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anthology 1 (canadian innovative poets)

ditch, the poetry that matters ditch, : where you are when you are not on the main road. ditch, is an online poetry magazine celebrating the innovative, the avant-garde, the experimental.

© 2010, by the authors.

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electrical or mechanical, including photocopying, scanning, recording, or posting on the internet without permission of the author, except for brief passages quoted in a review.

cover art deconstruction 7 – by f.ward mixed media

Trainwreck Press St John’s NL Canada 2

ditch, anthology 1 (canadian innovative poets) contents: rob mclennan Alessandro Porco Todd Swift David UU Nathalie Stephens ErĂ­n Moure Jay MillAr a.rawlings Asher Ghaffar Mark Truscott Geoffrey Hlibchuk Natalie Simpson Jordan Scott derek beaulieu Daniel f. Bradley Margaret Christakos Jon Paul Fiorentino Alice Burdick Gary Barwin Lynn Crosbie gustave morin Elizabeth Bachinsky Louise Bak Stephen Cain Sean Moreland Frances Kruk Judith Copithorne Natalie Zina Walschots Marcus McCann Meredith Quartermain Camille Martin Nathaniel G. Moore


4 9 14 22 33 40 45 49 52 64 67 69 73 76 83 87 91 95 106 115 128 140 145 149 155 162 167 175 178 182 187 194

rob mclennan rob mclennan lives in Ottawa, even though he was born there. The author of over a dozen trade books of poetry, fiction and non-fiction, he spent the 2007-8 academic year as writer-in-residence at the University of Alberta. The editor/publisher of Chaudiere Books, (with Stephen Brockwell), above/ground press, and ottawater,


strike--out (a suite) from solids, or, strike


I know nothing of eden but the lack of parties would have probably killed me I am looking back on eating an apple the conductor is clear as the sky the texture squeaks of the curds on my coloured teeth everything credits to a lack of understatement

poem (three dog night)

I stand a urinals chance away we fall in & out of step the dog at the end of the street barks at nothing who am I to suggest the house is much bigger than the shed


rob mclennan a corollary

the squeak of the cart is like a mouse the tension that pulls us apart & holds I am studying the window the horizon a buddhist phrase of corn is not profound I am destination more than I am willing I am left w/ song & water paving the same ground; covered


proofing it right the sequence of events is critical if no the fire or the smoke or the trees the speculation of time is question these clouds thumbtack the hard moon I am standing in the barn at seven everything is not all right


the city

thinking squarely in the face I passion trees; I heart the moon exposition is not clear reason the silo at the edge of barn as old as I & crumbles the city remembers bees beauty squarely in the eye could never look me in the you


at some point it was a good idea to put the couch out the house in glen robertson the hill stands tim hortons coffee fresh as the ice


rob mclennan he says, when in rome. . .

instinct my critical song; my failed life as a montreal go-go dancer thighs out to ready; heart the wind I am as proceedural as stone berth harkening the telltale thump of heart all roads lead to no more oldies; stop playing that middle

of the road shit

I am dead outside


the merit of association is punctuated I heart & the world hearts me brockwell laughs at aphids, not aphorisms I am the other way around the tree at the top of the hill is a red line a suggestion of birds overwhelm the water is think & reliable if being afraid of the arc needs a bite-light


Alessandro Porco Alessandro Porco is the author of The Jill Kelly Poems (ECW Press, 2005) and Augustine in Carthage (ECW Press, 2008). Currently, Porco attends the State University of New York at Buffalo, where he working towards a doctoral dissertation on the subject of Hiphop poetics.


Alessandro Porco In Which: A Short Pornographic Novel

(with an Unofficial "Afterword" by Steve McCaffery)

CHAPTER I – In Which Our Tale Begins, Its Heroine Enjoying a Meal shesuCkstesticlesliketheyaremadeofblUeberrycheesecake CHAPTER II – In Which Our Heroine Finds Herself in Peril suddeNlyTheCocktUrNsonheraleThalpeniswhippingensues CHAPTER III – In Which Our Heroine Hides in the Stables for Fear laterridingreverseCowgirlsheshoUtsyoulikefuckiNgThatpussy CHAPTER IV – In Which Our Resourceful Heroine Befriends Peter, the Stable Boy theyfuCkedhotterthantwohornykittensinasweatsock CHAPTER V – In Which Peter Saves Our Heroine From Her Perilous Past hisdickswerveswithpleasUrelikeaplasticspooNonahoTdashboard CHAPTER VI – In Which Heroine Doth Proclaim Her Undying Love iwanttotastemyassjuiCessheexclaimsinthemiddleofavigoroUsatm CHAPTER VII – In Which Our Heroine and Peter Live Happily Ever After hesitsoNherTittieswithhisCockatherlipssUckmeofftheNsluT AFTERWORD – by Steve McCaffery byconfusINgsecondaryarticulationandthusrenderingthediscretionsofthe veryarticuliindeterminatescriptiocontinuacreatesasyrrhesiticmovementof thetextafloWingtogetHerofverbaldIsCretionsprecipitatingamoreintens elibidinalencounterwitHthewritten


Chuck Neiderman’s “To His Coy Mistress”

(The Necessary Roughness Remix)

Time timalaya timalina timarooskie Coy coyalaya coyalina coyarooskie Lady ladylaya ladylina ladyrooskie Vegie vegilaya vegilina vegirooskie Love lovalaya lovalina lovarooskie Grow growalaya growalina growarooskie Vast vastalaya vastalina vastarooskie Slow slowalaya slowalina slowarooskie Thy thyalaya thyalina thyarooskie Heart heartalaya heartalina heartarooskie Winged wingalaya wingalina wingarooskie Hurry hurrylaya hurrylina hurryrooskie Song songalaya songalina songarooskie Dust dustalaya dustalina dustarooskie Lust lustalaya lustalina lustarooskie Grave gravalaya gravalina gravarooskie Now nowalaya nowalina nowarooskie Youth youthfulaya youthfulina youthfulrooskie Roll rollalaya rollalina rollarooskie Ball ballalaya ballalina ballarooskie Life lifalaya lifalina lifarooskie Sun sunalaya sunalina sunarooskie Stand standalaya standalina standarooskie Run runalaya runalina runarooskie


Alessandro Porco Mottetti Hello. Telos. This is the saddest story. We took the stairs to a happier one. * Once upon a time. Once upon a time. * Mote. Emote. * She invited me upstairs for coffee. Res not verba. * Omit. Obit. * It was a day like any other. Other. * Misp laced. * Challenged to spell I lost the alphabet. * Little. A little later. * I am Things in things. * She loves me and he loves me. A love me knot. * Language. Gag.


Threeways Anything Set Goes. Blasting Enema Workshop. Converted To Perverted. Daddy’s Not Home. Emasculation Festival Fist. Feed Her Need. Guzzling Income Potential. Hot Wet Phonal. I No Charge. Jerk Drop Load. Kneel Before Meal. Lips Service Rendered. My Clit Aches. No Connection Fee. Orient Down Between. Paid Subscription Voicings. Queen Rocks Off. Rank Your Crank. Support Our Sperm. Ticking A Licking. Unlimited Per Minute. Voted Wetter Better. Wrecked Racked Creamed. Xerox Love Lubidity. Young Horny Housewives. Zero Tolerance Production.


Todd Swift Todd Swift was born in Montreal in 1966 and has lived in Europe since 1997, first in Budapest, then Paris, and now London. He has an MA in Creative Writing from the UEA. He is the author of six collections of poetry, most recently Seaway: New and Selected Poems (Salmon, 2008) and Mainstream Love Hotel (tall-lighthouse, 2009). He has edited or coedited seven major international poetry anthologies, including Poetry Nation (Vehicule Press, 1998) and 100 Poets Against The War (Nthposition/Salt, 2003). His poems have appeared in many major journals, such as The Guardian, Poetry London, and Jacket as well as in The Best Canadian Poetry anthology. He has been Oxfam GB's Poet In Residence since 2004. In that capacity he has edited three poetry CDs and the 2009 DVD, 35 Young British Poets for Oxfam. He is a Core Poetry Tutor for The Poetry School and Lecturer in English and Creative Writing at Kingston University. He blogs as Eyewear.


I Go To A Game With My Vigorous Father I carry my father in hospital sleep, Wake to light that devours things, Each night a new drowning. New summer air recalls old summers When hand-in-hand, younger The live baseball stadium was there, With its Expos players, and mustard. Delected air, that food, now seem As good as if pure Jesus came again. Oh, that he would visit here to cure Cankered layers that make bread out Of any modest body. A body Cannot keep up with all the jilt-jolt pace: Science, that trying, changes in us – Won’t often be weighed down by Too much mid-July-wheeling faith. I feel levelling opaque bodies fold One on one, as I have grown a son From my father’s negative-active cells; And take that rapid son of his from My smashed-open head – and hells Gush down like Niagara, Victoria And all geographic falls – Those rich, long places. Vindictive nouns Cultivate far inside my lovely Tom Like fast bees that build white honey From their nameless industry. Comb my father’s white hair Where it was not aggressively shaved For the scarring. But a game is saved For his pitted memory. He sees A white-dirted ball fly in blue air, a boy, His own it may be, moving by his tall side.


Todd Swift The Oil And Gas University Innovate and engineer. We form New models, rejuvenate the fields. The sectors interface. In Novosibirsk She wears a hooded parka. She Challenges outmoded ideas. She Transforms the education-research Manifold and provides new incentives. Her name is a complex amalgam. She pulls her hood back to reveal A white face restructured by bone So that beauty achieves real excellence In a real-world setting. Her lips Hit each of the seven key targets Set by the national institute last year. Record her and itemize the frozen rain Which begins to fall on her impressive Face. Ownership and exploitation Have no place in this exciting dynamic. Opportunity, however, is vital here In this oil and gas region near the pole. She walks past the infrastructure. The gas flares in the fields, the tundra Reciprocates under the white solar Glare – then continuous darkness Of course will eventually supplant this Brilliant feat. High technology Must provide a nexus and intensive Inventories. She is beautiful and I Wish to introduce myself to her At the Oil and Gas University.


Envoi Send out the loveless children, those faceless ones, pansies, droops, suckers and ragamuffin losers, tooth-low, bedraggled, gaggled geeks, off-strumpets and low-levels, send them out! Let them prowl devil-streets, selling pock-skin, pencil shavings, eyelashes and TB-dolls. Fix them; prop their drip-feed with Benzedrine. Keep the comfort-zones clean. Send these poppets, these tinselHansels and sappy-sonnets, these Gretel-stanzas fetching nopes, into the hands of craving-warts, stucco borders, palsy-gangs and semi-dopes. The nasty-edit, the dopamine cabal, zoot-impaired, pleasure-pained, unused to pretty things, flowers, a kind note. Send my soul to the print-alley fiends.


Todd Swift Homage To Charlotte Rampling Not to be just a “skinny sado-masochist� twisted past all recognition, suspenders over fishbone torso and tweenie nipples singing in the death camp to your lover: that was, Charlotte, a wise career move. So was the departure to alter ego Paris. Marriage suited you better than nakedness set in the most perverse circumstances imaginable. Older, in Under The Sand, Ozon’s film, your eyes identify the body of your drowned husband, no longer human but swollen by the sea, putrid and sexless. Your gaze lies over the available absence we all tend to as volatile organic creatures. The loss and horror and the contamination under the white dry sheets in the mortuary, pulled aside like the skin from a surgical wound. Your eyes hover, they stay open. We see you struggle, there, in that moment with what we all have to face. Your face dies for us.


Monsieur Pigeon’s Best Machine I would like my cemetery to be shaped like the one at Montparnasse, bordered by Rue Froidevaux, Boulevard Edgar-Quinet, Raspail, and on the fourth side, lit apartments whose small square windows look out on the graves of Aron, Bainville, Belmondo, and Cortazar. Autumn makes sorrow smell good, gives one an appetite to go after tombs. They fill me with comfort, because, after so long, they are still here: the names kept (Sartre, Man Ray), and the low, flat trays left out, to put small gifts on, as if thanking the dead for their hospitality. Speaking of which, my favourite tombstone belongs not to an industrialist or chess champion (though they are here in numbers), not even to the Mexican President Porfirio Díaz, but instead to a homely inventor: Charles Pigeon. His grave is topped with the most grotesque figure of sentiment. We come to his last resting place beside his wife. It is a large, green bed (the air did that) and in it, there they both are: he doodling new mechanisms in a notebook, completely dressed, down to the detail of a pocket watch and vest; she, more relaxed, is turned slightly aside, one hand put out to his thigh, as if to say: Charles, let’s make whoopee. This scene of married life is Monsieur Pigeon’s best machine: one which carries all who pass by it, immediately, from our poor century back to his, when such contentment, between man and wife was a basic right. At any rate, he thought so, and put it up (in the path of revolution and economies) to cap their night with a fixed ornament, reinventing tenderness as a monument.


Todd Swift My Name Is Panama The Pacific is ultramarine, pelicans stamped on the envelope of air, mailing themselves over the Canal Zone, narrow girdle of a toucan-mad isthmus. I enter The Hotel Central. The rooms have a stained-sheet feel, rented at a desk longer than some lives, low, holding seven drained bottles of Canada Dry. My Panama hat high on Bolívar, I am ready – sin nombre – to set sail for San Fran, or Shanghai. Panama City, 1999


Gun Crazy Against the world, just us. Behind, a trail of gas stations, small banks, the meat packing plant, knocked over. FBI Telexes clatter like town gossips across America: Barton Tare and Laurie Starr, dangerous and armed. How did it begin? Neon wakes me, I peel back blinds to jackhammer rain, shake a Lucky from the pack, and light. Behind, on the tangled bed, you are mine, every inch of your easy hunger, your fear cold and material in the night. Where are we two going? When we get there, how will we know we’ve finally arrived? Mexico, possibly, but the bills are marked and the Feds hot on our tails. The first time we met, I shot six matches off the crown on your head, at a carnival, won five hundred bucks. The moment the matches flared, I knew my bullets would always be true, direct. You kill out of a necessity verging on need, I cannot squint the eye down to that degree, my hand trembles at the sight of flesh targets. Still, I’ll end up putting a bullet in your heart up in the Lorenzo mountains, in the mist. That first night I aimed and squeezed I should not have missed. You wake and call me over to the bed. Then I’m down in your arms and kissed. Your mouth sets off all four alarms. How can a man be so made from moments of early loss? I was always gun crazy, so good at one clear thing: hitting what I could barely see. I see nothing in the darkness now, only one part moving on the bed, my body pressed like a pistol into the small of your cries.


David UU David UU (pronounced “double-U" or “W”) David W. Harris, was born in Barrie, Ontario in 1948. He is considered an accomplished concrete and experimental poet and an important small press publisher. Along with bill bissett and bpNichol, he was a pioneer of the concrete-poetry movement in Canada and perhaps the first Canadian poet to explore visual collage embodying literary, philosophical and language references. He also wrote and published more conventional poetry, poems and prose for children, two novels, short stories, scripts for theatrical performance and several essays. In addition, Harris founded and operated Fleye Press (1966-67), Derwyddon Press (1972-73), Silver Birch Press (1987-94), and co-founded grOnk in 1967. Harris died in 1994 at a farmhouse near Delhi, Ontario.

The work reproduced here first appeared in the Toronto arts magazine (Imp)ulse Volume 3, Numbers 3 & 4, and was then published in book form in the anthology W)here? The Other Canadian Poetry (Press Porcepic 1974). Used by kind permission of the Estate of David W. Harris.


what we are to find . these moments those of some vision cared for much less . patter grab the heart . sizzling making these trays . rays . mays sunlit . bound the reefs shake the sift . a long time . along . bringing in the biggest . shine for the opening . destination deny try stops . price of actual . shades harmony taking breath . fill the open cross dangerously take . breaking . walled . & further past . & further . & section . big bright amused . fused gracing . fought in the ray sun . groping . fast . masterful . wiped onto center meek . sake sake sake sake sake . Brought simply & forthly marching . signing singing flashing fasting degreed . boundary . bounding flinging signing singing . boundary . boundary . take over nowing the light . direction . dissection . losing blend later licence . my saint over well . taught most blinking . paragraph . paraphrased . intention . in mentiond outboard . crazed misgotten . lock lock the fence. driven from . beast from the bold got held & fell notion . This simpling from gotten over scratching the final wides the train . on the four on the four . liking in living. Is there liking in liking living. Is there liking in liking living living. Is there living. Bells ringing. In ing ing. Ring. The sun is in taping. Static radio. Is love presents. Love present. No pretence. No louder. No louder than to talk. It is to die. Inside words. Lies. Sun be nothing else. Be else to not be sun. Be sun. Rock the boulder to slumber. Breathing moves night darkness. Breathing which moves night & darkness is you breathing. You breathing moves night darkness. Strawberries & other sleeping is breathing in night darkness. Prayers are sometimes grant us. Do grant us. Do grant us living. Do grant us liking living. Do grant us well. Breath. Breathing.


David UU Now is the time. Floating seas the past. 73 Bernard avenue an inlet. Hello i dont know you youre not the same as yesterday. No. To be sick in our bathroom. The towels are free. Coffee. Plastic cups do melt from heat. I told you. Please believe me once. I smashed a bottle against the wall above the chair. Later queens park. I couldnt face anything. Drive around. Yes you were right. I think ill tell her. Tell her. I cant. Its 3 oclock in the morning she isnt back yet. Tomorrow. Take the subway. Home in 10 minutes. Have lunch. Still not here. Back underground. She did & finally we left together from eachother. Late summer in the city. A new address soon to be lost. Batman & robin in a gloryhole scene. Flash. Later coming in your mouth. You did not. I got what I wanted. Do we really. You couldnt swallow. What can we. The drapes closed the door open the balcony. City sounds i will be leaving soon. You wont be coming she is far away no one will be coming i am alone again. It is where it was. Where it was once i was a hero. I did tell lies. Her & me. I am no longer a hero not even in dreams. I still do dream but cant believe them. The sea is too much a mirror. I am now always with the mirror. I am now always trying to believe dreams & people. I am now always. Get me out. There are drums. The beat goes on. I am me you. Love power stations. It was never said. Please. Headlines announce. David was a king. He is now dead. David was a jew. He is now dead. That is history.


