W. John Williamson​

Would you believe


In 1984, I made a deal with God
(Who in later reckoning
Seems a particularly poor choice to barter with thusly)

That if I would quit masturbating
If he made sure
The coldly warring superpowers
Wouldn’t blow each other
And the rest of us
Off the planet


In retrospect
If there is some force
Behind all the lawlike regularities
Ensuring all those sparrows don’t just fall for no good reason

I wonder why this force would have been much swayed
By my proposal


I think I made it three months

Which is pretty good for thirteen


And did not experience the side benefits

That all the puritans, faithful or secular,

Advertise in such glowing terms

Thought and complexion

No clearer
Maybe a little less laundry


The giant within me
Self-spent and forsaking potential

Remained in torpor
Under the new regime


And then one November morning
The fate of the world
Called out more faintly
Than the bra section of the Christmas Sears catalogue

And that was that

Yet we remained un-vaporized

Was my three months maybe enough of a sacrifice?

If you think so I’d accept your thanks and money

But I’d recommend to the youth of today

Fixated on their own exploding horizons

Offer better terms

W. John Williamson is a Calgarian spoken word performer and writer. He was on the 2017 poetry slam team that vied for the national title at the Canadian Festival of Spoken word, has featured on many stages throughout Alberta including at the South Country Fair music and poetry festival. Some of John's "page" poems are available in Prairie Journal and The Canadian Journal of Disability Studies. In another genre his PhD dissertation in educational research, written as a noire detective novel, is available in serialized editions in the Journal of Applied Hermeneutics.