Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Tuesday poem #143 : Natalee Caple : Arguement

First came the dissolution of religious houses and the libraries bereft began to wander. Sometimes the books would find each other passed along until they touched again on a shelf the sense of recognition like a match lit in the wilderness, one the match one the surface, hopestruck.

Humans were Joneses. Hard to see through smoke under low round roofs. What did I do? says the book. Except ignore time.

Before Cromwell castles rags and oil fire thrown arcing
Into the library

Legends curl and shatter your legends your past (you stupid Joneses)

This fragment “war on slaves / I will consider I will know what caused them to go”

Assemble a draft from the floating pages because the words want to be read history wants to be known however good or bad however human

Cymru burned and the slaves ran
A Byronic energy rose
The spark struck between literacy and free thought
A little blue light 
A synapse

You could never keep them all illiterate the word was the end

Natalee Caple is the author of seven books of poetry and fiction and the co-editor of an anthology of contemporary Canadian writers. The New York Times called her fiction “moving . . . unsettling.” The Washington Post described her writing as “breathlessly good.” Caple’s latest novel, In Calamity’s Wake, was published by HarperCollins in Canada and by Bloomsbury in the US. She is a professor of English, teaching Canadian literature and Creative Writing at Brock University.

the Tuesday poem is curated by rob mclennan

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Tuesday poem #142 : Julie Carr : Domestic economy

With so little time
I entered the field of the malnourished rug
Behind branches hides a goblin whose only desire is to bite your arm

I heard the amended Shakespearean sonnets. I heard the word “n-----” and saw a lighthouse in the place of a penis. I was a witness to the mouth of a child. I was an observer of observable things

The girl composing at piano
The Big Book of Why

But I’ve never liked lists, or I’ve liked them too much. Give me now instead
a future

                                    For eating

Julie Carr is the author of six books of poetry, most recently 100 Notes on Violence (Ahsahta, 2010), RAG (Omnidawn, 2014), and Think Tank (Solid Objects, 2015). She is also the author of Surface Tension: Ruptural Time and the Poetics of Desire in Late Victorian Poetry (Dalkey Archive, 2013). A chapbook of prose was recently released as a free pdf from Essay Press:


Carr was a 2011-12 NEA fellow and is an associate professor at the University of Colorado in Boulder. She is the co-founder of Counterpath Press and Counterpath Gallery.

the Tuesday poem is curated by rob mclennan

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Tuesday poem #141 : Pete Smith : CONDITIONALS: on not divining Dendroctona Ponderosae (mountain pine beetle)

If creation is plosive
and death’s an archive
whose eye measures desire?

If ejaculate coalesce
and alphabets don’t flow
how can metamorphosis?

If lured across space & species
what distance binds
nursery and morgue?

While toxin resonates ambrosia
sweetens genocide sports
a forty-minute girdle

If homed in sapwood, basked
in bark’s pasture, can companion
cells right insurgency?

Tell: if scatalogical
tracings trace eschatalogical
signs:   the story

Whether Samsara breed illusion
or Hungry Ghosts are filled with transmigration’s
waste, repine

If design if chaos if history
if prophecy if scripture if heresy
if unholy babble say

While the masses had not hatched
the plot contrived to twist
until entropy’s blue dye

Were something else lashed to the mast
were the dancers not such hollow

Had the epic orgy of pheromones
not flared, had vigil been kept,
the thronging lines stopped

Sing: while all fall down, while lame,
sans antidote, dote & lament
until the teeming rings:   despite

Pete Smith, born & raised in Coventry, emigrated to Canada in 1974. After a long detour returned to poetry in the late 1990s. Has published poetry with Wild Honey Press, Poetical Histories, above/ground press, W, Great Works & Oystercatcher among others; reviews & essays in Agenda, The Gig, The Paper, The Capilano Review, Crayon & elsewhere. He has given readings at the Kootenay School of Writing & at the final CCCP in 2006. His first full-length collection, Bindings with Discords, was published by Shearsman in February 2015.

the Tuesday poem is curated by rob mclennan

Tuesday, December 08, 2015

Tuesday poem #140 : Eleni Zisimatos : LOVE

Tried in the fires of extinguishment
reasoned out of night-eyes

hard lessons and invitations
blurring at the last

moment of communion. Word
of solace in the tired eyes

and the wintering over of
a young estrangement.

You, the possible
investment in the other world

a hope slim enough
to pass under a door

but the wilderness is out
there is no room for figments

the mystery of why
we came together

always at hand

Eleni Zisimatos lives in Montreal. She has been short-listed for a National Magazine Award and for the Robert Kroetsch Award. She is Co-Editor-in-Chief of Vallum Magazine.

the Tuesday poem is curated by rob mclennan

Tuesday, December 01, 2015

Tuesday poem #139 : Kristjana Gunnars : the big questions

some questions we know are never answered,
they stay all their lives in the poor neighborhoods,
but we keep asking them, like songs we sing.
we cannot stop the full-throated chorus.  every new day

the same questions continually cross the turquoise surface.
they travel, they spend time, they are placed on the table
like girls doing impersonations for the guests—

like flowing water with nowhere to go but round again,
the same tiled pool and stone steps, glinting
like snow-drops,  undulating as the water circles—

drives the questions to school, sends them to pedagogy,
invites them in from the diaspora
looks on them as refugees.

some questions are really longing for something.

but then they flinch, they lose inspiration,
they become the stuff of every day, the same
blank poolside, cranberry red
lounge chairs and glossy sunshine, the same
drumming against the concrete walls,

the same shoes and tagines, pots and metal lanterns,
the same red shirts and green stars and sunglasses.
they disappear for hours.

we are asking them, like songs we intone, chansons,
about caravans of camels in the orange desert,
about red pointed shoes and green painted fingers.

some questions just pray for two thousand years.

every day, the coloured glass lanterns sparkle,
and the music swims and shouts in the light blue air—

            music about life as a never-ending calibration.
            music about flowing waters with nowhere to go.

Kristjana Gunnars is a painter and writer, author of several books of poetry, short fiction and anti-fiction. She is Professor Emeritus of Creative Writing and English at the University of Alberta, and now works out of her studio in B.C. This poem comes from a work in progress titled "Snake Charmers." Her web site connection is: kristjanagunnars.com.

the Tuesday poem is curated by rob mclennan