The Last Slice: 2 days before once you got up but i pushd it this floor glazed the melting have you ever she summoned the new hostess dressed in screen bought that with more than was ever the blue barrel lifting double wrapped she cried but the players went on a pace to place further riches markd out no erasure in this one bless out of order carry if its what you way then run over the nearest clear the stake it should flow but action who took the moment another on this he is serious second more into the point that got passd the board this hearing is not adjournd all holds 2 be checkd at the foremost slight falling behind i crashd our motion isnt mated the bottle range at the door sure the fire wont be sitting must safely what the security didnt see revisions in the step. or dotted mill mine tenderly all this she stoppd the train welld wide under the sharpened a gliding shore might always there see if mines closely ever sinking fifth place hear the relate cast swimming in the bells feel softer rising full the below later in the old barn the sun did test the table but this act has passd


David UU a saturday nite . sunday morning . the film over . so is the late movie on television . & you . its warm . it might as well be spring . the fast forward isn't working . i feel far away from home . and everything . ive yet to lite the candle . a christmas present . Your presence . absent . missing you all the while . So little time . so much time . my fathers eyes . The blood . my blood dripping to the floor . Watching from the window . i was 3 years old . i became alone . i became my father . his eyes . his smile . said my mother . her memory is only recent to me . i have my own world . autumn in toronto . Dear judy . dead leaves being taken away by the city . A morning . and an evening . another beginning . An end . a continuing motion . today . let me smile for you . prelude to a kiss . music . i . you . let me be your . there is a pain to carry . i can talk about it . this is such a dark morning . a day . a movement . gestures . touch me . i want to be touched . The floor is worn by traffic . people do destroy . The heater is off . san francisco . toronto . vancouver . london . hamilton . kitchener . vienna . paris . milan . the outlands . inside . out . enter. yield . so much highway . roads . trails . a path for our feet . we travel . motion . music . a past . The present. today . begin . end . a movement . A sign . a waiting . be love . dear love . dear one . a song .


there is much to be in waiting . try not to find anything . she said . she said . i know . you don't know . i know . it is the final end . like a final beginning . you know . you dont . what is real . be real . this is real . that was a real experience . toronto 1967 . they didnt know . real lies . we fool ourselves . the past . this present . i love . i . you . love . thats french . you speak french . That is a question . a patch . truth . true . love . life . two . one . arithmetic . impossible. it was . I love you . that is a good ending . waiting . coming . a song .

measure it . a meaning . relevant . relation . ships . sea . stones . the river . the television is off . it is quiet . sunday morning . sunday . the past . Our present . lets go to bed now . a finding . a beginning . a motion . singing . open windows . touch . a song . be present . past . the marchers . toronto . vancouver . cities . people . home . be sum . a memory . a word . a gesture . hurt . response . love . a song .


David UU the great ship saild out the harbour into the storm at sea the wind sure does blow said the galley slave calling for another load & the great ship did sail on rising upon the ocean waves if you think this is a free trip get off the captain who rarely sailed fell thru his sailors glass when he saw his escape meanwhile the crew always on mutiny lined up in full attention but the captain had lost his eyes for this ship & continued the watch in shadow the form moves within touch the hand finds the eyes breath the captain slowly turned & looked hard at his ship for the last time & throwing the sailors glass to the first mate said it's all yours & swam out to sea as the ship sank with the mutinous crew time passes from the mountain to the valley heat brings us here the dream lost in living eyes turn the hand reaches to the present


Canal Dreams: simulated wormhole rabbits food confess died trying yu take that to yur cabin nd see sumthing like this bar drawn spirits sever say shiver if yu know yull never take them to rest biting sunshine there are the magic we outside the food bubbl take them home wake up in six orleans yu track down up the tasted summer surprise yu to the park sea shore sun ride what of they say but in maybe maybe on the outside calld back falling nd back the place nd love all upon this yu last breath falling nd to this again nd to this back now ocean west another inner shes its cumming to where yu sure once we get to the house papa knows what to do with the bones


David UU the golden aether cloud matter rising the jewels of the dawn in this place the seed is planted and cakes forests singing the unicorn dances in the mist yur being in radiance this vision of the hosts of heavenly glory black silver if to touch would heal halo of pure holy anointed by the cosmos and the song Gloria gloria my love for yu gentl of blood and sun sparkls of moon the earthly warmth to flow she is me yu are to my dreams of higher places breathe distant voices thru all shadows i love yu full

wonder falls and sinking into the foremost sunset it is fast gone and always listening to forces that besiege i am beyond the old fallen graces that are home and not to be subsided being my sword to the forward singing glow this i name altamber flaming in yur eyes and for all sons of this glory come and behold near the golden fruit lies a woman clad in white shimmering of all worlds there is wonder in capture of her heavenly amazement i arose and walked towards of what is behind the suns eye and i appear to that place beyond yur vision



David UU


Nathalie Stephens Nathalie Stephens (Nathanaël) writes l’entre-genre in English and French. She is the author of a dozen books including, The Sorrow And The Fast Of It (Nightboat (US), 2007), its French counterpart, …s’arrête? Je (L’Hexagone, 2007), Touch to Affliction (Coach House, 2006), Je Nathanaël (l’Hexagone, 2003) and L'Injure (l'Hexagone, 2004), a finalist for the 2005 Prix AlainGrandbois and Prix Trillium. Je Nathanaël exists in English self-translation with BookThug (2006). Other work exists in Basque and Slovene with book-length translations in Bulgarian (Paradox, 2007). With Nota bene (Montréal, 2007), there is an essay of correspondence entitled L’absence au lieu (Claude Cahun et le livre inouvert), the self-translation of which was published by Nightboat (US) in 2009, as Absence Where As (Claude Cahun and the Unopened Book). Stephens has guest lectured and performed her work internationally, notably in Sofia, Barcelona, Ljubljana, New York and Norwich. The recipient of a Chalmers Arts Fellowship and a British Centre for Literary Translation Residential Bursary, she was the keynote speaker at the 2006 edition of the University of Alberta's Annual Translation Conference. Literaturen vestnik (Literary Gazette, Bulgaria) has written of Stephens’ work that “If we are to speak of modern prose today, it is, in all probability, of this kind: situated nowhere as a genre, but intentionally omnipresent.”

excerpts from: THE SORROW AND THE FAST OF IT by Nathalie Stephens (Nightboat Books) …s’arrête? Je by Nathalie Stephens (L’Hexagone)


Nathalie Stephens  We divide into occurrences. A place name is an occurrence of retreat. A circle is an occurrence of light. A ground is an occurrence of destruction. A voice is an occurrence of a madness. A rail line an occurrence of parting. A boundary an oc−currence of travail. A blood line of porosity. A chasm of pain. A literature of anxiety. A massacre of disavowal. A vein of rain. This is the literal construction of the body. The body in its built geography. This is how it is taken apart. And reassembled. The body which was to have been a body of ideas. A corporeal thought fleshed out on the rustiest of nails. We scraped away what was animal. We scraped away what was felt. We scraped away what was forgotten. We scraped away what was unexpected. We scraped and we scraped. To make the best of what could be made. We saw that it was glistening. We saw that it was smooth. We didn’t see that it was tumid. And by the twenty-first century we didn’t recognize it as rank. We gloried in superlatives. We split what was whole for the sake of it. Making from the made thing not think−ing beyond the smoothness to the rasping breath. Everything we made was for the next thing. Everything we made was rejected.

 I line the closed mouth with an indiscretion. I line the plaster walls with sobriety. I enter the wooden doorway through a skin. I tear the asphalt from the limited. I pull the water up from the river and over a hill. I mark the iron gate inhabited. I go to where the beasts mourn. I place the key under the clay pot. I break the sleep of the disinterested. I lead the revolution to the bus stop. I burn the prayer that burnt the child tongue. I snap the clavicle from the skeleton. I liken leaving to a photograph. With a spent bone in the tired hand. I liken speaking to an epitaph. I drive the monster from the bedroom.

 I wring the long neck. I carry the blue bruise. I tear the singed hair. I turn the blunt soil. I screw the turmoil. I call the city man. I turn his noise off. I follow the dog minstrel. I make the jerk off. I slam the mirrored door. I fake the sandstone. I wander the gravel dust. I snap the cello string. I swim the dry creek. I alter the sound wave. I float on the detritus. Among the shop−ping carts. In the boneless 34

 On se divise en manifestations. Un nom de lieu est la manifestation d’un retrait. Un cercle est la manifestation d’une lumière. Un sol est la manifestation d’une destruction. Une voix est la manifestation d’une folie. Un rail, celle d’une partance. Une frontière, celle d’un labeur. Une filiation, d’une porosité. Un gouffre, d’une douleur. Une littérature, d’un soupçon. Un massacre, d’un désaveu. Une veine, d’une pluie. Ceci est la construction littérale du corps. Le corps dans sa géographie construite. Ceci est comment il est défait. Et rebâti. Le corps qui devait être un corps d’idées. Une pensée corporelle épinglée par un clou des plus rouillés. On a gratté ce qui était animal. On a gratté ce qu’on éprou vait. On a gratté ce qu’on avait oublié. On a gratté ce qui était inattendu. On a gratté et gratté. On a fait de notre mieux ce qui pou vait se faire. On a vu que ça reluisait. On a vu que c’était lisse. On n’a pas vu que c’était tuméfié. Et, arrivé au vingt et unième siècle, on n’a pas vu que c’était infect. On s’est glorifiés avec des superlatifs. On a divisé ce qui était entier pour le plaisir. Faisant de la chose faite sans ré flé chir plus loin que l’onctuosité, que le souffle râpé. Chaque chose qu’on a faite signalait la prochaine chose. Chaque chose qu’on a faite a été rejetée.

 Je double la bouche fermée d’une indiscrétion. Je recouvre de sobriété les murs de plâtre. J’entre par l’embrasure boisée à travers une peau. J’arrache le goudron du limité. Je tire l’eau de la rivière jusqu’à l’autre versant de la colline. Je marque la porte de fer habitée. Je vais où les bêtes font leur deuil. Je place la clé sous le pot d’argile. Je brise le sommeil du désintéressé. Je mène la révolution à l’arrêt d’autobus. Je brûle la prière qui a brûlé la langue enfant. Je retire la clavicule de l’ossature. Je compare le départ à une photographie. Avec un os usé dans la main fatiguée. Je compare la parole à une épitaphe. Je chasse le monstre de la chambre à coucher.

 Je tords le cou long. Je porte l’hématome bleuté. J’arrache les cheveux consumés. Je retourne le sol appauvri. Je secoue l’agitation. J’appelle l’homme de la ville. J’éteins son bruit. Je suis le chien ménestrel. Je roule le salopard. Je claque la porte vitrée. Je feins le grès. J’erre la poussière de gravier. Je brise la corde du violoncelle. Je nage dans le ruisseau sec. Je modifie l’onde sonore. Je 35

Nathalie Stephens grave. I vomit on the plastic face. I humiliate the drunkard and the priest. I climb the spiked wall. I cross the poster out. I nail the infant to the fence. I line the people up. I proclaim a madness and a disgrace. This is as the human breaks. Against the walled fortress. Against the lover’s back. Inside the child throat. Under a beaming sky. Full of a shameless sun. Full of a thin−ning air of all the wars shunted into a stifled ground. We eat it into us like cannibals.

 There is the way to formulate an absence. In among the mottled sounds. In around the cramped formations of competing fears. The bodies press all into a window. There is neither light nor barrier and we neither fall nor are suspended. This is as we discover the structure and the structure chokes us into tight squares of paralysis. What I mean to say is the significance of gravity is lost to the body in among this many constructions. This is as we divine what we are on a verge of losing. This is as the sorrow is pinched into us. We hold breath against a hopelessness. We fabricate the disjunctures. And we swim across waters that are imagined toward lands that are devastated. For the fantasy of labyrinth. For the belief in astray. For the sake of gaining what is irremediable. For the hidden arteries releasing into a poisoned lake.

 I plant a garden in fall. I take the dry strands of withered plants. I pull the grasses from the edge of a lake. I make fistfuls of dirt and eat them into me. I make one garden inside and one garden outside. One for the body. One for the field. I pour water into dry earth. I take grown plants and make them small. I take old growths and divide them. I pull the sun close. I make the water fall. I press my feet bare against exposed roots. I cover the dry earth with wilted petals. I make the brittle stalks into a small enclosure. I call it an espalier an awning a canopy a stable. Even as it is none of these. Even as the hooves of beasts don’t fall. Even as wood doesn’t climb. Even as the shadow on the ground is the sky’s own alone. Even as the garden is a slab of beaten rock. And the only sound is of a wailing cat on a threshold demanding a different course of time.


flotte sur les détritus. Parmi les caddies. Dans les fosses désossées. Je vomis sur le visage en plastique. J’humilie l’ivrogne et le prêtre. J’escalade le mur à crampons. Je cloue l’enfant au mur. J’aligne les gens. Je proclame une folie et une disgrâce. C’est ainsi que l’humain se brise. Contre la forteresse murée. Contre le dos de l’amant. Dans la gorge de l’enfant. Sous un ciel extasié. Gonflé d’un soleil éhonté. Gonflé d’un air raréfié par toutes les guerres synchronisées. On l’avale en nous comme des cannibales.

 Il y a cette façon de formuler une absence. Parmi les sons mouchetés. Autour de formations crispées de frayeurs. Les corps s’appuient tous contre une fenêtre. Il n’y a ni lumière ni barrière, et on ne tombe pas et on n’est pas suspendus. C’est ainsi qu’on découvre la structure, et la structure nous enfonce dans de petits carrés de paralysie. Je veux dire par là que la signification de la pe santeur échappe au corps au milieu de tant de constructions. C’est ainsi qu’on devine ce qu’on s’apprête à perdre. C’est ainsi que le chagrin entre en nous par pincements. On retient notre souffle contre un désespoir. On fabrique des disjonctions. Et on traverse à la nage des eaux imaginées vers des terres dévastées. Pour le fantasme du labyrinthe. Pour la croyance en l’égarement. Pour gagner ce qui est irrémédiable. Pour les artères dérobées qui s’épanchent dans un lac empoisonné.

 Je plante un jardin en automne. Je prends les brins secs de plantes fl étries. J’arrache les herbes au bord d’un lac. Je fais des poignées de terre et les avale. Je fais un jardin à l’intérieur et un à l’extérieur. Un pour le corps. Un pour le champ. Je verse de l’eau sur la terre sèche. Je prends des plantes adultes et j’en fais des petites. Je prends des anciennes pousses et les divise. Je tire le soleil vers moi. Je fais que l’eau tombe. J’appuie mes pieds nus contre les racines exposées. Je recouvre la terre sèche de pétales fanés. Je fais une petite enceinte avec des tiges fragiles. Je l’appelle une tonnelle, un auvent, une étable, un dais. Même si ce n’est rien de tout cela. Même si les sabots des bêtes ne tombent pas. Même si le bois ne grimpe pas. Même si l’ombre sur le sol est l’ombre du ciel. Même si le jardin est un bloc de roc battu. Et le seul son, celui d’un chat qui gémit sur un seuil et réclame un autre cours au temps.


Nathalie Stephens  I like nothing of what I see. I close the door. I close the door for certainty. But the wall is weak. So I fall against the fallen wall on a dis−couraged ground. It is like this : A sky remaindering. In the museum of art there is a steel ring. In the river floats a silver box. Under the hood of a car there is a cattle prod. In a field there is a lead pipe. On a table top a monkey wrench. In this human hand an animal gut. These are the offerings. These are the settlements. These are the measurements of trust. These are the managings that break and break and break us into madnesses. That make the surface into rust and the weaknesses for failing. The ground is not for any of us. Not now that we have touched it.


 Je n’aime rien de ce que je vois. Je ferme la porte. Je ferme la porte sur une certitude. Mais le mur est faible. Alors je tombe sur le mur tombé sur un sol découragé. C’est ainsi : Un ciel restant. Dans le musée d’art, il y a un anneau d’acier. Sur l’eau de la rivière flotte un boîtier d’argent. Sous le capot, il y a un martinet. Dans un champ, il y a un tuyau de plomb. Sur une table, une clé à molette. Dans cette main humaine, un boyau animal. Ce sont les offrandes. Ce sont les règlements. Ce sont les mesures de la confi ance. Ce sont les accommodements qui se brisent et se brisent et nous brisent sournoisement. Qui font de la surface une rouille et les faiblesses pour faillir. Le sol n’est pour aucun de nous. Maintenant qu’on l’a touché.


Erín Moure Erín Moure is one of Canada's most eminent and respected poets, and a translator from French, Spanish, Galician, and Portuguese. Winner of the Governor General's Award for Furious, the Pat Lowther Memorial Award for Domestic Fuel, and the AM Klein Poetry Prize for Little Theatres (which has also been published in Spain in Galician translation as Teatriños), Moure has published twelve books of poetry, including A Frame of the Book, co-published in the U.S. by Sun and Moon Press, and five books of poetry in translation, including Sheep's Vigil by a Fervent Person by Fernando Pessoa, shortlisted for the 2002 Griffin Poetry Prize and the 2002 City of Toronto Book Prize. Moure lives in Montreal.

excerpts from: O Cadoiro by Erín Moure (House of Anansi)



ErĂ­n Moure


My own daughter, heart is what I grieve to see you so often in tears I griev and thus I will ask what it is that rends that you may tell me from yr sens Why do you go about so sad and crying?

Mother I can t always be singing along.

It s not that I d see you al l ways in song But you cry so often and with great pain There is some lover you love with grand vow I ask you now if god wd allow Why do you go about so sad and crying?

Mother I can t always be singing. Songs won t always be ringing. Songs can t always be sung.

[1067] #1134 Pero de Veer


ErĂ­n Moure Were it in my power to love such world In my honesty, and curve of my ribs around such heart I have or lung for breath, and alive here, wanting world as she to be in me A creased grave-shroud is my foreboding A careen or fall, and would you want me ever world, for it is world I feel such weight for forlorn or moving forth, though such a world be questionable, warring, some privileges at odds with their own mastery and mastery of me and yet kindness is ever all I dreamed of, from you world. Vast vagueries. I love you still. Poisoned, delicate world. I love you still.

