Tuesday, May 31, 2022

Tuesday poem #478 : Kate Bolton Bonnici : The Last Story Grandmother Told Me



We were not scared, playing
Each day among the graves.

Read the headstones, we knew
How we knew: sing the names.





Kate Bolton Bonnici’s poetry and essays have been published or are forthcoming in the Georgia Review, Tupelo Quarterly, Image, CounterText, Foundry, Southern Humanities Review, Exemplaria, and elsewhere. Her collection Night Burial won the 2020 Colorado Prize for Poetry. Beginning this fall, she will be a Visiting Assistant Professor of English at Pepperdine University.

the Tuesday poem is curated by rob mclennan

Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Tuesday poem #477 : Michael Boughn : Extended Apparitions




Epistemic murk, god-laden
constituents & the large, thick reality
of things converge out of air

into moment’s clarity dip-stick mind
enters & leaves, dripping with time’s

remnants, fallen wreckage
abounds in recovered sight

apparitions extend into daily
bread & trespass heralds

translation into unknown
music lost to time’s

tidal sweep & eventual
abstract formulation

of the already haunts
memory leading down aisle

after aisle, shelves neatly stacked
sin, death, coca-cola

& horse collars indicates
the legalization of Love

in wake of increased Medieval
commute to distant fields has left it

in desiccated hands’ strangle hold
another link in the Chain

of Empire’s inside job


The 12th century invention of the horse collar and the increased speed, range and efficiency of plough horses compared to oxen (which occurred around the same time the religious category of sin became criminalized), meant that fields could be located much further from home. This rearranged life in europe and led to the rise of parishes (religious entities) which replaced hamlets (small community). It also led to a change in relation to oaths which were forbidden by the New Testament, but became fundamental to European culture by the 13th century and came about because of the increased tenuousness of communal relation. The New Testament proposes people unite in the Holy Spirit and through the conspiratio, the sharing of the Holy Spirit through a kiss and the exchange of breath. The replacement of the conspiratio with the conjuratio (oath taking) transformed marriage into a juridical act that legalized love, made the supreme divine gift subject to the State's authority. It is the imposition and internalization of the law and the undoing of Christ's mission to free humanity from the law. It also sets up the internal, mental structures that are the basis of modernity.




Michael Boughn has spent much of his adult life straddling borders, leading to a lack of determinable national identity. He has published numerous books of poetry in both Canada and the US. Cosmographia—A Post-Lucretian Faux Micro-Epic (Book Thug, 2011) was short-listed for the Governor General’s Award for Poetry, leading one Canadian commentator in the Globe and Mail to describe him as “an obscure, veteran poet with a history of being overlooked by the mainstream.” Le plus ├ža change . . . Both A Book of Uncertain and Uncertain Remains are forthcoming in 2022 from Spuyten Duyvil (New York) and BlazeVox (Buffalo), and the chapbook In the shadows recently appeared from above/ground press. A collection of essays — Measure’s Measures — Literary Assays — is also due out from Station Hill Press (Barrytown, NY) this spring. From 2014 to 2018 he audited the online turmoil called Dispatches from the Poetry Wars with co-conspirator, Kent Johnson. 

the Tuesday poem is curated by rob mclennan

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Tuesday poem #476 : Colin Martin : Witness


To witness has weight. The weight of memory and of hope. Of kin and of kith. We witness as proof. We witness as though our lives depend on it because, together, they do. We bear witness upon our shoulders. He is a jolly good fellow, which nobody can deny. We witness crimes. Of passion, we see her every moment of every day, a swelling heart leaping forth.

A witness sings like a canary. Held by gilded hoops, safe at last when the sun rises, trebling “here it comes, here it comes.” On that stand, the witness stands and is seen. Seen bearing witness, holding up those not here in body, but in song, as we join that chorus, because nobody ever weds alone, nobody ever weds just each other, nobody raises eyes and breast to the sun without hands above and below, without and within our hands also.

To witness, we find ourselves in each other. We become a village built of our own hearts and bodies. An architecture to withstand any quake, a net to teach us to never need nets, a raft of otters, never lost and always found, at home among the waves and currents, unafraid of the rocks worn down by seas as we renew and continue together.

We witness two people begin to speak in one voice, as they find they’d been of one mind all along. That voice, with its words gleaned from brothers, sisters, friends, and lovers. Parents and family, those who inspire us and those we inspire. The Musica Universalis, the song of the spheres, that voice of many notes and chords, harmony, melody, point and counter point; a note once sounded echoes forever, and the song cannot exist without it. In witness, even our silences are vital.

To witness compresses space and time into a moment, a focus of light that’s infinite and larger within than without. This moment, when every story is present, when every presence is a story, and that story is a gift, perhaps the only true gift. At this moment, we become new, our plots twist, and we share the words that exceed meaning to transform us. At this moment, we exceed ourselves to become one another.

We witness. We do.





Colin Martin lives in Calgary with his main squeeze Primrose, the floof garou.

the Tuesday poem is curated by rob mclennan