Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Tuesday poem #310 : Tanis MacDonald : Hawks and Handlers

At the Medieval Faire we watch
two women in leather jerkins
cinched with wide brown belts and 

tethered to their wrists a peregrine
hawk with its dark head and slate wings
and a barn owl with a face like

a Venn diagram and the hawk handler says
They don’t like being with us so we can’t
pet them and they won’t fly to glove

for food because the hawk will ball
its claws up and punch its prey to break
its neck before eating it

but we keep these big birds fed and
protected so they are getting all their
needs met and aren’t looking for another

relationship and all the couples and maybe
some singles in the crowd laugh and
the hawk handler blushes. She didn’t

mean it that way not at all and I look
at you with your camera to your eye
twisting the lens for a close-up of the owl’s

white face floating in the dim tent and know
the cat will spring at our ankles when
we walk in the door she will bare

her teeth and pounce preparing for the day she’ll
take us down with matching thuds and eat us
beginning with our eyes

and know we were getting all our needs met

Tanis MacDonald is the author of five books of poetry and essays, including Out of Line: Daring to Be an Artist Outside the Big City, and the editor of two collections. Her next poetry book, Mobile, will be out with Book*hug in Fall 2019. Recent work has appeared in Atlantis, Understorey, Prairie Fire, and Lemon Hound. She lives in Waterloo, Ontario.

the Tuesday poem is curated by rob mclennan

Tuesday, March 05, 2019

Tuesday poem #309 : Heather Sweeney : Five poems

MISTAKE I may mistake you for a seam of rain for neon clouds or a forgery of birds speaking my name for your body is a starry filigree wing cradling my ungiven thoughts in the dream I did not see but felt you closer and it was exactly what I needed

VOID avoidance ate away here dig into me call me a stuffed pig rancid milk stain a void mimicking my choke hold my cherry chest for real gifts come later a gash for the gristle a moment tucked in the chlorine hills into the rawest meat of my mirror

GRAY burn slow bundled sage for the entity inching away as I awaken to diagram the hum of a bare tree to call out hoarse and yellow a sash of dirt a tongue of seeds to articulate and hit refresh to sweat out the gray-torn minutes behind me

SEED willow named I a sky of tangerine a bracelet of live bees inverting my chest an understatement turning red into rage then blue into self-pity call me starseed reciting the space between two ribs the gloss of a failed eternity

NEVER I collapse under my own glamour I mean my grammar call me a glitch with a glitter adi shakti symbol threading my wings a bundle of lavender in my armpit instead of your face call me never the wound still glows and I let it

Heather Sweeney lives in San Diego where she teaches writing.  Her chapbook, Just Let Me Have This, was published this year by Selcouth Station Press.  above/ground recently published her chapbook, Same Bitch, Different Era:  The Real Housewives Poems.

The Tuesday poem is curated by rob mclennan

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Tuesday poem #308 : Michael Turner : I Ran to Persia

for Mohammad Salemy 

arms by my side, bent forward
backwards down Valiasr
past Benneton, Reebok, Adidas

down Mossadeq, Pahlavi, running
arms by my side, bent forward
carpets, blankets, backwards 

past CIA, MI6
standing on the sidewalk
hands on hips, pretending not to

notice the truck across the street
don’t look – the red one
the driver has a Leica

Michael Turner [photo credit: Olive Liesch] was born on unceded Squamish territory (North Vancouver, B.C.) in 1962 and spent his teenage summers working in the Skeena River salmon fishery. His first book, Company Town (1991), was nominated for a Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize. His second book, Hard Core Logo (1993), was adapted to feature-film. Kingsway (1995), American Whiskey Bar (1997), The Pornographer’s Poem (1999), 8x10 (2009) and 9x11 and other poems like Bird, Nine, x and Eleven (2018) followed. A frequent collaborator, he has written scripts with Stan Douglas, poems with Geoffrey Farmer and songs with cub, Dream Warriors, Fishbone and Kinnie Starr. At present he is Adjunct Professor in the Faculty of Liberal Arts and Sciences and School of Interdisciplinary Studies and Graduate Studies at OCAD University.

the Tuesday poem is curated by rob mclennan

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Tuesday poem #307 : Erin Emily Ann Vance : Alice Discovers all the Rabbits are Dead

After Stephen Sexton

A little girl with frilled pink socks
and daisies in her braids
crawls into the stump of a plastic tree
to say a gleeful hello!
to all the dead dears inside.

Hello hedgehog!
Hello little mouse!
Hello mister owl!

Fairy doors open
to reveal a stuffed finch on plastic moss
and a field mouse
hiding its glass eyes
from the sticky fingers of children.

Everything here is for touching
a curator sings,
Snow White with an electronic security pass
on the third floor of the Ulster Museum
a princess of taxidermy
and plastic play sets.

Low to the ground
three fox cubs are curled together behind plexi glass
eyes glued shut
like a stillborn cerberus.

This is where the little girl
with frilled pink socks
and pinch-red cheeks wonders,
for the first time,
why the animals lay so still
and silent.

everything here is for touching
the living and the dead
and the in between

This thought does not linger;
a bushy tail hangs like a feather duster
in the playhouse,

the girl plays tug-of-war with the plastic tree
reaches to pet the hedgehog and squeals
at the spines
scraping her flesh-ripe palm
before running to mummy.

Everything here is for touching.


Erin Emily Ann Vance (MA Creative Writing) is a fiction writer and poet. She attended the Seamus Heaney Centre for Poetry summer course at Queen's University Belfast in 2018, and a will be a fellow of Summer Literary Seminars in Nairobi in December 2018. A recipient of the Alberta Foundation for the Arts Young Artist Prize in 2017, and a finalist for the 2018 Alberta Magazine Awards for fiction, her work has appeared in many magazines and journals, including filling station and Contemporary Verse 2. She has a chapbook with Lofton8th press and a leaflet with The Blasted Tree. Her first novel will be released by Stonehouse Publishing in Fall 2019.

the Tuesday poem is curated by rob mclennan