Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Truck's new driver for November

Many thanks to Doug Barbour for taking us for an October spin. Beginning tomorrow, Dirk Vekemans will be at the wheel for the month of November.


It's been a real trip, driving TRUCK this October. My thanks to all the poets who made this trip so wide-ranging & enjoyable; & to Halvard Johnson for letting me sit in the driver's seat.
Douglas Barbour

Two by Sheila E Murphy


Monotony infringes on
philosophy. Consider
rumination an invasive
norm. Aquiring
beyond spatial
When the heart relaxes
into mezzo sop-,
then dearly held
addictions linger
amid strangers

who outlast
the piebald weather's rigid
and intemperate unison,
questioning local control.
The poor are always
holograms. One keeps
chiefly to oneself, again.
The ritual of speaking
the unspeakable

Scholar's Plate

Round squash.

bodes well.
What next?

Put back:
tap shoes,
white lies,

Known feel.
Sand trap.
Free zone.
Come back.

Sheila E. Murphy’s most recent books include Continuations 2 (with Douglas Barbour) from the University of Alberta Press, and American Ghazals, from Otoliths Press. Both books appeared in 2012. Murphy lives in Phoenix, Arizona, where she is Principal with the firm Executive Advisement, LLC, a newly merged organization emphasizing services to chief executives of private, public, and nonprofit companies. Murphy is a lifelong teacher, poet, and recently a visual artist.

A few pages from “Settlement” by Christine Stewart

A few pages from “Settlement”

Using the word ghost is good because that’s what the old people say when they talk about white people in this country: “Ghosts trying to find their clothes.”

M. Campbell, The Book of Jessica


D. Trujillo Lusk, Ogress Oblige

I lie here while
Flies assume
I’m fruit

Outside wealth
Imputes in trees
Draws over

Footage in house-swells
The rate of real estate

While in which I am smaller
But just as smug

A mid drift of sentient pretension

The riverfloor over soaks
 In shit, a scorched beauty

With few sturgeons
To swim to

We “can’t see the figures for the desecration”[1]

I only think when I am sick
River beds down a dark suit

Soil silt of soil alluvial
Rich and aluminum

Apprehension of several
Here dream-time fracks a white frame
And neighbourhood committees

But I vies diminutive and
Plies more gain for these little man-like killers.
(wot we must! pop sum)

Consummate convicts
Of no existence

Reduced to forgery
Forget awry

Froth in every silvery aside
(sobbing camouflage)

My transience gives me settlement, makes
You nomadic this logic bleats with literal addictions

Slips of best trick sets me generic against
Your specific special interest

Thus, I am biped anonymous

Wry my engorgement, oh boy
A manly potentate

As such ‘I’m here’ is heard as a discouraging lurch
Scoring a tepid trend history proves it

A whole fistful of phantoms

Terra nullius felonius 
[the abyss (mal) myths us]

Due West aces/acres
Up (en blanc) as I’m one trumped up tale

Of wilderness a just blank
Ur Plains [fur North]

Where Hot sir[2] burns up land tracks
Amputates animals with stamina

The chassis of subject here
Equals white will you
Plus phantom won’t you

Thus ghostly endeavors
 Demeanors stores [boxed]

And stories
Never you mind

Nether bents bored sack
He sings and means the production of real states


Community standards affiliate and public
Heads back up in manly panders

You may mark
The exact and stain of it

Usufruct usurped as
Out-back points up fact

Of tar sands sucking up
Ducks in present gasps of circumstance

Moreover therein sacks
My nationhood’s bid for swag

Deplorable adorable
“But consider” the redactor

Much of the hideousness I embody is properly
Private for land scales soar

Stabs of circumstantial justice
Be plied portion my land section

Here’s my money; here’s my mouth
 But “the land here hears Blackfoot and Cree”[3]

Wherein, might this English miss it, grasping circumference, misty, hamfisted?
Idyllic begetter of nominal dolt oaf

[1] D. Trujillo Lusk Ogress Oblige
[2] i.e. Frank Oliver
[3] D. Donald on the North Saskatchewan River March 13, 2012

