Monday, March 12, 2018

Tom Cull


European green crab
Purple loosestrife
Zebra mussel
Sea lamprey
Emerald ash borer
Gypsy moth
Sub-Saharan Zeus moss
Asian long-horned beetle
Giant hogweed
Asiatic carpe diem
Common buckthorn
Northern snakehead
Killer shrimp
Rusty crayfish
Brown spruce longhorn beetle
Mountain pine beetle
Sirex woodwasp
Dutch oven
Butternut canker
Common crested brohammer
Japanese knotweed
Garlic mustard
Dog-strangling vine
Alfalfa blotch leafminer
Stuffed crust pizza
Prussian drone operator
Eurasian witch lemming
Holy Roman trebuchet
Oriental weather loach
Asian swamp eel
African clawed frog
Spanish slug
European yellow-tailed scorpion
Red-eared slider
Water hyacinth
Gangis Kanye
Eurasian wild boar
Burmese python
Tyrannosaurus rex
Giant African land snail
Three-sceptred monarch
Herb-crusted salmon
Panko-crusted tilapia
Open-concept kitchen
Spotted eastern gulch
Barrel-chested man-child
Three-steepled tree weevil
Right said Fred

Tom Cull grew up in Huron County and now resides in London, Ontario, where he teaches creative writing and serves as the city’s current Poet Laureate. His chapbook, What the Badger Said, was published in 2013. Since 2012, Tom has been the director of Thames River Rally, a grassroots environmental group that he co-founded with his partner Miriam Love, and their son, Emmett. His first full-length poetry collection, Bad Animals, is due out in spring 2018 from Insomniac Press.

Friday, March 2, 2018

Délani Valin



Inhale ire and exhale worry. Hot-box your bachelor suite, pray
over holy basil chamomile concoctions for the frazzled
rhizomes of your sympathetic nerves. Bury the bones
of the animals you wish you didn’t need to eat.
Medicate: rum, milk thistle, rum, repeat. Pack the wounds
with mud and try to carry on. I come in with a shovel
but I also carry the hum of a million mundane car rides,
I’m asthmatic, with jagged gravel specks embedded in my feet, pollution,
my bleak, dogged atheism. Cleanse me. And I will help you
tie the twined, dried lemon balm and lavender from the ceiling. Sow
a row of carrots in your bed sheets. Sneak in all of the endangered
arbutuses and oaks. Plant little succulents in the countertops, and feed
honey to the moss spreading across the shower walls. Filtered
water for the willows, and coffee grounds for the fig trees. Lay with me
on the dirt-covered linoleum and place your pomegranate seeds
on my tongue. Let’s turn this soil together. Look how good, how grounded.

Délani Valin studies Creative Writing at Vancouver Island University. She won the 2017 Long Poem Prize from The Malahat Review and the Lush Triumphant Literary Award for her suite of poetry, “Modern Myths.” Her writing has appeared in subTerrain, the Canadian anthology Those Who Make Us, Adbusters, Soliloquies Anthology, Portal, and elsewhere.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Conyer Clayton



I pound my fist against your back
to loosen phlegm. I’ve always
told you smoking kills, but
you’d do it with ropes
and bottle tops. Your soles
unsteady on a wicker chair. 
Pour yourself into
one more moonrise.
Draw out the misery in me.
I can only see

this failing. You disappearing.
A man’s frayed face
and brittle leaves. A boulder
obscured in slow-moving fog.
I can only see

you vanished
among tall desert rocks.
Your mother says
she thinks she’s heard
the last from you,
and I can only see

the chair leg tremor.
Are the floorboards even?
Did you even check?

