Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Tuesday poem #39 : Phil Hall : Comfort

 Breathing out slowly
they will tell you I have gone    

 training     a kind of fear

looking right at me    
  they will say     she is no longer with us

training     a chorus of fear

 in the same extravagant breath
they will assure you     I am at your side

 an ancient chorus     infear / outfear

don't be ridiculous


 Our slight gap     a wild cathode

nothingness     signing us

Ph . Otty Lake . 2013

Phil Hall's [photo credit: Marty Gervais] most recent book is The Small Nouns Crying Faith (BookThug, 2013). His book of essay-poems, Killdeer (2011), won Canada's Governor General's Award for Poetry in English, as well as the Trillium Book Award. He lives near Perth, Ontario.

the Tuesday poem is curated by rob mclennan

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Tuesday poem #38 : Louise Bak : Absorptive

less than an arm's length, to the adjoining building's sidewall,
flapping the found e. l. konigsburg book, past its brother and
sister's change of clothes in a violin case, to fringe on lecture
tour in the met. a rigid parting on the far left side, head down,
the flatted back rest. it slid, with a hand slapped on top bar of
the t on the t-shirt. swerved briefly across line creased cheek's
groan, medical record on the wrist's yawned-out read, another
eeaaaan, intravenous pump beeps, some rolling laundry cart's
 'hold on let me check.' slid down lips pursed to short puffs of
"perc," breathed on the welt pocket of a lain tote. sucks air off
the roof of mouth, with kneeling to redness of arm, leaned out
a bunched bottle-neck wrapper's robur. a cover opened of linen
backed fenye-influenced map with rounded heavens, enclosing
the squared earth. dot branch, broadened bifaces in line joining

as an asterism, while the flickered "like hochong's,' casted from
a dog's bark off. its squared paper resists strokes, to glancing at
subnasal twitch, on an insect''s more reduced convexity. nudged
glassine pocket's plasticized health card. its slid corner, slightly
abrasive, as crushed gaba mumbled, from fallen crown. taurean,
raised collar fastened with pearlescent button through a loop, an
upsized letter at the halfway of the thirlwell signature. fusing of
front of thighs on the sofa's material. sweated dash on the centre
of the halter romper's front shirring. skims a nip with the reverse
of a silver dollar. its caravel yanked, with the sleep-blurred "guh,
nuda canes," counted in threes, at eye mask's soft backing, lifted
from below ribs. quieted "sulci," rived and lobbed cross the gate
towards its assigned beau, as the adjustable band loosened to the
collar. its foam pressed, interlocked around octads, in angling to

breeze carried fragments of someone here, followed by
edged backwards slowly, turning shod of right slipper's toe post,
seeing past the transparent container's mao er duo and unstacked
plastic visor, to sidelong of a lowering of short-sleeved shoulder,
bumping shy of another, to pick at the wide boat neck of her top,
to where it was clung, on streaked logograms. clearer at sternum,
the characters for _ yuan when stepped from winded down stairs,
a couple long-armed fist pumps downward, to pulling at aquiline
pant. prodding for slotted fastener of packet pocket in ciré, to the
veined folded leaf, he opens to the pressed pleats of a tissue with
adrenal, "bit left, wilted river crab ballooning." hair divided from
the middle is slicked, stanched in the lag, hearing last of xeroxes
up, on cubicles like appressed ping pong tables, often lit by bitty
bulbs, wrapped in red plastic carrier bags, dampnesses, eversible

along grips of a forearm. while left standing, he turns to the burp
in a lava lamp, heads on end to pronotums. his shoulders bowed,
practicing infrequent and exaggerated blinks to chrome newel at
the stairs' top. fingertips drawn to lifted brows, closing lids with
first drops of rain, at the last time, he smoking a partagas, nearly
16, along the small trail past career booth, strewn with cups and
straws. the third's going on about being "bezzies," flattening the
blousy shirt across his hips, reverse turned. gazed sideways, her
eyes opening, as with rain smelt on the hot slate path. spreading
of a branched, palmate weed is said "so scurfy," in swivelling to
assumed myoclonic foot jerks, but padded base pressed to better
lean, to claim minutes. humidity and stasis in craning, sidelying,
with tollings of a church bell. thumbs meeting in lamina groove,
a sustained pin, _hand strokes near lost in intervening resonance

hochong, refers to Michael Hochong, the French/Hawaiian/Chinese dandy in the 1970s, known for his extravagant clothing.
mouren, someone (mandarin)
mao er duo, snack food, shaped like cat's ears
river crab, refers to the slang term denoting censorship in China, the terms, a near homophone of 'harmonious society', the term used by president Hu Jintao to describe the reasoning behind censorship

