Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Tuesday poem #185 : George Stanley : To a Young Voter

I can't take politics seriously, at 82
I'm too preoccupied with my own

mortality.  But I can go 'meta' -
I can take your taking politics seriously

seriously.  I know, intellectually,
if your party wins the next election,
the new government will raise

taxes on the rich, lower
taxes on the poor, set a price for carbon,
save the children, save the aquifers -

even the rich will feel they are happier.

So I take very seriously
your taking politics seriously,

notwithstanding my mortality.


George Stanley [photo credit: Cath Morris] is a third-generation American modernist poet taken refuge among second-generation Canadian modernists.

the Tuesday poem is curated by rob mclennan

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Tuesday poem #184 : Marie Buck : I Cough Into Your Face and You Cough into Mine

I was practicing suspending a coin in midair,
a coin the size of a standard desk globe
and the weight of a very heavy thing.

And now I remember something already ghoulish,
my majestic pink belly glowing in the dark.

The belly button ought to be sexy but isn’t;
it’s sexy to the one who licks it but feels
like nothing to the one who’s licked,
so that both parties will eventually decide
to end the awkwardness of trading pleasure
and sit back and instead read the script
on the decorative
napkins they’ve been given.

The script that says “the world is not terrible,
it’s pretty awesome,”

which no one believes,
which kills all desire.

Marie Buck is the author of Life & Style (Patrick Lovelace Editions) and Portrait of Doom (Krupskaya). She lives in Brooklyn.

the Tuesday poem is curated by rob mclennan

Tuesday, October 04, 2016

Tuesday poem #183 : Jason Christie : a portrait

gallery walls acrumble
and i'm inside eating

i'm inside eating my
lunch before work

sunlight and dust, so
much that a new

statue has formed
around me, impossible

to resist the accumulating
import, sunlight howls

my thought to shift
from tight couplets

to a disregard for the dust
that i follow and my body follows

and at some point i remember
the layers of shit on the walls

that seemed so important
while i was eating lunch

in a broken gallery surrounded
by colleagues and acquaintances

before i had to start work
dismantling the portrait exhibit

Jason Christie lives in Ottawa with his wife and toddler. He is the author of Canada Post (Snare), i ROBOT (Edge/Tesseract), Unknown Actor (Insomniac), and a co-editor of Shift & Switch: New Canadian Poetry (Mercury). He has three chapbooks from above/ground press, two of which were nominated for the bpNichol Chapbook Award: GOVERNMENT (2013), and Cursed Objects (2014). The third chapbook is called The Charm. He is currently writing poetry about objects.

the Tuesday poem is curated by rob mclennan

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Tuesday poem #182 : Chris Martin : THE MASKS ARE FOR OUR OWN SAFETY

Duct-taping the mouth of the oracle shut

Finance & hypnosis

Resting & Resisting

Where an evening cloud stains the nasturtiums

And bed bugs leisurely fleece

A handwritten note reading free

As Hurricane Patricia scalps the coast

I say tomorrow, you say opportunity

(everything’s a mouth)

I say opportunity, you say property

As we (endless

Dolly shot) glide across the sidewalks

And I want to fondle each tree

Marked with a green x

Because, I dunno, they’re possessed?

