I do not think one should read poetry at night
…..just before sleeping,
for how can someone lay down to rest
…..when poems lift up your mind
as in “Bullet Points,” or Love is the love of
…..who we are, it is a form of knowing…
how can Jericho Brown or Sharon Olds slow the body
… your eyes close down to slow your thoughts?
Poetry is what makes you NOT want to sleep.
Now, all I can think of is Amichai has been dead too long,
and other men
not soon enough.
When I turn off the light and turn on my side,
the side furthest away from my heart, to protect it,
lines of poetry lower me down into sleep, to dreams beyond
my dreaming,
that poetry is the plagiarism of
pleasure or pain,
knows words
for which

Kevin Irie is a Japanese-Canadian poet from Toronto. His book, Viewing Tom Thomson, A Minority Report (Frontenac House 2012), was a finalist for The Acorn-Plantos People’s Poetry Award and The Toronto Book Award. His newest, The Tantramar Re-Vision (McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2021) takes inspiration from John Thompson’s Stilt Jack.