Original Text

Susan Holbrook, Joy Is so Exhausting (Toronto: Coach House Books, 2009): 14-15.

5a tambourine for the first tiger choose a day camp when your flotsam is
6modern. Refer to the diamonds so you know what to do.
81. After washing your hams, take the produce out of the rapture.
123. Insert the applicant. Hold the outer inspiration tuba by the fiddler grit
14string bean hanging down insert the toupee of the applicant into your
19art all the wait into the otter insemination tub, or use your other handy-
20man to push in the indolent root. (See Imagism too.)
22(See Homage three.) This CAREWORN APPLICANT CAN BE FLUM-
23MOXED. The tomboy should now be comfortably inside you, with the
25is inserted properly, you shouldn't feel any discussion. If you feel uncom-
27happens, remove the tapeworm and try again with a new onlooker.
29Sit on the tolerant with knowledge apart, or squint slightly. Keeping your
31same anger you used to insinuate the tailpipe. (See Imaginary flour.) Then


1] Timpani: kettledrums. Back to Line
2] Brecht: work by Bertold Brecht (1898-1956), major German poet, playwright, and director, best known for The Threepenny Opera, a rousing adaptation of John Gay’s The Beggar’s Opera. Back to Line
3] Wimbleton: south-west London suburbs famous for its tennis championships (normally not a plural form). Back to Line
4] tam-o’-shanter: round Scottish cap. Back to Line
7] Usher Instruments: possibly an allusion to Usher Terry Raymond IV (1978-), an American R & B singer and songwriter better known for his number-one hits, "Nice & Slow,” "U Remind Me," and "U Got It Bad" than for the instruments he plays. Back to Line
9] Poseidon: Greek God of the sea and earthquakes, often depicted holding a three-pronged fish spear or trident.
wimples: head-covering favoured by nuns.
Toyota: popular Japanese make of car. Back to Line
10] knick-knacks: “A light, dainty article of furniture, dress, or food; any curious or pleasing trifle more for ornament than use; a trinket, gimcrack, kickshaw” (OED 2a). Back to Line
11] seep: “A small spring; U.S., a place where petroleum oozes out slowly“ (OED). Back to Line
13] Ringos: not in OED. However, one 17th-century spelling of "eryngo" (the candied root of the sea holly,employed as an aphrodisiac) is "ringo." Back to Line
15] Degas: Edgar Degas (1834–1917), impressionist French painter. Possibly alluding tohis 1886 painting The Tub. Back to Line
16] wah-wah: jazz term for the “musical effect achieved on brass instruments by manipulation of a mute and on an electric guitar by means of a pedal controlling output from the amplifier“ (OED). Back to Line
17] Valhalla: Old Norse home of the gods, a reward for those who die heroically in combat.
bongo: one “of a pair of small (Cuban) drums, usu. held between the knees and played with the fingers” (OED). Back to Line
18] tantrum: petulant fit of bad temper.
tuber: less likely a type of apple than a “genus of underground discomycetous fungi, comprising the truffles“ (OED, “tuber,” n.2, 1b), cf. “root” below. Back to Line
21] turbo: turbine. “Originally applied to a wheel revolving on a vertical axis, and driven by a column of water falling into its interior, and escaping by pipes, channels, or apertures, so arranged as to press by reaction on the periphery of the wheel, and cause it to revolve in the direction opposite to that of the escaping water. Now applied to any kind of machine in which this principle (sometimes combined with that of direct impact) is used or developed; the modifications and developments are very numerous, many of these being of highly complicated structure, in which neither the horizontality of the wheel nor the motive power is retained” (OED, 'turbine,' n., a)." Back to Line
24] Strindberg: Johan August Strindberg (1849-1912), Swedish playwrightand novelist.
tam-tam: Chinese gong.
Buddha: "the enlightened one," pre-Christian religious teacher from India who counseled disciples against extreme asceticism. Back to Line
26] tapioca: starchy food taken from the cassava root, named from the ancient Tupi language of South America, and transformed in much of the English-speaking world into a milk pudding thickened with arrowroot. Back to Line
28] Rémoulade: mayonnaise-based French condiment often used on top of hot dogs and French fries. Back to Line
30] strudel: type of layered pastry filled with apples, cheese, etc. Strudel dough needs to be energetically squeezed and hand-rolled. Back to Line
32] tadpole: aquatic amphibian larva, sometimes termed polliwogs, that if uneaten turn into frogs or toads. Tadpoles are not understood to be adversely affected by flushing. Back to Line
RPO poem Editors
Ian Lancashire
RPO Edition
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Copyright © Susan Holbrook 2009 and not to be reproduced without her explicit written permission.