the poetry that matters

Elizabeth Bachinsky

Elizabeth Bachinsky is the author of three collections of poetry, Curio (BookThug, 2005), Home of Sudden Service (Nightwood, 2006), and God of Missed Connections (Nightwood, 2009). Her work was nominated for the Governor General's Award for Poetry in 2006 and the Bronwen Wallace Award in 2004 and has appeared in literary journals, anthologies, and on film in Canada, the United States, France, Ireland, England, and China. She is an instructor of creative writing at Douglas College where she is Poetry Editor for Event magazine.  She lives in Vancouver, British Columbia.

from God of missed connections  



God of chaos


What’s not to like she’s got time for this

is a picture of you had better run take a Tylenol

an Asperin an Advil or some other branded pain

killer please she’s pleased to be here thankyou

thankyou thankyou and now she’ll take a bow.

If you don’t mind over matter well nothing really

matters anyway she’s a freakish weather always gets

her downtown the lesbian community is eating itself

out of existence eventually everyone will have

an STD so what’s the difference anyway. Classic

interlocutory parenthetical aside,  (I say whoa there,

friend, unless you’ve got your key I just can’t let

you in). Look, eventually, language became a get

over it under it couldn’t so deep she get around

she wall it so wide. I’m [frustrated], she replied

sardonically. Kindled a fire with the delicate

hairs of a coconut husk, learned to blow in such

a way as to ignite only what needed ignition.


god of panic


From where she was standing she could see

the boys were watching her and had been watching her

for most of the night it seemed as if there were a secret

between them which she attributed to the fact they were

boys she felt especially lovely in her polka-dotted

skirt and socks and had been sad for four days since

her father had left home to discover his personal financial

power with an even lovelier telemarketer from Winnipeg. 

       Such a Lonely! 

One boy put a hand on her leg; one boy put his hand

in her hair; one boy kissed her mouth; one boy kissed

her neck; one boy put his hand inside her blouse;

one boy kissed her ear; one boy smoothed her sweater;

one boy pulled her ribbon; one boy rocked her

in his arms, one boy lifted her; one boy pulled her

mouth; one boy opened her. What a lark!  Twenty

cocks shuttling under the white spot so white it was like

blinding white light as twenty tongues and two hundred

fingers found their pleasure at once she woke beneath the goal

posts. She could feel the close-clipped lawn was cool

beneath her cheek.





Happiness where are you?  I haven’t got a clue.

– Eytan Mirsky



Gina—pretty, thirty-two, and who wears a lot of black, not

because she is in mourning but because she’s got nothing else

to wear—has started making love with a boy of nineteen on

a semi-regular basis, a practice she finds vastly rewarding

although occasionally problematic, which is not to say the boy

hasn’t demonstrated a remarkable learning curve.


Elephants, having been hunted into near extinction, paint!

Sometimes better than people!


This one time, Gina’s boy (trapped in an elevator) thought:

I’m trapped in an elevator. You hear stories like this and never believe them.

The elevator rose thirty-six floors at an astonishing speed before

he hit the emergency button which, to his surprise brought him

obediently, politely, to the ground floor. He walked right out.





And now all the neighbourhood students are drinking

expensive-ish beer on their balconies thinking of the javelin

toss love can be ( at any age, but especially) when you’re

young and wearing carefully purchased footwear and

accessories. One girl thinks one day I won’t remember this

balcony…like tomorrow, while another’s sure she’s met

her future husband, an MBA from San Francisco and, dear

god, what’s he doing in Canada what a boon for the dating

community (he’s straight I mean thank god…) while the next-

door neighbours lay in bed and wonder if it isn’t time

to move out to the suburbs, maybe get a chunk of property,

have a kid. Trade one noise for another.


It’s not that living in a city seems superfluous when you’re

in it, but only that it is superfluous when you are out of it

and conversation’s lacking everywhere in the end. Consider

this cluster of stargazer lilies.  Seven blossoms for two dollars

at a Chinese grocery, but their perfume’s too heady for such

a small room. It’s four a.m. and the clubs are turning out

their young. Shame to put the blossoms on the balcony.



God of Missed Connections


God of Missed Connections

by Elizabeth Bachinsky
Nightwood Editions, 2009

Available from:
Nightwood Editions

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