Louise Bak is the author of Syzygy (DC Books), Tulpa (Coach House Books) and Gingko Kitchen (Coach House Books). She's the co-host of Sex City, Toronto's only radio show focused on intersections between sexuality and culture. She also curates/hosts a salon series called The Box, which encourages communication across literary and artistic borders.

the Tuesday poem is curated by rob mclennan

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Tuesday poem #37 : Dennis Cooley : a few meagre words

a few meagre words
of love or thanks

sub stance of things unseen
sound of thoughts unsaid

letters i have filched
from Paul’s garden
i toss feigning

nonchalance into the pot
savour to the beans and carrots
cut and chopped and diced
hoping with a gourmand’s need
            they will add
thickness to the stock

so we give this day
our daily dread

weak with want
& bent spoon
the small lumps
that are my thoughts

these my pilferings
the dumplings i am
hoping for

stirring the firmament
sniffing the pot

Dennis Cooley has edited two anthologies of prairie poetry, written two critical titles and over a dozen books of poetry. A new book of poetry, the stones, was released in September, 2013, and another, abecedarian, in the spring of 2014. He is working on a collection of essays on Robert Kroetsch's poetry.

the Tuesday poem is curated by rob mclennan

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Tuesday poem #36 : Peter Jaeger : Excerpt from 540493390

You learned of comrades, whom you loved, clouded, null and void with joints and bones disclosing zero. And of volume, disclosing soundless bones and holes. For your love spent hours and hours on soundless hymns, drones and clouds—

those long morning clouds, portions of clouds and whole clouds, clouds of soundless yellow and unknowing. Your commune offered clouds to the void. Bowed down they softly dropped below your bones. Mouth soft, clouds of nothing softening your tongue. Would that you followed bodies onto soil, onto a song abandoned by yellow or by clouds of love—communal love—broadening onto an unfathomable yawning yellow, not a shallow no, not a word or a wound, nor a bottomless no now frozen, now zero. You learned how the solid implodes those wounds, sometimes, imploding those untold yellows and clouds, those hymns of snow—and how powder dropped through a hole, around the border of a hole, towards crows who looped round the pond, looping over an unknown love unseen by none but crows.


You learned how hymns possessed your wounds with drones and you looked onto icons of crows, your unknown body longing for a hole.

Those holes, annulled in your songs and your learning, your rooms of nothing.

You studied in those rooms how to humanize broken sounds and how to sort a song from numbers, and though you found the contour of your acoustics somewhat boring, you crossed their roughened country, moving under hopeless clouds towards your new-found position.

Peter Jaeger is a Canadian poet, literary critic and text-based artist now living in the UK. His published work includes the poetry books Power Lawn (Coach House Books 1999), Prop (Salt 2007), Rapid Eye Movement (Reality Street Editions 2009), and The Persons (information as material 2011). His book John Cage and Buddhist Ecopoetics is coming out from Continuum Press this Autumn. Jaeger teaches poetry and literary theory at Roehampton University in London.

the Tuesday poem is curated by rob mclennan

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

Tuesday poem #35 : Maxine Chernoff : Camera

You exit camera’s gaze,
through the aperture,
politics unknown,
motives shrouded in leaves,
certain as any tomb.
Without limit or attitude
luster is mechanical,
grows reasons
melting in summer’s heat.
Hope is a vessel of
longitude’s practice,
lengthening space
as glasses toast
skin’s translucence
in a photo you took
when the story found
its way home to
   the mind
of its choosing.
A dreamed equation
suffices for essence,
being stretched over
a candle’s swift burning.

Grief is a body of water
spreading like fire
  in the branches
of a landscape painted
  and patiently framed.

Maxine Chernoff is the author of 14 books of poems.  Her latest, Here, will be published by Counterpath in early 2014.  She chairs the Dept of Creative Writing at SFSU and has co-edited New American Writing since 1986.  She is a 2013 NEA Fellow in Poetry and the 2009 winner with Paul Hoover of the PEN USA Translation Award for her work on the Selected Poems of Friedrich Hoelderlin  (Omnidawn, 2008).  In January of 2013, she was Visiting International Scholar at Exeter.

the Tuesday poem is curated by rob mclennan