Dinosaur Aloft – Marvyne Jenoff

Dinosaur Aloft
(at the Royal Ontario Museum)

How sleep loves bones:
nightly she tends Tyrannosaurus,
comforts through the thundering seasons of its life
and in its death holds deep its darkening bones.

Discovery, slow dynamite, brings into light those bones
and Latin-names them, leaches them of data,
resurrects them into this skeleton above us balanced,
skull posed downward toward a whiff of prey.

Parched spaces pattern the dark bones
exposed against the white geometry of windows,
where stark light through years of days would bleach them.
Is this the end, the static heaven of a sunny day?

Or does the huge head nod?
Is this instead a solstice, one attenuated day
which sleep now coaxes toward an eon of descent?
Is there a greater cycle bearing us round,
bones, data and discoverers, into another dark
where sleep and love are one?

–Marvyne Jenoff

(published in November, 2012, in the Red Claw Press Anthology, Seek It: Writers and Artists Do Sleep.)

Marvyne Jenoff was born in Winnipeg and has spent her adult life in the Toronto area. A member of the LCP since the 1970s, she has published books of poetry and experimental fiction with Canadian literary presses. She is also a visual artist. Website www.marvynejenoff.com, blog of recent writing www.imaginativeforays.wordpress.com

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LEARNING TO READ – George Amabile


Start with something simple, how a thin
red comet’s tail streaks the skin

of an apple. Watch a trout rise. It leaves a stipple
on the sunset lake that grows to a bull’s-eye ripple.

What stories come to you from the faces that rip
through the dark in the lit, rocketing comic strip

windows of a train? Now look up: hybrid
cumulo-cirrus pale as a bird’s eyelid,

and behind that mottled veil, a bright burl
that looks like the crown of a luminescent pearl

skull. Or maybe there’s only the usual scatter
of hard, blue sparks that flicker, and mirror

their counterparts with orbits lost in the deep
space of an atom. These are things you can keep

surprising yourself with when there’s nothing else
to do and you’re bored with the stretched absence of bells

and whistles. Cliche: The world is a book? Yes.
Though how it begins or ends is anyone’s guess.

George Amabile has published ten books and has had work in over a hundred national and international venues, including The New Yorker, Poetry (Chicago), American Poetry Review, Botteghe Oscure, The Globe and Mail, The Penguin Book of Canadian Verse, Saturday Night,, Poetry Australia, Sur (Buenos Aires), Poetry Canada Review, and Canadian Literature.

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Stephanie Davidson

I still have the hope-shaped
desperate glass heart
you left me with.
I nurture it.
You didn’t ask me to.
You know what everything
truly looks like when you peer through it.
I still have
the distorted, muffled longing
for you
that you don’t ask me to hold.
I beg you.
Shatter this completely
I will put honest leeches
on my lacerations
then throw them in the fire
and be free
to hold
my next gift.

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Varieties of ice in spring – Joanne Epp

Varieties of ice in spring

Lumpy and thick, packed snow thawed
and frozen. Translucent. Resists
ice pick and shovel.

Edges of snowbanks under sun: clear beads, slick
with their own melting.

Transparent sheet floats,
rigid. Fingertip presses down,
pushes it under.

This one gives a little, springs back. Sloshes
the water beneath, spurts it out.
Bounces, bounces, cracks, gives way.

Broken chunks, half slush,
swim in brown puddles.

Thin skin of an air pocket, lace-edged, glass-brittle.
An early-morning type, gone by midday.

A mere sheen on the sidewalk.
Treacherous. But this, too,
disappears by noon.

Joanne Epp’s poetry has appeared in The New Quarterly, Rhubarb, and Curio Poetry, among others. Her chapbook, Crossings, was released in 2012. She lives, writes, cycles, and plays the organ in Winnipeg. Visit her blog at joanneepp.com.

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Old Crow Sunset – Ann MacDonald


Verdant leaves that pepper a morning breeze, not a one
nor feathered rumps that perch on spindled clasps, plopping cares away
no jump on a morning warmed by vested melodic chirps
no hike and play unbarred by short windows of light
nor paddling into a night indisposed
to sit aside a fire to watch the dusk escort in the dawn
in a playful twilight interlude
when the summer sun pretends to hide
And fruit loops do not scatter at our feet, plentiful
in their promises to go, somewhere
amidst departing chortles of geese.
For this the eve of the winter solstice
when a reluctant yellow ball
neither here nor there, nor up nor down,
burning and bouncing and rolling atop blackened spikes of spruce,
a jagged bow saw,
that cuts the ruby shawl
left behind.

Ann MacDonald arrived in Yukon in 1983 as a geography student studying the Kaskawalsh Glacier in Kluane National Park.  Her work has focused on social justice issues of education, literacy, land use planning, housing, aging and First Nation issues.

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Fish – Jacob Dunning


The slimy, putrid smell of victory Fish

Is heavy in my nose.

The sum total of the day’s work wriggles in my hands

Still trying to gasp for breath in an alien environment.

Wishing its self able to take in oxygen, and survive, through sheer persistence.

I allow myself a cocksure grin, and do my best to make it look

Like the beautiful, disgusting thing I hold isn’t difficult to keep

Above my head.

(The boy next to me is my cousin.

He tries his best to hold his fish above mine,

And I don’t protest, as mine is the larger.

It occurred to me, in a rare moment of youthful insight,

That once in a while it’s a good thing to hold your fish

Slightly lower than your cousins.)

The thick, filmy ooze begins to creep

Down my arm.

