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VO LUME 2 , I S S UE 1

Stephen Bett   Ken Cathers   Charles Durning Carroll   Jack Esler Rebecca Maria Rose Gismondi   Curtis LeBlanc   Leonard Neufeldt Michael Penny   Pamela Porter   Claudia Radmore   Niolfar Shidmehr John Sibley Williams   Mallory Tater   Diane Tucker


Design: 24pt-helvetica.com Editor/Publisher: Tara Wohlberg

Advisors: Theresa Kishkan, Patrick Lane, Tom Wayman, Calvin Wharton

Cede Poetry is independent of any government grants and is funded by submission fees. Cede Poetry (ISBN 978-0-9939316) is published by the Cede Poetry collective: PO Box 45567, 3456 Dunbar Street, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, V6S 2C2 Manuscripts should be submitted to the above address or emailed to editor Tara Wohlberg editor@cedepoetry.com using our on-line form. Manuscripts are read year round. All rights reserved. Copyright remains with the author. No part of this journal may be reproduced in any form without the author’s permission. © 2016


Contents Not a poet / Pamela Porter . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 A Description of the Devil / Charles Durning Carroll . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 After the Neon Bowling Alley / Curtis Leblanc . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 Homecoming / Leonard Neufeldt . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 long long walk / Diane Tucker . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 half way to wherever we are / Claudia Radmore . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 Lure / Ken Cathers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 Map / Less / John Sibley Williams . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 Marketing 101 at the MOMA or the British Museum / Stephen Bett . . . 13 Marlboro Men / Mallory Tater . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 Mercy / Pamela Porter . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16 Phoenix / Michael Penny . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17 pork rinds / Rebecca Maria Rose Gismondi . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18 Strand of Suraya / Jack Esler . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19 When it rains / John Sibley Williams . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20 the working life of corners / Claudia Radmore . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22 Strawberry and Cream / Niolfar Shidmehr . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24

Contributors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26

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Not a poet PAMELA PORTER

The poems arrive wild and blind. They tap at the window. They are as wasps just awakened to the blossom. They pace the floor, tensile in their paws. I don’t want to be a poet anymore. To be marked by God to stand apart, to bear witness, make account. I can't face being a poet anymore. There you are at seven, alone in the barn, looking out, Mother on the rampage again. And the barn with its mouth shut, uttering not a word. You sit straight up in bed, remind yourself -- she's dead. You were a poet then, too. Also, there are the terrible fires of ancient suns. And the burden of truth. Discipleship's cost. The poems insist that you tell it. Some I have buried, some swallowed, but once stitched together, the poems won't be undone. Sorrow's bones grow luminous with the dawn. And God, who smells like sea water, like iron, like human ash. And the small birds that rise from the cathedrals of his hands. My hands form only a broken cup. Around me leaves lie remembering their brief moment of flight. They, too, were once poets. Blessed are the broken in spirit. Blessed are the broken.

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A Description of the Devil CHARLES DURNING CARROLL

The feathers of his wings are burned, charred black chaff all that remains from his forced tumble into the molten rock. His right arm hangs useless, Smashed since he fell upon that side. We always greet one another with a simple hello as no one ever wants to shake his hand. The white cotton gown he wore in heaven is of little use down here. When sweat surges from his pores, that old thing is the only rag he has to wipe his brow. Like us, he goes naked, and his skin

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is a little red from the constant heat. Some claim he has a beady eye—but on which side, left or right? I’m never sure. I think it’s just the way he looks

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at our women, all hungry and far-off. Usually he lopes around in long rangy strides as if he owned this place. Apparently the devil never runs. For fun he plays gin rummy

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with a salvaged set of cards. If he keeps a trident, none of us has ever seen it. He likes to preach sitting on a rock, and uses his left hand to steady himself.

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I enjoy the sound of his voice, all willowy like music and he does so believe that one day we will all get back to heaven. As for me, I think it’s a long way.

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After the Neon Bowling Alley CURTIS LEBLANC

I awoke to a light smothered by the filth on my bedroom window and a head split by its own cries for cold water. In the driveway was my father’s grey quarterton truck and in the bed of it, a mock orange sapling planted in a black plastic bucket. You’ll understand this filled me with palpable dread as I half-recalled how, after the neon bowling alley, I’d pulled the price sign from every planter in the Canadian Tire parking lot, arranged them in the likeness of a pentagram star, then dragged that shrub over the roots that gave rise to cracks in the rounded asphalt, to the ravine beyond, across the slacking river, up hill upon gradual hill, four clicks at least, maybe more, to home. Only to have it still be there the next morning in full-budded youth, throned above the concrete, a mock orange mocking me.

