Starnino, Carmine

Canada, (b. 1970)

Our Butcher

  1. I could bone up, be the right man for that one-man job,
  2. hang by its hocks a rabbit shucked from the jacket
  3. of its black-bristled fur and still talking in twitches.
  4. As well, I might grasp the particular way he swings
  5.  
  6. a cleaver, brings it down on a neck like a primitive.
  7. More to the point, I’d learn to move the beak of my blade
  8. into the fragrance of a flank, or browse apart a chest’s
  9. cardiac leafage, my white apron a blotchwork of blood.
  10.  
  11. I’d like to pickle ox tongue and pig feet, screw lids
  12. on sheep tripe and calf brain, set out jars like indices
  13. to carcasses unpacked like suitcases. Striated and plush,
  14. crewelworked with fat and grosgrained with gristle,
  15.  
  16. meat is not semblance, meat is baroque. That said,
  17. I’d love to break back the pages of a shank and read all day.
  18. Tales about the flex and kick, the squawk and gack
  19. of things in pens: grass-nipping goats, had-been hens,
  20.  
  21. hogs which nuzzled mud and snorkeled its odours
  22. until their plug was pulled and the spinning gears
  23. stilled to small organs, organs I’d like to disinter and wrap,
  24. risen again inside the pink of new paper skin.

© Carmine Starnino. This Way Out. Kentville, NS: Gaspereau Press (2009).

About the Poet:

Carmine Starnino (b. 1970), is a Canadian poet, essayist, critic and editor.
Starnino was born and raised in Montreal to a family of Italian immigrants, and received his MA in 2000 at Concordia University.

He is the editor of poetry and the Signal Editions poetry series for Véhicule Press, and was formerly editor-in-chief of Maisonneuve, a quarterly of arts, opinion and ideas.

Starnino has published four acclaimed books of poetry: The New World (1997), Credo (2000), With English Subtitles (2004) and This Way Out (2009). He has also published two books of essays and reviews on Canadian poetry: A Lover’s Quarrel (2004) and Lazy Bastardism (2012). [DES-08/14]

Additional information:

  • Carmine Starnino is the poetry editor for Véhicule Press and their Signal Editions poetry series. Based in Montreal, Véhicule, is a publisher of award-winning poetry, fiction, essays, translations, and social history.

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