ubterranean Blue Poetry
Volume II Issue I

The Cover Art/Photo:


by Adam Cramb


“sweet waters down

I live at the bottom of the ocean

next to windmills

with more than a touch of blues cab

sweet sweetheart sun

a low solstice,

take no prisoners world

the pig and blue lily


island song

and Thessalonica”

Subterranean Blue Poetry
Volume II Issue I
(February 2014)

Subterranean Blue Poetry

© 2014

other side

by Bruce Kauffman

you now

on the other


of water

of shadows

             falling backward

of time

no longer believing

             in itself

of other

lifetimes remembering


of others

still wishing

             to be

you who still

do not know

how many times

             i have watched a door open

             expecting to see

             your face come through


the doors open

the doors close

to no one

to shadow

to whispers





have never felt

             an emptiness

             like this

a day with rain

by Victor Pirtle

four AM
-- strangely silent

not even birds are singing
their morning songs

thick cloud cover

while I consider red mark
on the black widow

wondering if she enjoys
repast of her husband after mating

thoughts traveling -- dungeon paths

Jules Verne shows up
and points the way to the center-of-the-earth

while Bobby Kennedy complains
of a headache

newscaster tries to read the
teleprompter, but text is written

in a language that is extinct
unknown to anyone in the news room

as the writing culprit has made his
exit from the building wearing a wry smile

kitchen counter is covered with
ripening tomatoes to be canned

more coming on vines in the garden
while I ponder, once again, conditional

subjunctive, contrary to fact
if I were king, but I ain’t. . .

assignations occur in places unlikely
by diametrically opposed minds

try to work out an agreement
and agree to not agree

while I fill bowl of my pipe
light it and work on my cough

light is gathering -- a new day

morning glories are opening as they
have for millennia

it is beginning to rain.

Featured Poet: Duan Shuqing


by Duan Shuqing

Hoarded for holiday wine,

Yellow chrysanthemum grows next to the low wall,

Sadly lacking in competitive bright color,

But now and then giving off extraordinary fragrance,

When soil is deep the flowers bloom in profusion;

When fences are sparse butterflies are not obstructed.

Move it here next to the railing:

Together we will conquer the fifth-watch frost.

Missed Connections

Saturday, May 11th, 2013 – Montreal Craigslist – Missed Connections - Anonymous

Brooding Blue Eyed Beardy - w4m (P.A. (Parc A.))

We exchanged intense gazes just before I picked up some sriracha. Spicy. I was jealous of the attention you were giving the ingredients on your cereal boxes.

Book Reviews

The Silence Before the Whisper Comes, a profound love letter.

Byline: Subterranean Blue Poetry

Title of Book: The Silence Before the Whisper Comes

Author: Bruce Kauffman

Publisher: Hidden Book Press

Date of Publication: 2013

Page Count: 100

The Silence Before the Whisper Comes, a book of poetry by Bruce Kauffman is a profound love letter on the nature of silence and being. Poet Kauffman is active in the arts community of Kingston, Ontario, hosting an open stage at the Artel and a radio program on CFRC, he is also a writer and editor. This is the third book of poetry by Bruce Kauffman that I have reviewed.

In the preface to the work, the Poet describes himself as the conduit of Muse or Muses within silence and the journey of searching for the softness of its edge. Influences of the Beat Poets play inside short, quiet lines. However, in this book of poems, as the lines travel to the center of the page and sometimes move in unconventional ways, the carriage edge seems soft but within wordscapes of staccato rain. Also, with the influence of ee cummings, the style and not only the lack of capitalization, but the total lack of punctuation, perhaps in quiet protest.

This poetry embraces the sacred, enigmatic and beautiful, nature images include the sky, trees and rain amongst others. Yet, as much as the poetry uses these images the poems are not in and of themselves these things, to this Writer the poetry is about the space between, the breath of possessing silences. As in the poem, all – “that which has/ always been/ coming into this/ moment waiting/ seeping/ through hollow cracks/ in an open sky and/ yes, today,/ all that there is/ whispers.”

And late last night:

“the full moon

blood red

then orange


rising over

reflecting itself

             its colour atop

the eastern shore

             of lake Ontario

then white

             on black

a lone grey owl

silhouette flying

against the evening

             across the line

             of newly risen


and here

casting its shadow

through my window

opening a space

in the air

letting voice

             slip through


             the maker of dreams

             and filling

             a space in the darkness

             with what comes”

One of the recurring themes within the poetry is that of language. The idea of brokenness and lost communication, the rewriting of language, perhaps the rewriting of a lost love affair.

