The Electric Smock Cycle (of two poems, alas) was born as a dare on the late-night Ontario Northlander train from Toronto to North Bay. I found myself sitting across from another Nipissing student, and while comparing programs, he learned that I was struggling with a poetry assignment that I hoped to complete during the journey. He immediately suggested I write about a smock that kills people.
“Like, the kind of smock you wear?”
How does a smock kill people? Lethal static electric discharge, it turns out.
I loved this monstrous thing and expanded the exercise into my final assignment for Creative Writing: Poetry. My ultimate goal was to write additional components of the cycle as parodies of established genres — the second, longer poem that follows the shorter exercise in this document was inspired by the pastoral, “The Passionate Shepherd to his Love” by Christopher Marlowe — I foundered after a few lines of something hideous inspired by “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner” in which a Small Moose Named Harold (the protagonist of my high school epic) would do mortal battle with and vanquish the grisly garment.
… As yet, the Smock remains at large.
The Sordid Sojourns of the Electric Smock (PDF)