Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Dani Couture


for Robert Earl Stewart

So many deaths that summer
that sometimes I showed up
and there was nothing more
than a stretch of empty road,
a flipped car, a body curled
up like a comma beneath a tarp.
Some passerby’s offering
of decency before leaving.
Last year’s final dressing —
dried deer blood and hair
still clinging to flapping edges
in hard heat, panting.
If it bleeds it leads, and
our ditches are brimming
The grid designed, if not
for nothing, to bring us
together. Every four-way stop
a lottery of indecision, a place
where first pages meet obituaries.
Either it’s something wrong
with the design, or it’s us.
For a year of college
midnights, I made seat belts:
the gentle shrug of poly webbing.
I’ve done my share of saving,
now only tuning in to the scanner
nightly, a redux of ten-codes:
the newspaper before it’s written.
The body propelled through
molared window, ejected.
We all have places to go.

Dani Couture is the author of the novel Algoma and the Relit-winning poetry collection Sweet, which was also nominated for the Trillium Book Award for Poetry. She is the literary editor at THIS Magazine. She lives in Toronto.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Joel Lewis


Foggy St. George sleeps the sleep
of late morning sloth
& there go the men with boyish haircuts.
Now a cop car parks on Slosson Terrace,
idling for those possessed by hidden agendas.

“The sun never enters my dreams,” says
a woman to her daughter clutching
a Top Tomato bag as they board
a Totenville bus. A peddler hawks
mini-Ganeshas in front
of the browning field minor league stadium
in advance of an evening festival.

Big orange Ferryboat Marchi drifts into Slip 2.
Two hours before: a Mesopotamia of advancing ankles.
Now old gents eat their pizzas into relief maps of Crete
before tossing them into the harbour.

The flags atop borough hall flap
to the beat of a new round of breeze.
I’ve been out here a long time
mildly defending the honour
of minor characters & their mild situations
& now moving along in the face of need,
cattycorner from the old lighthouse depot.

Joel Lewis hails from the Newfoundland of the United States — New Jersey. He's perched on the Hudson in Hoboken trying to continue an alternative poetics tradition that ranges from Philip Freneau to Walt Whitman, Newark's Stephen Crane, William Carlos Williams, Allen Ginsberg, Amiri Baraka, Alfred Starr Hamilton, and Joe Ceravolo. Recent books are Surrender When Leaving Coach (Hanging Loose) and North River Rundown (Accent Editions). He edited an anthology of contemporary NJ poets for Rutgers, the selected talks of Ted Berrigan, and the selected poems of Walter Lowenfels.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Souvankham Thammavongsa


I was sitting in the car counting the black flies

They had come in through the open window

There were four

One was on the rearview mirror

The other three were perched on my left hand

I heard a gunshot by the barn and thought nothing of it

We were at a farm

I saw a cow come charging forward with half its head gone

A man with an axe came running behind it

He hit it once

Once he hit it

And it fell to the ground

Everything was eaten

Its eye appeared in a soup that night

Everything was accounted for

Souvankham Thammavongsa won the 2004 ReLit prize for her first poetry book, Small Arguments. Her new book will be released in September 2013.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Andrew Faulkner


What’s not to like? Days coast in
and then coast out on a frothy surf,
as if surfing from one foam latté
to the next was the good life.
If coasting’s got us this far, then surely
the truncated garden hose dangling
from a gas tank like a necktie
will get us the rest of the way.

Up here in the rafters—and stop me
if you’ve heard this one—I’ve staged
a small pageant to sort our various passions.
The resemblance to a smokestack is uncanny,
obnoxious, an accordion that hugs

its inner turmoil and wheezes.
What a production, music,
how it works you like a pro.
And by you I mean me,
and by me I mean I’ve tried to be good
to you in my own way, carried
you with me like a flask in your time of need.
You with your airplane heart and me,
a bad mechanic, leaving a wrench
like an extra bone in your landing gear.
You’re so cute by the light of the evening news,
fuselage scattered desperately across a stretch of asphalt
like sun-starved foreigners on a beach.
Oh, the bodies of sweat that drip from us.

Andrew Faulkner co-curates The Emergency Response Unit, a chapbook press. He is the author of the chapbooks Mean Matt and Other Shitty People and Useful Knots and How to Tie Them, which was shortlisted for the 2009 bpNichol Chapbook Award. His first full-length collection, Need Machine, will be published by Coach House Books in April 2013.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Jennifer LoveGrove


A puncture in the sun’s eyelid,
one ice pick at a time. A blister
on each of our enemies’ heels.
A new ulcer we may
or may not have requested.

We create small, affordable paradises
that crumble and shift
into mousetraps, mazes,
cameras in the rafters.

All day long, sharpening the right tools,
signing the right forms, waiting cold
in the proper hallways, while
everyone else billows
their impossibly white sails.

For once, I should try something different:
light a candle, wear a dress,
crack open the windows. Stop staring
down the road. Counterfeit
shadows. The bears won’t come.

A fistful of press releases
patch the holes in the sun.
Enough with the suicide notes,
the pre-nups, the warranties.
Bring us the glockenspiels
and peppercorns.

I'll throw the curtain wide,
zip up this ball gown,
blow out this match.

A friend of a friend is having an affair
with the next door neighbour.
He has a pool. She says
she’s bored. She is often ill
and no one knows why.

Jennifer LoveGrove is the author of poetry collections The Dagger Between Her Teeth and I Should Never Have Fired the Sentinel, and is at work on a new manuscript of poetry. Her debut novel, Watch How We Walk, is forthcoming in 2013. She is currently accepting submissions for a new issue of her literary zine dig. Visit her at jenniferlovegrove.com.