 Christine Stewart works in experimental poetics and creative research in the English and Film Department at the University of Alberta and the Learning Centre in Boyle Community Services, downtown Edmonton, Alberta. This selection from “Settlement” is new work from the Underbridge Project. Forthcoming books: Virtualis: Topologies of the Unreal with BookThug and The Humanist with Red Nettle Press.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

ordnance elegy by Peter Midgley

ordnance elegy

dawn, the iridescent cadence of gunfire over



el alamein




days like this can scarcely be imagined:
at omduruman, cavalry thunders down the nile
cetshwayo rumbles at isandlwana
in Kenya
mau mau mau-mau
mausers and mausoleums
10,000 victims
kikuyu rising

ri -sing-sing SAM-7
keep fa-BUH!
raindrops keep fa-BUH!
raindrops fa-BUH!
raindrops keep fa-BUrundi on the front page:
murder and massacre in Rwand-
drops keep falling on
Ma-PU! Ma-PU-tu

raindrops keep mpu-mpu-mpu-mpu-ngulumbash-ing the earth:

geliefde sendelinge van die dood
in die dorheid van ons gebergtes
waar ons kranse lê
bande aan ons vryheid
bande aan ons nekke
kralekruise reëndruppels en

daglig ontplof1
in cuito cuanavale
in chinhoyi
in cassinga
in caprivi

ffffa-BUH! fffa-BUH! fa-BUH!-lous sunset safaris:
O, kyk! krokodille langs die kavango,


lywe stil soos krokodille in die kavango
O, sien: lyke langs die walle van die kavango
soos krokodille
en die son b(l)om in die nag:2
fffa-BUH! fffa-BUH!!!

En vanaand dans hulle hand-aan-hand
met die meisie van die bolshoi-ballet
pam pam-pam
dans hulle met die meisie van 47 name, nes ’n goedkoop slet:
my meisie, my viooltjie, ou sanna, my bok.
47 name wat in jou ’n strik sal lok:3
a.k.a. a.k.a. a.k.-47



senzeni na kulomhlaba
sono sethu yinyaniso
sono sethu ubumnyama4

What have we done?
What have we done?
Want onse sonde is swartgeit en
die jimmel sit oor ons soos heilige karos
En hy se goedheit
Sal ons nooit wee los en
Soosie waarheid, ons is skoongewas5

mayibuye, i-Afrika,
days like this are surely imagined:
corpses, casspirs, ceterum censeo carthaginem esse delendam6
violence is unnecessary
violence is costly
peace is the only way7
it is, my Lord, an ideal for which I am prepared to die . . .8
the dead, the living,
and the unborn will unite,9
unite to rebuild destroyed shr-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r
will unite, will
unite, rrr-r-r-r-r-rebuild shr . . . sssh! sshh!

Thula, thula abantwana.
Thul’ ubabuzo fica ekuseni.
Hush little babies, hush-a-by

Daddy will be home by and by . . .

the dead, the living and the unborn
will unite. They will unite to rebuild destroyed shrines.

thula, thula abantwana




beloved missionaries of death
ringing in the drought of our mountains
where crags hang wreaths
like tyres on our freedom
tyres around our necks
rosaries raindrops


look! crocodiles on the okavango
bodies silent as crocodiles on the kavango
see: corpses lapping against
the banks of the kavango
like crocodiles

and the sun b(l)ooms in the night


And tonight they dance hand-in-hand
With the girl from the bolshoi ballet
tonight they dance with the stow-away siren
47 names in the palm of her hand:
my girl, old sanna, ol’ betsy, sweet violet,
47 names to trap you yet


A dirge sung at political funerals during the apartheid era.


For our sin is our blackness and
Heaven lies above us like a holy karos
And his goodness
Will never leave us and like
honesty and truth we’re washed clean


Words spoken by Cato the Elder, a Roman politician.


Words spoken by Julius Nyerere, the first president of independent Tanzania.


Words spoken by Nelson Mandela, in his speech from the dock at the Rivonia Trial.


Words spoken Jomo Kenyatta, the first president of independent Kenya.

Nyctogram: The Lewis Carroll Poems by Jenna Butler

Nyctogram: The Lewis Carroll Poems 

Re: shaping 

you conspired to erase
your        self 


if the world
asserts an alternate story 

fumble words
small       brilliant inanities 

keenly wear
that shattered
with your whole heart 

(part anagram of “A Sea Dirge”) 

Photograph One: Alice as Peasant Girl 

dirty feet like trodden petals 
sidestep unease being so seen 
this face or that limpid mask 
subject aloof but still complicit 
nothing littoral about this art 

“A Sea Dirge,” “Jabberwocky,” and “Poeta Fit, Non Nascitur” 

Photograph Two: The Sisters 

gypsy triptych in linen and lace
she draws the eye with a robin’s flirt 

wild slip of a thing no
varnished victorian

              head-duck of a sister’s wing

“Jabberwocky,” “A Sea Dirge,” and “Poeta Fit Non Nascitur” 

Photograph Three: Thinking Out
she is never quite
present here        angles herself 

sidles along a
downcast glance

         faun/a            foreign

“Jabberwocky,” “A Sea Dirge,” and “Poeta Fit Non Nascitur” 

Jenna Butler is a poet, teacher, editor, and publisher from Edmonton, Canada. She is the author of three books of poetry, Seldom Seen Road, Wells, and Aphelion, from NeWest Press and the University of Alberta Press. Butler teaches Creative Writing and Literature at Grant MacEwan University in Edmonton during the school year. During the summer, she and her husband live with three resident moose and a den of coyotes on a small organic farm in Alberta’s north country.

