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

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Tuesday poem #306 : Mikko Harvey : American Beech

I was hideously, lewdly
drunk in the forest.
It was a Tuesday afternoon
and I had left
everything behind—
I mean everything.
The variegated greens
of the forest spun on their axis
like a basketball balanced
on a child’s fingertip.
After stumbling between trees
for several minutes, the nausea caught up with me.
I rested my arm against an American
beech to steady myself, and that’s
when I saw the bear. 
A bear is like a beautiful man
in more ways than one.
It sat there gazing at me.
It didn’t charge,
nor did it run away.
For a long time the two of us
did nothing. It was actually
more boring than scary, after a while.
I noticed a toad hopping near my
foot. Unfortunately
I had no choice
but to vomit at this point,
and the bear stirred ominously.
I was unable to glean
any information from its body language
because I was so fucking drunk.
I decided to simply stand there,
letting the world do with me as it pleased.
Later I came to recognize this
as flawed and more or less
suicidal thinking.
But as that bear drew
near me, then stooped down to sniff
my vomit,
then began eating it,
and seemed to be enjoying it—
this is how I came to see myself,
finally, as a person with something to offer.

Mikko Harvey is the author of Unstable Neighbourhood Rabbit (House of Anansi). He received the 2017 RBC/PEN Canada New Voices Award, and you can find his poems in places such as Iowa Review, Kenyon Review, Lemon Hound, and Maisonneuve. He is a poetry editor for Fairy Tale Review, and he currently lives in Maine.

the Tuesday poem is curated by rob mclennan

Tuesday, February 05, 2019

Tuesday poem #305 : Marvyne Jenoff : It Wishes

It wishes to happen,
it hovers aloft,
how lusty and soft,
now soaring, now flitting

It wishes, it winks,
how wisely it tingles
o’er wrinkles and hair,
it hums everywhere

it widens with weather
It narrows with wit
it tingles with wishing,
O wild, wondrous it

How nicely it whistles
How sweetly it nestles,
O happily happen,
O happen to me

Marvyne Jenoff first published poems in Canadian Literary magazines as a student at the University of Manitoba in the 1960s. Since 1972 she has published four books of poetry and experimental fiction with Canadian literary publishers. She lives in the Toronto area, where she is also involved in visual arts.

the Tuesday poem is curated by rob mclennan

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Tuesday poem #304 : Seth Landman : 3:33:33

I get antsy when the free time comes
I think where should I go
I go to Maine alone and think
I am alone
by the sea
don’t bring the sea into it
the house ummmmm the mind
alone on the drive
I am in the darkness
an owl is sitting in the middle
of the road staring at me
I really freak out
a thing with wings sitting down
the steering wheel steers
I steer using the wheel
its purpose
all these forces pushing me back
to equilibrium
I have this feeling
I’m not supposed to have
I call my doctor in September
but they’re scheduling out through the winter
I email my doctor
I reach out to the medical field
I go through this phase where I’m like
okay I’m going to return every email right away
when there’s something to do
I’m gonna just do it
I look up a problem on the internet
I calm myself down with statistics
and then get struck by lightning
suddenly my phone
starts defaulting to a screen to do with
barometric pressure
suddenly there is a storm
and I think what is conjuring what
if you want to be a poet
you have to be a poet
a sort of anxious half-assed toxic mindfulness
you have to sit there and let ridiculous
language confound you
and say you are articulating
the whole in ragged impossibility
for the sake of the part
that needs you
when I was a kid
this one part
of my hair would always stick up
now nothing grows there
no hair finds purchase
what about seeds
what about that really
cool wool cap
I had when I was 18
and that later I saw in a photograph of me
with a friend sitting on my lap
such  unconscious closeness permitted
certain times in your life
otherwise what you can gather from experience
nails drilled into fossils
scraping across endless slate
how it feels to be like
what should I do now
and go ahead with regret
when I was 20 I drove to California
I had never been west of Albany
it was hard to say goodbye to my mom
who was with me driving
when I got to California I was already
nostalgic about California
my mom flew home
I still can’t explain that feeling
my hair was already thinning
somewhere a pine tree was already waiting ominously for me
a smoking planet somewhere
in another solar system
with a star at the center
spitting out Hydrogen Helium Lithium
Beryllium Boron Carbon
Nitrogen Oxygen
Fluorine Neon Sodium Magnesium
Aluminum Silicon etc. everything so abundant
in the crust of the Earth
I look at my clock
it is 3:33 I look at my phone
why do we call it a feed
why do you show up in there

Seth Landman is the author of the full-length poetry collections Confidence (Brooklyn Arts Press, 2015) and Sign You Were Mistaken (Factory Hollow Press, 2013). His work can be found in Boston Review, iO, Jellyfish, Lit, and elsewhere. He received his PhD in Creative Writing and Literature from the University of Denver (2013) and an MFA from the University of Massachusetts (2008). He is an English teacher and boys’ basketball coach at The Putney School in Vermont.

The Tuesday poem is curated by rob mclennan