December 2019


View Issue vol. 10, no. 9
ISSN 2369-6516 (Print)
ISSN 2369-6524 (Online)

Select the author’s name to view a short biography (if supplied) and all poems by that author.

LeeAnn Wallage BrownEyes of Green

Phil BrownThis

Jonathan BurchillTomorrow

Normand CarreyPoem for a childhood friend

Rachel CookeNew

Tim CovellThe Doughnut Shop

Robert DawsonUntitled

Harry GarrisonEdible Haiku

Jari-Matti HelppiHalifax at Dusk, 1910

Ian JohnsonOn Tap No More

Mike McFetridgeSometimes

Chinenye ‘Zabrain’ NdulueTo My Unknown Damsel

Richard S. PayneChristmas Limerick

Matthew RooneySouth Park Street Elegy

Nathaniel S. RoundsUpright

Robert John SchwarzmannEmbrace the Cold

Devin SlawterHealing Troubled Waters

Rod StewartHoliday Hibernation

Cynthia TaylorRelease

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Holiday Hibernation
Poem by Rod Stewart

Casualties we are
Of seasonal sweets,
From October’s end
‘Til New Year’s mend,
Where we lay
Sunken and slouched
Swallowed by a couch,
Drifting recklessly
Between snacks and snores,
Stuffed beyond belching,
Glazed with sugar and salt
To the bone,
Like holiday hams,
Recently rounded
More than we’ll confess.
Strangely akin
To those plump baubles
Cradled in crumpled tissue,
All so cozy and content,
In a corner of slumber,
Within a whiff
Of gaudy evergreen,
Bliss to all beyond
The rectangular walls
Of our box sweet box.

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Christmas Limerick
Limerick by Richard S. Payne

If you think you are always screwed
And display a bad attitude
Simply look at yourself
Like an Elf on a Shelf
You’ll feel nothing but gratitude

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On Tap No More
Poem by Ian Johnson

The beer is gone and on tap no more,
But don’t get angry or sore.
It will come back again very soon
Maybe by tomorrow at noon.

The happy times will be back again
In sun, lightning or in rain.
So don’t despair and fret.
The beer will return you can bet.

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Poem by Rachel Cooke

The darkness felt like clarity
As I pressed my hands to the window
and breathed
This is for me

Purple clouds, bruises, and hail
I can recognize grace when I see it so I said
Thank you

The lighthouse beaming strong,
You can’t heal by standing still
so I stepped out into the downpour
And let my heart fill
so full it floods and carries out all the pain

Cold ocean air like meditating breaths
You can only run so far
until you must let it overtake you
Wash you clean

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South Park Street Elegy
Poem by Matthew Rooney

Belaboured. Long staple of progress
Puncturing our stories with snapshots
Of the hubris of humankind—
No portrait of you, nor photo could capture
How I saw myself in your rapture!

Enwrapped around your own civil constructions—
Like Dorian’s destruction of Basil’s masterpiece—
And so in one crane’s flight of wild fancy
So savagely set and never to escape
The structures that define your civic place.

Bent over the burden you once carried
So gracefully like that bird—your namesake
Watches maternally over her precious eggs—
Your crooked, creative spine cannot supply
The nesting that defines our civil lives.

For you were the victim, just as much as we
Of a society too close to its own creations—
An idle tool of that master’s house
That cannot stand through changes in the wind
And on Dorian’s wild breath begin to unwind.

We shall remember thee, South Park Street Crane,
As a testament to all constructions’ folly!
Never again shall us Haligonians
Take an idle walk down South Park
And forget the dangers of your troubled art!

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Eyes of Green
Poem by LeeAnn Wallage Brown

Eyes of green, turn a somber grey.
Raining falling tears upon the soil.
Eyes of green,
Throbbing in fear.
Filled with webs of red.
Holding stories of,

Eyes of green, peer downward,
Upon the Earth below.
Eyes of green, left echoing,
Visions of death.

Engraved upon the stone…

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Edible Haiku
Haiku by Harry Garrison

This rice is chewy,
but it’s edible. Hey, my
cooking’s edible!

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To My Unknown Damsel
Poem by Chinenye ‘Zabrain’ Ndulue

As I write this piece, all I do is smile.
And when I think of you, all I do is sigh.
And the thought of you makes me go high.
Oh my! Oh my!
I go high.

When I am with you, I could fly.
Cos my wings grow like a butterfly.
And your smile takes me to the sky.
So high! So high!
To the sky!

But words fail me every time.
I try to tell you but I get shy.
That my heart races for you, a hundred miles.
Oh Miles! Oh Miles!
Hundred Miles!

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Halifax at Dusk, 1910
Poem by Jari-Matti Helppi

Dusky city in mid murk
as moonlit clouds drift grey horizons
over old gas lit streets and electric windows.
Sleek waters belie the crested fury
of tomorrow’s woe tonight
and the climate of events unfolding
is lost in the steaming coffee faces
of after supper pie.

The city sleeps like it wakes
as the curly smoke from stoves and hearths
prepares the intended rest for tasking well.
Oiling up more black smoke from funnels
coaling the frenzied feeding boilers of war
while calm pensive murmurs and sighs slip
past open windows with the steaming coffee
of after supper pie.

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The Doughnut Shop
Poem by Tim Covell

The doughnut shop
Used to smell of fried grease
And cigarette smoke
And now it does not.
Have I lost my sense of smell?

