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From the archives

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In equal balance justly weighed

Slouching toward Democracy

Where have all the wise men gone?

By Populist Demand

When urban and rural voters went separate ways

For Your Safety Please Hold On


Another forty minutes in a stranger’s armpit,

oh boy. How do you like avoiding eye contact

with me, sir in neon windbreaker?

Let’s stare at the logos mass embroidered

into each other’s outerwear, listening

to whatever podcasts or pop music

the wires lift into our ears. So many

public strangers whose voices we never

hear. How do they sound murmuring

down the telephone’s dark tunnel

toward loved ones? Staring at stickers

that in urgently red uppercase letters read,

for your safety please hold on, I want to

graffiti, to each other, to the ends of them.

I’m sorry — love is ruining my sensibilities.

Above us, posters advertising education

and mortgage rates glow in blue light.

We contort to respect each other’s personal

space, as the bus puts on passengers.

It’s funny how distant you can remain

sharing oxygen and travel. It’s funny how

your backpack says, honk if you like

honking. Sir, I’m honking. For your safety

please hold on to each other, violently on

all the sofas, mattresses and futons that fill

your respective housing units. Please

hold on tightly to your beloveds,

who’ve miraculously not been flung

through the windshield at red lights

while crossing the city to return to you.


Kayla Czaga is the author of two poetry collections, For Your Safety Please Hold On and Dunk Tank . She lives in Victoria.