CBC Literary Prizes

Phone Sex with a One Time Lover on the West Coast by Julie Mannell

Julie Mannell has made the 2018 CBC Poetry Prize shortlist for Phone Sex with a One Time Lover on the West Coast.

2018 CBC Poetry Prize shortlist

Julie Mannell is a poet based in Toronto. (Sarah Bodri)

Julie Mannell made the 2018 CBC Poetry Prize shortlist for Phone Sex with a One Time Lover on the West Coast.

She will receive $1,000 from the Canada Council for the Arts and will have her work published on CBC Books.

The 2018 CBC Poetry Prize winner was Natalie Lim for Arrhythmia.

You can read Phone Sex with a One Time Lover on the West Coast below.


Phone Sex with a One Time Lover on the West Coast

Anything that is dying reminds me of my father. It gets hard,
nearly everything is always dying. I carry myself like a woman
who has survived things. I'm sorry. It is just that I am grieving.

If I was a billionaire I would make love to capitalism. I would have
more solutions. There is a cure for poverty but it is expensive. I am
a poor girl. I am a hypocrite in my starry-eyed dreams of America.

I don't mind the long-distance phone calls to California. I feel most
alive when you are inside of me. Talking about kissing you is the poetry
of kissing you. I send you love letters. I will fashion an art of loving you.

How much of poetry is bodies? My pregnant friend, she has two hearts.
You have to be careful about liking things that are not yours. I try to not
ask of people what they don't have to give me. Needing is so desperate.

We can be vulnerable because the stakes are low. I left on a plane
for Toronto: on the news the police are pulling gay men's bodies
from the bottoms of rich people's flower pots. You can love me

without ever having to love me through things. I won't show up
at your bar with your friends or get my nails done with your sisters.
You close the guestroom door in your avoa's house. You want to

detail holding me while you hold yourself. Everything that is alive
reminds you of trees. It is easy because so far I am always living.
I can tell you of the great hurts. Here is my mother and my father.

My others, those who bruise and vanish, repulsed by their own
broken logic and its violent idioms. I can tell you about Rob Ford
and Jian Ghomeshi and how for a second the sky cracked open

and God cried all over Ontario. I grow like a tree all over you.
I am possessed by the ghost of Tess Richey and you don't know,
America. I grow like a tree all over you. Hear me, San Francisco,

ringing in your ears like a church. Branching around and above
you. I watch the blizzard blow a flag outside my window. I am
so aggressively Canadian lately. I am deep into the canoe of you.


Read the other finalists

About Julie Mannell

Julie Mannell is an author of poetry, fiction and creative nonfiction. She holds an MFA in creative writing from the University of Guelph where she received the HarperCollins and Constance Rooke scholarships. She has won the Lionel Shapiro Award for excellence in creative writing (fiction) and the Mona Adilman Prize in Poetry. In 2017, she was named one of the top 30 poets under 30 by In/Words Magazine. Her work has been featured in various publications. Mannell grew up in Fonthill, Ont., and spent nearly a decade in Montreal. She currently lives in Toronto.

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