I’m Afraid


I’m afraid we would be remiss
If we were too quick to dismiss
If we overlook one precious fact
We will rue the knowledge that we lacked
In ignorance there is no bliss

The serpent’s tell, rattle and hiss
The succubus steals souls with a kiss
And even mighty Rome was sacked…
I’m afraid

There is something that is amiss
It’s not supposed to be like this
So if we are too quick to act
We may go too far to change tact
The World’s gone to shit and piss…
I’m afraid


T J Therien

The Onus

The onus is on us, each and every one
This is one obligation that we cannot shun
It’s one responsibility we cannot shirk
If we ever really want this World to work
If the war against hate is ever to be won

There’s a time to be serious, a time for fun
And there are some things that can never be undone
We need to rise above the muck, the mire and mirk
The onus is on us

There’s no place safe and there’s nowhere to run
We must guard against the ignorant opinion
Against the attitudes that in the shadows lurk
All cloak and dagger, cloth concealing the dirk
There is only resilience and resolution
The onus is on us


T J Therien

De Sade Doth Surely Rolleth In His Grave

De Sade, de Sade, does it make you sad
Does it make you crazy and drive you mad
That they called you criminal and dangerously insane
Now everybody has BDSM on the brain
And fifty shades of shit is the latest fad

Old women dress as schoolgirls, scantily clad
Begging for spankings because they’ve been bad
How so very boring, whoring bland and plain
De Sade, de Sade

Marquis macabre intrigued the wee lad
You were controlled by the fetishes you had
You delved deep into the pleasures of pain
Deeper than the deviance of whip and chain
Do you roll in your grave? Aghast, do you cry? “Egad!”
De Sade, de Sade

T J Therien

A Poem for my Mayor, my Premier and my Prime Minister

You will hear me, it will be so
I just thought you ought to know
I’m willing to forge an alliance
But I will also stand in defiance
I will not kowtow, or tow

Away…Away I will not go
I will stand here rain, sleet and snow
Shout above the din, break the silence
You will hear me

You can be my friend or my foe
The choice is yours, what debt you owe
It really isn’t rocket science
I will point out non-compliance
End the suffering, end the woe
You will hear me

T J Therien

“That Guy”

I wish I was “that guy”, you know “that guy”
Yes, I see you swoon and I hear you sigh
It’s torture to watch, it’s tearing me apart
He makes you laugh; he’s so witty and smart
I just want to crawl up in a ball and die

From a distance I admire and espy
Whenever he’s around you fly sky high
Your love echoes in each beat of your heart
I wish I was “that guy”

I can see it in that look in your eye
When he holds your hand, or touches your thigh
You just can’t wait for the loving to start
Yes I’m jealous; I’m an envious old fart
Do you really need to still ask me why
I wish I was “that guy”

T J Therien

Rumour Has It

I just thought you ought to know
Just as sure as the wind will blow
Just as the ball is sure to drop
And that bubble is bound to pop
All those baubles are just for show

Sitting over a cup of Joe
The dawn of idea begins to glow
Seen from valley and mountain top
I just thought

Unsatisfied with the status quo
Salmon swim against the river’s flow
Their secret is they never stop
Counter current they skip and hop
Their progress is steady and slow
I just thought

T J Therien

I Will Not Be Bound


I will not be bound by your expectations
Your labels, diagnosis and classifications
I will not be limited by the bar you have set
The vacant space between my ears is not for let
I alone rule my stars and constellations

I divorce myself from associations
I divest myself of your condemnations
I owe you nothing, neither favor nor debt
I will not be bound

You would inflict psychic lacerations
Subject me to the lash of constant humiliations
You will rue the day that we ever met
Trust me when I say, I’m someone you won’t forget
I am one of the good Lord’s greatest creations
I will not be bound

T J Therien

My Back is Broke


My back is broke, I cannot bend
Chronic pain you can’t comprehend
Just as axe fells the mighty oak
And oxen buckle beneath the yoke
My knees have grown too stiff, my friend

Splintered spine and of marrow rend
Blood and urine in bowel blend
Karma plays the cruelest joke
My back is broke

The plaster is just for pretend
Shattered bone refuses to mend
What good is wheel without spoke?
The paintbrush minus master stroke
My days of scraping are at an end
My back is broke

T J Therien

Would That I Could

(While co-facilitating a creative writing day for the Toronto Writers Collective on Tuesday I wrote this in ten minutes to the prompt of “I would if I could.”)