[940] #995


Jay MillAr Jay MillAr is a poet, editor, publisher and bookseller. He is the author of The Ghosts of Jay MillAr (2000), Mycological Studies (2002), False Maps for Other Creatures (2005) and the collection the small blue (2007). Recently he published a collaborative ‘novel’ written with Stephen Cain titled Double Helix (2006). He lives in Toronto where he currently runs BookThug, an independent literary publisher, and Apollinaire’s Bookshoppe, which specializes in the books that no one wants to buy.

excerpts from: Lack Lyrics by Jay MillAr (BookThug)


Jay MillAr LACK LYRIC V Of broken or scarred things: some love or other is what we should accomplish. I guess. And if you happen to fall may the air be thin or the ground be a softer thing than you imagine. Take this conceptual sparkplug and close it up for the night. Tag theory: You're it. Now you can chase me down some fascinating morose umbrage dialectic on toast mistaken for a mixed green. Do this or that to pressure the common fire, take what we can and move on through the delicate sunlight's woven quick kick to the solar system's dreamy gonad. I am all that and more, and so request your love. Shall it lead me wondering by the hand to the assumptions we call home, or upon an instance slip free focus into a moment of mitosis for all? Face the facts, darling. Anything you say is guaranteed to come back and bite you in the ass. Good thing I'm going to die. Good thing you're going to die. Then everything can get back to normal. This is an advertisement for a few friends. Please drop me a line — I feel so lonely depressed filter remnants linger upon my own sense of unbelievable circuitry: yes, the circular


gates are wide but wider still are the gutless wonders who inhabit this town. When will I feel I belong with them? Or they to me? Probably when my wicked have been lined up and shot by my gloomy happiness fascists. But I suppose when it's cooked it'll look a little different. If life is as existential as all that why must I put up with such tedious bullshit all the time? Everywhere I turn humans are plastic egocentric fuckers like me — our demands are petty, small, and extraordinarily pointless — dry cough of the six year old in the next room goes on and on — he won't drink a glass of water to ease my discomfort. O still thy fingers O chalkboard of normalcy! Imagine — there is something wrong with poetry. I am drinking. I am drinking. I am drinking black coffee with withered flowers and I tell my withered flowers there is something wrong with poetry. And they wither away. So I tell my withered flowers I have nothing to say. If the gates of heaven are simply closed because they are considered cliché the weight of my sadness is more immense than the efforts some conscious being made to string words together in a machine. So shut up


Jay MillAr already. Shut up and fuck me — I need something that has a little how you say pizzazz in it. Pretty soon it'll be years later — I'll be remembered as the guy who stuck it to the man — I'll live in a pit on the edge of town where it's quiet and dark and I can finally think. I talk with what's left of my god and eat meals through a straw. Each weekend I'm visited by my feelings. During the week I type poems on their behalf.


a.rawlings a.rawlings is a Canadian poet and multidisciplinary artist. The recipient of the bpNichol Award for Distinction in Writing (2001), angela has worked with many arts organizations, including The Mercury Press, Lexiconjury Reading Series, Theatre Gargantua, and the TV series Heart of a Poet. She also instructs text and sound workshops for the Toronto Public Library, Learning through the Arts, and Ryerson University. Working with derek beaulieu and Jason Christie, angela co-edited Shift & Switch: New Canadian Poetry (Mercury, 2005). Her first book, Wide slumber for lepidopterists (Coach House Books, 2006), was featured in The Globe and Mail’s top 100 books of 2006; it went on to receive an Alcuin Award for Design and was nominated for the Gerald Lampert Memorial Award. Wide slumber was recently translated from page to stage for Harbourfront Centre’s Hatch: Emerging Performance Projects in Toronto. angela is currently researching sound, text, and movement, with special emphases on vocal/contact improvisation and acoustic ecology. She lives in Toronto.

excerpts from: WIDER B-side: rarities and remixes from Wide slumber for lepidopterists by a.rawlings (Belladonna* Books) 49

a.rawlings A FIELD GUIDE for matt ceolin Common names

Unable to sleep. Trouble falling asleep. Asleep. Dreaming. Disturbed sleep. Waking up.

Taxonomic names

Insomnia. Dyssomnia. NREM. REM. Parasomnia. Arousal.




On the floor of clover and lucerne fields near orchards and sallows, willows and woodsheds. In attic beds and chairs next to communal webs. On ground covered in bramble, raspberry, rocks.


Polysomnography and paragraphs.


Almost all night; often migrates.

Similar species



a vocalized or unvocalized inhale on ‘uh’ hoosh ha vocalized or unvocalized exhale on ‘hoosh’ and ‘ha’ fl pronounced on unvocalized exhale, may be done in rapid


lu pronounced on unvocalized inhale or exhale, may be done

in rapid succession ch pronounced on unvocalized exhale, succeeded by sharp intake of breath (or sucking in of spittle) ending in an abrupt plosive pronounced ‘ft’ on unvocalized exhale, pause, ‘mp’ pronounced as vocalized swallow x pronounced as ‘ks’, with the ‘s’ ending in an abrupt plosive y pronounced as ‘ee’, with the ‘e’ ending in an abrupt plosive z pronounced as ‘z’, with the ‘z’ ending in an abrupt plosive vt pronounced on vocalized exhale, short and powerful explosions of air tadra uh tadra tadra pronounced as vocalized exhale, unvocalized inhale, unvocalized exhale; almost an alveolar trill and as rapid as that tup pronounced on unvocalized exhale, extremely rapid like a high hat rOro pronounced as low growl on drawn-out vocalized inhale, ending with a quickly punctuated high note



for lori nancy kalamanski

Hypnothrum of nightwords on lips, lips on thighs, legs twitch.

29netherrealm Deforms of sleep click of a switch sleep. Are we rounded or inhaling to sleep? Do we tail off the hindwing? Count eggs to uncontrol. Count morphemes epsy epil narcol disp. Are our edges with ropped isturbed angled sleed? Hypnagogia descension.noise agognee dena? deruid po tiw sero ra. sidloc lippem pruot. nuos oc? niwila wo? elsot linre ra. elsiw fo els fo smod

mlaerrehten## 37ether

Cryptic promin irregular nustle bodies nustle twisted, dead leaves eschen bodies left eschen flattened bodies for the purpose of nustle being left cataplectic istle purposefully collapsed bodies istle immobility nustle camou.nowac eltsnu htilipowwi eltsi seiqop qesballoc hllnfesobrnb eltsi citcelbatac tfel guiep eltsnu fo esobrub eyt rof seiqop qeuettalf ueycse tfel seiqop nehcse senael qaeq ‘qetsimt eltsnu seiqop eltsnu ralngerri uiworb citbhrC


537neon Colortango. Bandoneon. Love-heat. Almosst ( )lit. Velvet. Drunk, so drunk off rotten fruit couldn’t wake. No one, take two. A one a two. Slow slow quick quick slow and very slow appendages verge on pale green, golden-spot. Body. Os and Ds. A rip a run, body outside body. Humid-thick. Thirst. Consume. Ocho. rigt dim obedi tuo nur pira ... opsne gnee gela noe ... Rev segapa wols rev nawols ciu ... ciu swolsowt aenoa eka tenoone ti, ti ur tor foknur ... osk nur tegt sumk, nur tevlev il ... somlatsae hevol noene na …

trolo noen###


Asher Ghaffar Asher Ghaffar's first book of poetry, “wasps in a golden dream hum a strange music,� was published by ECW Press in 2008. Currently, he is at work on a novel at the Humber School for Writers. Asher's work has appeared in national journals such as Open Letter, Lichen Arts and Letters Review, CV2 & dANDelion.


PREDICTABLY, THE HOUSE WAS NOT THERE Predictably, it didn’t matter because the beginning was a farce. Predictably, he believes that narrative can organize the filing cabinet. Predictably, he tried to subvert in a dream and fly above himself and circle a broken, black and stringless lyre. Predictably, his ashes were scattered in Baghdad. Predictably, his ashes sang. He is in search for a lost music. He is searching of the lost music of a lost body. His circulation drums inside his veins. He wants to destroy something or build a stone tower. He wants to run up a mortgage and run himself to death paying for it. He is imbricated like a gutter tile. He could invent a self to inhabit. Last night, he returned to Thunder Bay. Last night, Terry Fox was frozen like an ice-berg. Last night, Canada switched bodies with the United States. Last night, he droned like a swarm of bees. Last night, he met the Indian man at Tim Hortons who said that he was writing a book called “The Good Life.” Last night, he was shooed away with a shoe because he asked the man where he lived. Last night, a roof looked like a mast for a ship-building empire. Last night, the ground beneath his feet. Last night, his body morphed into the stranger who comes into hushed village peddling knifes. Last night, the man stamped on a bush to make sure the bush wouldn’t light on fire. Last night, absence was like a cleavage of tongues. Last night, the man asked him if he was possessed by a language. Last night, a rainstorm of bed sheets. Last night, the man thought it was demeaning to ask where he came from. He understood the ways in which minds are under-erasure and the good life comes to be. When trace becomes scream. He’ll tear this space down in a couple of months and leave poetry behind once and for all. Poetry is for poets. He wants to vanish into another relation. The current flowed against him. At the GO station, he almost walked into the belly of a revolving door. Every night something eats away at him until he is both occupied and occupier...he’s been tracing fingers in the sky.


Asher Ghaffar 2. The body is found in relation to the trace. The trace is agency. The trace Is (r)evolution. Is bitterness and brilliance. Is coming to mean purity Is inverted, knotted an alluvial deposit where “salt is purified.” He wants to mine the slippages. In history. He can’t drive the poem. The poem is driven out of the trace. The poem is always an organic relation. The trace can grow like a fibrous plant. The trace can appear to transcend. But always he will find that he is digger. Always he will give up when language takes over. When history becomes beloved. Reading Glissant. Hugging the text:

For the salt it means. Brilliance and bitterness once again. Lights in distress on its expanse. Profusion. The theme, knotted with foam and brine, is pure idea. Monotony: a tireless murmur cracked by a cry. There—on the delta—is a river where the word piles up—the poem—and where salt is purified (G). crystallization of past in present meeting oneself on the genuflecting tongue what is the function of “monotony” in the poem? Bitterness and bitterness and brilliance sight and taste intermixing eyes and tongue the tongue concealing/or revealing? the eye does the tongue dim the eye gazing at the “pure idea” at the moment of the pure idea’s conception? the self marooned by “a tireless murmur/cracked by a cry” a profusion of meaning process/ed gathered in the trace harvest histories sequestered penumbra water only after body has erupted and settled ashes cesaire’s volcanic body a paradoxical renewal lush green petrified wood traces floating up as still lives are broken a ground beneath stepping stones to a being that cannot be without being tasted denied sight at the very moment of being tasted shadows chased into the water drowned and arising as waiting monotony rippling at the gathering hands of water.


3. A child comes to age in the time of nation when she discovers bodies disembodied, drowned emerging from the waters—singing, tasting a brilliant and bitter purgative of time. Within the gap that constitutes a nation in an originary act of pure violence--floating isles of monologues and bodies tracing their remains. Each bodily trace meeting another singing re-constituting a collective body. A child comes to be when she speaks the gaping hole which once constituted his wholeness and laughs at a city of crumbling stone. A body is not a snow storm, a manacle, or a chain. If it is a chain, it is simultaneously a severing.

4. The body kneads its own language, gathers its flour like a whore. There are no exits from the body. No orifices to turn to. No apertures left for the hemispheres to move towards. The music has died in the world. Open the door, Friend, so I can spit on your image once again.

5. There was a time mourning and singing were communal acts. We will attempt to untangle two disparate acidic burning away of faces and feet.


Asher Ghaffar The tongue learns to genuflect muffled speech inching toward. We began the narrative when we were transmigrating into language. Father was born, or ill conceived, between three wolves. Our feet could not clench a clod and claim a miracle.

6. Narrative means to present a body schematic. One must at last present a body habeas corpus‌

7. Father in a dream believed in new land which he left and is leaving.

8. Walk over a mine. Explode to find the intercultural dimensions of the metaphor.

9. I searched for God and arrived at my father’s door in a foreign country I became the door for him to myself. I am the hanging hinge of your burnt down house opening to you. You walk through and unscrew me.

10. Father crosses over. He is crossing over in his sleep. We type a delirium. Night is nothing but night. How many times do I have to repeat this before I become a fascist?


11. We began this narrative when he saw the last child to sit down after the national anthem, dispersed. When the last child left the room, the room was peopled he had never heard of. By songs there is a river song we could bathe our bodies. We will make river metaphors that root and cross into this anguished sleep. O Canada of hinge narratives. O Canada of opening and closing doors.


Asher Ghaffar DESIRE NEVER LEAVES* (title from a line in a Tim Lilburn poem entitled “How To Be Here.”) Desire rarely erupts through metal. It erupts through eyes which attach to metal. Erupts orgasmic. And thus, the body is born burning. Disgorged eyes, pouring out skin on skin, epidermal schema. There is electricity in metal, bodies conduct it, repelled, indifferent, attracted—torn like a man who cannot stop mourning his doll in The Sandman. How does one forgive iron, molten through the veins, erupting through the head? If the statue of King Edward were melted down into Canadian currency what would replace him? A memorial garden for the Japanese in the internment camps? What is desire to not publicly mourn, if there was a space to collectively mourn? There is always the invasion in the house of dreaming. Hello, nice to meet

you must be an angry oriental mask The statue stares through us, laughs, transplanted from India, after the Partition. The aesthetic orienting the body, grating, grinding, a word in a smelter. Then the surpassing, we hope.

There is no surpassing. What do you get when you place metal on a tongue in winter? A real love affair. I orient myself to stone tablets. Moses on morphine. I want to tongue you, King Edward.


CELLULOSE I will tell you this in the disturbed time of speech which is poetry. These are the unhomely spaces where we play our less distinct harpsichords. Our instruments made from the pigments of our flesh. Our organs turn noiselessly away, harvesting all the elements into the fifth which crackles like birch bark, floating in a tomb of singing.

2. You cannibalize our history. Turn over our leaves for a new day. Unforeseeable layers interrupt. Something sequestered from the night, touched your barbed fingers. Wanted to scribble loss over your body. You wanted to make your whiteness breathe something other than its quiet hysteria. And so we envisioned the intestine from a bark of a rabid dog. And so our ears were erect—keenly aware how the shredded rind of a lemon sounded.


Asher Ghaffar And so our ears leaned keenly into febrile darkness, reading generations of silence fallen from pursed lips. Our notes, the guttural surf drawn from the ocean’s green sibilance.

3. Then the silences dissolved like a sugar doll in your senses. You declared: decomposing has no opposite,

is feeling expanded bereft of pattern lifted into language. There is a cosmic music that emerges from my bowels.



“Where is the border you will not cross?” Ron Silliman

Chapter one regurgitates the new sentence for lack of any other direction. Chapter one uses parataxis for the wrong reasons. Chapter one is receding to chapter one. Chapter one is a body rather than a langue. Chapter one exceeds discourse. Chapter one revels in inversions that make no sense. Chapter one is monstrous. Chapter one is a wall attempting to speak. Chapter one could be original sin all over again. Chapter one should be the ultimate catharsis. Chapter one could be a river that changes names. Chapter one like wasps in the ear drums. Chapter one should praise the new sentence. Chapter one attempts to construct a rhombus. Chapter one shouldn’t produce numinous illumination. Chapter one believes in a point that is the end point. Chapter one is apocalyptic. Chapter one could be the Gospel of John. Chapter one is all about indeterminacy. Chapter one might bleed more. Chapter one surges towards the end of the mind, halting at the wall of history before hitting. Chapter one might love more. Chapter one should break all rules. Chapter one should not make grammatical sense. Chapter one should not mention ontology. Chapter not should not mention Ibn Arabi. Chapter one doesn’t believe in voice. Chapter one glides across the glassy water and eventually sinks like a hung woman. Chapter one believes that schizophrenia is radical poetics. Chapter one won’t look further back from the point where it touched the new world. Chapter one eventually becomes a loyal subject of the state. Chapter one is endless deferral. Chapter one believes in a point that is the end point. Chapter one is apocalyptic. Chapter one could be the Gospel of John. 61

Asher Ghaffar Chapter one is the albatross of modernism. Chapter one is usually white Chapter one is usually male Chapter one is usually middle class Chapter one will attempt to remember Auschwitz by recollecting that colonialism made Auschwitz possible Chapter one will leave an empty chair in the house where a body tells the beads of time until there is a new world. Chapter one will leave the door hanging on a hinge so the spectral presence of history can emerge inhabit an empty seat. Chapter one is the empty seat. Chapter one rises into new senses. Chapter one looks as far back as it can before it breaks the beads of time. Chapter one writes to reach a stand still. Chapter one writes to reach a living silence which alters the cells. Chapter one awakens periodically from its somnolence. Chapter one believes that silence is the living presence of a new being. Chapter one believes that silence produces the subject that is neither loyal to the state, nor loyal to the self. Chapter one believes a revolution is near. Chapter one believes that the body is a microcosm of the whirl. Chapter one ends where chapter one begins. The body contracts. The body expands. The body wants to dream. The body wants to love. The body wants to grasp. The body wants to possess it. The body wants to build a house here. The body wants to take apart the house brick by brick. The body wants to laugh until every house crumbles. His body is an earthquake. His body is a tornado. The body lives in clouds. His body lives in drought. The body wants to write prose. The body wants to write a paean. The body conjures up an indistinct memory of a woman who makes the blackest tea. This woman could be the body. This woman could be his grandmother. This woman could be a rainstorm. This woman could be hail. She could mean finding too much, finding too little, finding not enough. Memory becomes deranged. The senses are obscured. Narratives expand in his mind.


When the palm closed in prayer the world closed with it. When the palm opened the world with it. When the song rose the palm was emptied. When the empty emptied, the song lay down and died. When the died emptied the bread was born, when the bread was born the world with it. When the senses were scandalous, the world with it. When the myth fell, the body with it, when the body broke, the bird awoke, When the enemy knocked at the door, he became the bearer of good news When good news was emptied, the road unraveled. When the road unraveled, the building crumbled. When the building crumbled, the song with it. When the song was emptied, the ribs scrambled. When the body fainted, the longing subsided, when the subsiding emptied, the enemy entered. When the enemy was revealed the song entered. When the song entered the song entered. In the whirling night, he found the semblance of sense. In the vertiginous sky bloomed a lotus flower. Behind the palace of defeat the hovel of wisdom. When he locked himself out he was at last free. In the raging night he found he had lost his voice. In the early morning the night cast its still sombre shadow. When the leaves fell the butterfly emerged from its destitute sheath. When the pollen fell, the highway unwound. After the angel told him that his nightmares would cost his life, he gladly offered his severed head.


Mark Truscott Mark Truscott’s first book, Said Like Reeds or Things, was published in 2004 by Coach House Books. He is at work on his second, tentatively entitled Nature, of which the poems appearing here are part. He curates the Test Reading Series in Toronto.


From “Nature”

on and on toward and on

So forth four

ontic tones shone strong common diamond chronos drones gonged on

what if the words were to be set off kilter


Mark Truscott From “Essays on Nature”

in the interstice that this can’t enter a deictic room tone hums

these words stay these solid lines


Geoffrey Hlibchuk Geoffrey Hlibchuk graduated from SUNY Buffalo where he studied poetics, and currently lives in Toronto, Canada. His work has appeared in PRICIPICe, Queen Street Quarterly, and Shift and Switch: New Canadian Poetry; and critical articles have recently been published in Studies in Canadian Literature, and Open Letter. His collection of poems— Variations on Hölderlin—recently won the 2008 Robert Kroetsch Award for Innovative Poetry and was published by Snare Books in 2008.


