Saturday, September 26, 2015

Hugh Thomas


On the wall, a mirror
in which the policeman directs traffic
towards the cannibal.
It is midnight backwards;
everyone is going away
to plug in their attachments.
They are trapped in the maze
in which we are also trapped,
but I am going to go to sleep,
and you are going to look at the moon.

Hugh Thomas is a poet and translator living in Montreal, where he teaches mathematics at UQAM. His most recent chapbook, Six Swedish Poets, was published by above/ground press in August.

Friday, September 11, 2015

David Alexander


for Chris Alexander

There is no safe passage if we fail our children
for the price of a coffee as plazas explode

and crops fail far away and they barrel
what rain falls and pray there’s enough

for a sapling to grow but an apple won’t fall
yet you never go hungry or rise up in mutiny

but you wish on a star in a sky filled
with wishes and the sky falling dark

slaps ships filled with wishes but not enough water
and the ships spill our children and we lose them

and terrorists win or we bomb them and still
there are thousands more targets more children

so you rehash the virtue of quotas and targets
but there is no safe passage

David Alexander is the author of the chapbook Chicken Scratch from Puddles of Sky Press. He lives in Toronto.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Tara Azzopardi


We run around the block
throw balls against garage doors
in alleys
where cats spray
and raccoons eat their buffets
our running shoes will be ruined
by the end of summer

the air smells like hamburgers
gasoline and sun-baked concrete
when the knife-sharpening guy
turns the corner
ringing a bell
we grab our guns and run for cover

waiting for the mail to come
laughing at teenagers and their greasy jobs
their greasy-angry faces
wishing I was Spiderman for the 800th time

the detective agency is open for business
we make cards and promise
to find lost dogs
wallets and glasses

on Sundays
everyone is angry until we go to the lake
and for a while Dad teases
and Mom laughs at his jokes
for a while my brother spends time
reading comics with me
our dog is exhausted from swimming
I’m not so fat from swimming
we enjoy being away from our lives

I think about sex constantly
it’s abstract and alluring:
I want to make it with a vampire

can we get ice cream
and spy on the Nazi
who lives on the corner?

Tara Azzopardi writes, and sometimes makes visual art and music, in Peterborough, Ontario. She has worked on an organic farm, in construction, and at a Pioneer Village. Her first book, Last Stop, Lonesome Town, comes out from Mansfield Press this fall.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Greg Santos


Deaths in the evening, births in the morning.
Homely are the tuxedos for family mourning.

I’ll always remember when you touched my heart:
it was gelatinous and smelled vaguely of Rene Descartes.

I’m glad I disassembled you and put you back together.
I bought the turkey dinner made from imitation leather.

Let us raise our flamethrowers in celebration!
I have joined the national aeronautics and space administration.

Where’s a rotten egg when you need one?
I know of a metaphysical preacher named John Donne.

It is not a cactus, a cheese curd, or a shroud.
Look through the telescope: it’s the Large Magellanic Cloud!

I hope to be a finalist for a prestigious contest.
I’m crossing my fingers not to suffer from cardiopulmonary arrest.

Greg Santos is the author of Rabbit Punch! (DC Books, 2014) and The Emperor’s Sofa (DC Books, 2010). His writing has appeared or is forthcoming in The Walrus, Geist, Cosmonauts Avenue, and The Feathertale Review. He is the poetry editor of carte blanche and teaches creative writing to at-risk youth. He lives in Montreal.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Mallory Feuer


the problem is: it’s not
exclusive. the problem is no one
is perfectly symmetrical and you
are too sensitive. how can we stay
safe from the rodents eating and
feeding on the bleeding brains of
terrorists, eating all the communists
until they operate out of the seams of
what seems like the fever dreamlike
state of affairs we live in. we don’t
live in america anymore. we don’t live
together or apart or forever.

Mallory Feuer fronts the NYC-based, psychedelic rock band the Grasping Straws. It all started with an introductory poetry class taken to fill a writing requirement. That same semester, Mallory bought a guitar and started writing music. At NYU, she studied with poets Matthew Rohrer, Catherine Barnett, Jeffrey Nutter, and Ben Purkert, all of whom had a unique and lasting influence on her lyrical style. The Grasping Straws' first album is available at

Friday, August 7, 2015

Michael Dennis


I just got a dragonfly stoned
not the behaviour one expects
from a man nearing sixty, but fuck it

all four wings of the transparent giant fluttered
when the first waft of blue smoke
rolled over his compound eyes
he didn’t seem to mind
so I shared the rest of my joint
with my newfound helicopterfriend

we were both on the deck of a cottage
on a quiet lake on a quiet day
we both watched the water below us
flat as liquid gets, the wind dead

