House of Targ

I wash my wrist with water lest

my blue stamp of approval be the death

of my bed’s high thread-count spread.


I wash the south out of my mouth with said water

and soon will hit the road home

how a circle saw hits a belt buckle:


there will be sparks. Just like the man behind the guitar,

I was raised by Irene and Edgar Ladouceur

only I didn’t wind up heterosexual, let alone the crux


of any would-be groupie’s short-term strategies.

I decline to give him my spare keys so he will not

come crash at some even ungodlier hour than this.


I need rest now, and an earwax vac.

Behind the wall his hype guy grazes with a chainsaw

there’s this lovely café-bookstore. Therein I, too,


share what I love most about myself

with crowds shy of fifty.

The punks here barb their melodies


with bass all night, despite the decorous pleas

the reading series administrator

has made to upper management.


At the mercy of the music, we poets

frontload our sets, saving for last

our failed villanelles and forays


into fiction. A night like this,

a cowbell alone would drown out the details

of my fascinating baggage.

Ben Ladouceur is a writer living in Ottawa. His first collection of poems, Otter(Coach House Books), was selected as a best book of 2015 by the National Post, nominated for a 2016 Lambda Literary Award, and awarded the 2016 Gerald Lampert Memorial Award for best debut poetry collection in Canada. Ben is the prose editor for Arc Poetry Magazine, and a monthly columnist for Open Book.