Geoffrey Hlibchuk Fulgurite Valley

Surprisingly cold as if a vacuum tube with ultimately no space to hold anything but the nothing it contains (an echo of fossilized electrons) a path of thunder has swept up this beach into a series of mirrors. We can note the following effects: All this electricity has traced the shape of a haemorrhage of chrome and shepherded the sand into a scare-quote of glass.

And all the cascade ranges melted into a clear ribbon of lightning:

The Clara bow.


Natalie Simpson Natalie Simpson's first collection of poetry, accrete or crumble, was published by LINEbooks in 2006. above/ground press recently reissued her chapbook Dirty Work as part of its Alberta Series. More of her poetry can be found in Shift & Switch: New Canadian Poetry (The Mercury Press) and Post-Prairie: An Anthology of New Poetry (Talonbooks). Natalie is a former managing editor of filling Station magazine, and intermittently publishes limited edition chapbooks through her press, edits all over. She lives in Calgary.

excerpts from: accrete or crumble by Natalie Simpson (LINEbooks)


Natalie Simpson similar fingers

Geosphorical, Geosphorical graphical, apoint in continual reticence. Hammers blasting, all guns a-sway. The day is thin and bereft. I take self-evidence fully.

The word is quote “cramming.�

A growing concern for falliotropic armor, the glowing amorphous etc., love and its constituent amiabilities. Strain four walls and brilliant, sprain the hunt. As such, you being nudged in phonic representation, being irregular, you.

Gorgeous elastic snap can master plastic rasp of wind in this frame. Some have laboured monotonously. The day is chill. I like to synchronize emotion with your states of undress. Cast my photographic caught half wit. Split lip was biting sugar. A version of detail lingers. Your heart beats. Flog them.


The day is swallows, shore and water balance, calm precludes. Homing pigeons lose their way: what choice then for language users who hone acutely to shifting tension in spine and nerve. For he guesses the most flaccid generosity. Gash in the text weave thick. Two thirds flesh, why nothing, I was still working on the moving maneuvre.

Gild guilt with happy stances quick words work no size but execution no pun your underpinning. This writing puts a crimp in my throat, back deep resounding. He elapsed with his grasp of time intact. Your riff is all becoming: Feeling slatternly helps a day get groovy. Speak with breath heavy sentence sexes. What desire, having begun with desire, what deserve.


Natalie Simpson

form is fitting less inhibiting. fast handed rounds and round. yesterday erased the plausible. structure fools those eyes that clutter. at all costs, the simplest line nets all fluster. you have to hustle round this game. slight shivers hover the trap lines. at last the signal grips. These stretches tender rhythm as intricate buds and bending. These forms centre desire as stretching encased.

we fasten odd rhythm to our bodies: lantern and transom. A climate of fallacy clatters. our bodies, you gather, are graphite and pallid. sadly, he meandered, these fascinations grow heady, aspirations purse, meter per dollar, matter of face. blips and strips, strum. any word, errant, searching for a syllable leads to some link. We scorn into set rhythms, redundant, redux.


Jordan Scott Jordan Scott lives in Mount Pleasant, Vancouver. Jordan’s first book of poetry, Silt (New Star Books), was nominated for the Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize. In the fall of 2006, Jordan worked on the final sections of blert (Coach House Books) while acting as a writer in residence at the International Writers’ and Translators’ Centre in Rhodes, Greece.

excerpts from: blert by jordan scott (Coach House Books)


Jordan Scott If therapy is a must, wad cakehole Blister Rust. Laminate brank, ingurgitate gospel: word languor = world rancour.

Mouth implies room; room mimics mouth. In jugular then jujitsu, we ta-ta bazooka-woven nouns. Our femur arrhythmia Slinky’s Hubba Bubba onto forcep grip; Blast Off OshKoshB’Gosh in a choir of bing bang bong utensils on linoleum floors. In the room, stucco gills staccato. In the room, typo baboons on jowl. Our chinfest lustres muscovite, clangs jaundice tint to voice: sing uu-uus, sing tuhuhtuhuh. Each troglobite grovels lung; each trilobite whispers fossil.We upchuck gush geoduck, until the want of teeth embezzles barbell Oreo in gingivae bake. Until twixt fricative, Snicker clicks; untilHeimlich word ore shucks each muscle kerfuffle in dactyl hubble bubble as cactus pricks against quiet parts. It’s what wills and will not, tongue uppercut palate Pop Rocks, our mime siphons out the gas. In aorta then aikido, we tsk-tsk missle-molted clitics. Our hip arrthythmia Slinky’s ooh-la-la onto tweezer cinch; Kablooey Lululemon in a belt-out pa-rum-pum-pum-pum of forks ’n’ spoons on cobblestone floors. In the crash pad, stucco lungs staccato. In the crib, mistake numbnuts on muzzle. Our clambake glitters igneous, roars tangerine hue to voice: sing nitnit, sing kong’-tak-lak-lak. Each Ozark crawfish apple-polishes bronchial; each anthropod insinuates eolith.We urp pa’ua until the want of dentin embezzles dumbbell Oreo in gumbbq.Until Caramilk sibilant, Snicker eject; until Heimlich word ore shucks each tissue ballyhoo in spondee hubbly bubbly as burr low-blows your mute meat. It’s that and that’s that, radix lucky punch Fizz Wizz, our ventriloquy trawls out the crude. Gate and glottal mount palate, drool the mollusc-husked haptic, glob clavicles chiffon. Its bruised mantle clatters the scarab musk, welts with, rill with, echoic aortas shunt long cyan divots diaphragms.


The pavilion is in the Coquitlam. The grass paces the wet of each day. The photographs of the pavilion, mouth aperture: one boy in the room, his gutturals click warm. The larynx is roomy. The flash cards, megamouth: marbles mandible slow tonic phlegm Pango Pango green’s apples tumble sea mulch bumble marble chunks enamel smacks tongue babble Xerox bruise onyx hues Of my mouth and me. Of other people’s fluent mouths and me. Of fluency and me. Of me and my mouth. Of me and other people’s fluent mouths. Of me and fluency.My mouth and me. Fluent words and me.Other people’s fluent mouths and me.Me and my mouth. Me and fluent. Me and other people’s fluent mouths.


derek beaulieu derek beaulieu is the author of two books of poetry (with wax, Coach House, 2003; fractal economies, talonbooks, 2006). In 2005, he co-wrote frogments from the frag pool: haiku after basho with Gary Barwin (Mercury, 2005), and co-edited the controversial, bestselling, anthology Shift & Switch: new Canadian poetry (Mercury, 2005) with Jason Christie and a.rawlings. Since 1997, beaulieu has edited a series of literary magazines (including filling Station, dANDelion and endNote). His small press—housepress (1997-2004)—is now archived in its entirety at Simon Fraser University. His visual artwork—which engages the distinction between text and image—has been exhibited internationally. While he lectures on poetry and community in Canada, the US and the UK, he currently lives in Calgary and is employed as a high-school instructor.

excerpts from: fractal economies by derek beaulieu (Talonbooks)



derek beaulieau



derek beaulieau



derek beaulieau


Daniel f. Bradley Daniel f. Bradley is the author of several books of poems including T=I=D=Y Language (Outland 2008), The Amazing Phobic Subway Phantasmagoria (tapt 2008), A Boy's First Book of Chlamydia which includes the poem from which BookThug Press takes its name (BookThug 2005), and Before The Golden Dawn By David UU (curvd h&z 2005). He also has produced numerous volumes of visual poetry including Return To The Valley Of The Chrome Plated Megaphone (Produce Press 2008) and Maybe You Could Please Return My City Now (Live Matter 2007). He has written and published in the Toronto small press scene for the last 20 plus years and remains an uncompromising spanner in the works of local litterati agendas. Recently, his magazine, fhole concluded a run of 15 issues in 4 years. Other recent projects have included acting on the board of governors of the Blackflies Language Experiments and the notorious lit crit e-list BILE. He has been interviewed for Open Letter on the Toronto Small Press explosion in the 1980s and also for an independent film on the mysterious graffiti artist known as P.Cob. He lives in Toronto.

excerpts from: T=I=D=Y LANGUAGE by Daniel f. Bradley (Outlands eight / Letters Bookshop)


Daniel f. Bradley

community is something that moves million of dead book by book thoroughly dead so many books even if i lick their personality big fucking deal pay community romantic clap time and respect each others fuck that basically for all the same silly end personality bullshit waste lots of good air and a book so dominated so staunchly not kitties book but more properly pussy’s been conclusively proven to be better than life a good way to confuse priorities when ever my ambulatory war-machine gets all clanked up

and like passion like other kinds sea but some good fades away eventually ice plain ole hand fox is super-hot with braces on his knees in a long procession of hot straight black hair is definitely the suck long cute smile too toy mist then add on marred by extremely lightening strap gets danced about reveals a good rhythm going into wading perverse for something to happen only to turn the tables in her and fake witch nail in mish mish little butt we can hardly long sea due drill tall glass of kitty cause great paper dolls burnt to the ground into the dawn


but so much more than the majority gas guzzling pig populist snout still twat dance to dixie rainbow wedding of our dreams and you won’t let them your confused your marketing in it thinking the market needs to hold someone’s hand and enjoy the magic stone people are happy with shit to play and eat eye think strawberry fields flavour can keep the shit eater crowd entertained and remember that’s all that matters yea thanks for the pep talk maybe i can get a job working at your kiosk and you could teach me about spelling nice butt you know i could be just like suck lucky foolish think their fuck buddy listen you little slut call me when you grown up and start to be on the nosey two mark eye mean point to the grimy shrine urchin in some short demented hot pant

and although i hate the patriarchy i love boys to have sex with who won't get emotionally involved he volunteered she declined had something with stories vary and still obsesses of course was left off hello public antics last year proves she still has what it takes to be a hetro if you choose to accept hit self-destruct whose peer she is alike in form and feature understanding and accomplishments still i will give her up if i must how about and although i hate the patriarchy i love cock


Daniel f. Bradley

open wide when wet with blonde-tribalism-blowing candy pink severed up in small almost unconvincing orgasm lipstick orwell can see the light come around here do not imitate london bridge or any form of architectural structure we heard they were worried about it coming down everybody back away still pissing with great spectacle and inane chemistry great voyeuristic soapy somewhat dull hustler high sunset


Margaret Christakos Margaret Christakos is a writer in Toronto, originally from Sudbury, Ontario. She has published seven collections of poetry and one novel. Her poetry includes: What Stirs (2008), Sooner (2005, nominated for the Pat Lowther Memorial Award) and Excessive Love Prostheses (2002, winner of the ReLit Award for Poetry), all from Coach House Books. Earlier collections are Wipe Under A Love (Mansfield, 2000), The Moment Coming (ECW, 1998), Other Words for Grace (Mercury, 1994) and Not Egypt (1989). Her novel Charisma (Pedlar, 2001) was shortlisted for the Ontario Trillium Award. She has also authored several chapbooks: Something Inside Me (In Case of Emergency Press, 2007), Adult Video (Nomados, 2006), Retreat Diary (Book Thug, 2006) and My Girlish Feast (Belladonna, 2005). She was Canada Council Writer in Residence at the University of Windsor in 200405. She teaches in the Creative Writing Program of the University of Toronto School of Continuing Studies, and has on occasion taught elsewhere, with WIER, Glendon College and OCAD. Since 2006 she has facilitated the cultural project “Influency: A Toronto Poetry Salon.� A short film based on her poem Girls Girls Girls was made by filmmaker Shana MacDonald in 2007; in recent years she has been involved in other collaborative and interdisciplinary projects and events.


Margaret Christakos There is no we.

While I was waiting, you may think I have forgotten you. In this case we hurriedly move to efface the words you and I. After the past festers imaginings built on its purity. Everyone slips. There’s crust. Fortunately cities are large striped with busy. Few speak of crosslights. Or are these critics? Recently I heard about writers who intend to disappear in their texts. Another wanted to mount a novel civilization. Both feel regal. You may think I have forgotten you. Is memory assiduous? Is an image named you only the efficient clamp in whose tough metal I insist my own gloss? For example I see you at the market with one arm raised to manage the weight of a bag of onions. The seller nods and with a slight push passes. Very economical. See how closely I spy how promptly I reappear. Does a beloved matter? You load your onions into a dark cloth knapsack and from now on you are carrying significant organic yet hidden weight on your completely darling spine. I was such a shit I mince and observe from the rear. At the intersection strangers produce near-eraseable gestures of notice. One’s iris squeezes as if around the post of an earring. One’s lower lip demi-lowers. One’s suck. One’s freeze. Then forget it everybody jerks and walks their ear plug cords bob spritely. It’s not that I need to meet you. Why would I need to meet you? Possibly affection crusts over. I pay with my bank card at the confectionary no one resorts to speaking. There’s a statement in the mail. Such good bedtime stories. Transactions recoverable for ease of. But somebody must snooze. Imagining’s slips. So the thing is while I sleep even my head is silent and we have no record of


what or how I may have dreamed of you my revenant. Onions are anguish, that’s common coding. Me piling such on your spine, ever wishful. Off balance. You just slice them up to cook. I have forgotten. It’s all that’s needed. There is no darling we.

2. Few speak of crosslights. Sometimes it is kind. Crusts of bread slush up the curb. I have ardent cramps. For anyone who doesn’t this can be ridiculed. Will you participate? In ridicule? Have you asked this of your own torso? So one day the weight of very nice onions slowed you in the bike lane. Somehow a kid stumbled. This was in a video game. Near collision. You braked to avoid forming a we on the black pavement. Suddenly ohs. Suddenly eyes ricochet crazy. There are writers who record the appalling actions of the G8. Another one excavates. One gouges. Some of them really like metaphors for their main course. We hurry to lift the boy back into his sneakers. Imagine the strange violence of the virtual moment these shoes dislodged. Can you resume your bike route? I hurry with my panier half-open. Of course if even a little it is open. So how I hurry involves an open panier and a wind entering. In this way me. Adequate force is even breezes. I feel this and no one else has to feel this ever or in the video game for me to feel this on my face. There is no required we.


Margaret Christakos 3. Cubed then translucent. It’s luck. Slips to particles. Hidden under a bed and dust which is pretend in Sims City. I pretend a lot of stuff about you. Rotate your earring posterior. Somebody retaliates with a cross check across the kneecap. I push my credit card into a stranger’s fly. Ismem or yassidu. Yes perhaps it is all right to admire sestinas. One counts vowels. One’s grammar. Gut real irrelevant in the mailbox for several bucks. Forget we averaged how I waited, all my waiting for not you but some images of you I like to pretend are congealing in the bar fridge. That’s the main confession. Traffic lamps flicker seem to lick. It’s most obvious production. We is no enigma of note I get it. Forgotten. Torso your. These are only onions. This was even compost. Larding is the event of we. But you will gather.


Jon Paul Fiorentino Jon Paul Fiorentino is a writer and editor. His first novel is Stripmalling (ECW, 2009). His most recent book of poetry is The Theory of the Loser Class (Coach House Books, 2006). He is the author of the poetry book Hello Serotonin (Coach House Books, 2004) and the humour book Asthmatica (Insomniac Press, 2005). His most recent editorial projects are the anthologies Career Suicide! Contemporary Literary Humour (DC Books, 2003) and PostPrairie - a collaborative effort with Robert Kroetsch, (Talonbooks, 2005). He lives in Montreal where he teaches writing at Concordia University and is the Editor of Matrix magazine.


Jon Paul Fiorentino ELIZABETH CONWAY We visit Elizabeth Conway on Sundays, select Mondays and stumble, habitually untied above Snowdon, Mile End We take the long way on said days release captivating missives wake up later Maybe croon names like Edith McCord, Ellie Dowling, or maybe not but still drive ourselves civic One day, roadtripping ourselves to l’Epiphanie, QC, we will turn around just in time Look for home firmly planted on a Sunday, select Mondays, too easy to parse and so still, so departed There’s a Montreal I’m beginning to see and you’re everywhere in it, Conway. /Notre-Dame-des-Neiges Cemetery, Spring 2008/


MONTREAL SONG And then she said being despotic is almost as rewarding as being enlightened And then he said I love everything about you except your company And then we all agreed that power politics were depressing And then someone said isn’t that a small press book? And then someone else said no, not anymore


Jon Paul Fiorentino WHAT'S THE WORST THAT COULD HAPPEN, COURTNEY? She slides out of a launderette No, wait. She struts out of a cafĂŠ Check that. She stumbles out of a bus Or not. She steps out of a bank Too dull. She stirs out of a dream That sucks. She slips out of a clinic The washer is old; the smoke is thick The transit is slow; the credit is wrecked The fear is real; the doctor is sick Her clothes are stained; her coffee is cold Her transfer is gone; her money is low Her mind is made up; her pills do not work


Alice Burdick Alice Burdick lives and writes poetry in Mahone Bay, Nova Scotia. Alice moved to Halifax in 2002 from Toronto, Ontario, where she was born and raised. She has also lived in Espanola, Vancouver, and on the Sechelt Peninsula in BC. Burdick has been involved with the small press community in Canada since the early 1990’s, when she was co-editor, with Victor Coleman, of The Eternal Network. This very small ongoing imprint produced chapbooks, including several of her own works, such as Signs Like This, Fun Venue, and Voice of Interpreter. Her work has been published by other small presses in Canada, including: Proper Tales Press (a Time, My Lump in the Bed: Love Poems for George W. Bush); Letters Press (Covered); and BookThug (The Human About Us). It also has appeared in various magazines, such as Dig, What!magazine, subTerrain, fhole, This Magazine, and Who Torched Rancho Diablo?. From 1992-1995, Alice was assistant coordinator of the Toronto Small Press Fair. She has also done numerous readings over the years in many different venues, including the Ottawa International Writers Festival, The Scream in High Park in Toronto, and the Halifax Word on the Street. Her most recent publication is Flutter (Mansfield Press, 2008). Her previous full-length collection, Simple Master, was published in 2002 by Pedlar Press. Alice’s poems have appeared in Shift & Switch: New Canadian Poetry from The Mercury Press, Fall 2005. They’ve also turned up in Surreal Estate: 13 Canadian Poets Under the Influence, an anthology of surrealist Canadian poetry published by The Mercury Press, Fall 2004, and in Pissing Ice: An Anthology of ‘New’ Canadian Poets, published by BookThug, 2004.

excerpts from: Flutter by Alice Burdick (Mansfield) Simple Master by Alice Burdick (Pedlar Press) 95

Alice Burdick Box of sand I draw your attention to the drop in obedience, you stinky follower of friendly treasures. Why not drop the glistening portrait of insects and flowers? Still life in a way, being life that is still here, somehow. How do you see this empire? Nice teeth; the farmers walk over the sidewalks, go crazy with exercise. A fundamental trucker stops in to have moisture. You’ll find your grass melted back into the bottles and tins of old-fashioned insecticide. The way of all wire cloth. Shake it, go ahead and move the box of sand. Don’t feel bad, it’s just the road and its folks. You know when you need to change needles, and it’s so close, so deep into a project known as forced hands. Every day it’s almost all right. Wood covers the passageway of dust, and that holds the molecules pretty. As you surely can guess, it’s a mystery, this corny tragedy. Eyes are not only partly inside, they are partly outside and so let things pass, or greed or crass dimensions of tea and speedy neglect. So amazing how quick it comes down. The deaf hear selectively but don’t exactly choose. You never know what’ll make it. You treasures make the boy’s hair go backwards. Awkward as it sounds, it’s the truth.


