What Makes a Poet?

A gathering of students listens attentively inside the student lounge in building 355 on VIU’s Nanaimo campus, myself among them. Though a cold rain pelts the windowpanes, it’s warm and comfortable inside the blue-walled lounge. Some students occasionally write in notebooks, while others keep their hands in their laps, fully focused on the words of … Continued

The Role of the Preserved Poem

Acclaimed poet A.F. Moritz is the 2021–2022 Ralph Gustafson Distinguished Poet at VIU. Moritz has written over 20 books of poetry, most recently As Far As You Know (2020). He has won many awards including the Griffin Poetry Prize and the Guggenheim Fellowship, and was nominated three times for the Governor General’s Award. He is … Continued

Greyhound Ride

It was a greyhound back of the bus love story. His name was DeVon. Tall, lithe, black as night. He was a sad boy, starry-eyed but not sorry. He said come on, balled and cried with de-light. We rode through Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas. Held hands, whispered stories, kissed and… chewed new manna (bread), a hot … Continued

Pinnacle Internalization

When confronted in life with two options, to choose the road used over and over again or the road less travelled, what will you choose? Will you choose to follow in your mentor’s footsteps and model yourself after the parts of your icons that resonate with you? Or will you create your own runway and … Continued

I Went to the Sun Once

Rufus woke up and something was very wrong He could feel it in his bone, still wet yet somehow smoking in his mouth. He thought, gosh how long have I been asleep? Is it summer already? And why can’t I just dream of sheep? He peeled open his little eyes, to take a look around … Continued

Compassion Fatigue

Resentment looks a lot like Narcan in a sharp and feels like it’s forcing out my will. I grab them both; Naloxone and the tarp, the outcome undetermined by my skill. Same guy, same place, same drug; third time today, his unresponsive body cold to touch. Compassion has fatigued and crawled away, when I see … Continued

Ode to Greta

O’ earth, my muse, tell me of your young heroine who travelled far by catamaran. She suffered her own education in rage and fire to torment governments and corporations far and wide. Tell me more, oh worldly muse, how your lush and wildness still stands so tall. But will you perish? Oh, toxic earth, a … Continued

Robbery

Colored eggs lay nestled  under the trees outside my window. Sleep lingered on my tongue    as a haze of muted voices  filled the air—like my blanket, so soft; growing heavy.   My mother’s wet eyes pierced   the mist in my mind. The sleep soured on my tongue   as the bundle in her arms … Continued

This Woman is Free

How do you live so freely? So untangled from societal reigns? Well, my mother taught me the independence of a woman. When a man leaves, he mustn’t take your spirit— it must strengthen with the wind that carried him away, like my father, who was willingly swallowed by the cigarette shop, who willingly stepped into … Continued

Impressions of Japan

Shinkansen Silent sleek ghost train Slices through so much busyness; Inside all is calm. Tokyo Izakaya  Tasty snacks sizzle, Tipsy salarymen smile, While Chet Baker sings. Karakuen Autumn colours blaze, Streams burble, scent of pine wafts; Perfect harmony. Fujisan Sacred peak reflects In the smoothness of the lake; Eternity looms. Zen Garden Lonely rocks stranded … Continued

Malecon Quinceanera

The chrome Indian head of a black  ’49 Pontiac Chieftain Coupe, shimmers in the late afternoon sun. My Dad had one fifty years ago; it had leaky brakes and sometimes he had  to angle it against the curb to stop it. It must have died long ago, but here, frozen in time, this one glides … Continued

When I Stopped Clapping

In a one-room schoolhouse a cast iron pot belly stove burned through great stacks of wood and sometimes mice whose necks had snapped in shiny steel traps.   We all cheered and clapped when our hero  dangled them by their tails  and flung their tiny corpses into the fire.   He was a lanky man … Continued

The little fish

The little fish yawns like an operatic tenor, as if he wants to sing to the clams that are digging— to the coral reefs who are judging that b-flat that he is belting. The little fish yawns like my dog Buttons after she wakes from her nap and then shakes her head— trying to loosen … Continued

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