Conyer Clayton is an Ottawa-based writer who aims to live with compassion, gratitude, and awe. She has two chapbooks: The Marshes (& co collective, 2017) and For the Birds. For the Humans. (battleaxe press, 2018). Her work appears in Prairie Fire, The Maynard, In/Words, Bywords, Transom, and others. She won Arc’s 2017 Diana Brebner Prize and received third place in Prairie Fire’s 2017 Poetry Contest. Check out for updates on her endeavours.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Heather Birrell



The filmy-eyed old man went searching for him during the Polish Festival. He had a sister
but they had to put her down. There were beautiful girls wearing coronets of red flowers
drinking beer out of plastic cups on every corner.


I didn’t know when I met you that any of this would happen. We were playing Scrabble on
an island closer to Africa than Spain. You used the word cozy in a way I had never seen or
heard before. We went to see a movie. La Momia Vuelve.


Desert dog, street dog, half fox, half hare.

Listen. Nails clicking out circles of goodbye, goodbye, goodbye.

Heather Birrell is the author of two story collections, Mad Hope (one of the Globe and Mail’s top 23 fiction picks for 2012) and I know you are but what am I? Her work has been honoured with the Journey Prize for short fiction and the Edna Staebler Award for creative non-fiction and has been shortlisted for both National and Western Magazine Awards. She lives in Toronto with her family.

Friday, February 9, 2018

Chris Banks


Check out these invisible handcuffs. Death
is classically trained. You are free to go
on your own recognizance until the time
of your execution. Every minute is garnish.
The entrée is missing. We live under
an embarrassment of stars. Each face
is a living portrait. A work in progress.
Dreams build cantilevered balconies into 
the world. Hold this mirror. So begins
our secret congress. Let’s not meet out 
in the open. What do you wish to know?
I promise to pull you out of an earthquake.
Give you first aid. When the ocean recedes,
do not go walking amongst the fish gasping
in its wake. Head for the hills. Stay with me
one more week. Wave goodbye before
slipping into a dark limo filled with techno
and champagne. I hate the crowds so I won’t 
be at the premiere with its paparazzi. I’ll be 
working on my patents. There is this one 
for a new type of glass. When you hold 
a hand up on either side, it simulates human 
contact. Here, place your fingers like this. 
I forgot how warm you are to the touch.

Chris Banks is the author of four poetry collections. His first full-length collection, Bonfires, was awarded the Jack Chalmers Award for poetry by the Canadian Authors’ Association in 2004 and was a finalist for the Gerald Lampert Award for best first book of poetry in Canada. His poetry has appeared in The New Quarterly, Arc Magazine, The Antigonish Review, Event, The Malahat Review, Prism International, among other publications. He lives and writes in Waterloo, Ontario.

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Tom Prime


the tongue is talking to itself
mumbling, shaking its head
has lost its mind

the throat is its apartment building
the throat wants back payments
the throat has called the police

the tongue is homeless
lives in empty cigarette packages
slips through the streets
a snail without a shell

Tom Prime is in the MFA program at the University of Victoria (specializing in poetry). His poems have appeared in Carousel, Ditch, Fjords Review, The North Testicle Review, The Rusty Toque, and Vallum. In 2017, Proper Tales Press published his first chapbook, A Strange Hospital.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Dale Tracy


This is a script for performance.
The blocking is in your palm
or punch.
The dialogue goes like this:
I see you are playing at living a story.
How many levels in?

This is a closet drama in nested acts.
Open the door. Take the string from the hanger
where mittens drape, justly balanced.
Put your hands inside. When pleased, clap.
Wait to be entertained or be two puppets 
eating up the stage of shucked shunned shirts, 
one hand reliable, the other the clown
who seeks love so hard it falls on its knitted tail.

Be the delighted audience. Revoke your love
when the clown tries the fall again.

This is how it ends:
How many doors did you open? 
Can you close them again?

With those mittens on your hands?

Dale Tracy’s mini-chapbook, What It Satisfies, is published by Puddles of Sky Press. Her writing has appeared in Arch-l’Arc, illiterature, and Artfest Ontario’s Canada’s 150th: Who We Are, Where We Are and Where We Need to Be Going. She lives in Kingston and teaches literature and culture at the Royal Military College of Canada.