Tuesday, June 20, 2017


here comes the sound of the sun, wilting. i just remembered wishing, i just remembered spare parts. & then my mouth closing tighter than ever before. i said nothing. & then, accidental leaves. & then, accidental house-space. this is the house, this is me wishing for elsewhere.


i mean the breath of a full chest is almost like the park you can run through it you can play outside you can sweat until you fall down & stop breathing then your chest is empty then the park is empty.


these are the colors i would like to see invented: cutting down animals; empty silhouette; invisible child; wet room.


the field has

memory loss the

field has apoplexy

the field has organs

to begin with & so

it can be blamed for

sensitivity or

accused of striking down

a woman


one time i invented the field i called it an empty silhouette i traced its lines & colored outside them i threw the field away. goodbye, field. goodbye small organ space i never fully acknowledged, anyway.

Sarah Cook writes and sleeps and talks in Oregon.

Her chapbook SOMEWHERE THE / SHAKING was released last week by above/ground press.

the Tuesday poem is curated by rob mclennan

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Tuesday poem #219 : Sharon Thesen : AT MY MOTHER’S IN PRINCE GEORGE

The river passes so quietly
you’d fall into it if you were blind or daydreaming
its path so deeply scored,

so unimpeded by rock or shoal
it fails to sing
or splash but only proceeds

in the one clear direction, south I guess,
though it may at times diverge
as the bending valleys pull it onward

through canyons and underneath bridges
where a bright bush adorns a gravelly edge
people once sat on, thinking about something

as I do in my mother’s guest room’s
1940’s honeymoon bedroom suite, thick maple
bedframe, dressing table with photos propped

on a beige linen runner.
Old brushes and combs.
A mirror with a long handle.


My mother and I watch TV,
eat our small supper.
“You’re so smart, dear,” she says,
“you should be on Jeopardy.”

The winning contestant loses all her prize money
with a wrong answer but clearly
has learned the protocol:

No crying or whining!
No gloating either, when it’s the other guy
standing there with nothing all of a sudden.

The new categories are revealed with a flourish.
We top up our glasses with Mom’s home-made Cabernet Sauvignon.
The three contestants look calm behind their pulpits.


Tonight’s chamber concert is titled Waning Crescent
for the type of moon it is this night.  Among other pieces
Mozart’s “The Hunt” from the Haydn Quartets
will be performed at the Lutheran Church with
its austere altar & fine acoustics.  The oboist is from Portugal.

It was beautiful but
driving around in the pitch dark afterwards
feeling old and diminished in capacities,
powerless and lonely in my mother’s car

trying to read the street signs, pretending
to know where I’m going, the guy behind me
pushing with high-beams on

near where big dim houses twinkle on a far hillside
way beyond my ken, I don’t know this place very well
anymore and I got turned around exiting the Lutheran Church
parking lot where the outside lights weren’t working and
a fellow with a flashlight was motioning this way, this way


It’s nearing the end of hunting season.
Pickups have been through the car-wash & sedans
contain more customers going to Seniors Day at the pharmacy
than camouflage-clad gun customers
surveying the parking lot in their rear-view mirror

Inside the pharmacy, swift and busy dispensing of tablets and instructions

I’m holding a form & when my name is called, I rise with alacrity,
I can hear alright, I can get out of here,
just an errand for my mother, not me, not yet


The concert-master announced that Mozart’s “The Hunt”
wasn’t really about a hunt.  It was just a name it
ended up with because of the prominence of horns.
I’m not alone though I’m alone here.
I worry about my mother, who’s 90 and having trouble.              
 A tree seems to agree with me
when I think one of us should move up here
for a while.  I think of all those I know with faraway mothers,
one in South Africa, several in England.  Prince George
isn’t that far but by now, my carry-on
is bulging and heavy, zipped up, the handle extended.


A huntress kneels in the night sky
drawing an arrow from her quiver.  A bear is standing up
at the Arrivals entrance at the airport, looking like a man
in a bear suit, which is what a bear is
in the occlusion of the waning crescent—

truth so modestly, so hilariously hidden
and present in the painted fur and long claws
of our disguises.  The shuttle arrives at 4:40 a.m.,
stars still out, the other passengers
mute shapes looking out the window
at nothing, the odd building with lights on,
or just darkness going by, already gone.

Sharon Thesen is a B.C.-based poet, editor, and critic.  Recently, she has published work in Arc/Cordite Poetry Magazine, Best Canadian Poetry 2014, Dispatches from the Poetry Wars (online), and Brick Magazine.  Her 8 books/chapbooks include Oyama Pink Shale, The Good Bacteria, and A Pair of Scissors.  She is Professor Emeritus of Creative Writing at UBC’s Okanagan Campus, where she taught poetry and creative nonfiction and co-edited, with Nancy Holmes, Lake: A Journal of Arts and Environment.  She has edited two editions of The New Long Poem Anthology, two editions of Charles Olson’s correspondence with book designer Frances Boldereff, and a GG-award-winning selected poems of Phyllis Webb, The Vision Tree.

tbe Tuesday poem is curated by rob mclennan

Tuesday, June 06, 2017

Tuesday poem #218 : Matthew Henriksen : Room

I’ve loved a few people whose human figures convinced me one body
could hold another body in mid air while both bodies fell

a few people whose words held my face

a dish their hands would shatter on the floor if they
stopped talking for one instant

a few people whose eyes bored through me as time
burns a hole in the boarded up house of my mouth

as if the sun cares enough to ruin anything

It’s only humans who make a condition of shaking babies to death

who turn their love letters into funeral rafts and burn
the human condition out of any lover they once sang after
in the empty rooms where they sleep