Our red carpet of papier-mâché leaves

Turning full banana peel in the freezing rain

This week we’re fucking and making a baby

Giving the cat away so I can breathe again

There’s a twitch in the hood of my left eyelid

Tapping out Morse code to the half-buried scarecrow

It’s almost Halloween

Scarlet sociopath gardens

Blooming scattered limbs

In manicured yards

I thought these people were middle class liberals

Bill Blass, Ralph Lauren

Atty is waging a nap-strike

Singing bobbikin horn, his pants are all torn

And then mi cabeza over and over

He’s two-and-a-half and he’s going to be

A sexy, sparkly witch

And there’s nothing we can or want

To do about it

He’s the future

The future prolongs his opulent sleeplessness

And I secretly want him to become an engineer

But he’ll probably just become a famous actor

Or worse, a poet

The future is making declarations and practicing her cackle

I need the future to sleep so I can relax

But the future really doesn’t get tranquility

I should just let the future finish this poem

He says Daddy feels the beautiful rain

He says It’s nighttime in other people’s houses

He says I breathe my dark air

He says I become a merry, scary shepherdess

He says Yellow fire, yellow fire

He says I’m going to shrink to the size of an acorn

He says The white astronaut on the white moon opens the white door

He says Petal shovel

He says My astronaut got some moon on him

He says Mama is a witch because she walks in the alley

He says Daddy is a man because he walks into a house and is not a thing

He says Orca in a carriage full of people

He says I’m bellying away from you

He says You don’t want to call it anything

Chris Martin is the author of The Falling Down Dance (Coffee House, 2015), Becoming Weather (Coffee House, 2011), and American Music (Copper Canyon, 2007). In 2015 he co-founded Unrestricted Interest, a consultancy and writing program dedicated to transforming the lives of people with autism. He also teaches at The Loft Literary Center and is a visiting assistant professor at Carleton College.

the Tuesday poem is curated by rob mclennan

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Tuesday poem #181 : Christine Stewart and Ted Byrne : Stone Rimes 1

from Dante

Al poco giorno e al gran cerchio d’ombra

In the brief day of masks
When the color leaves
And the grass is white
In the day that comes
To the white bleached hills
My desire is lost.

In the scalded hills lost
In the stone woman masked
In the white hills
Fixed in the dying leaves
Left but how hard is stone when the soft shade comes
To her that is masked, how white?

When the shade softens the white
And covers in green the desire lost
In the flowers coming
In the orchards unmasking
In the fields and leaves
Releasing the white hills

Turning green the new hills
Taking breached the will of bleached white
Finding the stone self in leaves
Shielding the stone not lost
For its beauty unmasked
Made clear in a verdant coming

As a person comes clear in leaving
As the stars of grass come
Calm to the plains not lost
Come finding green hills
Where the person is not white
And the unlight of I is unmasked

As leaves from the grass of hills  
Come green come unbleached   
As desire comes, found, and unmasked 
As I come between

In the brief bereft of eyes
of what ambition imparts with time
In her eyes periodic departures and the cold
brought back from places she’s not known
the address that’s not a home
the country where desire persists

In hillocks mountains persist
In the bleached sand snow and ice
call the hunted home
Ecology announces the death of time
erases the burden of being Unknown
the fear of coming in from the cold

When May comes back from the cold
the rattling of the harrow persists
as shoulders bump against the known
A satyr he should fear Demeter’s eyes
to be unmanned before his time
in the place he once called home

Not Love but Love’s mother draws us home
all lifted to her lips but the cold
of stone white in this green time
Leafing then blooming the selves persist
in her eyes in her eyes in her eyes
light unlike the light we know

By persistence will she be known
with knowledge driven home
splendour condensed in her eyes
There is a winter’s distant cold
unremembered nights persist
against the odds of perfect time

But certain clocks take back time
or would if the truth were known
Certain ideas fail to persist
once they’re away from home
while others give heat to the cold
as surely as trousers attract eyes

The odour of time clouds our eyes
but vision persists in what we know
coming home to the fondling cold
In underpants, the lost can see
what will gives from hours
In her vision – small and interrupted leavings and the cold—the fucking cold
returned from anonymity
those numbers aren’t on her gate
in this place where want lasts

In the small hills height remains
in the white sediment and snow, some ice.
It calls to the chased
the way systems shout ‘hey, time’s up’
and wipe out the weight of being one
and the fear of being welcomed

The way spring returns from a thaw
as noisy as hell, never ceasing
shoulders jostling against its certainty
That old goat should fear Spring
She’ll unman him soon enough
in that place he once called home