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Homecoming LEONARD NEUFELDT

Rainbow rooster tails, the silence of colour shedding itself everywhere in the sea’s aftermath of light: whale spouts that hold you and your wife at the deck-rail’s white despite three calls for dinner as you sail through the Gulf of St. Lawrence, coming home, hunger’s expectations gone with the first vague shimmer of land. You want to stay here, at sea on the promenade deck to watch each iridescence find that moment where it’s sheared off in thin air, vanishes, but the image remains When the ship blurted its full-throat groans and left the Rotterdam shipping lanes as afterthoughts a woman in underwear rose from her deck chair and leaned on the rail – no more Russkie – stepped backwards, reached down hand over hand behind her to find her dress as the brass ensemble broke out a waltz on the deck below

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Homecoming LEONARD NEUFELDT

A monstrous blue shadow defines its edges in sliding by, flukes almost at rest, like a thought that has you following back to the Atlantic, and you know if you returned it would no longer be as a guest uninvited by a year or more on the Continent with vacations in Cornwall and the Lake Country. Suddenly, I know you didn’t want to leave; forgive me for voting the way I did, but I think it’s right for both of us – the breeze stiffening my wife’s hair, the air changing as if a door has closed, behind us diners in formal dress strolling by, the sea silvering, the way we’ve come turning black

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long long walk DIANE TUCKER

marching up the smash-leaf dry bright morning a million horizontal stitches sew the rails north

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for six gusty miles her boots balance

along one rusted rail her arms out

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the sap of the ten-year-old self rising with each step

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on old train tracks aflame with gold

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November ferns

willing themselves in the ear-biting wind fresh dragon’s breath

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half way to wherever we are CLAUDIA RADMORE

strange creatures we are taking time to consider whether one universe can stack inside another and whence the birth of the question

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we give ourselves primacy yet the slow dissolution of perspective we are metaphor: we all have names

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and it is the same name we want to believe that memory

has gravity and madness a colour isn’t there a suggestion of gold in the air

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blue mist casting haloes round streetlights can’t we feel the teeth of the wind

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describe the line between truth and fantasy

as constantly moving boundary… faced with such tests of comprehension we take image to be the real thing believe the lie so nearly naked that to uncover it seems cruel we are so close in those moments

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Lure

Lure

KEN CATHERS

KEN CATHERS

how delicate the hands must be to feel the soft touch

it is a dream reflected in cold light

of the unseen mouth against the barbed lure.

a nylon line balanced on the dawn river.

to let time slow, the held breath release, sense

I wade into a trance of perfect ripples

the line drag free through numb fingers.

redrawn around some unborn thing

one becomes fluent with the river’s dialect

believe a shadow rises to the cast forever

becomes one with some unprayed faith that curved steel

& the charmed flesh sings

will fasten bone to the quick twist the wrist trebles with . . .

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Map / Less JOHN SIBLEY WILLIAMS

This is not the same river, not the same name I gave to this river and not how it once felt when breaching the surface for air. This is not the same air. The current has noticed I am not the same and cuts against each stroke. These are not the same hands snared round my ankles, not the same green and forgotten tendrils, ancestors tugging me down into sediment, song. But into is not the same as drowning anymore. This is not the way I used to experience the past. The same halfpenetrating light, yes, same overworked lungs, same fear, same river with its name exactly where I’d left it in the mouths of the dead, now the atlas of my body.

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Marketing 101 at MOMA or the British Museum STEPHEN BETT

Anyone who doesn’t love and respect Allen Ginsberg is a dipshit. Ed Sanders, Shards of God: a novel of the Yippies Someone asked me about Allen Ginsberg, said the world didn’t need to know he stuck a carrot up his bum.

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Got me thinking about lost market opportunities, about autograph hounds and super stars, got me thinking haute fandom lined up by the bunch, carrots in their extended groupie hands — “Ah, Monsieur Geens’perg, would you please impress thees leetle legume”?

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Got me thinking of fancy pants museums and humidity controlled display cases. Got me thinking whiffy blowing ducks in a row, thinking odeur organique familieur. Thinking MOMA and monarchies. Uncle Sam at Harvard Business School. Freshly tinted graduates, their slightly soiled hands grasping opportunities in this arriviste world — petites postérieurs quacking in nostril quivering air

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Marlboro Men MALLORY TATER

My father was never a Marlboro man. He makes this quite clear, says Marlboros were meant for the hens says “Mild as May,” for whole women, working women, wisps of women until yes, a man, Sir. Leo Burnett & his friends & his suits spread strength, bent the gender of carcinogens across American skies. Cyclonic death, filtered death. Filters reduce the amount of tar in the mouth, filters are not just for sting-lipped women— no! Marlboros are also made, molded, for the mouths of men, the mouths of cowboys. Many cowboys sent into many woods in the Dakotas, cameras dollying after them, to make Marlboros desirable, to make Marlboros a movement. Nicotine (filtered) made the men’s legs float in miss-me denim, with Marlboros they floated onto their horses, floated bullets into the mouths of outlaws, floated their bodies into warm tents with women who smoked Marlboros already & forever.

