Sunday, November 24, 2019

Olga Tokarczuk

One must keep one's eyes and ears open, one must know how to match up the facts, see similarity where others see total difference, remember that certain events occur at various levels or, to put it another way, many incidents are aspects of the same, single occurrence. And that the world is a great big net, it is a whole, where no single thing exists separately; every scrap of the world, every last tiny piece, is bound up with the rest by a complex Cosmos of correspondences, hard for the ordinary mind to penetrate. That is how it works. Like a Japanese car.
 --Drive Your Plow over the Bones of the Dead, translation Antonia Lloyd-Jones

Monday, November 18, 2019


Got nothing against
them, they have a right

to exist, I just can't
tolerate their ilk

taking shelter here. This
is where I live—my

home. They're dirty;
I have a duty

to defend my family.
After I flooded

a burrow in the yard
one turned up

in the house. We packed
all the dry food

in the kitchen
into plastic

containers, woke
to find them

shredded and scattered.
That's when we knew

no harmless wee
mouse was this. Our kid

just a baby,
we were scared

it might visit
his crib at night.

It bored a hole
through the baseboard

back of the fridge,
clearly had a track

between there and
the plumbing under

the sink. We bought
warfarin, snap traps,

we went on alert.
Third night of its

occupation, I heard
a rustle from

the cupboards. I slipped
on my loafers

and crept into
the kitchen. I swung

the door below the sink
open and the crinkling

stopped. Behind cartons
of bin bags, rags

and cleaning supplies,
I sensed it was there.

I kicked a box,
out it flew, I brought

my foot down
and trapped it,

belly-up, struggling.
Her teats were bulging—

she must have been
gravid. My heart

beat hard, I pressed
down harder, her body

as large as my size-ten
loafer, repulsive

skinny tail a good
six inches extra.

I bore down on her
until damn sure

she was no longer
breathing, then dumped

the dam and her unborn
pups in the green bin.

Tuesday, November 12, 2019


        i.m. Ker Wells

Just say what you see, damn it, say it plain,
clear, show nothing, and forget expressing
emotion, you'll have better luck squeezing

a turd through your tympanum. Blue heron
on her stilts in the silt-scummed shallows
of the Clyde never concentrates, but she's

paying attention and knows what to do
at her wait's end, executed with bloodless
aplomb. You on your stilts in the tall grass

of the riverbank, cousin, you too knew
a thing or two about killing your darlings
and the world's aloof procession. The moon,

waxing full, casts a wake on the ripples
of the river. I can see you stilting
across it, wings akimbo, bound for the far shore.

Monday, April 22, 2019

Literary Power Couple in Print

The Dalhousie Review has just published a lengthy interview, conducted and introduced by Shane Neilson, of myself and Rachel, followed by reprints of a prose poem of Rachel's from Cottonopolis and a poem of mine from Track & Trace (which I realized the other day is now ten years old!). Only available in print, so get ye to the library if you feel the burning need to consume this content.

Thursday, April 11, 2019


I am evermore anxious that the future
is pure fiction, and yet I persist

in planning for it. When my son tells me
about the children he will have, I want

to shake him for thinking this hell is fit
for hopes and dreams. I don't. Instead, I smile

and stroke his head. His education
savings plan is growing nicely; it should

mature to six figures. He'll need it. Or won't.

The mortgages are getting paid ahead
of schedule. I'm installing a fifty-year

roof. By my calculations, the houses
should remain above water. They're building

a levee near the lowest-lying one.
All of this is likely crazy, but maybe

it beats doing nothing? I could always swerve.
Look for the fastball. Adjust to the curve.