Anton Cancre

The January Selected Poet is Anton Cancre

Please feel free to email Anton at: antoncancre@gmail.com


(In memory of Tom Piccirilli)

I shouldn’t still be crying like this. The grief
should’ve been put aside long ago,
over a short pudgy fuck I’ve never met. A person
I have to admit was never really even a man
to me, just words on a page. But he’s the one
who said it, that the poetry is what stings.
That you have to weave your blood
into the fabric of the pages. Wring
out your own flesh to make the ink.
That the words are only symbols, sure,
but symbols are what we use to make magic.
That, no matter how clumsy we may be
in life, how bland and ineffectual the pale
rolls of fat may look in the mirror, we
can find the right ones to make us sing.
That, if we hone them sharp enough,
they can cut deep and bruise dark.
That the better ones can stitch the wounds
back up, leaving us not quite whole
but something more than we were before.
That, in the quiet hour of night, when I my mouth won’t
move and the terror lodges in my throat like old dough;
it can be the poetry that screams for me.


Hey, don’t give me that look.
We didn’t ask for any of this.
Do you know what I was doing a few hours ago?
Not a damn thing, that’s what.
Not hurtin’ nobody, just resting
these weary, withered old bones.
Enjoying the kind of peace a long life deserves.
None of us went poking where we didn’t belong,
Playing at chemical Jesus as if we had the right,
But now… now there’s no more rest to be had.
No end in sight for the slow,
steady gnawing of microbes.
So what, if we seek the slight reprieve
we find in still-firing neurons?
Do you honestly expect us to care
for what you give up in the process?
Is a little consideration too much to ask,
along with, maybe, a little delivery?


“There’s something in the night,” she
says but won’t say what it is.
“It’s out there. In the high grass under
the sill.” Until the lawn mower reveals bare dirt.
“It’s in here. In the space between
the walls.” Awaiting hammer blows to know
the color of our insulation. “I hear it calling,
from the sewer grate.” Ten men, five hours. Our
bank account showing the only difference.
“Dripping down from the treetops.” From the
roar of a chainsaw, we saw an old bird’s nest die.
“Attic rustle.”
“Toilet gurgle.”
TV repairmen I didn’t even know
made housecalls anymore.  Each
bill pilling onto the last while I wonder
how many neighborhood kids it’ll take
before they finally get the job done.

Anton Cancre has probably gotten too big of a head for his own good anymore, what with warping the minds and hopes of youth and spitting his neuron-spatter at you. His wordings have seen print in DOA II, Jamais Vu, and several other anthologies and publications and is co-editor of Recompose Magazine (recompose.press).