At first, it’s as if Love’s mother sketches the houses
and lifts the pencil (to her mouth)
And it is, everything lifted to her mouth, except winter,
not Love but Love’s mother that holds us
leafing, blooming, selfing
undone in her eyes, light’s mechanical misfortune

She will be known, by all the science of the schools
standing in the hollow of a spoon
dancing a concave of warming
There is a winter we forget
its night dissolved in this solution
as if time were not a problem
and the little smile in the corner of her mouth
her turning back, were of the essence
Ideas are well enough, but hell
they never wander far from home
because it’s cold in the marches
even as exile quickens the attention

Let’s not talk about time or the insubstantial
qualities of what it moves around in
Let’s just close the door behind us when we leave

Dante’s Rime Petrose are the underbelly of his beatified distortion of desire. Starting from Ted's literal translation of Dante's quartet of petrified rimes, we have tried to pull this desire slant, into repetition, into shifting patterns of diffusion and accumulation where dejection can flourish, where the gendered subject (masked) and the green hill can regather. This sestina is the first of the four canzoni.

Christine Stewart works in the English and Film Studies Department at the University of Alberta. She studies poetics, and is a founding member of the Writing Revolution in Place Research Collective. Recent publications: “Propositions from Under Mill Creek Bridge,” in Sustaining the West. Wilfred Laurier, “On Treaty Six from Under Mill Creek Bridge” in Toward. Some. Air. Banff Centre Press, “This—from Treaty Six” in Dusie and The Odes, Nomados Press.

Ted Byrne was born in Hamilton Ontario and has lived in Vancouver since the late sixties. He was a member of the Kootenay School of Writing collective, and is presently a member of the Lacan Salon. He periodically teaches poetry and poetics in the HUM 101 program at UBC. Current projects include historical fictions about Hamilton, and a book constructed from sonnets by Louise Labé and Guido Cavalcanti. His books include Aporia, Beautiful Lies, and Sonnets : Louise Labé.

the Tuesday poem is curated by rob mclennan

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Tuesday poem #180 : Virginia Konchan : Mata Hari at L’Heure Exquise

After the lobotomy, they scraped my brain
cavity like a child rustling up
the last bite of ice-cream from a bowl.
All done.  All gone.  All good, now.

Firing squad, I am a free-floating agent,
stripped from the putrescence of memory,
delivered into spell-binding feature films
without reason, adjectives, or nouns.

My heart’s hot tears smart
and spatter on my shirt
like blood from a fattened lamb.
I laugh at my own histronics.

Look who’s laughing now.
O, lyric subjectivity.
O, exotic German spy.
Who knew you could quell a crowd?

My mind is an odorless vapor.
My soul’s fire-fangled feathers
wrangle five-star smiles.
I, Robot.  I, Claudius.  I bow.

Author of a chapbook, Vox Populi (Finishing Line Press), and a collection of short stories, Anatomical Gift (forthcoming, Noctuary Press), Virginia Konchan’s poems have appeared in The New Yorker, Best New Poets, The Believer, Boston Review, The New Republic, and Verse.  Co-founder of Matter, a journal of poetry and political commentary, she lives in Montreal.

the Tuesday poem is curated by rob mclennan

Tuesday, September 06, 2016

Tuesday poem #179 : Mark Truscott : DUST

I know the familiar
indescribability of the
commonest surfaces.
Porous soil and dirt,
dusty light streaming
off painted wood and
plastic. The hand gets
closer than the mind.
The mind gets this, but
still it feels the need to
understand and trace
its understanding.
It wants to be in the world.
It wants to strike some
impossible balance.

Mark Truscott’s third poetry book, Branches, is forthcoming from BookThug. Nature (BookThug) came out in 2010 and Said Like Reeds or Things (Coach House) in 2004. Poems have recently been published or are forthcoming in The Walrus and Event, and on the Cultural Society website. Truscott lives in Toronto.

the Tuesday poem is curated by rob mclennan