Highway Pentecostal Assembly Sure we like cotton. It breathes like a mammal. No open, we close back in five. Play something that greets the chime: battle of the welcomes. Slowpoke designation — that’s where you should stop. Standing out of fences. Remember how she couldn’t hear? Serious unlike the popular, humorous unlike the popular, no gravity to worry about. Tragic dawdling. The fear of muscles dancing to no feet. Dangerous cretins make long shirts that shadow fresh bellies. Squash the cigarette into the historical gutter.


Alice Burdick Who wants to lose a tooth every day? Truculent seahorse, you got caught. Always waved in the wood box. Held in place by sand and its glare, its effect. A moving thing shakes the floor. Boy, it’s an interview with dead flowers. Daisies they be, and so the water is the impeccable killer. She’s some forced songstress. She helped me not know which path is fake. I fell and the bike fell. A track opened, the past fell and streamed into the furrow. Slip a dream and wake the old days, a comfort for handsome slow dots. If you say so; if you say so. Being old time ain’t natural. Who will come to grab the bucket? We’ll not laugh again at the world’s slipped history.


Saint of the spot The sky is shaking up the water; or water shakes the sky. The pond shoots fish up onto its banks, sick of the man-made hole. We were dropped here like the carbon in your future. Simply we grow large and eat the others, in good time. Like you hold us and scale our spirit, as it’s a carriage for our meat. The shore is not so far. I breathe like you with your rake and tools. I’m never home, you creature who needs to know.


Alice Burdick We are the residents Conquer the crevice; the road coils up and strikes the residents. We live here and have nothing to say. Our houses sit sly, and creep us out when we sleep. Burgundy thighs roll. Now’s much later than before. We take a class to embrace the inner businessman. The spiritual side of torture. We own our fortune, it is so little. We shadow our creature doubt, feed it a love that grows stout, and we go lean. Sewing machine hides in the guise of table. All our heads roll to one side, and we hear this: Do not read silence for silence.


How pleasant it is The church was built in one day. But not the bodies. The cemetery is on full-tilt alert. It may accept us as it’s not yet full. Two crows eat a constant pull to and from the melting ground. People are speed-walking so as not to see, but learn breath, or try. Lean mean unconscious machines.


Alice Burdick AA Shitting Poems A big storm moving over, going by with a restaurant statement struck out, shitting poems. Sitting here, I can feel the weather and hear the cat eat food from a dish. Move me through its tunnel. I’m “on the mark,” spattered with grease, dough out of my nose. So many people have words and then use them, like that’s what they’re for. Excuse me, but I don’t believe in watermarks or stopgaps or infections that take an ear, a heart, a whole body away. Forest me for the trees. Don’t molest truth or handicap its step. A woman who can’t move so quickly on her feet still has a network of nerves and blood and ideas to work with. That’s what I say when her weight is thrown up. in some situations, body weight is a medieval thing, Torture and glory to fight your own butt. I don’t know. She spent time with her mind. A big mind so time became endless, each day timeless until that death notice. I like a smooth walk through Disco Park. I dislocated my wiggle there. I got discarded there, near the fountains, where a bird shat, and the tour bus got a flat tire or blew up, whichever sounds worse. Some guy got the street into his speed, and moved with it, till it got too fast, and he fell. This clear day will come again. It will repeat with care and light. I will have a word with the day, later. This dead day will come again, with clear light.


Fact An apostrophe of faith is asking what I believe, what I want to know, and the space within the question left free for fear. Or unconscious thought, not remembered after the fact.

Myth format The golden boy hunches in the gallery, a fellow of the myth. Explicit as a winged warrior, mantra in the war chest. Crouching in a cell, padded with some history. Masonic pederasty, lost in a corridor. Instant mysticism. It’s a mysterious underworld we all know is hanging out downstairs. Calm balustrade, high-lamped soma. I feel something profound; it’s a block of chambers in my sandal. Stop trying to steal my kidneys. How high now must I leap?


Alice Burdick Nature at night is neat! All day an order to repeal; keeping mellow. Money found me over out on the path where the shrubs grew rabid. If you knew the one who made it all go, you wouldn’t avoid words. It would be your walk, too, or work on the eyes, a lash till it doesn’t hurt. Firefly lies down, a light still going, but no moving after the wind, the motor, the wheels.

February digest Tradition dictates a three-quarter view of happenstance. Big voice into the hollow square. Pants get bigger, sweat smears vinyl. Tradition dictates frogs squat under water.


The pond loses ice in small round shards. Ships free air, salt on the road climbs our legs. We walk like spoons stuck in mud.

Gracious lemon juices gambler’s blues. Traditional text of one woman in line, holding out her candy, torch of sugar. She doesn’t eat light. Trickle fire on the power line made of wind and rodents. Truckers turn wide, buddy, it’s a long haul up into sleet. Send me up in a sardine can. Small me in the way of small babies, spawn of delicious waves.

Armpit medium, stench of grand passion. Welterweight hopeful grabs the pulley and shades the bulb. It’s easier to see hard edges in strong and reverse light. It’s sleep that makes medicine useful. Shammy for the soft whale heading up some sad narrows. Ditch the space and bale water. Mediate the ptarmigan, delineate the potty mouth. Sorrow in the pharmacy.


Gary Barwin Gary Barwin is a writer, composer, and performer. His music and writing have been published and presented in Canada, the US, and overseas. He received a PhD in Music Composition and was the recipient of the KM Hunter Foundation Artist Award for his writing. Seeing Stars, a YA novel, was a finalist for both Canadian Library Association YA book of the year, and an Arthur Ellis Award. His poetry includes Outside the Hat and Raising Eyebrows (both Coach House) and, with derek beaulieu, frogments from the frag pool (Mercury) His fiction includes Doctor Weep and other strange teeth and Big Red Baby. The Briefcase Hand, a new poetry collection, is forthcoming from Coach House. His latest chapbooks are Inverting the Deer (serif of nottingham) and, with Gregory Betts, Chora Sea (Emergency Response Unit). He lives in Hamilton, Ontario and teaches music at Hillfield Strathallan College.


PTEROSOMETHINGOROTHER my son goes into the ground what connects us is only this rope

as always there is a big scissors like a prehistoric bird a pterosomethingorother wincing in the moon’s light

an armful of cuts my son’s and mine have turned like leaves or birds have become scars


Gary Barwin


THE PROBLEM OF BREATH IN OUR AGE the other months are clean so I’m vacuuming August dusting the remnants of summer left in the corners the invoice for light that the sun sent expecting the horizon to pay for the days’ sparkle there’s a fawn up the flagpole here at Camp Bambi it’s unflappable though the wandering abacuses count their teeth lucky in love with stationary, staplers and my desk chair how to report this to accounting accurately and without alerting the campers or the piles of rubble, elected by a landslide? O Vermin Melville Pest Control Incorporated there is no darkness under the floorboards or anywhere else, really light wears its brittle nightgown its soft body a chrysalis for dusk it’s more of a mood that fills the world with night


Gary Barwin PSALM 91 He that dwelleth in the secret places of the belly shines a mighty light and twists poodles out of shadow. I will say my insides have barked their refusal for I have eaten the wrappers of garrulous cattle and my scars lust after rain. Surely within 40 minutes they shall deliver the sneer of the turtledove, dispense excess joy from the noisome duffle bags of stars. For he has covered thee with his feathers, and under his breath there are wings: his teeth are an encyclopedia-size dinner which protects you as the jeweled coleslaw protects a deck of cards from bellicose pickle fencing. Thou shalt not be fried by the flummoxed terriers of night, nor diced by the drumsticks of the day that flieth towards thee like the bittersweet vagina of lawn Still not by the penis that juggleth chainsaws in darkness and proclaims it was fathered by magma; and also not by the mispronounciations that wasteth the noondog in the Galleria parking lot and offer not a luminous pylon in comfort Like the green leaves of cash, a thousand shall stride beside the autumnal blastocyst of winter, and ten thousand shall consider their right hand their left and teach their children so; but it shall not draw close as uranium pinking shears upon the foam of thy bathwaters. Only with nine eyes couldst thou—the eight-eyed—hold and dandle the infant words of the mewling cricketers. Because thou hast made loud that which was my silent dolphin, my jar that had no mouth and so was the lightbulb where my blind quiet could live and be the Tinkerbell of beaming ducks. No ladders shall fall over thee, neither shall any beach sand come nigh thy dwelling and fill it with the mirthful and prehensile haberdashery of lifeguards For he shall make hyperbolic triangles to flutter over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways. And they shall make thy ears into punk airplanes lest thou dash mayonnaise against a stone. Thou shalt tread only upon the lion and the abacus: the suspenders and the answering machine emerge like a trump card from the silken slit of twilight in which thou ask to travel first class


Because he hath set his dove upon me, therefore will I make a shopping cart of tongues: I will set alight a paper bag upon a nimbus of square waves because he hath made it snow my name all over the parking lot and in cursive. He shall call upon me as the antidote upon the phone booth and I will answer him as the lucid stapler and the breath of moths herd the ardent buffalo of the cruise ship: I will be with him in trouble; I will be as saliva on the migrating oak, an orange on the bad boy of gladness. With long life will I satisfy him and throw away my tiny shoes.


Gary Barwin REGRET there was a lake and the wind unsettled what is it we hoped for ourselves out here on the peninsula a path through the trees where there is no path a stand of trees where there is no standing egret heron our own footprints in the sand ahead before the tide comes

RELIEVING Daddy said Son you have to make your own dog if you have none and I said I have a fire hydrant so I can just imagine


OPPOSABLE CONCIOUSNESS under the papers of my desk I discover a small stone yesterday I invented fire today I will create a new tool I will call it “hammer” I pick up the stone —gee, this thumb comes in handy— I smash it against my forehead the clouds part and there is thunder the trumpets of my ears signal those to the east of me those to the west an army marches across a blood red sea a tiny baby is propped in wet sand between the shores I will call it ‘baby’ a useful tool neither one thing nor the other

STAY HERE WARPED HYPOTHESIS Brazen spatula of the sky I must remember to dismember The moribund hopscotch of my guffaw My cortical scrabble The angelic bread-breeder wisdom That clouds the knees


Gary Barwin Was there ever a time when The mailbox was corpulent with spent fish My tongue a horror of patchwork facemask bosons Stalemate boomerang fortitude clogging my arms? But I expect you’ve heard about The moving elbows of my attempts to multiply My skin set upon a mast And the shapely blade of water Creasing my cow-friendly crepuscular zither Ride with me in the woodblock A premonition of slack And a thousand birds buffeting Torrents of my eye-bleached ballet Let me speak plainly: In the creaking corner A toolbox sorrow and the tonsils A reply of desk bus overalls and A tithe on the ledge of before I was born I run I satiate I porous gratitude in the rust bound palaver But then again I gravitate And you are a shrewd arithmetic of mention The recanted pajamas of scent Mention me O statutory gasps of the nosedive I would give myself If I had a nose the bent planet a leg And you in new shoes Together we can be a nebula on the precipice of sport A doughboy velocity with the attributes of “Quick, quick, it is over.”


Lynn Crosbie Lynn Crosbie is a Doctor of Philosophy who teaches at OCAD University. She writes a column for the Globe and Mail, and has published six books of poetry.


Lynn Crosbie The Milky Way The Milky Way is a galactic disk, a barred spiral, a vortex of white light. It is a white contusion injuring the sky. I have never seen it, but Rose explained it like this: she slammed a tub of baby powder against the sink and when it rested, it exhaled. A little speaking storm. She would horde her fancy soaps and creams, perfume. Arrange them in a gauntlet, clean and dust them, while using dollar store garbage she put on the way a squirrel washes. It will go bad, I told her. It went very badly, up to the night I found myself dragging an orange garbage bag through the alley, and leaving it in a doorway. The man who found it thought he had found a dead pig. The alley is called The Milky Way: it drags through four streets like a knife cut. It bracelets where we lived, where we were, when she and I, early on, would walk Squeak and hold hands as if exchanging information about what we wanted and where we had been. Our palms signing unseen masses in space. Her damp hand, crying about her life, her life until we first kissed and she said, It burns. Until we first slept together, side by side. Her sock monkey on the floor. Marty. I used to hold this thing and pray for someone to love me, she said. That’s fucked up, I said. The thing was warped and shabby with her crying and clinging. I pitched it straight off, and told her. That was the first time I saw her close up, like a flower in the dark. This was when she made me almost sick for her, every damp, silky part and I smacked her hard, wanting her and wanting out. This is The Milky Way, shining in places, like the bones and beauty of a woman obscured by her appearance. Like the Xs on a coroner’s account of where she was “well nourished,” and possibly, decent. The things she wanted, moving inwards, disappearing in the filth, in the looseness of space.


TWO. She was walking loosely between the bar and tables, towards the ten tiles of dance floor. I had just pissed AU into the snow. She shook her ass into waves, and I grabbed her, spun her like a top. When she hung onto me later I thought about the Parkdale Peace Tree, a caved in pine, scrambled, at the base with garbage. I mean I thought of things that were meant to be beautiful, of suffering and fate. I knew that I would take her home and at some point say, Take it all, whore; that later she would spread out and finger her pearl necklace as if she had spent her life shucking oysters. That she would have a dog that would lick my balls until I smacked it, that she would wedge into me sighing, the word “love� roiling in her open mouth. And I would sigh too, in resignation. The sheets bunching into yellow like the sun coming down hard, a crayon drawing of light, the extremes of her skin so rough she cut me. What would pass for love, in its planting.

We both liked some of the same things: Battleship Goose necked lamps Pot pies Mannix Chalk Small soap Cool baths Mars Rain Shadows.

She hated the vulgarity of grass bursting through cement, the texture of raisins and how her ass looked in the mirror I slanted by the bed. I hated her collection of Chinese fans, Squeak, and how easy she was in darkness. We would watch TV all night and let it pass through us like fog, on the very good nights we had Colt 45 and a bowl of popcorn that she ate like a lizard as 117

Lynn Crosbie she lay flat against me, staying still. I fucking love you, I would say through my teeth so she would stir, and I would want to bite her sometimes, sometimes I was a warm flat stone. Something that could change colours and absorb the pale red of her hair, every impression she left.

Squeak was her dog and she was unreasonable in her affection, feeding him with her fork, or letting him S between us, his half-tail buried between my legs. It kissed another male dog in the park and she screamed, “You’re not that way!” Get your faggot dog off me and put it on the balcony, I said. By this time, she knew better, and when he cried I would kiss the flinch off her face and tell her about wolves, patrolling the wild in chevrons, living on squirrels and dirt. I imagined kicking him so much he looked oval, I would press my foot into his kidneys and hear the rustle of pom poms, tawny legs stridulating— Passion once distracted me like a crossing-guard. I shone my hand with Vaseline and went wild as the dog crept away, as ten girls flipped their skirts, bending over and pleaded that I— She caught me once towards the end and went off too. I could hear her say “My baby,” to the dog I would say she gave away, that I would follow. A trail of slick paw prints, leaving Autumn everywhere.

I know that you want to believe in a beautiful world. I know because I have seen its remains, say, in a scudding tangerine cloud or drawing by the swing-set of two crayoned hearts overlapping. In the word SIGH fingered into dust. A stunned bird, rising into a herald and rodents stealing tulips bulbs and replanting them. And the fire inside the glass, and what it destroys. And more signs of resistance, that try, like a wall, to stop water. My father beat me with a wire hanger every day; my mother held an iron to my hands and they would cleave in such collusions as I looked through my 118

window and saw a pigeon shivering, then shitting milk over the ledge. Milk that turned into green fungus. And this is the body of Christ. And this vinegar turned wine His blood and the nails in His hands a project I did for Shop, and called a spice rack. That my father would tear apart on Good Friday once, What is good about it, we asked, considering his anguish. Considering what it might feel like to drive nails through her as she rattled on about wanting to feel clean, to feel safe. To find, up against me, a kind of exile as soft as hay and sweet as bleating. I’ll take care of you, I said. And her eyes closed and reminded me of insects, balling up and shrinking, in the terror of having been discovered.

She tried to make it all romantic, with Dollarama valentines, her habit of leaving notes in my pockets, squeezing ketchup hearts on burgers, saying how I smelled. Like hickory smoke or musk or little marshmallows. She smelled like air freshener; sometimes, like something snatched from a pile. Once, a peony. Just waking she shook her head and her hair fell like a flower, and breathed like one. That we might stay inside together until it rained and it snowed. Until the floors opened over the weight of trees; that she might make me something warm in a red glass that went down like honey and arrows, that tasted bitter and wrong. Something damp and heavy, or petals or scales.

I never hit her, I barely talked. Let her go on about things she saw that amazed her, the woman on the corner who hefted her breasts from her shirt and yelled, I am boiling, hungry; an igloo of syringes by the swings; an argument about salad dressing that turned to tears.


Lynn Crosbie The way the JESUS I BELIEVE IN YOU sign caught her eye, the chalk scriptures and crackhead who whistled show tunes, furiously, when he was high. How she wished she could fit in my pocket, Would you take me everywhere? The time Mars canted in the sky, erasing some of the black and the paintings on posts made by children, of what they liked: rainbows, grass, wild animals. A birthday cake in a dirty window, of an Indian girl’s face surfing white icing, the sound of the train at night crossing the overpass, the storefront covered in huge lilac panties. I wanted to live somewhere quiet, I wanted to leave but it’s beautiful, she said. How The Lord makes puzzles, learning to figure them out. One of the last days, she saw someone beating a rat to death in a garbage can as ten people watched and got sick. It’s all I see, I told her, as we divided, feeling like one or the other and certain that anger and beauty only meet like this; with an end in mind, they change each other.

It was not planned, but on occasion, certain things assemble like a plot. A knife, a bag, a set of keys. The dog had to go, is all I knew. It cringed at the end of the bed, licking my feet and balls, pissing in my shoes and showing its teeth. Why couldn’t she let it go? Sometimes I see it, living in the woods, running past a horizon of emerald. Then I feel it going limp and pressing against me, as if I might comfort its pain and confusion, or let go. I never saw someone cry so much. She was soaking wet, rolling a blanket into a Pita shell, singing what she always did about sweetness and babies and a place we were all better off.

