Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Tuesday poem #165 : Claire Lacey : SCAT 3

Concussion is a disturbance in brain function caused by a direct or indirect force
to the head. It results in a variety of non-specific signs and / or symptoms (some
examples listed below) and most often does not involve loss of consciousness.
Concussion should be suspected in the presence of
any one
or more
of the following:

on you it’s snowing a disturbance. Symptoms should fog and stall. Direct stroke indirect. Please release me, my darling triggers atypical presentation. I miss music like I miss myself. The curve of the earth a skull flashing, drunken ship lilts and suspected. Out of focus, e.g., unsteadiness, e.g., not tracking, e.g., shutters, e.g., pick up a glass of water and the wind outside it’s dark and the syllables unslung: I’m all alone in here, what if there’s a murderer, a man with an axe and a grin and the glass shatters, my hand forgotten its purpose.

You’ve got red on you. It’s day 5 and I
can read but every sentence carries a cost.
I read anyways to stop the chatter.
If I read for 10 minutes the pain escalates.
Who is this stranger weeping in my bed? If
20 minites, unslung syllables when eye
compensation fatigues, snowy vision,
hypnothermia rolls in, fogging up the works.
Broekn, I think. Borken.
I can’t see the shape of it; is this a poem?

A hit to the head can sometimes be associated with a more serious brain
injury. Any of the following warrants consideration of activating emergency pro-
cedures and urgent transportation to the nearest hospital:

The sea sucks
the river out with a straw,
leaving sludge slashed
with steel sky. Fog hunches
where the sun sets. Donut and ice cream
stalls shutter, last customers still licking
chops. It was a one two punch: shoulder to skull.
Deviation from baseline reveals cognitive dysfunction.
A year and half a world later,
the coast guard station illuminates
officers in yellow safety vests buzzing into radios;
four put on life preservers, climb into a rescue craft
towed by a tractor flashing blue lights.
They set off, too slow it seems, but speed
is hard to judge when riverbed stretches
over horizon. Back home in the foothills the horizon
hangs at 115.6km, give or take, but we are lower
here at the Humber, closer to the curve
of the earth. Soon they shrink
to flashing blue, still no offing in sight.

“I am going to test your memory. I will read you a list of words and when I am done, repeat back as many words as you can remember, in any order.”

I think I’m having a stroke. Numbness
ice sharp spikes into my left side, skull
tectonics shaking down my spine, my
jaw my eye trembling skyscrapers no longer
straight cracked foundations. Danny’s not
here Mrs Torrance.
Blubbering snot runs
into my mouth moving
hurts I cry and want
my dog back
my mummy


Heartbreak begins in the head, numbskull.
Every sentence carries a cost, and this
is my independence. You shouldn’t be alone,
the doctor said, go to emergency if there is any numbness
or tingling, but I don’t anticipate you will need to.
This is worse than numbness or
tingling, this is all the words like agony and
stabbing and motherfucking
 Call 911 (every sentence) call 911 (carries) call 911 (accost) please
but my body just lies.

“I am going to repeat the same list again. Repeat back as many words as you can remember in any order, even if you said the word before.”

Helena: the blizzard triggers
staggering, sparkles like another
shot to the skull, no I’m not okay.
I hope the deer hits the car
so that everyone else survives.
This use of pronouns is forced
geometry unable to comply.
I know I have something to say,
the facial tic rolls
it into a ball beside
my tongue,
resting in my left cheek.

It’s raining
It’s pouring
Sparkle is snoring
She went to bed
And bumped her head
And never got up in the morning.

At least, sometimes I think that’s how it goes.

On the porch, the snow that isn’t
here falls beautiful and thick in front of the evergreens.
Church bells aren’t ringing, there are no
churches. I meander like a drunkard,
pace the baseball diamond, a klutz waltz:
neuromuscular shamble of muscles not firing
and vestibular injury.
I realize I am replicant, a cyborg malfunction.
One two scuff.  “Mrs Palmer, there are things dark
and heinous
in this world.”
Practice makes perfect as I take the SCAT test again
and again (but every sentence carries a cost).

In the dark, wishing for shattered bones.
In the dark, wishing for a knock at the door.
In the dark, wishing for a doctor.
In the dark, vertigo of dead drunk punk decibels.
In the dark, deer on the road.

“Do you remember that list of words I read a few times earlier? Tell me as many words from the list as you can remember in any order.”


A cormorant stands black                                                    every sentence carries
sentry on a wooden piling
as the sea tucks itself in.                                                     a cost.

Claire Lacey currently lives in the UK. She holds an MA in English from the University of Calgary and a BA from York University. Her first book, Twin Tongues, won the Robert Kroetsch Award for Innovative Poetry. Her work has also appeared in Dandelion, The Windsor Review, and Filling Station. Claire currently blogs at ukcanuck.com

the Tuesday poem is curated by rob mclennan

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Tuesday poem #164 : Endi Bogue Hartigan : Post-reef pre-incanted

Post-reef pre-incanted post-laughter pre-blue-fin-streak-near the fissure post-nectar
I counted on the representation of nectar I counted on being able
to suck the nectar out and taste it and thereby represent what I had consumed.
This is the part where the people break up into parts and lose the galaxy.