An excerpt from forest:

“there was a time

you and i walked

             this wood


and you took my hand

in yours

and pointed

with the other

             to each new tree

             new bird

and told me

what they were called

and i knew

that even as you told me

             i would forget their names

we already

on the path

             from that language

and the words

given for them washed off

with the next

morning dew

                          water ever


                          that which

                          is not part

and we walking

became another


walking until

our words

all words

were lost

in the mist and

the intermittent

             falling rain


a silence coming

echoing its fullness

off the back

             of sky

mist falling through

washing language

and word

off lip

and ears

in the shadow

in the gentle rain

in the sunlight

             of silence

what is it that speaks


             with such clarity

in this place

             without words”

The theme of a lost love, like a background thread, surfaces in the poem other side.

“ you who still

do not know

how many times

         i have watched a door open

         expecting to see

         your face come through


the doors open

the doors close

to no one

to shadow

to whispers


The poetry is quiet and full of mystery, brilliant and fading to black, almost reminiscent of Haiku and the Asian sensibility. And this shadow dance of breath and rain I suspect, exists within the landscape of the white cultural diaspora. The poetry holds you and whispers you to sleep in the quiet of a long winter’s night. The Silence Before the Whisper Comes, another great poetry read from Bruce Kauffman.

Available @ Hidden Book Press and Amazon.ca.


My Lips Hold the Red and Pinks: A Long Poem in passion.

Byline: Reprint from The Book Reviewer

Title of Book: My Lips Hold the Red and Pinks: A Long Poem

Author: Melinda Cochrane

Publisher: Melinda Cochrane International

Date of Publication: 2014

Page Count: 37

A wild, passionate l’embrasure, a doorway on the story of love with fantastical images that flow into mythologies. In the background plays, “Suzanne” by Leonard Cohen, “ While Suzanne holds the mirror. And you want to travel with her And you want to travel blind And you know that you can trust her For she's touched your perfect body with her mind.” This is Melinda Cochrane’s fourth book of poetry and the third book of poetry I have reviewed by her.

The style is an excellent example of contemporary poetry, with elements of the post-moderns and particularly the Beat Poets.

“finally at your door,

no words taken,

sharing of eyes,

stories of history,

one of pain,

one of love,

one of passion,

one of lies,

one of one,

none of none,

it was written by

two, the us,

if only it

would end

with the meeting of

the lovers, palpable”

As if dreams within dreams, the writing sometimes starts at halfway across the page and continues coming back to the hard edge only when someone else is speaking or when coming into a new dreamscape. The capitalization is inconsistent, the poem starts with a small letter, about three quarters through the work some of the beginnings of lines are capitalized for a length, there are many commas and in its entire ends with a period, as if in protest.

This poem is full of torrent images of the sorrow and beauty of love, this writer calls the “china blue painting” images. The juxtaposition of great beauty with hidden violence, the psychology that lives on the interior of love and politics in North America. “you loved for youth’s fragrance, pretty/ face, a country twang, little/ white blouse, painted hands”; “the flour from pies fall/ from a woman too old to/ tell stories/ about lovers stealing/ pennies from a purse,/ wearing old shoes”; “I slept well every night/ until I spoke the truth,/ pressing the red roses/ in between the pages/ of my published books,/ smearing reds, pinks,/ through them”. Mixed with this fantastical imagery is the sexual tension and something like “Ophelia syndrome”, lost loves of the past, fears for the future, leaving tracings in poetry. “never love a man,/ instead lend one pearl cut from your throat,/ one pearl, broken from/ a string he will buy you/ swallow them all,/ hold one in your mouth,/ don’t let it go,/ keep it there,/ kiss him with it,/ love him with it,/ a man will love the pearls,/ offer the pearl on lips of silken/ satin, then a man will/ love the/ pearl he feels, not the/ sights he may/ see, for he can never resist.”

In the entangled heat of love, the past/present/future of love flows into mythologies. “but dancing in/ daylight,/ white/ nightdress,/ a field of/ yellow flowers/ leaving traces/ on her bare/ feet, she spots/ his horse/ the stallion/ the horse/ resisting the/ saddle, the/ rider resisting/ it equally,/ dancing in/ daylight/ her hands out/ to catch the/ spectrum/ of rainbows/ falling on her” “dances/ in the buttercups,/ dances/ in the/ buttercups,/ “my buttercup,” he/ whispered, “my buttercup/ dancing,”” the ideal of passion fulfilled.

