Clayton McCann ≈ Army Of Joy



We work too hard
we’re too tired
to fall in love.
Therefore we must
overthrow the government.
We work too hard
we’re too tired
to overthrow the government.
Therefore we must
fall in love.
– Rod Smith


Dear (so-and-so): the
Valley looks cold
to me. How will
you make a life
For your lady, yourself, the
baby? Should this poem be
more positive? I can’t get my
head around the prob
Lem, this dream of hope and
happiness. I write to
fight, because poems are
bullets are nurses are
Soldiers in the war, this
war against (what shall we
name it?) against the sin of wages
against monstrous
Greed, against our own
sorrow. Dear (your lover’s name):
winter’s coming I can
feel it in my bones. People can’t eat

The dread of want, no matter
how much wood they cut. Days
are shorter now—already cold
way up where

We built the zombie-proof
box. My dear (Prime Minister) we
sense your headless machine tonight, that
which our joyous forces

Must wrestle blind on the razor
rim of history. This thing you’ve
made: screams stillborn, rich white
rage at our resolve. We smell your robot

Fear, this brute, scaled torso of
isolation—and we’re holding this
thing by the ears. But, sooth, my child’s
up in the loft, sick and

Hungry. I can hardly see to write the

Words: “Dear Me: the Valley
seems dark tonight, go ask the
obviously-extant, extinct Sinixt—”
lay lines shifting…  You say there’s

The harvest, twenty days in the
hills (I’m not allowed to name them), but
will it get you through? Will the grower make
advances? And will you really risk

Prison? Won’t the rippers get
it first? Aren’t there deer on the
road? By the singular beam of your
headlamp! And Conversation Officers

Everywhere?! Oh, the Arnica, Emergen-C, knee-
brace, tree-planter tape, the tensor, mole-
skin, propolis—sing a song of aging
labour. Are you not, in point of

Fact, selling your body piece-
meal? Plantar fasciitis, your lower
back spins a tail of disaster—‘cause
when it goes, it be gone: no

Worker’s comp, nor re-
training: “Name?”
“Pot grower.”
“Oh… you look much
Older.” And what justice would you
find, in a province where every-
one’s complicit in the good
times; but the cops hunt YOU
Down. And you’re just a
worker, a hiker, a trimmer, the
driver who’ll never get rich—I ask it
THROUGH? These words seem to be typing
Me. Dearest Mother; I’m back in
school and what a con. The walls are grey
and featureless, so too the lectures, but
just below the surface, the ancient
Insects stir, inchoate, jealous
over bits of rusted chain. The academy
is sick and dying. By (your god here), the
Valley looks good just now. As a
Joke, I want to start burning Business
books, Economics texts, journals of
Commerce, ‘cause they’re not
worth the trees they cut down to
Print such obscenities upon. As a lark I want
to offer a course called Anthropology of the
Murderous Rich 100 or may
be Oral Traditions of Technocrat Doublespeak (TBA).
And there’s Art for Bigots, Art for Pervs (seminar
only). I think I’ll die in this paper
mine and no one will ever
know. Dear (Milton Friedman): your economy

In tatters is like war coming down, dog-men
are gathering (I see guns in their eyes), America
is broken forever and Canada’s not far
behind: a few breaths from collapse and I guess
We’re to eat the dead? I can’t walk to Pass
more with a sucking chest-
wound, And I wish I’d listened
harder to my grand-folks who survived
The Great Depression. But I do re-
call my Granny and her final,
asthmatic skies: The Valley looks warm to
me, the Valley looks warm and
Bright. Dear (everyone): Maybe you’ll
Make it. This poem wants you to
be happy. We’ve seen others survive and they
don’t work at Kaleshnikov’s they don’t go
Off to the tar sands. You only ask
For a winter cabin, to make art, a muffler
for your shit-box, a big bag of rice—perhaps
there’s green enough? The
Mountain looks smart to me, like a
victorious insurgency: a Chiapas of
the mind, a Confederacy
of the forest, Resistance piney-scented,
Florets of illicit statehood. And the
Valley looks righteous tonight.



3 thoughts on “Clayton McCann ≈ Army Of Joy

  1. Clayton says:

    Yes. And I know, I know, I know, I know, I know it’s senseless. But if we cannot begin to speak of these things they get away from us, they become someone else’s history.

  2. Phil Mader says:

    Army of Joy: truth in simplicity. I like!!

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