She knew how to make me happy, in the dark. In the dark she could be anyone; I could smash her face in a pillow or tell her who she was, tell her to pull me tight until I filled her with stars.


You think you are happy, day to day, but try to remember why. Something on TV, plates balanced on our laps; old friends visiting; an arsenal of beer almost too dense to count. Waking up having mashed together, sharing an illness, going somewhere new and taking pictures. She is pointing in every shot, at a lake or pile of stones. An oyster burger, a cardinal, a donut in a branch. A raccoon and its babies, crushed in the direction they picked. Don’t take that picture, don’t, she mewed. The straps of her bathing suit, dug into a dark burn; how she tried to smile, as she planted herself like a giant pear on a sharp rock, when I told her that her bush was sticking out like seaweed. This smile like the moon waning, its tremble part of what I remember, when I said cheese.

What she saw when she looked at me: someone who could be fixed with a bar of soap and a comb, with insistent love. When all I am is anger and the particular aversion to movement that pain leaves in passing.


While moving through the system, I was asked about what brought me here, or there. The worst stories yield the best results, if their truth or power implodes in the telling. No one ever wonders if feeling joy is also relevant. What it is to be dirty and weak, tranced into a memory of sheer bliss that breaks you worse than any beating. A mouthful of silver hair, riding the bench of a car stalled by an endless black river. A pretty mouth singing assent; walking straight and with purpose; having someone answer when you call. 121

Lynn Crosbie Spare change, I would call, towards the end. It came, on occasion, as letters in a sentence about how far I had moved away.

I never speak of my youth, because I have looked too long there as a way of beginning a story that makes no sense. The idea of being clean, or hopeful disgusts me as lime on a corpse. I wish I had been hatched on a piece of meat; that is, more sensibly. I am lying in my bedroom, listening to music as my mother makes dinner, and feeling voluptuously depressed. I have no idea what will happen, how the disorder I cultivate will advance and change me. I would have been listening to something about how I felt, _sick and dirty, more dead than alive_, oblivious to the idea that if you invite despair, it may never leave.

Then there is love that I assumed would go on forever. I thought she may be the last, but only because I was tired of its familiarity and phrasing. How it always started wild then turned into the metal or fabric of a cage. I love you so much, she would say, hanging onto me like a line staked to a cliff. You too, I always said, wondering at what we risk in case of loneliness. At how lonely we are, anyways, turning into an X as the night descends, forcing us into dreams of who we are, however loved, and unknown.

I had a girl once, who knew me and loved me anyway. I had to hold a pillow over her head to fuck her, she made feel like my eyes were movies, or the hard parts where the whole point is made. She drifted away when I got careless, and when I get this way, and flinch or shudder I think of her, waiting it out to the ending. Her insistent belief that things happen for a reason I never explained except by lifting the pillow, off and on, and looking into her. 122

Like whatever she felt was fugitive, criminal even. Her eyes would explode like spores as I wished I would also want to touch myself without cringing. She didn’t so much drift away as leave me, when I punched those eyes shut, and said what I say that is, Stop looking at me.

Stop looking at me. My mother would say this when I wasn’t even in the room, then come find me so she could scream about never having a single thing she wanted, including a horse and a walk-in closet. Some fucking peace and quiet so she could make pictures from magazines, cardboard and glue. In one of them, a little girl is adventuring in the desert by a smiling cactus and a litter of coyotes. What kind of a life is this, she would say until she didn’t know she was saying it. I knew then what she meant, and feel bad for her. I never minded when she hit me, because it would have been dishonest, otherwise. We had to hang our clothes off a rail in the kitchen, and fight over the pork in the beans. It was mean and it was ugly, and so was she.

My father was a lot cooler, and ten times as hard. He would wake me up to tell me what kind of a pussy coward I was, or ask me to play cards and give me milk and bourbon and whoop when I won. I have only once felt passion and it was for him, shaking off his anguish for me. He could have shot me those nights and I would have died all madly in love. I think of him shuffling the deck into a fan and collapse from the mystery of what it is to stop fighting, long enough to believe in your own strength.

And that is all I will ever say about them because it is mostly hard for all of us, and we tend to hate whatever we have because it isn’t good enough.

She had arthritis so bad she would lope to bed like an ape, and it either made me want to puke or rub her knees and hips so she could sleep. 123

Lynn Crosbie It’s always that way, and unfortunate that the hatred tells us more about who we are. Unfortunate because we are better off not knowing that our strongest convictions are honed on disgust and distaste. Secrets that we withhold to be polite, that harden like a table of elements, abbreviating us.


Her name is Rose, a pretty name and one that invites the obvious. Someone left a half dozen roses where they found her and then someone else stole them, minutes later. Imagine bringing these home as a present, shamelessly and you get some of the idea. Of what it is to live a sad lie—looking like a stump and speaking of roses. A callous lie about belonging; a depraved lie about accidents. I waited until they put it all together, and was surprised it took so long. She went off somewhere with the dog, I told her friend. I waited in a room that collapsed in silence while the police blue-lined the streets and the papers lit up about The Torso Murder. About another part of her, sunk in trash that someone like a pearl diver recovered.


No one pays any attention anymore, and I am surrounded by this sort of thing where I am. Worse crimes, recounted until they acquire a motive. She was begging me, I told her not to, it just happened. The motives are true, if deformed by disparity. The crimes never as disgusting as the squalor of their recollection. They tell until there is nothing left, how Nature recovers the dead. I pretend there was an argument that escalated, which is more or less true. I 124

am afraid to ruin her further, or lose myself entirely by speaking of her arms detaching from her shoulders into Venus. Of the veins in marble, of how they provide luster—this kind of abstraction is propulsive, and urgent. If you have run a serrated blade under water, and scummed the sink with blood and skin— You might consider your thoughts as wild animals, that need to be captured, sedated, and penned. Or indulge in metaphors. O rose blooming bright against steel.


The bad days were sober and hungry and endless. She would choose these days to tell me about her life, to indulge in the cruelties that were the sum total of her shadow. Her best friends chasing her into traffic, a dirty old man with pockets full of candy, no one seeing who she really was never mind that she did this and that for them, and on and on. Her sisters Iris and Lily, heartless, jealous; her husband’s treachery; a complicated story about a baby gerbil, I would half-listen and try not to despise her tears as a luxury and not wet evidence of her bad luck. We could fry up what’s left and cut away the bad parts, I would offer. This kind of pragmatism incensed her. It’s just like you to think that, she would scream. Nothing goes away. She was right, of course. I still wake up and reach over to grab or pinch her. I still think of her friends or that gerbil and want to hurt someone for her, it still hurts and I hate it. Holding on to her admissions, the way a hook secures a fish.

She kept a diary that I found in her bag, that I guess is evidence now. 125

Lynn Crosbie Parts of it underlined, He scares me sometimes, or I wonder if I should leave. The rest standing fallow, worries about the scarred tree she called Baby, a trick she taught Squeak, a good time we had with bubble bath and Baby Duck. I see this is how history is ledgered, and appreciate its emphasis on crisis. Still, I wish someone could see her standing still as a squirrel that, after deciding to cross the street, has become alert to both danger and desire.

When we blew our checks once on a three day binge she started to panic. What will we do, she asked, as if I knew. As if this was the worst thing that could ever happen. We landed up getting some help and borrowing the rest, but her face still bothers me, pale and heavy as if this was the worst thing that could ever happen. She wanted us to move north, and live near the forest, the water. Her eyelids twitched like Mustangs when she slept, and there were days she could barely move. We lived in a building that overlooked a large, filthy park. We saw old men making garbage fires and whores kneeling in the shrubs, worse. She saw a drunk father shooting his kid down the slide, saw the kid land in the dirt and went to bed for a day, until I promised we would get out one way or another. What if this is all we deserve, she asked. Some crazy Indian yelled PARTY and I held her hard and wondered how it would all look if I started a fire; I wondered about the burning in my head.

I don’t know when I started to blame her for the things I felt. There was this. I was sitting on the sidewalk one day, at the end of our street, holding out my hat and watching a pair of black alligator shoes go by. I looked up and she looked down and stopped, her hand on her mouth. She had long legs and a heart shaped ass and I realized she would never touch me, that my life had broken like a cracker at some point and I had missed it. I took her money and drank alone at Happy Time, flirted like a maniac with the tub of lard waitress until she cut me off and I staggered home and tore apart the closet until I found a pair of heels I had Rose wear and walk across me.


I once had two girls in one bed, I told her, and she said, yes, I was a man, and I hated her for it.

When I was panhandling, it occurred to me that anyone who stopped thought I cared; that they had no idea how badly I wanted to hurt them. I still don’t think well of any of them. Except the occasional furious person who would fight me, for harassing them, or hiss something vile. In the process, giving me something, recognition, that few can afford. The day Rose saw me must have been the worst of it, but she pretended she hadn’t and so did I, and when she asked what I did that day, I felt us move to the center of the hellmouth, and start rehearsing the ending of the play.

The dog actually wagged its tail, and rolled over. I rubbed its belly, and thought of how it carried its ratty tennis ball everywhere and slept in the slant of sun. I needed to know I could feel everything and nothing. That I was not to be trusted. It was worse than hurting myself, which does not matter.

I was ill, which does not matter, I was desperate, and frightened. I got my hands on a car and drove fast, making it up as I went. Thinking clearly enough to go far, not thinking to remove the ankle bracelet, giving up in the end and returning to The Milky Way. Then puking stars.

“The neighbours overheard a lot of fighting. That building! They have bedbugs now.” —Peggy Nash


gustave morin gustave morin, a paraliterary agent provocateur since his teens – published widely, if obscurely – has been working the associated fields of composition & performance, plying his various written works, graphic constructions & reluctant performances on the page, on the stage and in white cubes above ground and below since the late eighties. His newest book, 79 Little Explosions and Q-Bert Stranded on A Smouldering Mosquitocoil Frozen To A Space Formerly Occupied By Language was published in March 2009 by Stained Paper Archive. Other recent publications include Nein Typos (Tonerworks, 2008), Off the Fly (Griddle Grin, 2008), Les Scribblistes (Produce Press, 2008) and The Etcetera Barbecue (Bookthug 2006). His other titles include the marginalized midnight classic A Penny Dreadful (2003), p.mody’s dada boutique (1997), Sun Kissed Oranges (co-authored with Sergio Forest, 1995), and Rusted Childhood Memoirs (1994). Meanwhile, typographic trade secrets gleaned through intensive study of concrete have become personal weapons of choice since 2008... Mr. Morin resides at Chez Gargoyle in an anonymous frontiertown in Canada where he somehow ekes out a modest existence working in the arts.


the wolf(e) life ==================

. . . knew his life was a little image of man's whole squish -and that only seemed to him all the more all and everlasting, tiny spurts of flame dying with defiance over shoots & shouts of denial . all our grandeur, pulse of heart & epic glory comes from engulfing night . . .

... and of this flame, it there and then came to him that he would be extinguished . life upon the earth -- its darkness was immense . life like a time we knew we would blaze out briefly by these lips , & that the darkness would ring with the last tragic dignity -- our heroes into the maw of all the brevity and small.


gustave morin bread & flame & noise ===========================

. . zip oozing out . . . POW ! -- steal a bit . . . & HOW ! you seldom if we smite your name . you never some battleship burnt . hey look, the plot sickens -- give it a little loop . knock-knock : jam that king mob cries crash . & HOW ! its rumoured that i/m tick . . . BOOM ! cold can taste bent massive but not broken as surely as you/re sitting there . mongrel we say zoom through zounds -tempest when tent , a foul mouth beep beep that crime questions head off with the head . . . only look in our minds / event ways to screaming spare a little rough; broken chairs with any light . face the line at nobody so & so to take the wall blast you good how are you going ? nova ?


antique =========

an igloo abandoned by the bank of a river of lava attended by an icecube beginning to doubt the promise of an early frost .


gustave morin extraction =============

words like teeth you don/t have sound like dirt ain/t in whole you dug for self bleeding a bit the blood not blue with miles to go-go and more too fallow .


seizure =========

further afield than far where second nature adores a vacuuum :

wet cement shoes zero in on a zip gun holding up a petting zoo at high noon

a pell mell black night in full tilt is out of square to a T at curtain .


gustave morin ink on a bell ================

indie 500 years X'd outside / sidewinded : winded on arrival it/ll never fly / away , a way along ago a goner .

) groan debt . grow depart (

part of it is gone . what stains remains what stars mars .


classified ============

lost, a leaf i wanted to keep found on the 13th floor & roof) of a down town parking garage.

it blew up as i enjoyed the vista from on high.

the leaf was little, the colour brown -a shade away from oblivion.

( leave a message...


gustave morin note found under a rock =============================

rebecome eggbound ! -- TA DA ! a dark blur turns a sharp curve : a car went bye . went big . fast . hot . more . bigger . faster . hotter . sooner . better . anything you/d care to name -(nothing new) fasting faster than eating stomach on an empty stomach .

a slow bullet // upsidedown trucks driving backwards f a s t on the any road up chockablock with cul de sac de jour .

( life the gangplank . this is not a step )

sidelong glances off a little bit to one blind side long glances off a little bit to one blind side long glances off a little bit to one blind side long glances off a little bit to one blindside . headbeat . heartbeat . eat !


once nonce ==============

texcie mopie plextal sink

tuno tal tuno

brak fisbis

texcie sink



mopie brak plextal fisbus

tuno tal tuno

zimzum sink texcie

texcie sink



gustave morin souvenir ===========

when you were four & took your crayons & jammed them in to the hole in the egg & scribbled scribbled you did not then know years later the egg would crack & the colours your child hand drew would spill out all over your grown-up landscape, did you ?


smear campaign ====================

a document . this happened . this didn/t take me very long to write . pen & paper : light Bulb crinkle . rain drops watermarking paper : b&w noise in place of page . almost ( what this poem lacks is nothing ) perfect


Elizabeth Bachinsky Elizabeth Bachinsky is the author of three collections of poetry, Curio (BookThug, 2005), Home of Sudden Service (Nightwood, 2006), and God of Missed Connections (Nightwood, 2009). Her work was nominated for the Governor General's Award for Poetry in 2006 and the Bronwen Wallace Award in 2004 and has appeared in literary journals, anthologies, and on film in Canada, the United States, France, Ireland, England, and China. She is an instructor of creative writing at Douglas College where she is Poetry Editor for Event magazine. She lives in Vancouver, British Columbia.

excerpts from: God of Missed Connections by Elizabeth Bachinsky (Nightwood) 140

GOD OF CHAOS What’s not to like she’s got time for this is a picture of you had better run take a Tylenol an Asperin an Advil or some other branded pain killer please she’s pleased to be here thankyou thankyou thankyou and now she’ll take a bow. If you don’t mind over matter well nothing really matters anyway she’s a freakish weather always gets her downtown the lesbian community is eating itself out of existence eventually everyone will have an STD so what’s the difference anyway. Classic interlocutory parenthetical aside, (I say whoa there, friend, unless you’ve got your key I just can’t let you in). Look, eventually, language became a get over it under it couldn’t so deep she get around she wall it so wide. I’m [frustrated], she replied sardonically. Kindled a fire with the delicate hairs of a coconut husk, learned to blow in such a way as to ignite only what needed ignition.


Elizabeth Bachinsky GOD OF PANIC From where she was standing she could see the boys were watching her and had been watching her for most of the night it seemed as if there were a secret between them which she attributed to the fact they were boys she felt especially lovely in her polka-dotted skirt and socks and had been sad for four days since her father had left home to discover his personal financial power with an even lovelier telemarketer from Winnipeg. Such a Lonely! One boy put a hand on her leg; one boy put his hand in her hair; one boy kissed her mouth; one boy kissed her neck; one boy put his hand inside her blouse; one boy kissed her ear; one boy smoothed her sweater; one boy pulled her ribbon; one boy rocked her in his arms, one boy lifted her; one boy pulled her mouth; one boy opened her. What a lark! Twenty cocks shuttling under the white spot so white it was like blinding white light as twenty tongues and two hundred fingers found their pleasure at once she woke beneath the goal posts. She could feel the close-clipped lawn was cool beneath her cheek.



Happiness where are you? I haven’t got a clue. – Eytan Mirsky Gina—pretty, thirty-two, and who wears a lot of black, not because she is in mourning but because she’s got nothing else to wear—has started making love with a boy of nineteen on a semi-regular basis, a practice she finds vastly rewarding although occasionally problematic, which is not to say the boy hasn’t demonstrated a remarkable learning curve. Elephants, having been hunted into near extinction, paint! Sometimes better than people! This one time, Gina’s boy (trapped in an elevator) thought:

I’m trapped in an elevator. You hear stories like this and never believe them. The elevator rose thirty-six floors at an astonishing speed before he hit the emergency button which, to his surprise brought him obediently, politely, to the ground floor. He walked right out.


Elizabeth Bachinsky GODDESS OF BLISSFUL IGNORANCE And now all the neighbourhood students are drinking expensive-ish beer on their balconies thinking of the javelin toss love can be ( at any age, but especially) when you’re young and wearing carefully purchased footwear and accessories. One girl thinks one day I won’t remember this balcony…like tomorrow, while another’s sure she’s met her future husband, an MBA from San Francisco and, dear god, what’s he doing in Canada what a boon for the dating community (he’s straight I mean thank god…) while the nextdoor neighbours lay in bed and wonder if it isn’t time to move out to the suburbs, maybe get a chunk of property, have a kid. Trade one noise for another. It’s not that living in a city seems superfluous when you’re in it, but only that it is superfluous when you are out of it and conversation’s lacking everywhere in the end. Consider this cluster of stargazer lilies. Seven blossoms for two dollars at a Chinese grocery, but their perfume’s too heady for such a small room. It’s four a.m. and the clubs are turning out their young. Shame to put the blossoms on the balcony.


Louise Bak Louise Bak has authored a couple of books of poetry, Gingko Kitchen and Tulpa (both Coach House Books). Her performance work has appeared in a number of videos and other contexts in North America and Europe. She cohosts Sex City, Toronto’s only radio show, exploring sexuality in relation to art, politics and culture, on ciut 89.5 fm. She also hosts the Box, a quarterly salon night of readings, performances, screenings, interventions and networking that aims to bring diverse communities and audiences into an environment of artistic and social intermingling. The feature film she co-wrote, “The Ache” is in development. Louise is involved in sexual and cultural investigations weekly with toro magazine. She is working on another poetry collection.


