When I was in grade twelve my English teacher gave the class an assignment to write poetry inspired by our home city of Mississauga, Ontario. I have long since forgotten the inspiration behind this assignment, but I believe what was initially a project about some unknown poetic theme somehow morphed into an assignment where we had to write about our sleepy nondescript suburb. The humour inherent in having an urban sprawl wasteland as the subject of one’s poetic affection was not missed by anyone in my class. The assignment turned into an all-around joke. Although it is close to 29 years since I was in grade twelve, I have not forgotten some of the poems I wrote. Perhaps it is my own perverted sense of humour, combined with Mississauga of all places, which still makes me laugh myself silly over these poems after all these years.
Either my high school yearbook or in-house newspaper had a feature called “Bad Poetry”; this no doubt was the inspiration behind me writing deliberately awful work. I tried to violate every poetical rule in a simple couplet. The humour might go over the head of anyone not a resident of Mississauga, so I have added notes after each poem.
Mississauga Poetry from Grade 12
Hazel McCallion is our mayor
When she has a headache she takes a Bayer
Hazel McCallion was elected mayor of Mississauga in 1978 and has been the mayor ever since, currently serving her twelfth consecutive term. She just celebrated her 91st birthday this past Valentine’s Day.
There is Square One
Browsing in Rumpus is fun
Emphasis in the first line is on the totally useless verb “is”. Crime #1 is to give poetic focus to this verb–and there couldn’t be one more meaningless. Square One is a super-enormous shopping mall and Rumpus was the name of a toy store I loved to visit as a child. Rumpus unfortunately is long gone.
There is Meadowvale Vil-
age. It’s there still.
Enjambment at its worst. Meadowvale Village was founded in the 1820’s and is Ontario’s first Heritage Conservation District. The Meadowvale area occupies the northwest corner of Mississauga. As with the previous poem, valuable limited space is wasted on the introductory “There is”, which is mentioned here not once but twice.