Juxtaposed with the story of

“an old woman,

aged with the angers of rigid rules

of a virgin bride,

a virgin bride to be honoured

for the books to call it

sanctioned in the eyes of tradition,

but the old woman whose husband sailed off

to fight wars, communist, any war the army

wanted, slept in tightly with legs wrapped and


around sailors, she and only the townspeople


a shotgun would have met her skull,

the pearls around her neck reminding her of the

last vow of stopping for her father's father, the

family name,”

as if this story illustrates the passion, and the conflicts/conjectures of love. As if women exist (or die) within acceptable and unacceptable delimitors of sexual behaviour.

Poet Cochrane raises questions of love, some of them eternal (as from the time of Hamlet and Ophelia in Shakespeare) and others that have culminated with the suffering of the Industrialized Society where the peace of the Holy Spirit ways have been abrogated. “so how does a woman love a man,/ how does she love a man,/ it doesn’t mean he’s going to stay,/ lie with you, lay with you,/ be the long road down to/ meet the angels who walk around you,/ how does a woman love a man/ bend in closer lady,/ the wise one said,/ you can’t love a man,/ he must love you.”

A theme through the storyline of the poem is the idea of the mirror, “it was not me, me, not me,/ it hard-hearted me,/ looking in the mirror,/ who is she,/ marching one/ step to the me/ of me, you,/ desires, and still/ the lines of red/ drawn over my/ lips have no/ effect on my/ inner worth,/ the woman- a cheater,/ she’s still birth.”

Who is watching, who is judging, how the patriarchy has trouble with the concept of women, as “lady” or as “whore”, as the broken places of the heart leads to violent recriminations and the judgment of value/poverty, reflected back as a violence of self-esteem issues and a mark upon the soul. And the hypocrisy of a system that often cheapens women, with hidden agendas, hidden knowledge leaving few alternatives for the peace of a longterm happy covenant marriage. “all the beautiful smoke rings of/ desire, left in night and last only/ in the morning,/ dimes, dollars/ and dead end flowers,/ Not defining me any longer/ as a whore,/ Whore,/ Whore,/ Whore,/ Whore,/ and whore” and ““Once, twice, three times a lady,”/ but I’d have to stop writing,/ prove you my/ fiction didn’t matter.”

A powerful, wild and passionate read, My Lips Hold the Red and Pinks: A Long Poem by Melinda Cochrane.

Available @ Melinda Cochrane International and Amazon.ca.


Dark Horse Pictures, a brilliant study in language and new poetic form.

Byline: Subterranean Blue Poetry

Title of Book: Dark Horse Pictures

Author: Andy Hopkins

Publisher: Philistine Press

Date of Publication: 2010

Page Count: 20

Dark Horse Pictures is the first Poetry Chapbook by Andy Hopkins a Poet/Teacher/Musician active on the culture scene of Carlisle, U.K. Originally the text was published by Selkirk Lapwing Press.

The Chapbook is a compilation of 20 poems, a surreal intellect inside a suspended theater of the mind, the poetry writes within a certain lyricism, dwells in the modernist school yet with little punctuation and capitalization, is on occasion experimental and always riveting. There are occasional Neoclassical references as in When it is winter in the soul place - “water chatters water words to moss ditch pool/bears the meniscus weight of heaven, like Atlas” and in Levee/Burgh-by-lands – “learn as the equal and opposite reaction crashes on the gates of Rome; Caesars/no invasion lasts.” As well as nature imagery, water, trees, forests, moss, saltmarsh, land and sea. When it is winter in the soul place – “firs loom/wind has no influence/listen/listen to the bronchia of forest”. One of the first poems is Yes Michael No Michael, a very interesting/humorous one way conversation of thoughts and speech between a teacher and his student on a busy day, “your mum won’t be coming to parents evening; yes, I will/spend an hour on your report, trying to phrase ‘vindictively ignorant’ into empowering/standard English. No, I don’t mind that you can’t stand me; yes, I hear everything/No.”

This writer was especially taken by the two experimental poems, Unspectacular Station Revelation and Allonby Tidal Marks. These 2 poems are considered at once brilliant and an experiment in form. Allonby Tidal Marks plays with language and presentation as the words are squiggly lines going down the page in 4 columns. When the lines are read, the poem unfolds as ruminations of waves on a beach, disjointed free association as a pictorial wave. Unspectacular Station Revelation is 3 repeated paragraphs, the last one listing citations for words. As you look up the citations the story of a missed date with a girlfriend unfolds, captivating the imagination.

The poem Dark Horse Pictures presents a theatre image of celluloid and memory, a description of anonymity “I look just like a dark horse picture/Black and then white and then gone/Black and then white and then/Black and then white and then     gone.”

evil is a study in the unconscious raising questions.

