Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Tuesday poem #282 : Di Brandt : O Sylvia

You could never have known
the air sucked out of the glass jar
of your desperate youth
your desperate life
your desperate death
would spread like wildfire
all over the world
and reverb reverb reverb
in the minds of millions
of ordinary and extraordinary
helpless and powerful
girls and women and men
who all understood
what you meant what you felt
what you were
you were not so alone after all
dear Sylvia in that blue tinged glass jar
take a look here we all are
from near and far crowding in
for a party with you
who taught us how to dance
with the dark side
of ourselves
 the nightmares lurking
in the basement
the attic the bedroom
the innocent looking corner store

Di Brandt is Winnipeg's first Poet Laureate (2018-2019). Her new book of poetry is Glitter & Fall: Poetic Meditations after Laozi's Dao De Jing, with ink drawings by Lin Xu (Turnstone Press forthcoming Fall 2018).

the Tuesday poem is curated by rob mclennan

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Tuesday poem #281 : MC Hyland : Thank You for Typing

Who said in this room
a printer is a person, not
a machine. Typographic
deixis: a finger points.
While your eyes watched
the screen what happened
behind the wall. What
behind the camera.
A lover’s smile, perhaps.
Some police barriers
remain, certain laws
and possibilities of the breath.                              
I place my hand upon
the object bearing
my body into day.

In history the eye contains
a world in miniature
or attaches each item
through sensate chords.
As the technology
[typewriter] might require
the technology [wife],
the breathing of the man
who writes as well as his
listenings. Meanwhile                                       
the screen manufactured
new desires, each trailing
temporalities and a set of
erotic positions. Such heaving
at the seam of capital.
As the skyline narrates
bedrock, night places
each worker gently
in a velvet-lined box.

I turned to poetry as
a technology of vision
and was in this way
deceived. Wanting to see
where this light came
& wanting to see it
extinguished. In The Battle
of Algiers, I imagine I see
my grandmother in
a Pied-Noir café.
The café resembles
her preferred wedding
photo: gray background,
good light. Who stepped
from the crowd to gain
some human face. Who
threw the first grenade.
Come smoothly from the
typist’s hand to pierce
each delicate organ.

 All my Muse’s poetry
has been harmless: / American
and diplomatic: a learned
helplessness. In a flash                                      
a summer dress
blinds its wearer and
three men nearby. We
call this beauty. A street
or maybe a garden
to direct the eye from
each abjection. Held in
the onscreen glance,
warmth spreads through
the viewing body; language
craves and expels. How
the mechanical is sexual
or the other way around:
lips pout and drop, or
maybe this is a piston
pumping. What pulled away
from the strings
we called necessity.

Fossilized acts of some
dead mouth arriving
through every orifice.
Each night the eye climbs
to impossible heights to
behold these golden
globes of lamplight:
Every girl who reads
is already a lost girl                                            
in the market’s vast
periphery. We nodded off
as the plot unlaced,
a little moisture rising
to join the room’s
atmospheric dim. And thus
mine eye is made the gate                         
& each complacency
passes through making
no kind of speech.

Or rather, lying down
into language, I find
willpower and the ability
to concentrate are not
[our] strong points. Each            
body in the snow-hushed                                
city a complex of labor
& dust. Again your
face deserts into
some proximate
touch; ô toi que j’eusse
aimée in the chanting                                       
crowd. Ô toi in the
message boards, where
many deskilled hands
practice set repertoires
of intimate maneuvers.
I lift each one gently
into a cave of breath.

This motion a marker
of both separation &
proximity, as in: we longed
to be some radiant bridge
slung between texts. As you
place your cheek against
the cool window, leaving
a smudge of moisturizer
on the glass. Just so we
dwelled in the site, These
lines, this page—perhaps/
A blank to other men. To                                   
materialize the sounds
of production: here
typewriter keys jam
while the baby sleeps
in the next room. I place
your bedrest inside
the poem, another body’s
economic & contingent
chemistries. Before sleep
I tidy away the life
of the mind, placing
these papers in a
neat white stack.

MC Hyland is the founding editor of DoubleCross Press, a poetry micropress, as well as the author of several poetry chapbooks (most recently THE END PART ONE, Magic Helicopter Press 2017) and the poetry collections Neveragainland (Lowbrow Press 2010) and THE END (Sidebrow 2019). She is currently finishing a PhD in English Literature at New York University, and holds MFAs in Poetry and Book Arts from the University of Alabama. From her research, she produces scholarly and poetic texts, artists’ books, and public art projects.

the Tuesday poem is curated by rob mclennan

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Tuesday poem #280 : John Phillips : NO PREFERENCE

for Jasper Johns 

Sometimes I think it, and then write it.
Sometimes I write it, then think it.
Sometimes it writes itself, then thinks me.
Sometimes it thinks itself, then writes me.
Sometimes neither it or me thinks or writes.

Each of these situations is impure.

John Phillips is the author Shape of Faith (Shearsman Books, 2017), Heretic (Longhouse, 2016), What Shape Sound (Skysill Press, 2011) and Language Is (Sardines Press, 2005), along with several chapbooks.  He presently lives in St. Ives, Cornwall.

the Tuesday poem is curated by rob mclennan

Tuesday, August 07, 2018

Tuesday poem #279 : Jenna Lyn Albert : Clairvoyance

The fairgrounds smell of woodchip and whey, the petting zoo’s dank tincture blending with popcorn kernels pressed deep into shoe treads. The carnival rides are touch-and-go wash your hands, flashing LEDs obscuring August’s airglow with kaleidoscopic colours. The Zipper’s down, the Tilt-a-Whirl too, undigested corndogs yet to be squeegeed down the honeycomb metal grating. The fortune teller’s tent is plain-Jane, not the gaudy purple velvet I’d come to expect, only half-burnt out Christmas lights for decoration, hardly enough to glitter the gloam. A black cat bristles at a couple of toddlers trying to touch its coat, fingers cotton candy resined. I chase the kids off, the cat weaving between summer-slick calves, nuzzling my left palm and I wonder if it’s been treated for fleas, rabies. The psychic hisses at me through canvas drapes, bodiless voice harsh as a smoker, a joker, a midnight toker playing over loud speakers and I’ve watched enough Final Destination films to avoid the attractions, to avoid going into her tent. “You know the future,” she says, and I’m not so sure that I don’t, I just don’t want to. All the MASH games and paper cootie catchers in grade school augured little other than my love life, how many children I’d have, where I’d live; I’ve yet to marry Justin Timberlake, but I always landed on zero kids, an apartment, the life of an academic or artist. The moon’s eclipsed by the Ferris wheel and we’re all shadow shapes now, stuck in the flux and flow of an “Ever-Expanding Universe” like cosmic dust bunnies, and I could take up fortune telling myself if I know as much as the psychic claims, a bunch of hullabaloo, but I’ve got a bad feeling about the Strawberry ride, that it’s time to leave, and sure enough, a little girl’s been scalped, hair caught in the machinery and gears, ripped off from the eyelids up, I feel my confections coming up the way they went down. Nothing’s coincidental.

Jenna Lyn Albert is a recent graduate of the University of New Brunswick’s creative writing program and an editorial assistant at The Fiddlehead. Her poetry has appeared in The Malahat Review, The Puritan, Riddle Fence, The Antigonish Review, and CV2. Her debut collection of poetry, Bec & Call, appears with Nightwood Editions this fall.

the Tuesday poem is curated by rob mclennan