Pulling Apart the Norms | Review of “Sabotage” by Priscila Uppal (2015) Mansfield Press


We don’t critique the world around us, we grumble about it and move on. We don’t protest things anymore, we whine about them and stumble away. We don’t argue about items presented to us, we shake our heads at those points and slink away. But Priscila Uppal has dared to blow apart many norms we have chosen to accept in her collection of poetry called Sabotage.

Accusations – Page 11

Summer nights ripe for accusations, I twirl my parasol

while you tip your straw hat to store fronts


I accuse your briefcase of prematurely filing for bankruptcy

You accuse my hairpins of setting fire to the tool shed.


I accuse your desk drawers of alcoholism.

You accuse my running shoes of adultery.


I accuse your grooming kit of harbouring dangerous fugitives.

You accuse my paperbacks of plagiarism.


I accuse your mother of sabotaging our cheese fondue.

You accuse mine of bugging our bedroom, exterminating our transcripts.


I accuse your love of being small.

You accuse me of dumping mine on the side of the road like a lame dog.


We accuse bowls of cold water at the doors of nursing homes of debunking our seniors.

We accuse elevators of treason.


All this before the bullied sun offs itself.

Uppal is an accomplished poet and wordsmith whom I always enjoy reading. Her phrases always awaken my mind’s eye with clear imagery and cause me to ponder her thoughts long after I have read her work. This work is no exception.

The Biggest Loser – Page 44

I am an obese woman

trapped in a slim woman’s body.

My calorie intake is high,

but could be staggering.

I just need a scale, a TV crew,

and a support network


I want to bite, chew, swallow

every minute of every day until

time ceases to exist.


I want to gorge on happiness

and unhappiness until I’m so absorbed

I cannot move an inch.


I want to wear fat

like memory foam

and become my own indigestible dreams.


I want to roll my hunger

like dough and rise like a volcano

to the occasion.


I am an obese woman

trapped in a slim woman’s body.

Look, my ribs are keys

of a player piano.

Look, look into my eyes,

fat as opera singers.

Uppal fires volleys of phrases into the concepts we blindly accept as the world. Sometimes readers need to re-read a phrase to understand the concept that she is bringing forth for us to grasp, but then there is a moment of awaking that occurs. Which is what a good piece of literature should do.

Teaching is Becoming a Dangerous Profession – Page 59

Pull out a book,

you might as well be pulling out

a grenade.


No one seems to recognize

what it is or how to use it

before it’s too late.

Priscila Uppal has dared to rip apart the norms in the world around us with her book Sabotage. She carefully crafts volleys of words into things around us that need to be dismantled and destroyed. A great work of literature.

Link to Priscila Uppal’s website

Link to Mansfield Press’ page for Sabotage



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