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Mercy PAMELA PORTER

The maple forgives the wind for stealing her innumerable children and turning them into birds, as the apple forgives the earth for drawing all her sisters to herself – such wantonness, such desire – and the earth – see how the earth forgives winter for turning her to bone, daring her to outlast eternity a room scarcely furnished of light where a curtain billows like a stranger in a dark coat who sows sparrows to glean the snowy ground which dusk forgives on behalf of the stranger, the sparrows, by turning the snow to stained glass and by this act of dye and hue, forgives everything, a ritual the dawn repeats, exonerating the darkness for its very being, unchangeable, each cold star a candle alone on a table, a flame guttering in a window, who forgive the moon her absence, black pupil of the night an eye the light cannot find. Forgive the light for seeing right inside us, silent and heavy with meaning, neither speaking nor whispering nor listening, and we, part ghost, part child, a pin-prick of God which feels like wind, earth, ice, like stone, stain, like desire, like flame.

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Phoenix MICHAEL PENNY

The kid and I found a skeleton scattered on the pebbles of the beach; bones so light it must have flown. Then the questions. I didn’t know how it died or what had eaten flesh and feathers or why the bones were such pure white and polished clean.

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It was now merely a construction kit with parts missing and broken but we could tell this belonged here

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and that attached there and this must be the tip of a beak that once speared fish.

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A great blue heron, I told him, Ardea herodias, but the kid only wanted to know:

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if we put it together again could it fly away? He wanted to believe.

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pork rinds REBECCA MARIA ROSE GISMONDI

based on the painting “Prince Pig and The Second Sister” by Paula Rego my hooves meant nothing to her. She sat in my lap and stroked my chest as if she was the prince. It took everything in her power to reassure me that I wouldn’t be slaughtered in the morning, but she looked past me – an empty gaze. Come dinnertime tomorrow I would sit on a platter and she would feed off of me with an apple stuffed in my mouth and a knife in my shoulder. On some level, I cannot blame her – her hair is caught between my hooves when we make love, and my grunting keeps her up at night. She is worthy of soft fur and slender fingers. I am desired, but only until I am fat enough to eat. Her legs tighten on my hips but she is cold, like the chamber where my blood will drain.

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Strand of Suraya JACK ESLER

running a finger down the oblong ridges, her vertebrae feel as small as soap stones she tells you it's alright to touch the calcified fans that slide with every movement of her core she's so thin-then you touch the blade that grinds softly inside of her with each rotation of her slender shoulder

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an old ballet injury-she wanted so badly to be a ballerina but was cursed by the gods with the grace of a newborn doe

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Suraya which means the light-many years have passed and now you don't know where she lives or who she is, though a strand of her will catch upon your mind from time to time, like the fracture deep in the blade of her back veiled by a curtain of hair so black it's almost blue-weightless between your fingers

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you want to part it one more time

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When it rains JOHN SIBLEY WILLIAMS

the clouds become an empty orphanage and like a good son I return to where they dropped me off

without a word, without so much

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as a hollowed palm to rest my cheek in.

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We go halves on truth,

the sky and me. Bolts of white linen connect us in crash and fire and light.

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the sky dries up and the dead evaporate again

and their names like prayers go feral in disuse.

I know they can’t all be choirs but just this once it would be nice to be elevated like the wrens’ cloudless song, to believe

all absences have a home growing in them.

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the working life of corners CLAUDIA RADMORE

…to great dreamers of corners and holes nothing is ever empty: Gaston Bachelard

there are corners near the ceiling from which i can’t escape caught there before sleep by the simplicity of three lines

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three shapes defined by variants of ambient light around a lozenge of air; it’s time to drift into sleep but the pull of that space disappearing calmly into night its small

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discreet ending lulls triumphant as a mall rat with stuffed pockets; i wake clinging to fluid strips of dream wavering like fronds in seagrass

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meadows while perfect lines of poetry fade and mocking syllables loop

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out of reach but up in the corner three lines three shapes three angles gentle the transition its empty space an archive of endless imagination i’m free to roam around in

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the working life of corners CLAUDIA RADMORE