Cigarette smoke used to be everywhere
And now it is rare
Like the exhaust fumes
Of a ‘74 Plymouth Duster
On Spring Garden Road
On a sunny summer Sunday
When cars with antique plates roam the roads
Noticed by sight and smell unnoticed once.

The air is clearer
My vision has not improved
The particles once there are gone
The cooking once done there is gone
Reheated frozen food is more efficient
And OBD II cleared the air.

I have not lost my sense of smell.
I have lost fried grease
Cigarette smoke
And exhaust fumes.

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Poem by Mike McFetridge

Sometimes you say you love me,
Sometimes I love you, too;
Sometimes when we’re together
I feel like a kangaroo;
I jump when you want something,
I jump at your command;
And like a kangaroo does,
I swagger when I stand.
But where does this all get me?
One wonders like I do;
Should I swagger when beside you,
Or jump like a kangaroo?

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Healing Troubled Waters
Poem by Devin Slawter

It has come to my attention.
There’s people who need protection.
When it comes to being depressed.
All the way to being stressed.

Well I am here to let those people know.
They’re always welcome to my show.
For I know what it is like to everyday have to fight.

I live my life through my poems.
Long before I ever left home.
It all started when I was a child.
Got bullied so much I went wild.

Hung out with the wrong crew.
Wondering what to do.
Spent alot of time in the drunk tank.
And to God I give thanks.

For taking me out of that life.
And allowing me to do right.
For if I wouldn’t have changed,
That would have been the end game.

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Poem by Phil Brown

this was the day for silhouette cyclists
and resignation shaped shoppers in rain
this was the day for lazily gazing
through a café window pane
where blurred young things still shone
but when a raindrop fell down my cheek
it felt like a teardrop for the weak
this was the day for conversations with
a north end preacher and a piano teacher
this was the day for returning home to a happy soul
and a single white flower lying by the front door
this was the day I needed to know more

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Limerick by Robert Dawson

There once was a blogger named Mary
Whose ethics were quite arbitrary.
She envied her sister,
And frequently dissed her
By the bonny bitstreams of binary.

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Poem by Jonathan Burchill

Without waiting a wolf of
Wealth watches. History gone
Tomorrow a mystery but today
is a gift called a present so
the rich rape the here and now.

Powerful men of the past could feel
Intense joy seeing poor refuse
suffer. But change makes us all
lambs now as the blue eyed
mansion on the hill lives on.

In a wet future coal will drown
So use it now, hide from future
Famine as the poor refuse drown
like slaves on a dam while banks
swim since tomorrow belongs to them.

If rule by the rich trumps and eliminates
Democracy, will only a military save us
from selfishness? Necessity has
no law. But what do we tell
a clever child about decency?

Life can be a pendulum which may
swing toward a generosity of spirit.
Tomorrow could belong to that clever child.

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Poem for a childhood friend who lost his 44 year-old adult son
to Fentanyl, 44 Main Street, Anytown, Canada

Poem by Normand Carrey

When he was found three days later
in his tenement apartment
bloated expression on his kid-face

-And very much alone.

Any man’s death diminishes me,
Our collectivist soul to not Let them
go gently into the night, to rage, rage
against the dying light. Premiers Ford

and Kenney, shut down the safe harbour
They out-shout our Brothers and Sisters,
divided hand behind the ballot, prodigal
son, daughter of the dispatched suburb.

Degrees of separation State let them
die, punctuate, die, they know better, in fact
they know Exactly what they are doing
as they plunge the needle, loop-holed

-You were not raised this way by our parents.

into the one-way abyss of the scarlet
Vein. How many more, count many more
shall we send into that not so good Night,
bad islands cast adrift from the Main-
To land into the gnawing, Suspicious sea.*

*First line-2nd stanza-John Donne;
3rd and 4th line, 2nd stanza-Dylan Thomas.

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Poem by Cynthia Taylor

For you I melted the wax
To seal up my spirit
For you I stifled my words,
crushing my very soul
For you I turned a blind eye
Watching as I faded away

For myself I break the seal
Releasing years of bitterness
For myself I repaired my soul
One brave word at a time
For myself I gaze into the flame
Mesmerized at how I flicker

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Embrace the Cold
Poem by Robert John Schwarzmann

The jet-stream roar of Arctic wind
Pounds inland from heaving tumult of sea,
Bends the bare branches of dormant trees,
Sleeping trees dreaming of spring buds,
As humans hunker down, bundle up,
Spout words like wind chill factor,
Body heat, multiple layers, insulation.
Our steaming clouds of breath turning to
Ice crystals in the sub-zero air.
In clear winter night the brittle stars,
Icicle-sharp diamonds on obsidian black.
Silent as meditation beyond thought,
The foam-white snow falls in fat flakes,
Its silky moth cocoon a cozy metre thick,
Protecting the frozen ground, where roots
Dig deep in still-rich earth for warmth.
Embrace the cold sting of frigid air
On face covered to teary eyes by scarf.
Embrace slipping sidewalks with slow tread,
Dare even sheer glass of mirroring puddles.
Nature now a freeze-frame of rigor mortis,
Pre-set for resurrection of sudden spring,
Seeming green mirage on the white horizon.

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Poem by Nathaniel S. Rounds

You are the grand piano
In the upright position
Ivory keys gone butter-yellow
Bold tones boxed-in
But resolute in resonance
No hesitant delay between
Because deftness does
Become you

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