M McLuhan Mouths by Barry Alpert


Maelstrom created by our own ingenuity /

my self to an old steamer trunk.
Consequences of distraction—
laws could be worked
highly sequential
and precise.
Narcissus completely numb.

of the world will bear inspection
unprepared. The advertisers manipulated
to understand.
Human affair
school is a carefully bureaucratized . . .


means that every private operator

means.  No Elizabethan had any such resources.
Acquire this specialist skill.
All sorts of strong and off-beat moments of their existence—
industrial nineteenth century in their rear view mirror the renaissance
another function they retrieve
coverage to get
evasion or destruction.

Barry Alpert was born in Philadelphia and now lives about a 45 minute drive from both downtown Washington DC & downtown Baltimore Maryland.  He was recently invited to revisit/remix his still-controversial talk “Post Modern Oral Poetry”: John Cage, Buckminster Fuller, & David Antin” by a museum behind the White House aka the Corcoran Gallery of Art.  You can find many of his 2012 cine-poems and ekphrastic texts within Peter Ganick’s experiential-experimental-literature, Halvard Johnson’s On Barcelona, Poetryetc’s Snapshot Project, & Anny Ballardini’s Poets’ Corner.  He edited the legendary literary-critical magazine VORT, which received 3 grants from the National Endowment for the Arts.  After being published in Manchester England by Carcanet Press & in NYC by Persea Books, his book The Poet in the Imaginary Museum was reviewed prominently in the London Times Literary Supplement and the New York Times Book Review, as well as by Hugh Kenner.  “M McLuhan Mouths” was initially drafted in the dark while watching a documentary on that great Canadian figure.

Two poems by Kath MacLean

You Spoke of Grapes

In my friend’s house
there are many rooms
with doors that open & close
& open.

I don’t want to explain the intricacies
of biology or elucidate
pathological impulses, equations,
I never had a head for algebra.

I was not jealous,
How could I be?
He was a Satyr.
Everyone knew it.

& I, just a girl he carried
into the forest.
(X & Y
& X squared...)

Even then, he did not
complete the metamorphosis.
Padding through the woods tenacious, wild,
his flowering rod a shrieking mandrake
knew no bounds.
Trees shook & bending their firm trunks
submitted to his whim. In my friend’s house,
walls would not fall.

Doors opened. I was the one --
(he opened the door)
& suffocating
(he opened the door)

I was not jealous,
How could I be? –

There was no naming this queer
quiver, this pulse,
& the mandrake shrieking --

Even the walls do not fall.

But you spoke of grapes
& I am starving –
In my friend’s house

there are many rooms
where even walls do not fall
even doors remain open --

These Roses, Those Thorns

Ask for anything:
trips to Europe, a grand piano
Walter Morse Rummel.
Even now I will not trade
these roses for those thorns
needle their way through a reluctant heart.
A rose is a rose too  --

We read in the dark at the British Museum.
Everyone enjoying the gloom
& he, stalking the aisles
a lynx among the statues
slashing his quill pen.
He was merciless,
& batting my poems between his great paws
shortened my lines,  poured me tepid tea,  & agreed
Hermes of the Ways a good fit.

There was blood on floor
where I’d struggled writing the dark & gloom
poems curled their lines, lingered,
a while in the margins of the page, breathless
began to cross, uncross their long limbs
& kick under the table declaring themselves roses
about to bloom –

I ran towards his perfection.
Quickly, unpredictably,
inchoate & awkward
he took my trembling hand
& signed my name
at the bottom of the page.

It was dark.
I was enjoying the gloom.
& settling in my chair the room smelled of roses
& blood & tea & roses
about to bloom.

The hunt over; the kill complete
limping towards perfection,
thorns in her thumbs –

That was the last I saw of Hilda.