The last four poems Parakalo, on a Kefallonian Beach, Unfrogs/Prefrogs, New Years’ Eve and What God Said to Me on Cross Fell seem like double entendre, a dance perhaps with someone considering a love affair, a series I call “a prayer to a goddess”, as the gentleman makes excuses for his absence and seems to be caught in a crux of dilemma that appears at once impossible and yet is not. In “Parakalo, on a Kefallonian Beach” - “I did not want to come./You could take me over a rock like a slave. Or/I could pull you out of the water/onto the same hot rock, like a lava goddess, scintillating/sacrificially real.” And further in “What God Said to Me on Cross Fell” – “And I did stop to listen, whilst out walking, by the cross/against the sky./And the fell was empty. And I did try to hear. Even the/radar turned to hear.” As if some struggle with conscience and God, the tortured ruminations of the Poet looks to the universe for answers, this Writer says “to thine own heart be true”. A beautiful poetic treatise with brilliant use of language and innovations of the poetic form, Dark Horse Pictures by Andy Hopkins.

Available at OBOOKO and Philistine Press.


The fantastical poetry of tones employed as loss.

Byline: Subterranean Blue Poetry

Title of Book: tones employed as loss

Author: Lary Timewell

Publisher: above/ground press

Date of Publication: 2013

Page Count: 23

An exciting Poetry Chapbook, avant-garde poetry bangs in the dance. Lary Timewell finds himself in Vancouver after living for 25 years in Fukushima. He is one of the co-founders and publisher of Tsunami Editions press, currently publishing through the venture obvious epiphanies press.

The Poetry Chapbook begins with a citation by Rosemary Waldrop, “If we could just go on walking through these woods” sets the stage for high camp and trepidation in a story of love lost. A new treatise on the twisted cultural landscape, North America.

This poetry is blow speak. Bullet line delivery within a poetic prose type style, it is a new post-modern twist on poetic form. Inconsistent capitalization and punctuation in a violent milieu that protests, tones employed as loss weaves the story of love lost/conflicted love with the love of poetry that saves. The two themes are interwoven in the theater of the absurd that includes inane humour mixed with masculine imagery/energy not unlike someone shouting at a wall. “I-vow-my troth recurring dream/hung on for dear laugh, went eventually/belly dancing out of the room, much to the dismay of/poets in their/heated nests”; “waiting in the envelope of the cave/ like chloroformed squirrel, ecstatic”; “the name of your country is not America. Please/ to be stopping sending Coco-Puffs to Rumania”; “the sky swallowing the garage, sap” and “just more earthworms slathered in agnostic marmalade; the chanting”.

Juxtaposed with the theme of poetry/salvation is the theme of love lost and/or conflicted love, “out on the highway, toss milky sandals/ from the salmon-pink bedspread where “I”/ loves “you” and even the far blue/ hills understand it is only a dream” and “I’m just another/ born loser in/ an ordinary act/ of desperation/ the awkward/ decisive punch/ line having/ some fun at/ the expense of/ the expansive/ (homesick or assimilated)/ how/ now”.

Interspersed throughout the long poem the word Poetry appears at the left hand margin with a series of lines begun by a colon.

“Poetry        : throat-red staccato under stucco archway
                      : bickering microbes in the blood
                      : mold-speckled tent pitched in the topography of dream
                      : empathic accidents out to the radius of the real world
                      : gauge of the exchange
                      : the electronic distance between speech & song
                      : the asynchronous knowledge of clues that hold their breath
                      : the mannequin and his young brood
                      : shopping for subliminals in the general store
                      : gleaning the meaning of a depot along the highway
                      : the real landscape of a fictional street
                      : the sound a baby deity makes
                      : the oxygen of music out the open window
                      : the disappearing episode
                      : hands that make wings
                      : an echo losing insistence
                      : exhalation of the unthinkable
                      : baroque repertoire of the mimic in the mirror
                      : obituary vernacular of fastidious trivia“

In a celebration of the written form of poetry, “The path is the poem overgrown, each letter/ an illuminated leaf inscribed, living/ excursion of the swans one notices and stops,/ feeling an urge to be/ similarly taken away, lifted up into/ the sweet capsule of a paragraph/ of unselfconscious cloud. Ragged din, see/ and hear through walls of/ chacun a son gout thunder/ kicking out in knowledge and joy. Alas,“

In the play with language, the dislocated images that lends a punch drawn feel, the imaginative definitions of the word Poetry are an exhaustive constant celebration and not without angst. That poetry could be so evocative is at once spellbinding and full of light.

