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I Woke Up In My City

by Jason Heroux

I woke up in my city and heard a winter sparrow singing

in a tree's courtroom like a passionate lawyer proclaiming

today's innocence, today's alibi. We live, your Honour,


in forgetful times. The old horrors continue to horrify.

Our usual injuries will injure us again, the pin repeats

itself to a popped balloon, the ashes cherish their fire.


Yet evidence suggests a bouquet of flowers can't tell

if the occasion is for sorrow or congratulations,

and the world's hidden radiance slips though us


like a hand searching for its sleeve. Happiness,

can you account for your whereabouts?

Joy, explain the event in your own words.


The morning light is sworn in as a witness.

The sparrow sings on and on without end.

The defense never rests.

Cover of Hard Work Cheering Up Sad Machines by Jason Heroux

For each year of their appointment the Poet Laureate for the City of Kingston writes one new, original poem that addresses or reflects one or more aspects of life in the City, which they read at the Mayor's annual Levee on New Year's Day. At the 2019 Levee incoming Poet Laureate Jason Heroux read his "I Woke Up In My City". 

Jason’s most recent collection of poetry at KFPL is his 2016 Hard Work Cheering Up Sad Machines You can find more of his poetry and fiction in the KFPL catalogue.

The Poetry Blackboard showcases poems curated by Kingston's Poet Laureate and written by Kingston poets. There's a new poem every month, written by poets living and dead, historical and contemporary, published and unpublished, adults and children, giving full range to the cultural voice of Kingston. Started in 2015 by Helen Humphreys, the Poetry Blackboard will be continued as of 2019 by Jason Heroux.

See all of the poems previously published on The Poetry Blackboard