Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Tuesday poem #99 : Nikki Sheppy : Laboratory of Chthonic Fantasy


In deepest cavern steeps a surreal 3D printer, sufficiently precise to print aerospace parts. Instead, a man programs an algorithm to reproduce a delicately rendered eye, in several contrasting cells—some precious, some common. Then poured onto a plate, unseeing, beneath the oculus of uppermost cavern, the eye swelters with light. Strange jewel: it’s a model of optically precise structures, submerged in algae, complying with the most rigorous tolerance, yet blind.


Gradual haptic. Coal diadem. A hemorrhage of dreams. At the blood, a loitering.


In cavern, it is always oneiric multitude of night & gloveless dreaming. It is always fat, imaginary knowing, the well-fed scuttle of bats piloting each violent descent into depth. That is when shine lucks out from the plate. Eye picks up a scent & scows over the invisible scurf & spoor, bashes to its flower, strangely known, & slinks inkwise home. Odour gilding its filaments.


When the room badgers, hacking its paw at the inhabitant. When the room bellies & hives. When the god of angles battles dimension. And the only contusion is the past pleasure of walls—sound cored and skivvied, into partition.


Tart cry, held apart. From me the fruit of fluency. Devour it. Atmospheres startle the floor, numinously strobed. Substitution of abyss for ground. Husk for pelt. “Me” for me.


Where the long nerve sweeps the esophagus from the inside. Deep so deep it’s ablaze. Like shade so far gone it finds the light folded into secret theories. Palpitation in language. Tremors yoked each to each: larynx & phrase. The me that differs from the me, heart an auroch racing for itself at naked speed. Can’t wait, can’t breathe, can’t handle this proximity. To itself, the body bares each of its animals.

Nikki Sheppy is a poet, editor and arts journalist. She has a doctorate in English literature from the University of Calgary. Her book reviews have appeared in Uppercase Magazine, Alberta Views, and Lemon Hound, and her poetry in Event and Matrix. She serves as President of the Board of filling Station, Calgary’s experimental literary and arts magazine, and is the author of the poetry chapbook, Grrrrlhood: a ludic suite (Kalamalka 2014). 

the Tuesday poem is curated by rob mclennan

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Tuesday poem #98 : Lina ramona Vitkauskas : The Four Postmen of the Apocalypse

Crossing the street in unison, stepping from
each corner pole, the symmetry of four postmen
in the rearview, and the shelves of front porches
crucified. Upon backs of sleeping geese,
snowpiles; all the slick metallurgy, the uptalk
and salts, I feel decently Pessoa—said I’ve seen
my work desk and my eyes welled up: these keen
headlights upon the guts of winter dawn, our hazy
sun muted. Church steeples coin-caribou mouths,
plucking mackerel clouds from sky; all the recycled
Santas, puny surface-to-air missiles, the plastic meter
men playing neon violins—bundled to the yes;

the yes of universities, the yes of black cars with
tinted glass and diplomat plates. Yes, the dipshit put it
all into Ecuadorian hair products, the yes of the
conservatory of your heart, which is a parka that lures
me still, a billboard burning. Yo, it’s Donald Duck on the
bumper, because the best thing you can do in life is
show up on time. You can be on the team, accentuate
the air with your vapor, and purr radioactive hymns,
while the cold dead ones lie severed from their roe.

Lina ramona Vitkauskas (b. 1973, Lithuanian-American-Canadian) is the author of the poetry collections:

·         - SPINY RETINAS (Mutable Sound, 2014) :: an epic poem inspired by an I Dream of Jeannie episode, Brautigan’s Trout Fishing in America, David Lynch’s films, and Ashbery’s Girls on the Run
·         - Professional Poetry (White Hole Press, 2013) :: poems that creatively address the latest rise of careerism in poetry due to the corporatization of the university system; dedicated to poets who work hard as educators with little pay and no benefits;
·         - A Neon Tryst (Shearsman Books, 2013), an ekphrastic piece speaking to three films—Antonioni’s L’Eclisse, Bergman’s Wild Strawberries, and Frankenheimer’s Seconds;
·         - HONEY IS A SHE (Plastique Press, 2012), which examines the intersection of honeybee CCD (colony collapse disorder) and a dying relationship;
·         - THE RANGE OF YOUR AMAZING NOTHING (Ravenna Press, 2010), collected poems; and
·         - Failed Star Spawns Planet/Star (dancing girl press, 2006), inspired by astrophysical studies of brown dwarfs.

In 2013, Eleni Sikélianòs selected her for first prize in the Henry Miller Memorial Library Ping Pong Journal Award, Pulitzer-finalist Brenda Hillman selected her for The Poetry Center of Chicago’s Juried Reading Award, and she was nominated for an Illinois Arts Council Award by Another Chicago Magazine. She has been published internationally—in the US, UK, Lithuania, Czech Republic, Taiwan, Australia, France, and Canada. Her website is www.linaramona.com.

The Tuesday poem is curated by rob mclennan.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Tuesday poem #97 : Lola Lemire Tostevin : BeHeaded


The black geometry of faceless man against a washed out desert field

Inflicts words conditioned by loss.

The alternative reality of the knife. 

While shaven headed man in orange bears the senseless scar of prostration.  

The viewer’s eye drowns in the iconic artifice of a video.

The heart hangs.   

The image goes snowy at point of contact.

The deep voice of a TV commentator:  Knowing how to decapitate with a knife is an art.    

Touch lost to sleight of hand.


In Study from the Human Body by Francis Bacon

A faceless man stumbles against a sky-coloured field.

Heavy strokes of a palette knife drives through where the bestial threatens

To overtake.  Confronts man’s figurative integrity where there is no need

for slaughter or butchered meat or men about to have their throats slit.

No grievance.

No retribution.

No payback.

Only the intimate knowledge of what frees.


In striving to restore its evolution each image undergoes

A visionary realm.  Video man offers a clear-cut perspective

Of virile deflagration.  While painted man inspired by



Van Gogh




Picasso ...

Grasps the transfiguration of the all-consuming execution

That rescues the senseless from dissolution.

Lola Lemire Tostevin has published eight collections of poetry. Her latest, Singed Wings, appeared in 2013 with Talonbooks. She has also published three novels and a collection of literary essays. She is presently putting the finishing touches to a second collection of essays, and working on  short stories. Several of her books have been translated into French and Italian. She taught Creative Writing at York University for several years and served as Writer-in-Residence at the University of Western Ontario, London.

the Tuesday poem is curated by rob mclennan