Matt Henriksen grew up in Wisconsin, where he attended Lakeland College and received a B.A. in Writing before receiving an MFA in Poetry at the University of Arkansas. He is the author of two books of poetry, The Absence of Knowing and Ordinary Sun, and his poems and essays have appeared in the New York Times, The Rumpus, the Arkansas Times, and in scores of other journals and anthologies. He has co-edited the online poetry journal Typo for over a decade and currently is a Teaching Poet and President of the Board of Directors for the Prison Story Project. His main project is raising his precocious and gorgeous seven-year-old daughter, Adele Cecilia.

the Tuesday poem is curated by rob mclennan

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Tuesday poem #217 : Jennifer Stella : dehiscence

The thing is, you grew up
anyway. Whatever lost you can’t
remember having had. Also,
you can’t sleep.
Also, you might never sleep
again. You’re still afraid 
of ---. There is a blanket.
There is a bear. You are
quite seven. A shadow behind
wide-eyed reflection. Not ready
to look. Not ready to 
ever. Behind your
eyes drape a sheet
over the mirror. Quick. Careful.
An older hand will remove
it. Or

Jennifer Stella is a writer and a doctor. During medical school in San Francisco, she pursued an MFA in poetry at Brooklyn College. Also a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer from Cameroon, her poetry and prose have appeared in Eleven Eleven, The Drunken Boat, The Brooklyn Review, The Intima, and others. Her first chapbook, Your Lapidarium Feels Wrought, was published in March 2016 (Ugly Duckling Presse). She is currently working as a primary care physician and HIV specialist at Rikers Island jail in New York City.

the Tuesday poem is curated by rob mclennan

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Tuesday poem #216 : Gerry Shikatani : HIKONE (Shiga Prefecture)

April 11

Just then a thousand lights
white, pink-tinged and small.
Heart turned, bowels churned
at footstep. In the lake waters too
snowtuft blossoms luminous.
April night, bright
ramen shops   others, metal-shuttered
to dark, streets
and street-crossings held these eyes

ramen, Japanese adaptation of Chinese-style noodle soup

castle’s mirror
sakura sea Lake Biwa
father’s young wide eyes
stare out at the Pacific.

Leafs’ Opening Day - ballgame
 Pop waited at our school’s door,

both Al and I hurrying
 down the halls.

Last night bright
grilled Omi-gyu --
 now, Pop’s hashi
over hot frying pan
frozen decades ago.


 sliced paper-thin
Pop’s Friday night beef
sukiyaki, yakiniku
electric frying pan our sizzling teppan

my eyes nothing now
  but his ashes.

Sakura:cherry blossom(s)
Omi-gyu, breed of beef cattle from Omi (Shiga Prefecture)
hashi, chopsticks
yakiniku, iron-griddled beef
teppan, iron griddle

skiff moored still to shore
as if a boatman
never returns.

On My Late Father’s Birthday

MacDo yet again, Birthday-boy
with this bossa nova Quiet Nights and Quiet Stars, heart
 in this Hikone-shi, coffee
to pack the punch B-boy on
your B-day. What did he call it..
 Hinatsu-san, bon-san…?

         That jazz - soothes here
as over the eki the low ridges,
forests of conifers are veiled
melancholic oyster gray,
pure light hinting at base. Sundays
B-boy used to make all the summer
evening smell fine with perk coffee to fill
the thermos for your lunch and
maybe Stan’s Amphora tobacco-filled pipe
on the porch. MacDo’s and now Imagination
tunes Japan a cool hit. Cool those
mornings, less the hot sticky evenings
on Ross Street, downtown T.O., must have been too
for dear ol’ Dad, near the end of night shifts
sweeping, polishing, The Mercury All-Night
Restaurant’s fine woody, earthy brew
poured from those tall stainless urns
still gleam, the suited prim salarymen of T.O.
banks, The Permanent, ready to walk those floors
he swept clean.

Hikone-shi: Hikone- (suffix identifying it as city, i.e. Hikone City)
Hinatsu-san, (O)bon-san: Mr. Hinatsu-(a term of respect) , nourable priest
eki, train station
Stan: eldest brother of the poet
The Permanent: trust company

It is Sunday afternoon in Hikone.
Around the trail to calm, return
Sunday, through scatterd rain:
cool, soft leisure of strollers
they, hearts are light. In this
exact centre, sakura now blossomed
draping out, to hear pounding
dance beat amplified, getting louder
from approach. Such silence that stirs

hip Hikone kids, arms flailing
the atchi-kochi dance,
exact heart.
It is Sunday afternoon.

atchi-kochi, here-there

Gerry Shikatani is founder and director of Lorca’s Granada: writers’ retreat, colloquia and workshops set in the Andalusian city that was home to the great poet and dramatist Federico GarcĂ­a Lorca. Since the early 1970’s Shikatani’s oeuvre has included poetry, visual and sound composition/performance, short fiction, editing, and film collaborations. His books include the 412 page collection Aqueduct (1996), mortar  rake  glove  sausan  broom  basin  sansui  (First Book, Three Gardens of Andalucia), and with co-editor David Aylward, Shoji – Paper Doors, an anthology of Japanese-Canadian poetry (in English and Japanese, 1981). As an international culinary critic and food/travel writer, he is an authority on Spanish gastronomy and recipient of Spain’s Officer’s Cross in the Order of Civilian Merit, granted by King Juan Carlos. He is based in Ontario and Spain. www.gerryshikatani.com

This poem is taken from mortar  rake  glove  sausan  broom  basin  sansui  (Second Book, niwa) still in progress.       

the Tuesday poem is curated by rob mclennan