I doubt we were looking
for the same things

eventually he turned to face me
or at least toward the smoke
I named him Duke
as he flew away sideways

Michael Dennis is a poet from Ottawa, Ontario, who has published widely. Most recent publication: Talking Giraffes (Phafours, Ottawa, 2015). He also produces a blog called Today's Book of Poetry where he talks about books he likes. Visit

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Debby Florence


I am one hundred years old. When the birds do their evening song and
I am walking near the industrial trains with their graffiti cooking in
the sun, I can hear your machine gun. Your face looks so young but I
know you are old like me. You have solidified your mask so it doesn’t
age. I am walking on the hot earth that is measurably able to scorch
thank god for shoes. I am walking slower than I want to. I am walking
slower than I can walk. The sun is making two suns in my burning eyes.
I drag my hand across the strange solidity of chain-link fence.

I believe is getting closer. Deepest things. I believe inching into.
Blinking screens of our faces. I believe static monstrosities that are
burning down, are burning themselves down. I believe the fire causes

I have things inside a basket and she keeps struggling to spill it out.
So I hide the basket. One day, the basket is too heavy. I put it on a
table and she burns it. As it burns she sees her own face in the flames.
Her mother’s face and her mother’s mother’s face. The basket turns to
ashes. She sweeps them into a vase and puts flowers in the vase and the
flowers die. She curses my name.

A mouth is floating downstream. Several hours later there is only foam.

Pronouns aren’t savages. Pronouns never were. Pronoun let pronoun go now.
Pronoun put this back. Stop making formations, no matter how beautiful. Stop
winning. Pronoun has gone under. Pronoun must go back. If only as a little
herb garden along the fence. If only when sinking desperately into the earth.
If only blood, asking for help, sends its message through the soil. I am
talking to you. My confidence angers you. I am talking to you of peace. My
peace threatens you.

Debby Florence is a performer, poet, social worker, and community organizer who lives in Missoula, Montana, U.S.A. She has been published mostly in Canada, which she usually prefers except for this whole Harper regime thing. A creator of artist books, she has been the instigator of a small press called Slumgullion, which pedalled zines and books on a bicycle-powered bookmobile. She teaches zine-making, self publishing, and general rabble-rousing workshops to youths and adults alike.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Dag T. Straumsvåg


We bought a cocker spaniel, but it wasn’t realistic enough, so we gave
him away. When the goldfish died, we turned to appliances. Our old toaster,
the glass-topped stove. Appliances are not flawless either, but the on/off
buttons work so well we decided to develop a similar system of our own.
Instead of on/off buttons, we use baseball bats. One rap on the skull means
“It’s your turn to do dishes,” one smack to the shin means “Leave me alone,”
a heavy blow to the solar plexus means “Can you repeat that, please?” Life’s
a lot simpler now. The kids line up every night to do the dishes, I get to
read the paper in peace, and when we’re talking, we get straight to the
point, our diction impeccable.

Translated by Robert Hedin

Dag T. Straumsvåg was born in 1964 and grew up on the western coast of Norway. He is the author and translator of four books of poetry, and serves as editor and publisher of Pir forlag, an independent small press in Trondheim. Red Dragonfly Press has published two of his books, A Bumpy Ride to the Slaughterhouse and The Lure-Maker from Posio, both translated by Robert Hedin and Louis Jenkins. He lives in Trondheim.

Robert Hedin is the author, translator, and editor of nearly two dozen books of poetry and prose. He serves as founding director of the Anderson Center, a residential artist retreat in Red Wing, Minnesota. At the Great Door of Morning: Poems and Translations is forthcoming from Copper Canyon Press in 2016. He lives in Frontenac, Minnesota.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Loren Goodman


Doc took a towel off the rubbing table
and wiped Eddie’s face quickly and then
he wiped Eddie’s chest and back and arms
and, bending down, his legs. He motioned to
the rubbing table where Eddie’s brother had
spread a couple of fresh white towels. Another was
folded at the head, and Eddie boosted himself up and
lay down on his back. Doc took still another clean towel
and placed it over Eddie’s chest, and then he got the robe
and spread it over Eddie.

“Give me a towel for over my eyes,” Eddie said.

He was lying directly under the ceiling light, his eyes
shut, and Doc folded another towel and placed it over
Eddie’s forehead and eyes. Eddie lay there, the robe
moving up and down and Doc folded another towel
and placed it over Eddie’s forehead and eyes. Eddie
lay there, as Doc folded another towel and placed it
over his forehead and eyes, and Doc folded another
towel and placed it over his forehead and eyes. And
Doc folded another towel and another towel and
another towel and another and placed them over
Eddie’s forehead and eyes.

