Imaginary Maps reveals a city haunted by monsters, movie stars and jilted lovers; a city where hope and rage, sacred and carnal, mundane and surreal are uneasy neighbours. One with a downtown that swells with pleasures and pains too big for words, where every dead end is suffused with an unbidden kindness, 'an accidental choreography.'
About the author
Darrell Epp is a poet, freelance journalist, and playwright whose work has appeared widely in magazines around the world, including Maisonneuve, Poetry Nottingham, Sub-Terrain, and The Saranac Review. Born in Toronto, he currently resides in Hamilton, Ontario where he earns a living locking up trains for CN Rail.
Excerpt: Imaginary Maps (by (author) Darrell Epp)
How Many Molecules
…the insomniac is counting molecules, digesting a burrito with difficulty. what’s your infinity multiplied by my zero? existential is a word you might use for tonight. the sizzling bacon, the hum of nocturnal motors, the mind too big for its brain. tragedies hibernate inside moments like these: the bloody wedding dress, the mushroom clouds, pianos thrown off the balcony. what to say, and to whom.
trees with leaves like tin foil, the ache of yesterday’s pleasures remembered, plus all the rest of it tied up in a boy scout knot. clear skies and days that end with a ‘y’ so far away, life is harder than it looks. this absence will outlive me, nothing ever ends.
o how i wish my work was my play. square pegs could fit into round holes, the chicken could trade places with the egg. boots on my head, hats on my feet, the evil queen becomes the slave girl birthing new stars inside the eagle nebula. if i could show you exactly how gorgeous you are as you stagger sleepily out of the bedroom and ask what’s for breakfast, nothing would ever get done around here.
“Beginning with its title, Darrell Epp’s Imaginary Maps lays out on the table its investment in a psychic territory. These short lyrics create a personal space which takes shape between stints on the couch, drives in the car, and attempts at romance. Overall, however, the collection doesn’t make grandiose movements. Rather, like the train cars that Epp makes a living locking up for CN Rail, these poems shunt along their lines, linking big, unwieldy topics like “the end of the world” and “infinity plus a day” through telling details, such as the sound “of that mouse in [the] wall.” At its best, Imaginary Maps provides deft turns of phrase and thought: “when we run out of words / we realize that we don’t need / words.” Furthermore, through self-deprecation, Epp deflates the self-absorption which is sometimes a part of the lyrical format: “And the universe, which weighs more / than I can guess, fits quite comfortably / inside my brain.””
—Aaron Giovannone, Canadian Literature