February 28, 2017 Poetry , POETRY / FICTION

Reuters photo



Penn Kemp



The Dreadful Has Already Happened



Some huge impending stone hanging over

is dropped with one stroke of presidential

pen. What more to come? After a single


month in office, the man who shall not be

named, prevails, post veil, post thought.


May we be safe as we hunker down for

climate change, ongoing as we age…


I mistype climage, latest neologism.

Ever since his outraged diatribes

we are off kilter, alternator wonky, odd.


Projections hurled, projection twisted.

The compass twirls without True North.


Thought you’d spend the rest of your daze

per usual, did you, instead of this alternate

nightmare where Fire Rooster trumpets


Triumph? Thought you’d have some time

to dilly dally, did you, before the necessity

for Action wails? Demanding no less than


your mind, your heart, your voice, all as

our times demand. No matter how weary,

how wary, how wiped and worn we are.


O loud is the din of inequity. What did

you expect, given prevailing wind, wind

bags? Power triumphant for now. Just


for now. Justice is not heard nor seen to

be done. So our job is to do what we can


to countervail, counteract the current for what

matters beyond the pale, beyond the poem.








Poem for an Awful Inauguration

January 20, 2017



This Awful Inauguration day augurs so

dimly for us all and we aren’t even in

the United States. The world awaits


uncertain of outcome, certain only that

meanness prevails of heart and intent.

We’ve dropped into the well of offal.


An Awful Inauguration day augurs well

for the unduly rich but poorly for poor

and dispossessed, for poor middle class.


This Awful Inauguration day augurs ill

for Obamacare, for the health of a nation,

for all illegal aliens and for alienated arts.


This Awful Inauguration day augurs dimly

for us all, and we aren’t yet in the Year

of the vain Fire Rooster for another week.


O weather vane, you parade your lies as

truth. You spin with the wind. You turn.

You twitter and trumpet trust topsy-turvy.


This Awful Inauguration day crows triumph

for the cock of the walk, king for a day, or

another four years. We withhold, withstand


his very dangerous flash in a very wide pan.

But we don’t withdraw. We march, we hold

on, hold to, truth as we know it. We refuse.


We are all other. We are alien. We protest.









Most Potent of All



The Lesbian couple join another woman who looks just like them:

tall, statuesque blond goddesses, their sexual relationship uneasy.


One of the pair provocatively opens her split skirt to reveal her

shapely fair butt as she bends down. The others ogle competitively.


This beauty has been given a present she cherishes. Giggling with

excitement, she gushes over the clear plastic that sloshes yellow


liquid. Inside float a small, long-legged frog and an axolotl, both

pale pink as if living without light. I’ll look for a larger aquarium.


A high school chemistry teacher saunters in to inspect the amphibians

and/or these gorgeous gals. He opens the container to test its solution


with an index finger. Startled, we realize the fluid is highly poisonous,

the VX nerve agent the UN declared a weapon of mass destruction.


What should the teacher do now? He shrugs, feeling fine. But the same

banned chemical agent recently killed North Korean Kim Jong-nam.




From Dream Sequins












Penn Kemp

London ON performance poet, activist and playwright Penn Kemp is the League of Canadian Poets’ Spoken Word Artist of 2015 and their 40th Life Member. Her latest works are Barbaric Cultural Practice, www.quattrobooks.ca/books/barbaricculturalpractice, and two anthologies, Performing Women and Women and Multimedia, which she edited for http://poets.ca/feministcaucus/livingarchives/. Her new play, The Triumph of Teresa Harris, will be performed at The Palace Theatre in March; see https://teresaharrisdreamlife.wordpress.com/.

1 Comment

  1. Penn Kemp February 28, at 17:14

    I love how Tuck Magazine presents & publishes poems in all their necessary immediacy! Hot off the press and in/of the moment. Thank you!


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