Poetry Archives‎ > ‎

Inventory (1991)

Most of the common forms of poetry fall into a few well known categories: limerick, sonnet, quatrain, haiku, etc. Other, less popular forms also appear such as the Villanelle, tanka, pantoum, and concrete poetry. The "list poem," also called "catalogue poem", is a way of organizing things or events. The following piece was composed while viewing my roommates's belongings in the backyard.
Four sizes of spare tires,
styrofoam chests and tanks,
enough boxes to open a small store,
barbells and broken tables,
smashed skipoles and broken dreams,
extra motorcycle parts,
recyclable aluminum, brass, copper and iron,
pop cans, beer cans,
three hundred cans of paint,
questionable directions to anywhere
and what the hell are those for, anyway?
surplus water heaters, gasoline lanterns
all ready to explode,
lumber, planks, plywood and a ton of dowelling,
car batteries, building blocks,
electric tools and ratchets,
rat shits and cat shits,
sockets and spools,
industrial strength cleaners.
ten-thirty oil and a shitload of suitcases,
six empty garbage cans,
(what could you possibly put in them?)
one vacant stare,
tight security with no chance of any box
falling into enemy hands
and enough cat fights and arguments
to entertain the neighbourhood for weeks.

Glen Wheeler, Vancouver, 1991