“How do you feel?” Doc said.

“That’s a lot of towels,” Eddie said.

Loren Goodman is the author of Famous Americans, selected by W. S. Merwin for the 2002 Yale Series of Younger Poets, Suppository Writing (2008), and New Products (2010). He is an Associate Professor of Creative Writing and English Literature at Yonsei University/Underwood International College, UIC Creative Writing Director, and Pacific Correspondent for The Best American Poetry Web Blog. Loren lives in Seoul, South Korea.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Kathryn Mockler


Last night I had a dream where there was a man, a
woman, and an old man. The man pointed a gun at the
woman and the old man and told them to fuck. They
had to fuck everywhere and try not to get caught: on
the street, in a car, in a barn. The fucking was not
sexual; it was kind of like running or walking, but
it just happened to be fucking. In the dream,
sometimes I was the woman and sometimes I was
the old man, but I was never the man with the gun.

Kathryn Mockler's third poetry collection, The Purpose Pitch, was published in April 2015 by Mansfield Press, "a stuart ross book." Her writing can also be found on The Butter, Vol. 1. Brooklyn, and Geist. She's the Toronto editor of Joyland and publisher of The Rusty Toque.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Alex Porco


I. Hands Up!

Mythos is derived from mu, the
Inarticulate low
Of a fugitive cow at large
From Anderson Custom Pack Processing Plant,
Pocatello, Idaho.
On a moon-less (January-less) January night,
The tickled pink
Farola fernandinas of Freedom
Light this queen beeve up, rapping her behind
Down Main St., Stock Footage, USA,
Like a cocktail shaker
With a dream of sunset served
On ice: forage, forbs, umbrella drinks.

Local cops shot her right in the brisket.

II. Astrophel and Stella, Palindrome and Homophone

I say, Omaha meat.
You say, Yellow-blue vase.
To preserve something
Of love free
From referential verification;
To interfere
With data miners who subject
The expression of desire
To a string metric, predictive analytics, foreplay.
You say, Yellow-blue vase.
I say, Omaha meat.
Then, we go to sleep,
Our private
Meaning bugged, buggered between our privates.

Alex Porco is an Assistant Professor of Poetry and Poetics at the University of North Carolina, Wilmington. He is the editor of Jerrold Levy and Richard Negro’s Poems by Gerard Legro, forthcoming from BookThug’s “Department of Reissue” series in Fall 2015.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Nelson Ball


For Catherine Stevenson

likes to visit this place

where I live
mostly in silence

she says
it is peaceful

compared to life
with her students

and her children
here she will

speak words
onto the still air

they breathe

and we
look at them

Nelson Ball’s most recent poetry books are In This Thin Rain and Some Mornings (Mansfield Press, 2012 and 2014). An online chapbook of his poems, A Rattle of Spring Frogs, appears on the website of Hamilton Arts & Letters. Chapbooks are forthcoming this year from Apt. 9 Press, Laurel Reed Books and Stone The Crows! Press. Nelson and his late wife and soulmate, artist and writer Barbara Caruso, are the subjects of Nelson Ball & Barbara Caruso / Home Project / A Photo Documentary, a video created by his friend Catherine Stevenson, who is the subject of this poem. The video can be viewed on YouTube.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Jacqueline Valencia


We were climbing the mountain
and arrived at the peak
to float in high altitudes. You
chose to dance with the galaxies
above us like an obscure
narration of a moment forgotten.

I stood and observed.

Glaciers around us
at attention constructing
a circle of resonance
and the village lights below
were nothing compared to
the lamps of your eyes
fuelled by naphthalene
and anger.
But there we stood
monstrous illusions to the
tracked by the planets’
celestial dust, busted snowshoes,
dull hammers, ice picks,
our wedding rings
sucking in the starlight
as if we mattered
to anything outside of us.

It’s unbelievable what
you can find
when you are not looking:
the falsity of the sun dog,
the incoming meteor, the silver
of the moon, a rolling
thunder, and the love I
still felt for you at the start
of your departure.

Jacqueline Valencia is a Toronto-based writer and critic. Her work has appeared in various publications across Canada, and she is currently working on her first novel. Check out Jacqueline’s work and poetry experiments at

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

OK, this time I'm serious


I know I said last November that this weekly poetry blog was going to return in January. So my credibility is low. But really: it's on the verge of becoming active again. You'll see.

Stuart Ross