Louise Bak Ocean Dome she begins a tulip twist at amethyst edging of queen headalloon, placed over his kerion, as he holds his nose to salt-free breeze regnant with scent of rubber-rings around girths in washes of artificial sea. across her back, he spreads apricot kernel oil where kanji names of his friends are etched, his disappearing in irezumin surf. reappears at unhurried speed, as she rolls to catch a balloon nebuta of O Toyo’s garden. she curls to lean cat’s nose leather, so acromegalic alongside tensha beads of polyuria she places in patches thru his tsuke hige. assistive stretch to kata guruma knocks him across inflating balloon by choppy fits of san nachi laughter. she lies with maillot straps eased away from skin in crushed marble sand, cropped by the water. the tie-dye cyanophores squeak to an induration of a latex arm, as his eyes descend along concave line of her spine. he can’t determine the noiselessness, when his lips fasten to nadir of briarean leash. he pulls the plasticity of mantle cavity over his chest tightly, as the eighth stump tries to dispose rising sun amigurumi he clenches, where he goes to get phimosed


At Twelve little to say to eclosion of a luna moth, as she rubbed her eyes with my thumb she took me by my elbows, while a hug retained along a twelfth determining question, as i placed the Moulton back, saying she can notice it unappealably, how my serafuku had what’s left of neri ami kneaded nether gooseberry notes i placed sizeably rather near the neck. my uneven desk leg was audible as she with arms compressed across her breasts, uncurled her milko-chan with slope of antecollis, along with closed-mouthed smile, as she watched the ever slight bunching of the flesh behind my arms when i bent to pick up torn yama-uban flip-out. she took up the pieces of pink mohair she split from a second mouth at the top of its perm, to chopstick covers left unstirred. each lichun bowl was pushed back to centre, each i lapped to be colder then the next. leaning on my elbow, the neck of my shirt opened across a shoulder, her next quiver of half stares, imperforate. i leaned back on the lambing, as she stretched to ablation of a roundel on my neck, gingival uneasiness she placed to disclose a pruritus


Louise Bak Nuptial Rites her hand stroked my hair around my ears. feng-huang feathers hushful with tied pieces of shuen, tossed over lifelong glasses stuck onto maple branches i cover the sill with alternating pecan sandies and gummi lighthouse sukha staring down at fat choy multiplying in the birdbath, as he moves his hands four fingers used like a fast-moving maneki neko, to her voice insisting it’s time and I’m led, the beaded cerise tassels on corners hiding my looking by pair of van erp vases, portioning elegance by the dollhouse with its kamado set she’s giving. i peer in to the hearth sunk in the floor, its nearly inaudible tiny yelp, as his waiting by a standing mirror shifts his black cap negligibly i lift the kotatsu and blots of heat are tossed against the walls, disarranging happiness banners over her catatonic refrain in unclosing his used butsudan with aged buddha’s ushnisha smelted to stacks of gold, his moveable rasmi like a magnifying loupe as he peers through the entrance, to sit on zabuton adjusting calone impressions in preparedness, while i totter along the room encircle the dollhouse, as if gathering serviceable indication of its elevator grille’s concentric ovals and the interiority of descent uncluttered from the corridor i ascend to, exuding the reread of scroll thrown afore a takotsubo as he kneels by the delicate tied cups, emetophobic by a saxaul i set off to


Stephen Cain Stephen Cain is the author of three poetry collections—American Standard/ Canada Dry (Coach House, 2005), Torontology (ECW, 2001), and dyslexicon (Coach House, 1998)— and a collaborative series of micro-fictions, Double Helix (Mercury, 2006), written with Jay MillAr. He is also co-author, with Tim Conley, of The Encyclopedia of Fictional and Fantastic Languages (Greenwood, 2006). He lives in Toronto where has been a literary editor at the Queen Street Quarterly and fiction editor at Insomniac Press. His newest chapbook, Word Wards, is forthcoming from No Press (Calgary).


Stephen Cain Sportstalk There’s no “I” in L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E Poetry. I gotta stay focused, take it one poem at a time. An epiphanic first person lyric is like kissing your sister. I knew what I had to write and I went out there and wrote it. If you’re Charles Bernstein, you’re gonna want to put a joke in here. Gotta watch out for the overpublishing factor. Bad reviews even out over the course of a career. He won’t retire until he gets that GG. You draft the best available poem. She’s still very much alive. I lost my focus, I beat myself. Gotta get out there and find your voice. She could be the winningest writer in history. He’s the epitome of a great creative writing student. He’s not writing for immortality—he’s writing not to die. What a difference a workshop makes. They can smell blood in the ink. He managed to eke out a rhyme. That’s the hardest working line in poetry. I did not knowingly or willingly take vatic substances. These readers deserve a writer. This is all just a walk in Parnassus for him now. She’s the sweetheart of the scene, she reminds me of a young Nicole Brossard. He’ll have his elegy-face on. A publication is a publication. You gotta respect her prosody. Canonization can be misleading. Canonization tells the whole story. She’s silenced all the critics. It’s all over but the reciting. Poetry can make things happen out there. It’s a whole new ballad form. She needs an award to stave off elimination. A lot of the faithful are heading for the movies. When it stops being fun, it’s time to quit. Mistakes were made. There’s no question about it. I’m looking forward to the next chapter in my life. This one’s going, going—gone!


1996 Video Lousy year unless you’re a lawyer. No Doubt it’s important. The Roses go Belly up. No more Lush lushes (a Pogue or two will do ya). Out with the trash and the Dustbin is history. But we get a Rotten reunion. So much for celebrity Situationism. Screen the Spectacle. Shots in Scotland. Devastated by Dunblane. At least the Scots have the sense to cease the sales. Scouts under suspicion. Another children’s crusade. Shut down the sweatshops and Gifford’s gouging. Can’t stop with the kid snuff. Ramsay’s revolting revelations. Tabloid tales for the next ten years. More grimaces for the Grimm: Livesay leaves us. Bye bye to Brodsky. Duras’s small death. A Leary liftoff. Laughing until the last. Tuned out, turned up, and shot out. From inner space to into space. So goes Sagan; no tears for Tiny Tim. Sublime just like Shannon. So sick of that chic. Another heroin anti-hero without artistry. No alternative. And you can’t and you won’t and don’t stop. You gotta come to take that sure shot on Shakur. Tupac means biggie trouble in bicoastal times. More bombs from Buttheads. Atlanta. Canary Wharf. Sixties redux without the reasoning. We do need the Weathermen to tell us which way it blows. Mario’s gone but gave us this: there's a time when the operation of the machine

becomes so odious, makes you so sick at heart, that you can't take part, and you've got to make it stop! Kaczynski’s shack attacked. No more letters from Luddites. Naturally, one implosion to go with the explosions, folks. Dolly’s an extra sheep and Diana goes free. Cancer and car crashes to come. Cronenberg rewards. Clinton makes a come back. Begins coming on backs. Tiger Tiger burning bright, in the Woods day and night.


Stephen Cain Admiral Hayden hits the hard wood. Still in Hollywood. Now we wait forever at Downsview. All Wilson lines obsolete in the poetics of transportation. And when Anik goes down we have nothing to do. Previewing Y2K, or else the early sweeps for the Blackout. First it was the soapstone scenario and now we have the Mobster strangler. Take a hit out on the homeless. Days of Action, wishing for an October Revolution. Not against a white palace but a regal and racist police state. One day that shook the city, shut it down. Billy braggs, if you’ve got a blacklist I want to be on it. Call it Harrisment. No boozing bozos. Not a common sense revolution—a right wing reactionary. And all we can do is walk and wait.



Stephen Cain Mayakovsky’s Yellow Shirt

Mayakovsky, comrade I shout to you in salute Your younger brother In a sister country Equally cold and severe Mayakovsky, mentor Your yellow shirt Radiant and blinding— As the wheat field at dawn Golden and intoxicating— As my neighbour’s home brew Bright and oppressive— As the sun we wish to defeat Mayakovsky, imagine— I shout to you from Unlettered Alberta Where I have no readers to shock No shirt at all Let alone a yellow one And no mother to mend it

Stefan Kuzbyt (1893-1933?) Trans. from the Ukrainian by Stephen Cain


Sean Moreland Sean Moreland vacillates between Kingston and Ottawa, Ontario. His poetry has appeared in, The Ottawa Arts Review, The Malahat Review, NoD Magazine, and The Peter F. Yacht Club. His chapbook, Lupercalia, is available from the Bywords Press, and Dalhousie Blues, a collaborative book with Christine McNair, Caleb Brassett and Jamie Bradley is forthcoming from Ex Hubris Press. He won the John Newlove award in 2007. He holds a PhD from the University of Ottawa.


Sean Moreland Excerpt from What, Rough Beast?

From Section I, “Call to The First Aethyr”

Attributively: Enantiodramaqueen! Alas, as alick into alice,

Il est hermaphrodisant Neant

Giraa ta maelpereji, das hoel-qo qaa notahoa zodimezod, od comemahe ta nobeloha zodien; soba tahil ginonupe pereje aladi, das vaurebes obolehe giresam. ...was the Grandame of what is, descending the genetic starcase from ein soph, ascending again the anal (let them!) starecase where what white flowers spurt thru the sphincter of the tetra -grammic Throne. What, Rough Beast, was left when you did, admit it, invoking your own exit after leaning into it, all the accusations your stations of not quite the cross hanging out amidst the straylights of the sephiroth

Casarem ohorela caba Pire: das zodonurenusagi cab: erem Iadanahe. Pilahe farezodem zodenurezoda adana gono Iadpiel das home-tohe soba ipame lu ipamis: das sobolo vepé zodomeda poamal, od bogipa aai ta piape Piamoel od Vaoan! Virile viral vowel syndrome, esoterotarot-man, hurdygurder of hell in heaven, out of tune tu -mescent hymen-hymnist himself, singer of the triple six, sin, singe and the syringe, self and its renunciation, crypto-sadean, magick maker mr dressup, syrup of spectacle. Is this mr, sinister, you as alice in her stemmed slip, ripping off her lady’s deep evening red(ress. I was Awaiz awise awhile ah a wiseguy, was I, awake, a week of weakness with stick wings etched on it and a glorious gown an auto-erotic drag-hagiographer




wroth mouth, breath! semanic expansor informs gnarls in dioxidic shrinkwrap savage packages a world reruthed par what we think thru rank contemp or aneity dawn croaks of cray sky wielding anxes, utter our good buys in the market dead pleasants, we wear our ender’s drear don cloaks of say whyse welding anxious shtutter or tearfully refrain stalling combastic phremm yawling emmm-frew metaphones flinging blank prays, crotchy thongs at drogy, wank-masked gods buried under beaker rocks chawing time til the ranks rearise reave and maw man-herds amongst rapevines.


Sean Moreland Kantfish

Whiskered electricity ichthyoid-ictus in discursive hic -ough lurks neath unsure surface of senses in rhythmus, ricktus since space itself is a liquid silence within time itself is an abscess in the stillness of space itself outstripped in a race against place in a crime against time aswim in sea of so-we-seem not to move : dim light of our deeming since we dream space and time are of our minds our minds a space not of, but out of time: our sense of ding and such as sich in dong, din cochlar chora decry occipitted assume a tune beyond our duty to desire a prurient a priori crime under the firm little German’s cool sub -aquatic eyes.


Ekstatick Tentickles#

In the midst of slick & deep, inseeking kiss this contagious business occurs to me: I’m daydreaming perversely of Marilyn Chambers shuddering sweat not sexually, exactly, but frothing and spastic on the bathroom floor in Cronenberg’s Rabid. But the image passes, and just the kiss persists like a beautiful fever in its unhurried, luxurious squirm. Its slither. The nomadic hands that find us spread Osiric across our bodily maps waiting for the naked Isis of each fingertip to scratch us up from the dirt’s grip. We kiss. Until this urge erupts, surging w/ Intestinal intelligence Becoming word in verbal gore, liquid syllables dripping this Word spurts up my throat, sticking sucking, up your ear. At this word your brain burns 159

Sean Moreland black rain eats at your expression At this word your face balls into a fist. Your face seizes, ready to throw itself at me, wet pink stingray with slick proboscis the word glowers over the room now, palpable, a shady off-purple presence: a genital-swathed gargantua clasps us and moves our mouths in viscous prayer – our serrated tongues suck punctured air.


Seek and slam Dullgray aft’s rough drag with the stark wake of the goner score, sores of the shaken stir the streets aching to blacken the package. Redeye keyed-out pack of dirty pilgrim sweaters, the sniffling sneakered hunt snouts out closed faces and cold concrete until a happy alley spreads treasures for their play-coloured tenders. Quick now kids: brassy blues do the corner the cluster ducks, hasting skirts, flock back to a grimy public head. Unfazed by blue lights, diviners of deep venation they prep with quick breaths, with tremulous brevity, tapping powder from plastic shells, crouch of humid forms exuding need, acrid anticipation. Flint-fleck and rocketred glare. Amped Bics and arcing Zippos. Frothing cook-song of familial spoons, steel’s black badge convex bellies small, stainless pregnancies the kids clutch maternally - syncopated orchestra of grunts and small seeking stabs flagging bulbous bloodflowers. Horses surge the gates, heavy heartfalls and itch-hot crescendos as they play, violinists of the breaking veins.

e M







l e




Frances Kruk Frances Kruk wrote A Discourse on Vegetation & Motion (Critical Documents, 2008) and resides in the sick sunless damp of London, England. She likes John Donne, Otis Redding, hot dogs, and trains.


* something sense something formulas, fuze types, chamber eggs sense by all means something by crunch of frag talk

Roneo spectre: jam tin is simple in black, glitter lace The powder The head sense bright as tungsten * where things happen like zits the work in the woods the inconvenient later skull blocks vatic as bulb in bare room I will seize I will telephone each point on the smallpox chart my factories, my mice, my laboratory orchestra all still a secret blade in cake confiture that can not see the motionless centre below * ((I tried to move but fell right through the eggshells, dropped a floor, lost time, lost weight. The concrete, the meat, the dust of sick & rat piss & somewhere in there the mass gum of result not worth discussing. But Problems. Wars, dead batteries, stuff. & heads. So all right sit Still in the ferocity, limbs extend with provisional sticks constructed of pencils taped to pencils taped to pencils: scribble hiss split & howl of clouds spun out. Are you still there. Which floor. * for while I sleep at bones the slathered pillowcase my greasy habit hell be silent for the salt. one drip, two 163

Frances Kruk for wet spots on the nice wall my shake is quiet, the wound sound I have no hate I have no hate sugar with an angel's zeromouth I wish to question vertebrae til they puke their secret ice * (if I could press out the juice of my raucous baby talk if that Tongue does not wither as I speak if I do not become a spider if I do not happen) * out, Things you that is itself the pox, lesion fresh piece of motionless room you is still sensing the going is the ceiling is the bulb height of annoyance at 1200 watts remark the blood & hot out out you Tin of you * unsure you hang in winter globe the Once but always snow & snow & snow & snow falls up & down by shudder fist pork flakes the village, dark quiet as dead mice under seige under deaf seige under tinny hum of under storm the always shake fall shake fall drift & drift of hookless being the noplace of Suck that liquid & Walk the midnight water : Press plastic then & peer out at whatever * I am still as opaque quiet does not exist but talking is quiet as the mythic stillness of woods 164

that swarm with busted zippers, mud-stiff trousers board-slapped on marshes. It is better in rooms where honest concrete tells its secrets, where circles claim no order in the frenzy of their numbers. In the motionless centre, in the oubliette of hard splayed skin I am tedious, pox, a rodent with Tins of blueprints dry inside my armpits * I am a wild party & you sense something tongue clot, illegal mouths the basement grin has cake sodium chlorate snakes the icing you happen as a thing during a picnic Go under * now a smile in a Throat like that of a sheep something happen in a sense of 'later there's work to be done in the woods (inconvenient, the woods, the work but we are collective responsibility let's vigilante and suck Dirt later * in the woods in the music of dwarves (barely legal, dwarf music. drone drone pinecone home dirt-packed holes & whistling mouths) steel makes the acquaintance of the post-Magneto or the stuck tight Grin 165

Frances Kruk or the Bag too tedious to tie the radius of Fractals sloshed upon the clay * For one second I am I now they say that is enemy that is swine & I ))) silent again before they cleave & pull the guts up through lungs But who has heard the basement song & not practiced agony thereafter I say I say What is this should have been known & why the trap of middles now * if a tooth rank could repeat the voltage murmur of calcium could the jaw just leave the room cease the marrow chatter so this face can slip to sleep closed mask, folds fluttered soft before offensive


Judith Copithorne Judith Copithorne has been living and writing in Vancouver for decades. She has made many notable contributions to concrete poetry and other experimental writing through the 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s and into this 21century. Judith is constantly changing the mediums she works in as they become available, but the core there is always her distinctive touch. Copithore is as relevant now as she was back in the days of the downtown poets of Vancouver. She was published in the 1st issues of blew ointment and Ganglia and worked at Motion Studio and Intermedia. More recently a bibliography of her work was published by J.W. Curry in the March, 2009 issue of 1 cent.


Judith Copithorne Alpha Distort




Judith Copithorne Balance




Judith Copithorne Night Train




Judith Copithorne The Letter i


Natalie Zina Walschots Natalie Zina Walschots' first book of poetry, Thumbscrews, was published by Snare Books in the Fall of 2007. Her newest manuscript, Supervillains, is nearly complete. Her work has recently appeared in FOURSQUARE, Rampike, A4, Open Letter, Misunderstanding Magazine and Last Supper. She has served as the Managing Editor of filling Station and dANDelion magazines. She also co-curated the Flywheel reading series from 20052008. Natalie completed her MA in English/ Creative Writing at the University of Calgary. Her current base of operations is located in Toronto, where she teaches Creative Writing at a private high school.


