Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Tuesday poem #233 : natalie hanna : how meat

when your photograph is left i will remember how you banished living things from the house. waged battle with the robins. painted in pashmina, silk. how your stitch in every tapestry. how mary, virgin, first. how meat, my mouth, before in yours. my stubborn root. the peace of tea. how you held my hand.

natalie hanna is an Ottawa lawyer working with low income populations. Her writing focusses on feminist, political, and personal themes. She runs battleaxe press (small poetry press in Ottawa), is the Administrative Director of the Sawdust Reading Series, and e-newsletter editor and board member at Arc Poetry Magazine. For more information about her work, visit her site at: https://nhannawriting.wordpress.com.

the Tuesday poem is curated by rob mclennan

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Tuesday poem #232 : Steve Venright : Some Common and Not-So-Common Similarities

Weasels are like husbands: they wear tweed coats and pop out of nowhere in the night.

Zeitgeists are like pomegranates: no one knows where they come from, and it’s not always worth the effort to dissect them.

Houndstooth patterns are like abandoned symphonies: in most cases we’re better off without them.

Persimmons are like the Canary Islands: I always forget what they are.

Sex between, or among, consenting adults is like candy floss: a little bit will make you sick, but after a certain amount you hardly notice it and wonder why you didn’t try it sooner.

Sports scores are like afternoon séances: the level of abstraction is breathtaking.

A quiet drive in the country is like a shoehorn: if all goes right, you’ll be up and around again before you know it.

Studio musicians—even mediocre ones—are like eavestroughs: you spend all your time staring at them when you could be doing other things.

Reclining chairs are like skyscrapers: once they’re up, you might as well leave them like that.

Collecting Iron Age statuary is like keeping a Vietnamese pot-bellied pig as a pet: it’s great at first but then…time to move on!

The sands of the hourglass are like the dials on a computer: you know they’re there for a reason, you just can’t imagine what it might be.

Strangers encountered by chance are like the calm before the storm: no definition until after the fact.

Predilections for avocados are like two-faced liars: if you humour them but keep them under control, no one needs to know a thing.

Conventions for catapult enthusiasts are like dachshunds: if you haven’t read the manual, you might as well forget it.

The White Cliffs of Dover are like honey: best when hard!

Binoculars are like sheep: turn them the wrong way and you’ll get a surprise.

The lives of others are like dowsing rods: try getting by without either one, and you’ll see what I mean.

Syntax is like the memory of a terrible nightmare brought on by stress about the state of the world: you can think about it for as long as you want, but nothing will change until you look in the mirror and ask yourself, Why does it have to be this way?

Searching for answers is like a motor with no moving parts: it won’t put bread on the table, but what’s the harm?

Desire is like water: you can put it in a bottle and fly it around the world, but it still drives you up the wall.

Interplanetary travel is like finding something you didn’t pay for at the bottom of your grocery bag: just enjoy it for what it is and let others worry about the ramifications.

Maintaining consciousness is like a red wheelbarrow: if you ask the experts, everything depends on it.

Skydiving on an empty stomach is like amnesia: the moment you open your mouth, it’s already too late.

Toxic flowers are like good friends: if you bite them, no one will think twice about it.

Libraries are like melancholy children: they’re fine for what they are, but nothing will ever replace a good bowel movement.

Vanity is like a replica tortoise made out of porcelain: the one time you want to show somebody, it’s nowhere to be found.

Doppelgängers are like broken Jacuzzis: both have been the subject of novellas, and neither one reacts to thunderclaps.

A piece of cake is like a walk in the park: play your cards right and it won’t be your last.

Clean, wet Formica®™ is like a house on stilts: besides the obvious, it’s almost certain that both have been admired at some point or another by dragonflies.

A lunar eclipse is like the first time you see a dog drink from a toilet bowl: it’s kind of freaky, but everything returns to normal afterwards.

Butterflies are like enemas: if you make enough money, you can have all you want. 

