the poetry that matters

John Nyman

John Nyman’s poetry has appeared in Misunderstandings Magazine, Steel Bananas, The Antigonish Review’s Poet Grow Op, and most recently Cordite Poetry Review. He is a graduate of York University's undergraduate program in creative writing, where he also served as Senior Fiction Editor of Existere, York’s journal of literature and art.


The Taut Drum Comes In



Here the taut drum comes in

To hunt and lap at a tone stem,

Music sunk in his west commutes

To clone the song, code the god


Of cars, sparking sky, streaking

Messes of metal swerve, tens

Clinging dry to concrete lines

In his west commutes.


What great radio noise

Or birds did wit tune into ruses

In his west commutes? The noontime

Voices drop wide, spit at grime


With needles shot like spot colour

On hot rods wrought for a sun drive,

Monsters to the trees once honoured

In his west commutes.


A vow to jump an overpass

In his west commutes, he dreams

The drum careening in at night

When bassline tone stems mount him,


His wonders on the pavement's call

To shove the slump exits, tilt stars

Above the shire of the serf slums

In his west commutes.



Epistemology of the Stop Sign



Propose you clutch a thrill;

                              exceed it.

Grey to black magic,


      to the spitting embers

                              of a phoenix.

Hear this lipstick twitch

      & scarlet heel—

      it says

                  a luckless homonym of your action’s




Pull over; sirens & distress

& camera’s eyes reveal it

      octagonally, 3-D glasses’




      It ribbons a rash,



                              & now I’m angry.

                  Blood-sunset, grapefruit ruby,

turn on the light.

                              Drag your hot ass

to the district.

      Buy me drinks.



Epistemology of the Ice Cube



Line-draw fishes from the sea

      & drown the breeze;

surrender this particular wave

      to straightening – the colour water

is not & not

                        the shade of sky.

Truly energy, it’s in flame

      awake & appearing, but it sings best

about sleep.

      Time loops. In song, it’s

                        a hue that ain’t gonna love you,


a black & white movie

      kind of tune. A flaccid banner

                        to harmony, that’s blue

as neon-azure Kool-

Aid, or losing a day

                        of blueberries

      to a belly.


Unlike the mind’s every icy likeness,

      unlike any H2 molecule (they’re colourless),

it’s downness that defines as lying to,

the royalty you must allow

                        to rule you.




Epistemology of the Highlighter



Think of a stain on white cloth

         & think of the stained state

                  of your papers desiccated

         in attics, the wash

                           of old things,

         & you will not

                  understand the sunshine of yellow,


which is the truer tint in a sky’s

                  sky-blue, wildflowers’

         primer, & ingredient of green.

Retake the light

                  from rose, & amber; get




                           blank flavour,

         warm draw, cool edge, heat

         waylaid, electrical marker, light-



         is bright. Indispensability

                  is jaundiced, &

the pinprick force piercing the galaxy

         is a coward.







Like a twig figure, build myself out of thin risks,

Skin risks each turning page, the threat towards

Brain crush. all thinking came from mush, mulch

Virally alive in the grist of pulp. i

Have tics. every end stop i slide a bit;

Every line top i survive to drop out

Again. i have red chins and ballpoint pens

Remind me – no long opening, no wisdom’s sin

Can corridor to the world code’s end,

Only a bald hollow. i’ll yell and i’ll yellow,

Just like these, here – everything (papers!).

& i might be machine, too; if my fingerprints

Trace the rose scrape of my neck, razorblade scaled,

It registers smooth on cool, distantly screech-feeling,

Echoey like a glass statue is.

I type correctly, & recognize

That that too may be risky,

Telltale like the hovel built of sticks.

But be this muck, then so be it.

I will not allow these words to gander ugly.



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                                                                                                                 July 16, 2013