Natalie Zina Walschots Pied Piper stroke cochlea each lick against tympanic catch cillia slap pinna catch stirrup sung spurred canals alight lobbed temporal warbling flautist wails hammer and tongs

Quicksilver pink and peel squirming desquamation itchy fingers swell kiss raw meat fluoresce photophobic crematoria caustic soda pig iron steel


Dr. Strange

Monster Men tumors bulge tumultuous straps and sinew sewn bone to bone saw cloned gloaming groan whittled to wart cleft palate warbled squat and glistening

Genetically Perfect Man abs undone teflon crisp and hulking shoulder radiant all grip and spine something gutteral beneath rubber tar in the heart

Bullseye projectile playing card carotid pencil through cornea a skull no match for your own shattered tooth accuracy is everything


Marcus McCann Marcus McCann is the author of one trade collection, Soft Where (2009, Chaudiere Books), as well as six chapbooks, including The Tech/tonic Suite (2008, Rubicon), Force Quit (2008, Emergency Response Unit) and petty illness leaflet (2008, Onion Union). His work has appeared in The Antigonish Review, Matrix, dANDelion, and other fine Canadian literary periodicals. He’s a host of CKCU’s Literary Landscapes and organizer of the Transgress Festival and the Naughty Thoughts Book Club. He lives in Ottawa, where he a member of the Ampers& writing group. He was awarded the 2009 John Newlove Award at the Ottawa International Writers Festival.


iii. A bird with a bum wing, it limps like limping had valour. Pigeon coloured crook puts air in a headlock, waits for air to pass out. Wrench of the racketeer, the revolutionary— you haven’t been this scared of paper since Valentine’s Day. Pilates of the page, a puppet echoing its author: talk, talk, talk. Then applauding itself. And always inserting nonsense, it mimes: carot, less than, L, V, greater than, seven and in French, accent circumflex.

iv. The font yawning. The font rocking on its heels and toes. The font grooming itself with its tongues. The font stretching its serifs like a piano player’s pinkies and thumbs. The font collecting carving knives. 179

Marcus McCann The font collecting knives. The font hauling chains off a flatbed.

v. The bookcase’s chapbook section: you throw a party and it throws confetti. Did a geranium’s autistic kid put down roots? When you’re asleep, you might be that guy with the flyers. You watch the algae gather on the world’s smallest college dormitory, a manic depressive, exuberant day-after mess that wakes up with cake on its face.

vii. Boardwalk the insolent, needy, genteel poem yearns for, margin wide as a two-beat line, tall as a stanza, thick as a penis. China cabinet, thirty-second TV spot, searching interview pursued from somewhere plush. Poem retreating inward, like a pinched face.


Where would the poem be without the margin to set up three-point lighting? In a rented apartment, there is a poem who can’t afford margins. He looks terrible. Elsewhere, there are skids and skids of margins in packages, saying nothing, nothing, coo, coo, coo.

x. If spine is sheep, a fold is a fold. If spine is a wallet, fold is a billfold. If spine is gimme one good reason, fold is twofold. If spine is a puzzle, fold is baffled. If spine is smothering grandma with a pillow, fold is her, muffled. If spine is a whip and harness, fold is a blindfold.


Meredith Quartermain Meredith Quartermain’s most recent book, Nightmarker (NeWest), explores the city as animal behavior, museum and dream of modernity. In another recent book, entitled Matter (BookThug), she playfully riffs on Darwin’s Origin of Species and Roget’s Thesaurus. Vancouver Walking won the 2006 BC Book Award for Poetry. She is co-founder of Nomados Literary Publishers.


She would fabricate what would come to be unreal and more real – a creamy morality that would automate. A concoction, a contraption. A buggy for stallions. It would have cosmic friction and helium arteries. The stallions would gossip over pyramids of gears, and the buggy would have wings. It would write itself in iron ink while the stallions, Bucephalus and Pegasus, recounted wars with chimeras and Indian kings. How did you get those two-legged things on your back, Bucephalus asks. Minerva's golden bridle, Pegasus murmurs, I looked so good in it, excitingly winding around me its magnetic flux of elastic vibrations – until I threw off Bellerophon and kicked in the Helicon which they now call the horse fountain – ah, blushful Hippocrene with beaded bubbles. And you, dear ox-headed friend, with your great eye that conquered Persia, Anatolia, Syria and Phoenicia – Judea, Gaza, Egypt and Mesopotamia, how did they get on your back? I was afraid of my shadow, Bucephalus neighingly laughs, but Alexander kept me away from its beaters and fly-wheels and flappers and pistons – I said to my shadow, Be gone! vamoose! and stormed the Persians at Granicus – and my shadow decamped – until I found its kingdom on the River Hydaspes – my shadow puffed up 10 times my size, its nose like a tree, ears like battle shields, and long white teeth clawing the cavalry – the stench of my shadow was foul, and my shadow had multiplied – there were 50 shadows – I charged my shadows, biting and kicking like immortal Xanthus at the siege of Troy, but I fell with 4000 foot soldiers – and my shadow reigned. She would. And she did.


Meredith Quartermain Rain You’ll take me as I come. I slick the streets, shush the wheels. Splat the plaid and black umbrellas. I hammer. I belt. Dribble and drip. On hair, on slicks, on sodden shoes. I laden twigs with dropkins, darken walls, glisten roofs, douse the feathers of chimney-hunching crows. Not the house that Jack built, not the mason that laid the brick, nor the architect that hired the mason, nor the god that hired the architect. I swamp a vacant lot, its concrete steps to nonexistent bungalow. Beat its absent window-panes, its haggard shrubs with batter, pound, and thump. Knock its dearthy lack of shingles, its truant walls. Hulloo, anybody there? Here’s weather-words for nobody-ness. Master Void and Madam Vacuum. Lord and Lady Emptiful. How do you do? Enchanté. What a splendid tabula rasa, what grand views of Non-attendance Peak! I don't mind a glass of Noman's-land champagne. And yes, I'll have a plate of null-set cakes in hearthless nothinghood. I'm not unhappy you're unamused with this nonentity naughtdom. Please may I inconsider myself negatelessly at your antidisposal, your sublimely abyssful blankship.


My Library Through this door you'll find my social science wing shelving aunts, uncles, grandmothers, grandfathers, cousins twice removed – my statistical bureau a.k.a. birth, ABCs, marriage, number of corn-flakes, toasters, irons, TVs, microwaves, hair curlers munched – my public relations' input-output, my wage-farm disability, childhood strikes and lockouts – pleasant peasantry, passenger freight in my wireless railroad, my secondhand cyclical warehouse of convenience psychology and shopping malls' chamber of coping skills. My odd-fellows' transvesticals, charity and life-saving accidents, once homeless, my teenaged blindness, my intemperate prison psychology, detectives, and correctional drug habits. Now we turn to my technology branch including sanitary engineering, explosives and pyrotechnics. Feel free to browse the mobile food-processing servants running my living vehicle. Survey my soft furnishings, the mechanics of my weather instruments, while I construct tunnels and bio-acoustic floods. You can skim through my plasma. I have a fine collection of applied disasters. A first edition of my inland navigation. And look at this waste reclamation plan with hydraulic dust-jacket – soon I'll have fur, rubber, and leather volumes in my textile zoo. And every edition of powerplant apparatus, its translations to circuitry and plumbing. These decorative bindings bring conditioners from all over the generator to fondle my sewing machines. This bay holds my will and choice including spirit messages, clairvoyance and human-alien encounters. What fabric softener have I not emoted with genius and class genetics. What cheerful ridiculousness and vain fastidiousness, with my friends / enemies, flattery and guilt, stitching up the most rational climate. You'll learn how I control adulthood with applied hallucinations, mesmerism and hauntings. How ancient, medieval, and modern projections possess me with epistemological souls for space, time and matter. Next to ethics, I've placed etiquette. Customs and costumes. Party stunts and puzzles. Swords and parachutes, maneuvering the phallic tropics with the latest neutralities. Not that I wanted gabardine or burlap. Or this shantung leatherette. For my seamless galaxy. No, far from it. It wasn't at all what I'd imagined.


Meredith Quartermain Sun hides in a cave, a brother destroyed her rice fields, threw a skinned horse on her looms, a brother seduced her, a blind brother shot a bear and she got the head, he got dog meat, she goes under the world to the dead, sees with eyes of the dead, she cuts off her breast: sear it, eat it since you love my body so much, Sun grieves, faithless man-moon fucked her daughter, her morning star, dance dance for her amber tears, show her your breasts your vulva, build her a birth canal, a winter crack in megalithic hill, toothless Sun: strike my head into the well, Sun gouges her eyes: take them since you love them so much, o mirror mirror her wells, urns, brush her bloody sockets with rushes, your hair burns, you bulge huge, tabbycat, o rage rage red – princess in the sea, steal her, eat an egg but don’t break the shell, leap to the fire, in the wolf’s teeth, ladybug ladybug fly to your spinning troll luminous Saint Lucidity eating winter babies, give her pancake wheels, give her white doe’s blood on birchwood braids, skin of the doe stretched hooped, sling-shot her house, steal her bag of thread, drive o drive your chariot over Olympus, µέδων Medea Medusa.


Camille Martin Camille Martin, a Toronto poet, is the author of Sonnets (Shearsman Books, forthcoming in 2010) and Codes of Public Sleep (BookThug, 2007). Her work has been widely published in journals in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia. Her current work in progress is a collection of double sonnets. She is also engaged in a project funded by the Ontario Arts Council: a long poem (working title: “The Evangeline Papers”) based on her Cajun/Acadian heritage and her recent visit to Nova Scotia to participate in an archaeological dig at Beaubassin and to research Acadian and Mik’maq history and culture. She earned an MFA in Poetry at the University of New Orleans and a Ph.D. in English at Louisiana State University. Currently she teaches writing and literature at Ryerson University.


Camille Martin six from nomadic slant

* by the time i get to the border, i’ve already forgotten why i came. must be for its own sake, for the point now seems moot. anyway, it’s a good place to camp, and i can still see out my own window. it might be just a fantasy that the panorama appears broader here, or that i can quibble as long as i like. it would be a different matter to change the story, brutish but at least not yet malevolent. i think i know my disease, but really i only catalogue the symptoms. for example, my eyes being the exact shade of the tree bark they invert. and my thoughts having no passport, no home, just background noise to accompany their inevitable mistakes. here i can fail the rorschach out my window every time, giving dubious answers to indefinite prompts, chattering endlessly about rivers flowing upstream. still at the border, suspended and moving toward more suspension, lying in a dim room flying at breakneck speed through the expanding universe. all i know is that a little sand makes a few marbles. and i can’t shake the feeling that random is just another fingerprint, one planted on aging vellum, another on a revolver’s cartridge that’s still spinning by the soft light of the sun, here at the edge where the leaves on the tree huddling next to my window are the last to turn yellow and fall, still filtering the light that lands on the children playing in the park below. it’s a more ordinary place than i thought it might be. i’d know their little calls and yells anywhere, though it seems i’m always hearing them for the first time.


* an opening motif rises to the surface for air. it’s possible to begin, but part of the ocean is missing. a map minus the legend, landmarks without built-in familiarity. or: a word falls through the floor. roundabout chord progressions, tricking the larger harmony into following, even though the logic is as slippery as the last dream not remembered. i keep looking for difference, but the plants tend to merge as if they had a common root. a breeze in a continuity of breezes. the worst advice for capture: to draw on a distant memory, identifying a criminal who’s rubbed his fingerprints smooth, though he still whistles a distinctive tune just before capturing and rubbing out his next victim. but his hobby turns out to be harmless, plunging from one thing to another (as if falling through the floor). locks give way, planks into splinters (or maybe surfing the panorama). the decision can wait. what i was saying before seems eons ago. and i really should make a move but the moment never seems to arrive. it just sits in a stairwell transposing its letters, linking windows to rooms, glyphs to survivors who dangle at the end of their own speeches. just like that, they do what they fondly believe, believe the words they fondly mince, wedged as they are in habits that resuscitate the moment they surface, gasping for air.


Camille Martin * the town has grown, its creaturely thoughts disproportionate to the drizzle of facts that rain upon the fields on the outskirts, enough to encourage the kudzu vines that threaten to climb the town walls and engulf houses where they stand, people where they think. the town keeps its plans to itself. as soon as i arrive, the streets are already empty. the people left their minds to enter a new story, leaving others to shoulder the burden they’d always pretended didn’t exist. but a bit of thought crept loose and intertwined with the kudzu. they squandered their chance and now tendrils twirl aimlessly down the streets. but why, i write, why invent a topic that was already there? why spatter paltry notes on the staff when dogs howl, inviting more howls to rescue the air with their sonic ropes? huh. here come the vines again, acting as if they belonged to the animal kingdom. who better to understand their drama than one of their own? other catastrophes buckle under the weight of dirt clods whose every atom has been replaced by heavy metals, but the vines, the vines devour staircases whole. would ceasing to move things around solve anything? maybe not, but it would offer an excuse to let the people know the extent of the damage before they return to take their places where they left their thoughts. then again, how could they fathom it? they’ll find out soon enough.


* letting in a sliver of morning as an offering, like blue plastic horses melting on a hot sidewalk. or from a jetty, watching a parhelion sun slip into a lake. just another selective autobiography, inviting rain and continental drift to wash away tell-tale craters. weather never bothers the horizon, just leaves it lying there, typical, composite, mostly unmemorable from habit until i’m in the eye of a storm, watching for the wall to arrive again. or until i spot the soft sheen of olive trees far from the centre of an ancient city that sprawls hundreds of feet below me as i’m brought to my knees by the tower’s height. then, it looms large, connecting cardinal points below the solo moon, like happenings threaded together, one room causing another, morning melting into dusk, tower into clay roofs into olives into horizon. i like to believe that things are steeped in their own pigment. and i know i’m wrong. if only i could prove it or at least find the right proportion: two suspended liquids to one target. the liquid boils and bubbles rise, burst their pithy lives into swarms drifting out the open window. somewhere lurks the plague, but maybe you can’t get it on a rainy night, immunized by the first flamboyant thing to enter your head, unknown x, half-empty for all its bruit. belief in rescue becomes a habit as if it were something that couldn’t possibly happen, and if it could, we’d have to make do with our own voices while we pass each other hurrying down shiny streets, umbrella grazing umbrella.


Camille Martin * it’s night and the clock begins to rust. ophelia drops a stitch, light nibbles a shifting breeze, and a fly collides with a half-dreamt spider web. for a change, all manner of things fall down the well and into sleep, black bear and tundra flora alike. i don’t make it so but only channel this feeling synonymous with wings quivering in quiet suspense. spandrels make room for more spandrels. and why not, for a change? impossible to forget the involuntary embroidery of speech. light ebbs, and like a paralytic stinger calms every gravity fishing for more gravity. i can loiter and let whatever land, or navigate in the manner of dust floating toward the shiny world, for once well-versed in its own secrets. far from the desert, far from the tropics, night falls onto the shadow of a tree. even the town crier sleeps. if i pantomime, i’ll lose detail, distorting houses in the suburbs, but gain a figurative love in you. you laugh, but whenever we meet, i present you with the facts, even though, as usual, i unwittingly lay waste to wide swaths of happy homes and their stainless steel clocks.


* here you are again, reading something that will bring you nothing but—and here you can fill in your favourite superstition as you spend a little time deciding whether or not you actually believe in it, and ponder such troublesome questions as why you might be hard-wired to accept such unenlightened notions. how imperialist of me, though in a nice way, i hope, to pretend to read your thoughts and even direct them. i didn’t begin this—whatever it turns out to be—intending to sound like walt whitman suddenly leaping into the future posthumously, looking young and handsome in a disheveled kind of way, radiating presence and peering over your shoulder as you read his words telling you that right this minute he himself is looking over your shoulder as you both gaze at the umpteenth edition of his oeuvre, giving you goosebumps as you marvel at his ability to project his ghost into the future and enter the psyche of every reader of his words. i didn’t mean to, but i did, so i’ll just have to see it through. i’ll try not to be annoyingly present. so, where are you as you read this? do you like looking out windows? what does your name mean? mine is an age that dreams of technology making us immortal at the same time that it predicts disasters of mass extinction. so here’s my fantasy, here and now: i or my words are still alive, and so are you. go, little song.


Nathaniel G. Moore Nathaniel G. Moore is the author of Let's Pretend We Never Met (Pedlar, 2007) and works in Toronto as an editor and journalist.


PARASITTER phosphorescent glint exposure e removal incident radiation gland handstand ban forcefed termite trough ate-a-helm pest straight to strafe sex roadside garland of welt lands proboscispicnic curb preserve raise phobic trust fund minor visibility in weather acumen add cumin wipe sleaze foam eyes


Nathaniel G. Moore TWENTYTWENTY-FOUR HOURS 101 meek deprivation oxygen generates its course bell curve jar poses preserved in scholastic research mar wild odes make change for tender windy slots pins, ball-bearings bend hems, angles as wino finds Jesus in a pamphlet sleeper holds onto life preserver, worn down thin as dinner mint lovers breaking kayfabe jealous tilt, soil curtain call wets its paint too soon chores chortled weekly allowance visitation writes to porcelain porker cracked, hijacked recollection agents seek hibernation damages


LOGIZOMECHANO XXX user used login lawed tagging system minted, dated migration V-form bi-curious bi-polar scant connectivity, hones us lexical spy who’ll sniff at coasters torment in tiny photographs a pose: two wooden back scratchers pry a mouth open. carry e-cadaver of hope off to public domain dungeon “he” digs “her” translucent skin translates infinite pink as prep cook preps electronics feast on this tidal night blind slaves of fear circulates as ghosts wetmarks glass page cannot hold CTRL-S CTRL-V blind prodding cut & paste fingerprints hone waist enslaving fear heaving judgment derange engagement a user used: get unmatrimonial get left for a jpeg


Nathaniel G. Moore LOGIZOMECHANO XXX (2) a crush is a chemical imbalance, sustained because you are primarily chemical, not emotional. only parts of the story were revealed, dialogue, in its rough lexical prison, publicized only parts of a bigger illusion comes with fries spam aggravates, rashes daily cognition sharks bite through glass and paper cups at the same speed. “I fantasized about you whipping me with a belt this morning, and pulling my soft brown hair.” USER sat perky at computer in a vat of imported juices legs pruning, mouth clasped, refusing mouth clasped straw, vacuous holes for random points of entry: typing speed bumps. the sipping was compromised, slow, mess e inconsistent. e-studs reserves STD’s via e-male millennium bug bites for vacancy labour intensive pain without vaccine consent of dentist, send SASE gumball machine restocks birth control pills an indeterminable abdominal truth scans a body, limb x limb each pixel iz tickled USER becomes aroused receives new purpose through brilliant monitor amaze the minotaur tug tag tarnish toggle get the bandwidth back together



ditch, anthology 1 (canadian innovative poets) featuring: rob mclennan

Jon Paul Fiorentino

Alessandro Porco

Alice Burdick

Todd Swift

Gary Barwin

David UU

Lynn Crosbie

Nathalie Stephens

gustave morin

ErĂ­n Moure

Elizabeth Bachinsky

Jay MillAr

Louise Bak


Stephen Cain

Asher Ghaffar

Sean Moreland

Mark Truscott

Frances Kruk

Geoffrey Hlibchuk

Judith Copithorne

Natalie Simpson

Natalie Zina Walschots

Jordan Scott

Marcus McCann

derek beaulieu

Meredith Quartermain

Daniel f. Bradley

Camille Martin

Margaret Christakos

Nathaniel G. Moore

Trainwreck Press St John’s NL Canada 200

ditch, anthology 1 (canadian innovative poets)  

an anthology of some of the most extraordinary and exciting poetry being written in canada today

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