World Poetry Day 2022

World Poetry Day

To celebrate World Poetry Day, we’ve assembled some pieces from our members.

Why Poetry Is Necessary

What is found there, in the realm of poetry, is what is so often passed over in daily life: the miraculous, the unexpected, the undreamt of. Poems are necessary because they honor the unknown, both in us and in the world.

Roger Housden, Contributor


In this piece, the artist uses the word whore, which we recognize is often used in a derogatory way. The use of the word here is for creative artistic purposes and not to shame anyone. Sex work and sex workers should not be shamed and we need to work together to make them safer.

Fucking Tina, fucking whore

Why’d you make me want you more

I love you, I hate you, it’s so hard to tell 

Cause you brought me to heaven

Then sent me to hell 

(Danny Mack: 2021)

To Disclose or Not To Disclose (1989)

1989 Comite des personnes atteintes du VIH (CPAVIH) were looking for a model to come out and be the poster boy and face of a new epidemic called AIDS. I had just been recently diagnosed and was a Board Member for CPAVIH, so I put forth my name and out of twenty applicants was one of the chosen three to appear in the publicity pamphlet and I would be The FACE of AIDS/Poster Boy of Quebec. I wrote this poem and recited it at the launching of our first CPAVIH HIV Campaign. I was in a Hamlet mood at that time…a dark and dreary period for myself.

To disclose or not to disclose — that is the question
Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to be a spokesperson
Or to remain anonymous, or a student, or an individual
Ah! the in-decisions, to be singled out of thousands
For the knowledge that I hold or want to withhold
To remain distant for the experiences of having the experiences
Shared with me. The opposing decisions of the in-decisions
But to die, to sleep, a sleep that says I have ended
With the coffin lid closing for the very last time. – To die, to sleep
A finale to life and the knowledge and experiences I possess
The heartache and the thousand natural shocks
My knowledge is the heir, the consumption
Of my life devoutly to be shared with the younger generation
The responsibility of being a teacher — to die, to sleep
Perchance to dream, Ay, there’s the rule
For in my sleep of death what dreams may come?
The chance of being just a student, to turn back time
To live again before the cloak of death knocked at my door
Reminding me of my mortality, giving me pause

Ah, there’s the respect, the advancement of the student
To the teacher breaks the calamity of my existence
That extended my mortality, for I have bared
The whips and scorns of society, the oppressor’s wrong

A proud Irish/Scotsman hit with contumely, the pings and pangs
Of a family’s despised love, the Catholic law’s delay
The insolence of a politician’s office, and the spurns
From the public. To be tossed into the openness of the public
To be a spokesperson with a disease much hated, when I,
I might have lived quietly for a short period of time

In peace. Yet I choose to grunt and sweat with my weary life
To make a difference to help others. What a choice!
To carry the burdens with me to my final grave
Yet I choose no release upon myself for my difficulties
And continued to carry the double burden upon my weary shoulders
Drank life to the lei because I accepted death
‘For I did not dread anything after death, just a continuum of my existence
My temple. the body of an undiscovered country from where no traveller returns
Yet in my very existence I dream today,
That my conscious did not make me a coward of myself

Ah, to dream, to sleep, perchance to dream
No more
That coffin lid will need to stay open for a few more year
The student is no longer a student but teacher of life
I must live, I must share today, I must be positive.

(Gregg Rowe: 1989)


(for Jerry: 1970-1991)

My first “Buddy” with the ACCM Buddy Program

I met Jerry in 1990 as he became my first Buddy after the formation with ACCM. He was 20 years old and I was 30, our relationship was a reflection of myself when I was his age. Our Buddy relationship lasted six months. I wrote this poem and recited it at his memoriam. His family never attended the funeral.

though we were never lovers
your body shook against
my dry lips
your blond hair
as if you just came
from a cold shower
shivering beneath the thin sheet
your body hot

the sound of the typewriter
pecks against
the opaque
in your room

as I lay next to you
our bodies covered
with your sweat
into white hospital sheets
that we borrowed from
the community centre

I feel your feet
protrude from underneath
the rumpled sheet

they are swollen
like your penis
sometimes was:
outlined through your
tight blue jeans
when you were full of life
your breathing comes in rasps

our minds filled with
stilled photographs
from our pasts
trying to remember
fishing on roaring, white rivers
dancing in black-neon strobe

our founded friendship fluttered
through our separate thoughts

the white wine we never drank
nevertheless tasted bad

our souls flew
at one another

bounced off
became one

underneath your bedroom door

the typewriter
continues to peck away
a life
in black and white

do you dream in colour?
is it like a motion picture?
all I see is
still black and white photographs

images of incidents
barely touching the outer edges

Do not go gentle into that good night
Rage, rage against the dying of the light

the sun hides behind the moon
causing the summer’s blue night
to turn black
like your eyes turn
as I continue to caress
your wet blond hair
my other hand
traces the youth of your skin
upon a skeleton chest

time has come
when the words
between the beginning
and the end
pass in your eyes
like the eclipse

our short friendship
is a fragment
of our lives
there are no black
and white photographs
no motion pictures
to guard our memories

as I feel the last
shake from your body
against my dry lips
your blond hair
tangled and knotted
from the wetness
while your body cools

the eclipse changes
to a stream of rain
as it forms a river
against the pain of glass
as I lay beside you
though we were never lovers

in the opaque
silence of your room
I hear
the typewriter downstairs
pecking out a life

(Gregg Rowe: 1991)