Jodie; or, How to Be a Londoner
By Sydney Brooman
Jodie likes her boy-men Elgin-born
she rides Greyhounds through farm graveyards
to find Stratfordites in Bieber jeans
smokes clove cigarettes under Springbank trees
and writes baby poetry
while Mustangs choke frosh meat in the Woodland leaves
atop Victoria dead
Dutton Dolls seek Labatt Bucks
to fuck behind Maitland Hall
the girls fall home to bed with violet cheeks
and violent dreams
of horses burning in the streets
she’ll down your dollar beers
and spend your student loans
on Solid Gold
likes it when his purple peacoat reeks
like the Ceeps
and when he says he only loves her on her knees
near Dundas street
she strips to Flight of the Bumblebee 
and he whispers
the Thames will wash you clean.
 Lump Elgin County, Middlesex County, and London together. Do not bother with differentiation.
 Stop in Woodstock to puke in a cornfield.
When in Stratford, Ontario, you must (in order): See a play; take a selfie with Justin Bieber’s dad; complain about your privilege.
 Springbank Park in the west end of London is a little out of the way. Look at pictures of it instead.
 Mustang: Western University’s mascot. Bring a rape whistle to Orientation.
 Visit Woodland Cemetery, across the street from Springbank Park. Look at nothing but baby deer.
 Referring to the 1881 Victoria Steamboat disaster in London. Only ever call it “Our Titanic.”
 Your cousin probably lives in Dutton, a small town in Elgin-Middlesex. You know, the one whose fiancé works at the Labatt brewery downtown?
 A residence at Western University. Pay thirteen grand a year so Chad in third year can tell you that your tits are better than his sisters’.
 Western Mustangs: An extraordinary distrust of institutions starts here.
 Pay one dollar for a beer at Jack’s. Spend the night watching your drink (just in case).
 A strip club on Dundas Street. After you’ve sold your winter boots to buy text books, sell your body, too.
 Weep in the bathroom of London’s oldest bar.
 The Market Tower speakers on the corner of Richmond and Dundas play classical hits for all your musical needs.
 The Thames River is your dumping ground.
re: cam show
By Sydney Brooman
hey there sexy little Thursday
where are you
hiding your daddy’s teeth?
suck my toenails
and tell me i’m your
thick pig hot rock magic box
like you’re choking
on a baby brush
my wife doesn’t like
when we play operation
pack your panties
with my armpit hair
stick those kisses way up
in that tiny eyelash
oh boy oh honey
God, Jesus Christ
what i would do to those
By Sydney Brooman
tuesday afternoon keeps his work boots on
lets my bulldog kiss him on the mouth
and when i move to slip off my blush pink blouse
he laughs and says no, no
i just wanna hit you-- if that's ok
sure, i say
i’m propped up on Nana’s salmon duvet
and he loves me
fuck that crying is hot
the galaxies bloom
and Western purple
up to my shoulders
he’s gotta go--
he left his little brother with a neighbour
and i think about how people adopt stars
(but not really)
By Sydney Brooman
It doesn’t stop itching because
oatmeal baths don’t do wonders
for wanting to die but i guess
chicken pox leaves scars too
and is just as
does your breath feel the same going in?
marks on plaster drawn
without rulers we used
the Crayola colours no one
wanted and i’m pretty sure
dandelion yellow lost us the
rental security deposit
mr. clean erasers do the trick
well but only later was it
clear that the magic is
only chemical burning
nothing really leaves this
world for good unless you
feel it hurt
on the way out.
I often think about how painful it must have been
for my mother to give birth
to a scratched CD
She barely spoke English but didn't need it much
since women like us need not open our mouths
so long as we open our legs
for the sweaty hands of the evening air
that whistles through the banks downtown
i often think about the
that two toddlers in their twenties building homes up on crescendos could conceive
and a stutterer
in the same daughter
Maybe “With or Without You” whirling in a yellow Walkman
shared my pillow
and maybe my mind minced the With
to keep me from thinking too early
that things get to go your way
and I've never been the kind of girl to remember
something told to me once so maybe repetition’s been the God that stops me from
stops me from
shows me how not to be
The real laugh erupts when
real CD's skip but everyone knows
you can't stutter while you sing
and it's funny because
when you forget the sound of your voice
and after the speech impediment Russian roulette
I was given a name filled with S's and B's
sounds that clung to the edge of my tongue
and decided that I didn't buy their copyright
and it's funny because I came scratched in the package
and nobody quite got
what they paid for
I often think about how off rhythm I'd be
without the beatbox soundtrack that pops in for a visit
on tired nights and presentations
and when you flip through a thesaurus
with a gun to your head to replace what you cannot say
eventually you come to know language
and I'm not the first every 8AM drive to work
but you keep me in your glove box
for the nostalgia
and you don't really mind
that there's a scratch through “With or Without You”
because you've only ever heard it that way in your car
prefer that version
Sydney Brooman is a poet and fiction writer from London, Ontario. Their work has been published in Occasus, The Gateway Review, River River Journal, Coffin Bell, and The Iconoclast Collective. They are the creator of the fiction podcast Memoriam and of the slam poetry publication SNAPS. They served as Western University’s Student-Writer-in-Residence from 2017-2018. They also wrote that story you really like. No, not that one—the other one.