“Each time we remember something we change it.”
I counted on the representation of coral growth through goggles.
The fact that we can remember the swim changes the fact of swimming it.
A sculptor forms stone sculptures of people in the reef, and the people in their

snorkeling gear float above the sculptures, sculpting memories of themselves, afloat.
This is the part where the cost of losing favorite stones flickers.
This the part where the galaxy hosts yellow beaked fish.
I counted on the parts of myself counting people whole as reefs,

counting pocked orange homes, counting undersea gravestones.
I heard myself say you and you were there.
First, I counted everything, then I counted only the ones with yellow flame flickers
over their fins and signs of lip-streak.

Pre-nectar pre-coral post-war post-forward pre-ambrosial post-memory
I counted the passing saucers─yellow tang─ I sang to myself underwater.
This is the part where oblique people hold their breath and fail to count.
Between incantation and report, what lives in gutted coral,

what live in nectar-sieves. What part was most alive? Count that.
This is the part where the coral was insufficient for the fingers but sufficient
for the eel. This is the part where porous mornings become coral. Where we saw it together.
This is the part where you meant to say something of wonder

and it fell between the bleachers. You were with me.  It was a perfect day.
I wanted to be held in the palm of God but loosely like a fish.
I wanted to be held in the abacus-drift changing direction. 
The representation of matter bled into what could not

be represented where pinkish nectar overflowed.
Post-fissure pre-paperdoll post-fallout pre-reef-growth

─after photographs of sculptures by Jason DeCares Taylor, and conversations with the former 13 Hats (quote on memory, Anna Daedalus)

Endi Bogue Hartigan is author of Pool [5 choruses] (Omnidawn, 2014), selected for Omnidawn Open Prize, and One Sun Storm (Center for Literary Publishing, 2008), selected for the Colorado Prize for Poetry. An interview on her work recently appeared in Jacket 2, and recent poems have appeared in the anthology February, the Ostrich Review, Picture Sentence, and New American Writing.

the Tuesday poem is curated by rob mclennan

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Tuesday poem #163 : Dina Del Bucchia : Shasta Ground Sloth

N. shastensis

The less famous of the ground sloths. Not like that brute
Megatherium. So all about their bodies, being so huge.

But the Shasta? Well, they’re famous too. How do you think
the soda got its name? Their effervescent personalities, vivacious

in their molasses moves. Yet slash of claw could cut a big cat
to the bone. At first sign of a predator they stand tall,

protest the onslaught. They get defensive, but it’s okay.
After the fact lounge in long grass, rip into cacti.

They would eat anything: spicy, saucy, prickly.
Dream guests at dinner parties. They make slow digs

with prehensile tongues, mock the cats not quite quick enough
to get them with paw swipes and mad jaws.

Their ash blonde bodies loll, burst with energy
from the inside. Shasta, still a soda, less popular.

Dina Del Bucchia is the author of Coping with Emotions and Otters (Talonbooks, 2013), Blind Items (Insomniac Press, 2014), and Rom Com (Talonbooks, 2015), written with her Can't Lit podcast co-host Daniel Zomparelli. Her short story, "Under the 'I'," was a finalist for the Writers' Trust RBC Bronwen Wallace Award in 2012. She guest edited the Humour Issue of Poetry Is Dead magazine and is the Artistic Director of the Real Vancouver Writers' Series. An otter and dress enthusiast, Dina lives in Vancouver.

the Tuesday poem is curated by rob mclennan

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Tuesday poem #162 : Jamie Sharpe : Author Photo

            for M.H.

Drinking Yukon Red in the Pit,
beneath the painting of a chorus girl
pleasuring a Mountie.

            Jamie, Dude, for so many reasons
            that picture, while hilarious, won’t fly.

I explain the Mountie and chorus girl
are in a loving relationship and a canvas
of him down on her exists also.

            Something better lit and with significantly
            less blowjobbery would be appreciated.

Put that fellatio
in a poem.

Jamie Sharpe is the author of two poetry collections, Animal Husbandry Today (ECW, 2012) and Cut-up Apologetic (ECW, 2015). He lives in Whitehorse.

the Tuesday poem is curated by rob mclennan

Tuesday, May 03, 2016

Tuesday poem #161 : Amy Bagwell : whatever is the opposite of binary

doors close
by degrees. feel
weatherstrip drag. feel
breath between pressed
to frame &

& now

sleep, safe—
forgetting hollow
cores. forgetting feeble
locks, knobs singing
for (again)

Amy Bagwell's poems are in Terminus Magazine, Vallum: Contemporary Poetry, and Figdust and in the anthologies Topograph and Boomtown. She makes poem-centered mixed media art and co-directs Wall Poems, Inc. She received her MFA in Poetry from Queens University of Charlotte, where she lives, and she teaches English at Central Piedmont Community College.

the Tuesday poem is curated by rob mclennan