Monday, February 4, 2013

new from above/ground press: The Double Bind Dictionary, by Helen Hajnoczky

The Double Bind Dictionary
Helen Hajnoczky


check if you’re ready
roll and tighten your neckerchief—
roll your stockings, stand at attention,
sing songs with conviction
even if you don’t understand them,
you’ll be a more personable person for it
a more malleable hungarian.

paint eggs, throw rosewater
go a week without a shower.
dodge balls, weave leather—
serve mashed potatoes to your elders,
get on stage and recite your lines
with your practiced intonation,
with your shaky understanding.

wonder how well you know friends
who you cannot express yourself to—
who you cannot understand.

when you can, savour elicit snippets of english
together, hiding in the church parking lot.
if nothing else, you’re learning to keep secrets.

published in Ottawa by above/ground press
February 2013
a/g subscribers receive a complimentary copy

This is Helen Hajnoczky’s second above/ground press chapbook, after A history of button collecting (2010).

Helen Hajnoczky's first book Poets and Killers: A Life in Advertising was published in 2010 by Snare Books, an imprint of Invisible Publishing. She blogs and tweets @helenhajnoczky.

The Double Bind Dictionary is excerpted from the book-length project Magyarazni, which is generously supported by the Alberta Foundation for the Arts

To order, send cheques (add $1 for postage; outside Canada, add $2) to: rob mclennan, 402 McLeod St #3, Ottawa ON K2P 1A6 or paypal at

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