"Lord of Misrule"
Jake Byrne is a queer writer whose poem “Parallel Volumes” was the winner of the 2019 CV2 Young Buck Poetry Prize. His work has appeared in Bat City Review, PRISM international, Lambda Literary’s Poetry Spotlight, The Puritan, Plenitude, Poetry is Dead, The Fiddlehead, and elsewhere. His first chapbook, The Tide (Rahila’s Ghost, 2017), was shortlisted for the bpNichol Chapbook Award in 2018. He is a settler based in Tkaronto, at the traditional meeting place of the nations of the Huron-Wendat, the Seneca, the Haudenosaunee, and the Mississaugas of the Credit River.
"William Kurelek (1927 – 1977) had been a lifelong atheist until a mental health crisis precipitated his religious conversion, a circumstance I can relate to. I found The Rock by chance — perhaps, divine intervention — walking through the Art Gallery of Ontario and was drawn to the red hues and Bosch-like figures swarming the citadel. What I respond to in this work is not only the humour Kurelek hides in the sea of horrors (one of the banners of sin the devils carry reads ‘FORM’) but also the notion that the adversity you face washes away what is unnecessary, revealing what remains at your core. This poem, like many I write these days, considers what remains after life’s bloody tide has crashed onto the shore. Whether the answer is grace, humanity, or art, I don’t know. Your mileage may vary."