  Kath MacLean is a multi media artist living in Edmonton.  She writes poetry, creative nonfiction, fiction, reviews, performance poetry & drama.  Her recent work includes: Seed Bone & Hammer, (performance poetry with Lane Arndt (2009), There Was A Young Man (2009/2010), Kat Among the Tigers (2011), poetry based on the journals & correspondence of Katherine Mansfield, & Doo-Da-Doo-Da, a videopoem from Kat which won her the “Best of Fest” at its first national & international screening last fall. Fascinated by modernism, she returns to visit its early years in her manuscript in progress  -- poems on H.D`s sessions with Freud (1933-1934) & in her longer work of nonfiction on the Spanish flu of 1918. Her new poetryvideo, however, has nothing whatsoever to do with modernism, but instead examines the carnivalesque world of fashion, paper dolls, & self-love.

Monday, October 29, 2012

diary of a red chicken day: day 3 by Peter Midgley

diary of a red chicken: day 3

words melt in his throat, emerge dark as honey
the night’s clamminess ushering in the rattletrap dance of skeletons
against the horizon. they are legion, like the sands of the sea
and the skulls in the sand the sailors the explorers the wanderers
and the prisoners on this island,
but they are silent:
i have died in multiple ways
each death a parting and a return
i know no longer know from whence i came.
What is departure? What is return?
taste the earth—
no, taste the earth,
go down on your hands and knees
dig down below the browned hide
to where the desert sand throbs a darkened red
fill your fingernails with this soil, let it sink again black as honey,
this ink of my body, into the blotting paper of the desert

taste the earth,
smell it,
feel it, feel its textures and its joys weeping to the surface
like water at an oasis: the sorrow
the heartache, the bones of the ancestors drying in the poisoned wells
taste this earth and feel its pain
taste the earth
blotted with the ink of many bodies
sometimes words do not speak to him
sometimes the drought of this desert pervades his thoughts
sometimes months pass this way and he withers
oh! the anguish!
oh! the heartstopping breath!
Where are they, these windswept words?
Where are they, these bittered and dried !naras
These fleshy, honeyed sounds that rail against the poet’s frail body?

They come with the spring rain, settle like tumbrils against desert fences
A gemsbok searches for dew among the vygies: monks spread red as words in the sand
on and on and on and on these lines left breathless settle into words, wounds

extract from: diary of a red chicken

Peter Midgley writes in both English & Afrikaans. His poems have appeared in the South African magazines, Literator & New Coin. Peter's first collection of poetry, perhaps I should/miskien moet ek, appeared in 2010. 

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Falco Columbarius by Mari-Lou Rowley

Falco Columbarius

Wizard wings, delta Vs tumbling down apace
scissoring air, aerodymanical
shape=shifter amongst the woody hills.

Beware the incubus’s diabolical dive
how sharp his eye far from the view of day,
wicked his laugh a ghastly noise of iron chains.

He will snatch you out of life
in a deep delve or in mid-flight,
Beware his ragged cloak a ruse for subterfuge.

What was that you said about birds?
For fear the cruel fiends
Frivolous and not to be trusted,

should thee unwares devour.
Take heed their talons, mites, viruses,
beaks in the eye.

[Text in italics from Spenser’s Faery Queene, Book III, Canto iii.]

Mari-Lou Rowley has encountered a timber wolf, come between a black bear and her cub, interviewed an Italian astronaut, and written seven collections of poetry, most recently Suicide Psalms (Anvil Press 2008), which was shnort listed for a Sask Book Award. Forthcoming books include Transforium, in collaboration with artist Tammy Lu (JackPine Press 2012), and Unus Munud (Anvil Press 2013). Her work has appeared in journals and anthologies in Canada and the US, including the Journal of Humanistic Mathematics and on the Canadian Association of Physicists website.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Coltrane Olé by Andrew Burke

Today I'm on housework duty.
As I run the washing-up water
I take the CD player from the study
and place it by the sink. My
favourite Coltrane session is ready,
I press 'play' and wash. Steam
rises, each bubble a rainbow dome. Olé!
I place the last cup on the rack to dry.
Off to make beds. I unplug
Coltrane, take him down the hall
to the bedroom. Plug in, play on.
Olé! I'll make these beds my way!
What now? The path? It's fresh air
for you today, my main man.. Extended
chord, all puns intended, out the window
and sit in a chair. There: play.
I sweep away night's blues. Olé!
The postman pays no-never-mind, more bills
drop into our box. Oshit! I
approach with care: first envelope
delivers a publisher's cheque. Olé!
I dance. My neighbour waves
cautiously as he drives by.

ANDREW BURKE is an Australian poet with ten collections to his credit, an e-novel on the internet, and a bunch of plays and tiny films in the early 70s. His work is said to have a 'lyric voice and a ruthless eye'. His latest collection is Undercover of Lightness: New & Selected Poems (2012, Walleah Press; Hobart), available from