I was already a corner in it: Rilke, My Life Without me in this

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corner where the soul of old dust forgotten

by brooms thrives VISIT cedepoetry.com in discarded light i am most at home i can hear myself breathe to purchase and download listen to the closing of my eyes

our digital PDFtheor ePub whisper as my eyelashes touch each other hear the soft gurgleslurp of corpuscles along their blue and red routes the constant opening and closing of cupboard doors as my internal custodians take out and put away their pails and mops; in this quiet space part wall part door i can hear myself listening to all the intimate immensities that exist inside my self in this world of smoke and nothingness where i am i at peace

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Strawberry and Cream NIOLFAR SHIDMEHR

This is our story: the story of his white tassel cast on my young and pounding breast; the tale of the coiling of his old head and my creamy heart. The story of a hot strawberry: the account of his mouth dipping in my cream.

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A sweet and sour story: the tale of my “Koss” dripping with his stream.

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This is a long and pounding account, an edible story for all seasons;

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this is our story: shall we go on?

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Contributors Stephen Bett’s poetry has appeared in over a hundred literary journals in Canada and internationally. His eighteenth book Lift Off: a book of future tense makes a trilogy with Penny- Ante Poems & Those Godawful Streets of Man and is published by Ekstasis. He lives in Victoria, British Columbia. www.stephenbett.com Ken Cathers has been writing for many years and is published in numerous periodicals and anthologies, most recently in Rock Salt. He has published five books of poetry with Oolichan Press, Thistledown Press and Ekstasis Press. Charles Durning Carroll is a writer and university lecturer living in Vancouver B.C. He has published poetry and reviews in The Northern Poetry Review, Prism International, The Boston Review, and The Fiddlehead among others. He currently teaches writing and literature at Fairleigh Dickinson University, Vancouver. He recently became a father. Jack Esler works as a janitor at the Vancouver Aquarium. He enjoys writing, boxing, and walking his terrier in the woods. Rebecca Maria Rose Gismondi is a Toronto-based poet and screenwriter. Recently, she directed and wrote her first short film, Souvenir and her poem, “Os” was recently published in Wax Poetry & Art Magazine. She studied poetry in England and Portugal this past summer, and is currently working on her second short film. Curtis LeBlanc lives in Vancouver where he is an MFA candidate at the University of British Columbia. He placed second in the Writers’ Guild of Alberta/Glass Buffalo Poetry Contest. His writing has appeared in Broken Pencil, Joyland, Poetry is Dead, and is forthcoming in Geist, Prairie Fire, and EVENT. Leonard Neufeldt has published seven volumes of poetry, the latest of which, Painting Over Sketches of Anatolia, was published two months ago by Signature Editions. His poems have been read on the CBC, PBS, and National Public Radio and widely published. Michael Penny has published five books, most recently, Outside, Inside from McGill-Queen’s University Press. He lives on an island.

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Contributors Pamela Porter’s work has won over a dozen provincial, national and international awards, including the 2005 Governor General’s Award and the Malahat Review 50th Anniversary Poetry Prize. Pamela lives near Sidney, British Columbia. Claudia Radmore is a lyric poet whose manuscript Accidentals (Apt. 9 Press, Ottawa) won the 2011 bpNichol Chapbook Award. Her work was shortlisted in the 2014 first Annual Lemon Hound Poetry Contest. where language forms won second place in Prairie Fire’s 2010 Banff Centre Bliss Carman Poetry Award, and on Prairie Fire’s long list for the National Magazine Awards. Nilofar Shidmehr, PhD, MFA, is a British Columbia-Book-Prize nominated poet. She has written four books of poetry and has translated Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye into Farsi. Dr. Shidmehr taught individual and collective life writing at Simon Fraser University. She is the 2015–2016 Writer-in-Residence at Regina Public Library. John Sibley Williams is the author of eight poetry collections and editor of two anthologies. A four-time Pushcart nominee, John serves as editor of The Inflectionist Review. Publishing credits include: American Literary Review, Third Coast, Nimrod, Rio Grande Review, Inkwell, Bryant Literary Review, Cream City Review, RHINO, and various anthologies. Mallory Tater is a poet from Ottawa pursuing her MFA in writing at the University of British Columbia. She was recently awarded an Honourable Mention for The Young Buck Poetry Prize 2015. Diane Tucker has published three poetry books and a Young Adult novel. Her poems have appeared in numerous anthologies and in over sixty literary journals in Canada and abroad. She lives in Burnaby, British Columbia.

Colophon This book was designed and produced by Miles Linklater of 24pt-helvetica.com in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. The text is composed in Savoy (FontSite Inc. and Gotham (The Hoefler Type Foundry, Inc.).


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