In the exploration of the defining poetry is the defining Poet. Reading good poetry is a wonderment, that often makes this Writer think in tangents about the relation of the Poet to their writing and the act of writing. How the education of the Poet, intellect and life experience interacts with the Poet’s soul essence, the rhythm of the soul and the Muse to produce fantastical works.

tones employed as loss, a study in absurdist poetry, lightening and light.

Available at above/ground press.

Lover is sunshine coffee
I am moonshine girl


Rebecca Anne Banks

(The light pours into the room


full against the night.

love is the perfect food

hearts to hearts

God sets the slaves of love free

always clean about edges

and the sweet

the line between us and them is very quiet)

(Lover is sunshine coffee

I am moonshine girl)

blue like the eyes of the sea

some beautiful King Zodiac


grey on heavy day

mambo, mambo

rip shamuta

and dark stars

windsock fables

sir reverence of the Saints

cadillac wine

dreadnought and hearts

dance, sugar plum oysters


(Lover is sunshine coffee

I am moonshine girl)

come honey or rife

a beautiful mystique

a large cathedral window

coloured light through coloured glass

coffee and clouds

kiss, kiss Nikita

sweet radio girl

love too deeply love

(Lover is sunshine coffee

I am moonshine girl)

d’accord nurse Watkins

a rock and punk choir kit

such a victim class school

cavi, cavi

a rose and sweet smiles

my secret blue

(come make me warm again

after the night

I am lousy with goodbyes

and worse at playing cards)

(Lover is sunshine coffee

I am moonshine girl)

the music plays

wears dark blue velvet

long and sweet

folds you into my arms

we dance sweet and low

against the stars

the champagne night

pours into

Santa Lucia’s barter

I can hear the quiet

(Lover is sunshine coffee

I am moonshine girl)

how the day stops, just for you

and the dark

and the blue

rolls so sweet over me

holds me sweet

we dance twice around the sun,

until all the stars come out

(Lover is sunshine coffee

I am moonshine girl)

my sweet nothings, Lord Cartagena

you’re mine until the world ends

(come curl up beside me)

and grey doves fly, just for you

heartsong rose

eyes without knowing

and a secret smile

was it a beautiful dream.

(Lover is sunshine coffee

I am moonshine girl)


Rebecca Anne Banks is at home in Montreal. She is the CEO/Artist at Tea at Tympani Lane Records (www.tympanilanerecords.com) and the Book Reviewer at The Book Reviewer (www.thebookreviewer.ca). www.tympanilanerecords.com.

Lary Bremner (pen name Lary Timewell) is now living in Vancouver after 25 years in Fukushima, Japan. He is one of the co-founders and publisher of Tsunami Editions press into the 1980’s. He is now writing poetry and publishing from his new venture, obvious epiphanies press.

Melinda Cochrane was born in Newfoundland, teaches on the West Island of Montreal and is a Poet, writer and educator giving writing workshops and is an inspirational life coach. She has won awards for her poetry and gives poetry readings both locally and in the States. She has written a memoir, The Fired Heart, a novel, Desperate Freedom and 2 books of poetry, The Man Who Stole Father's Boat and She's an Island Poet. www.melindacochrane.com.

Adam Cramb. My poetry has appeared in sub-Terrain and Leaf press. I am also a visual artist who's work has appeared in coastal galleries. The LACDA in Los Angeles and the Canadian Federation Gallery in Vancouver. My photography has appeared in le Journal de la photograhie and F-Stop. For the last 2 years I have made it into the final round of the International Fine Art Photography Award: Grand Prix de Decouverte. www.artofthisworld.net/adam-cramb.html.

Andy Hopkins is a Musician and Teacher active in the cultural milieu of Carlisle, United Kingdom. He is now writing Poetry.

Bruce Kauffman is a leading light in Canadian Poetry and based in Kingston, Ontario. He is a Poet, writer and Poetry Editor. He hosts the Open Mic Reading Series, Poetry @ The Artel and a Poetry radio program, "Finding a Voice" on CFRC. He has written poetry books The Texture of Days, in Ash and Leaf and a seed within amongst other writings.

Victor Pirtle. I started writing back in 1969 when I was just out of the Vietnam War. Well, one never really comes home from something like that. I wrote to get the angst out of my head, and to hold the demons that circled in abeyance. And here I still am writing away as if it were the first day of it all. I have been writing poetry and essays for forty years. I have two books of my work published. They are available from me. carmelbeach@rocketmail.com.

Duan Shuquing. The Poet is from an elite family of Dangtu in Anhui, China during the Jiajing reign period in 16th century. Her father, Duan Tingbi taught her to read and was a Confucian schoolmaster who served some of the extended family of the imperial family. Her husband was also a Confucian scholar. Her writings are in the style of the school of Tang.