Spenser Smith:

“People who choose to take this stuff can die. The answer is to choose not to take them. It’s a choice.” —R. D. This is a comment on a CBC story written late last year on the overdose crisis in BC. Of the 554 comments the piece received, the one calling for the death of … 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

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

Poet Robert Hilles launches new book

On Thursday, October 3, Robert Hilles will be holding a book launch to present his new collection of poetry, Shimmer. The event is from 6:30–7:30 pm at the Nanaimo Harbourfront Library. Hilles lives on Salt Spring Island, and is a faculty member of the Creative Writing department at VIU, teaching both poetry and fiction.  A … 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

Poetry contest winner: Conar Rae Harris

“The poem has a very clever title and is delightfully inventive from there on. The word choices are stunningly original throughout. This poem does what all good poems do: surprise and delight. The poem uses vivid details in lush and original ways. From the opening line: ‘The morning ripens,’ through to the end, it remains … 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

Moving box blues

Tastes like cardboard, you say, face scrunched, wistful of a mother’s recipe you haven’t yet mastered. I swallow my offense: this may be the last time I hear it; your voice. Stacked by the front door with my fellow fallen comrades, our frayed edges fluttering in the burst of cold each time you pass. If … Continued

At five years

I cannot consent to swallow your love cold— down my throat you pour, I choke. At five years we left your stranglehold. From you, my childhood was pigeonholed, left alone, you couldn’t phone despite us being kinfolk. I cannot consent to swallow your love cold. At nine I suffered from your mould. Ten I counseled … Continued

1989

Autumn evening calls, it’s after dinner and we are out the door. It’s dark and it doesn’t matter. Innocent energy unfurls, high-tops hit pavement, full tilt. We run and run through the neighbourhood; jump fences, sneak through side-yards. A labyrinth of cat-walks and cul-de-sacs. The Block Watch patrols and peeks out front windows. Lungs puff … Continued

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