vick has been published nationally and internationally in various venues including Laura Hird, The Hiss Quarterly (anthologized), What Light: This Week’s Poem contest winner (anthologized), Dislocate, Press 1, and Lily. Currently he is working with his mentor, Carolyn Forché, toward publication of his first full length collection, An Incomprehensible Act. He has recently taken a hiatus from the business world to focus on his love of writing.