Steve Venright [photo credit: Samuel Andreyev.] is a visual artist and author whose books include Floors of Enduring Beauty (Mansfield Press, 2007) and Straunge Wunder; or, The Metalirious Pleasures of Neuralchemy (Tortoiseshell & Black, 1996). Through his Torpor Vigil Records label, he has released such extraordinary recordings as The Tubular West by Samuel Andreyev and Dreaming Like Mad with Dion McGregor (Yet More Outrageous Recordings of the World’s Most Renowned Sleeptalker). His selected and new writings—The Least You Can Do Is Be Magnificent—will be published in the fall of 2017.

Inspired by René Magritte’s painting Sixteenth of September, Steve was (eventually) born on that date in 1961.

the Tuesday poem is curated by rob mclennan

Tuesday, September 05, 2017

Tuesday poem #231 : Shazia Hafiz Ramji : Habitable

To root and hold

Thirty-nine years away

Seven planets

Migrations of large distances

Dwell and reside

Dinosaurs are thought

To forage in new areas

Science it back

Arrive by taxi

Cross into Emerson

To have and hold

Passports and papiers

In the offering

The star itself is small

A platform for cells

Factors that influence

Appearance and conduct



Shazia Hafiz Ramji lives in Vancouver, BC, where she is the poetry editor for Prism international magazine. She is the recipient of the 2017 Robert Kroetsch Award for Innovative Poetry and was shortlisted for the 2016 National Magazine Awards. Her poetry has recently appeared in Canadian Literature and filling Station, and her first chapbook is Prosopopoeia (Anstruther Press, 2017). Shazia will be at the Cascadia Poetry Festival in October 2017.

the Tuesday poem is curated by rob mclennan

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Tuesday poem #230 : John Barton : ENTRY FROM A BOOK OF HOURS

You return uninvited. The rain won’t stop knocking
   oak limbs can’t let the wind go. Without reason
I open the door. You step through the cold standing

   between us, sit across at my table, glare rubbed
Raw by our elbows, shallows catching your face
   its decoration monks might have hung in the dark

Of their cells, lit candles before, perhaps flamed
   incense, a sharpness scribed in your cheekbones
Smudged with beard, the shaved tones mixed

   from what was kept to hand, red lead, white
Chalk, your eyes remote orbs of lapis quarried
   in Afghanistan, glancing up from the spread

Leaves of any folio I could have browsed
   in facsimile at some Dublin bookshop an ocean
From where weeks ago we would laze more

   nakedly, our unhallowed silences a new world
Love cleared away. Until then we lived in
   our own time, were social constructs, self

Made men. Even now we contrive to talk
   using brand names, market dips, semiotics
To close in on shores our outlooks had overrun

   what we left behind unsettled, lovers hungry
And dispossessed, steadfastness humbled
   all we have felt for each other more aligned

With faith than contingency, us both claiming
   to embody what early on we failed to
Avow, your calm face since met everywhere

   arrested in the repose of living and dead
Illuminating the stained glass of nearby
   churches, descendants incarnated above

Pints of local bitter, downcast behind
   ersatz maquillage of the house drag queen.
Too long must devotion inhabit me.

   I should have never let you in.

John Barton has published eleven books and six chapbooks of poetry, including West of Darkness: Emily Carr, a Self-Portrait (third bilingual edition, BushcekBooks, 2006), Hypothesis (Anansi, 2001), Hymn (Brick, 2009), For the Boy with the Eyes of the Virgin: Selected Poems (Nightwood, 2012), Balletomane: The Program Notes of Lincoln Kirstein (JackPine, 2012), Polari (Goose Lane, 2014), and Reframing Paul Cadmus (above/ground, 2016). Co-editor of Seminal:The Anthology of Canada’s Gay-Male Poets (Arsenal Pulp, 2007), he is editing The Essential Douglas LePan for Porcupine’s Quill. Born in Edmonton and raised in Calgary, he lives in Victoria, where he edits The Malahat Review.

the Tuesday poem is curated by rob mclennan