Would that I could heal the sick and feed the poor

I would do this much and so much more

I would write right the world’s wrongs

Create a better place existing beyond verse and songs

And teach Humanity love is at the core


We can do so much better, so much more

Than waste our time on senseless war

This is what my heart really longs

Would that I could


I would deconstruct the myths and lore

Make poverty and illness a thing of yore

Pass the pipe and fire up the bongs

Pull from the forge of my mind with iron wrought tongs

A world that is worth fighting for

Would that I could



T J Therien

Set List

I am one of ten writers that have been asked to perform at a closed spoken word event in Toronto on the 19th of March. I have been agonizing since accepting the invitation over what I will recite. I contacted one of the organizers of the event and asked if there was a theme or subject for the night, hoping to make my selection process easier. I received a response telling me there was no theme, that it was about my (literary) voice and my story. So needless to say, I was still perplexed. After much deliberation I settled on four poems I believe best exemplify my voice and my story. I believe these pieces (while not necessarily the best I’ve written) represent best me as a Poet. I also think the poems I have selected are the perfect intersection between life and craft. For my reading I have selected 4 poems, a Rondeau, a Shakespearean Sonnet, a Chant Royal and a Huitain. Following are the pieces I have selected.




Some men were born, born to be great,

Privilege served on a silver plate,

Roses that have been clipped of thorn,

A welcome never over-worn,

Heredity commiserate


Some men were bred for better fate

Where butlers buttle and maids wait,

Oh, plentiful and golden horn,

Some men were born


Inability to relate

To man born above subway grate

Shivering on cold winter morn

With rotten teeth pulled and head shorn,

Feeling second class, second rate

Some men were born


T J Therien



Self Portrait-Shakespearean Sonnet


Plucked from the pages of Dostoyevsky

I really am quite the caricature,

Cartoon buffoonery played out tragically,

Edvard Munch could not paint a more accurate picture,

A sketch of tormented soul, draped in melancholic shroud,

The nightmare that evolved from the dream,

Random thoughts the Madman wonders aloud,

In order to silence them I scream,

At sunset I fight the dying lights

Beneath star bright, under dark form of magic,

Everything pales in the shadow of white nights,

While the moon waxes and wanes nostalgic,

The hours unwind and death draws nearer

This is the idiot I see when I look in the mirror


T J Therien



Demons-Chant Royal


A thousand years of ritual abuse,

Violate convention and armistice,

Battlefield yields forensic clues

Of a war with monsters that does not cease,

The undead legions of zombies attack,

Vampire feeds on hemophiliac,

The gentle prick and the trickle of red,

Infection through vein and artery sped,

The blood curdles and the milk goes sour,

I became all that I despise and dread,

After scorching earth and burning bower


With the man in the mirror there is no truce,

Science of sabotage his expertise ,

Bomb triggered by either timer or fuse,

Hidden with heart, in urn on mantelpiece,

Set to detonate when the night is most black,

In sleep deprived thought of insomniac,

Is it how I was born? How I was bred?

What kind of nutrient was demon fed?

That makes it grow stronger by the hour,

Trying to run away, in haste I fled

After scorching earth and burning bower


Why am I so thick skulled and obtuse?

The precious real-estate I let them lease,

While producing excuse after excuse,

Clawing their way out of crevice and crease,

Rising to surface from fissure and crack,

These evil entities, demoniac,

Bear witness as I did the Devil wed,

It is through my own private hell I tread,

Hide in corner of the mind and cower

And scissors snip the single strand of thread

After scorching earth and burning bower


My moral decline and the loss of my values

Led to another run in with the police,

Threw me in the drunk tank and turned the thumbscrews,

Brought before justice to plead for release,

Stood in the box with kleptomaniac,

Before judge sent me up the Pontiac,

The horror, I shivered, as my sentence was read,

Solitaire on rations of water and bread,

Locked away in dungeon roots of tower,

Punishment dispensed for the life I had led

After scorching earth and burning bower


Didn’t matter if it was sex, drug, or booze,

My destructive nature was the centerpiece,

I was playing a game that I could only lose,

Being ruled by chaos and caprice,

Kicking around my heart like a hacky sack,

Like a freight train coming off of the track,

Derailing my life, in gutter I bled,

Those of my ilk end up in jail or dead,

The light goes on and the truth will endower,

A moment’s epiphany and watershed

After scorching earth and burning bower




I peel the monkeys off of my back,

Swallow hard for any courage I lack

And slay the demons that dwell in my head,

Because no other man can stand in my stead,

Stand firm in my resolve and willpower,

I put on a new skin, the old one I shed

After scorching earth and burning bower


T J Therien





Mind diseased by lycanthropy,

You might not believe that it’s true,

You are no different than me,

A monster dwells within you too,

Werewolves appear when moon is blue,

We all have our Jekyll and Hyde,

If not one beast, then a zoo,

We all conceal darker side


T J Therien