The fish struggles, with one final attempt to find its way

Back to some unseen body of water.

The queasy lotion coats my forearm now, and

I suppress a triumphant shudder.

I feel it stop squirming, and surrender its life to me.

I’ve owned it for hours.

But accepting death is a curious thing.

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ECO-BALANCE-BOOK IT! – Patricia Anne McGoldrick


Each week
I sort through the mail
with care.
So many papers–
white ones, green and orange, even brown ones too–
with ads on one side only,
these are like treasures for me to share!

Upcycle them, I will,
into small books—
homes for some poems,
maybe a recipe or two,
even a gift for that special someone in June.

When the day comes to book it,
I take out my file so full of papers
to make a new tome.
Then I choose, with care,
a blue or green sheet
to upcycle into a format so sweet.

I fold it in half vertically
And fold in half again.
Then I take one open end
To fold to the middle
Turn it over and do the same.

When I look at my book
Sitting there like a “W”
I press it together like an accordion.

Now I can add my words to this paper
transformed into a book.
Another upcycled project makes my day!

Patricia Anne McGoldrick is a Kitchener, Ontario Canada writer whose poetry and reviews have been published in the Christian Science Monitor, The WM Review Connection, and ChapterandVerse.ca. Poems have been published in anthologies: Animal Companions, Animal Doctors, Animal People; Beyond the Dark Room, an international collection of transformative poetry, with proceeds from book sales being given to Doctors Without Borders/MSF; Poetic Bloomings–the first year. Patricia is a member of The Ontario Poetry Society and the League of Canadian Poets.

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staircase poem 30 – Joe Blades

staircase poem 30

imagine tim isaac with his
beard & a cello made
of clay & fired in his
raku pottery studio
on bay of fundy shore
tim playing like a sweet fiend
blues on his raku cello
consider this poem a challenge

consider this poem a wake-up call
a rallying point in ongoing
mis/re/education of poet
& reader–coauthor alike
writing friends & observed people
into poems then hearing response
from them making more poems
by me & inspiring others to write

listen up folks: poems are wanted
not just at the periphery of your
vision elusive as rare birds
winter storms travel north
out of their element into yours
hopefully not plato’s republic
poems live in our hearts minds
& whole bodies—all together

Joe Blades—artist, writer, producer–host of Ashes, Paper, & Beans (CHSR), publisher of Broken Jaw Press, and a Past President of the League of Canadian Poets—is the editor of ten collections, and the author of seven books, including Prison Songs and Storefront Poetry, and Casemate Poems (Collected).

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Still, Life – Fiona Tinwei Lam

Still, Life

No ladder, no kids to shake them down,
the high stubborn apples have gripped
the gnarled arms of their tree
after the descent of leaves, the last snowfall.
Still yellow, mere husks
sourly persisting as humans do.
Who do we wait for,
who awaits us?

Nascent leaves furled and tensed in their buds.
A few crocus tips in half-frozen soil.
How can these apples
imagine appleness now?

By the stove, a bowl of static apples
probably picked months ago, their ripening slowed
in the cool dark of shipping containers.
A still life, I tell my son, and point
at colour plates of Cezanne, Picasso.
The fruit does not move,
composed and stuck in some precise
slice of light and time.

He runs to the table to sketch out
the tree, the ground. Then the apples,
with new blue capes billowing out in the air.
They leap from their branches, never
falling to their glorious fate.

Fiona Tinwei Lam is the author of two books of poetry, Intimate Distances (finalist for the City of Vancouver Book Prize) and Enter the Chrysanthemum. Her work has been chosen twice for BC’s Poetry in transit, and has been included in over twenty anthologies, including The Best Canadian Poetry 2010, In Fine Form: An anthology of Canadian Form Poetry, and Force Field: An anthology of 77 BC Women Poets. She is a co-editor of and contributor to the non-fiction anthology, Double Lives: Writing and Motherhood (McGill-Queen’s, 2008), as well as the editor of The Bright Well, a collection of contemporary Canadian poems about facing cancer (Leaf Press, 2011). Her children’s book, The Rainbow Rocket, is forthcoming this spring with Oolichan Books. http://www.fionalam.net

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Conditions of the shudder – rob mclennan

Conditions of the shudder


Bent over, everything.

The reasons for the words
were plenty, numerous

and latent.


Don’t forget to vote.

Black ants trickle
in, below



There is a fear

of writing, such
an urge

to crash.


Am like a living tomb,
so very messy.

Understating every mouth,

a girl.

Born in Ottawa, Canada’s glorious capital city, rob mclennan currently lives in Ottawa. The author of more than twenty trade books of poetry, fiction and non-fiction, he won the John Newlove Poetry Award in 2011, and his most recent titles are the poetry collections Songs for little sleep, (Obvious Epiphanies, 2012), grief notes: (BlazeVOX [books], 2012), A (short) history of l. (BuschekBooks, 2011), Glengarry (Talonbooks, 2011) and kate street (Moira, 2011), and a second novel, missing persons (2009). An editor and publisher, he runs above/ground press, Chaudiere Books (with Jennifer Mulligan), The Garneau Review (ottawater.com/garneaureview), seventeen seconds: a journal of poetry and poetics (ottawater.com/seventeenseconds) and the Ottawa poetry pdf annual ottawater (ottawater.com). He spent the 2007-8 academic year in Edmonton as writer-in-residence at the University of Alberta, and regularly posts reviews, essays, interviews and other notices at robmclennan.blogspot.com

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