their very Being, filled industrial-strength jails,
the Law looking the other way. These rows
of bejewelled-vamps vast as the buffalo jump,
the gravestones near the River Kwai.
These beaded cries catch the light, refract
far and wide, run down our cheeks,
our witness, we settled descendants
of a Wrong that wails to be righted,
by us, only guests in your home.
* vamps, decorated top part of moccasins.
Featured Poet: Anne Sexton
You, Doctor Martin
by Anne Sexton
You, Doctor Martin, walk
from breakfast to madness. Late August,
I speed through the antiseptic tunnel
where the moving dead still talk
of pushing their bones against the thrust
of cure. And I am queen of this summer hotel
or the laughing bee on a stalk
of death. We stand in broken
lines and wait while they unlock
the doors and count us at the frozen gates
of dinner. The shibboleth is spoken
and we move to gravy in our smock
of smiles. We chew in rows, our plates
scratch and whine like chalk
in school. There are no knives
for cutting your throat. I make
moccasins all morning. At first my hands
kept empty, unraveled for the lives
they used to work. Now I learn to take
them back, each angry finger that demands
I mend what another will break
tomorrow. Of course, I love you;
you lean above the plastic sky,
god of our block, prince of all the foxes.
The breaking crowns are new
that Jack wore.
Your third eye
moves among us and lights the separate boxes
where we sleep or cry.
What large children we are
here. All over I grow most tall
in the best ward. Your business is people,
you call at the madhouse, an oracular
eye in our nest. Out in the hall
the intercom pages you. You twist in the pull
of the foxy children who fall
like floods of life in frost.
And we are magic talking to itself,
noisy and alone. I am queen of all my sins
forgotten. Am I still lost?
Once I was beautiful. Now I am myself,
counting this row and that row of moccasins
waiting on the silent shelf.
Montreal Craigslist – Missed Connections – March 23rd, 2014 - Anonymous
For you R.S the voice of your eyes - w4mw (MTL)
somewhere i have never traveled
somewhere i have never traveled, gladly beyond
any experience, your eyes have their silence:
in your most frail gesture are things which enclose me,
or which i cannot touch because they are too near
your slightest look easily will open me
though i have closed myself as fingers,
you open always petal by petal myself as Spring opens
or if your wish be to close me, i and
my life will shut very beautifully, suddenly,
as when the heart of this flower imagines
the snow carefully everywhere descending;
nothing which we are to perceive in this world equals
the power of your intense fragility: whose texture
compels me with the colour of its countries,
rendering death and forever with each breathing
(i do not know what it is about you that closes
and opens; only something in me understands
nobody, not even the rain, has such BEAUTIFUL hands
your yellow butterfly
Breathing Arizona: A Journal, lovespeak poetry.
Byline: Subterranean Blue Poetry
Title of Book: Breathing Arizona: A Journal
Author: Stephen Bett
Publisher: Ekstasis Editions Canada Ltd.
Date of Publication: 2014
Page Count: 132
“listen to the warm”
- Rod McKuen
Breathing Arizona: A Journal is the story of a long distance love affair
in New Age poetry by Stephen Bett. He has had his work published in over 100
literary journals in the West, in 3 anthologies and on radio. This is the second
book of poetry I have Reviewed by Stephen Bett, the first being Sound Off: a
book of jazz. It is the 15th book of poetry by the poet who lives in Vancouver.
Good love poetry exists in the realm of magic, as if holding claim to something
ethereal, something not quite of this world, that makes the angels sing.
Breathing Arizona: A Journal
is love poetry that exists in magical spaces, in the place of the soul. The poem begins
like the bud of a flower, in incantation, begins to open and by the end of the
book the flower is fully open, the love affair in marriage.
The story of a love affair in a broken stream of consciousness, yet pared in
borrowing from the Beat Poet tradition, the seeds sewn by the counterculture
generation of the 1960’s. And an evolution in Beat Poetry, more spare, almost
stereographic and in the New Age style. The blunted lines reflect the violence
of W.W. I and W.W. II and the postmodern war economy, rewoven into lovespeak, a
certain child-like innocence and the idea of a safe harbour.
“Human places in this
hard to locate world
I will touch only
- feel strong for
It is a dance of love, that takes place long distance, she is from the United
States, he calls her the A-muricano woman and he is living in Canada, you can
feel the spaces that travel by car and plane going home.
breathing Arizona . . .
I promised not
to worry, flights
just go awry
Thought you’d be
in NYC last nite
- stupido of me
Still no phone to –
day, no laptop, no
Slept last nite w/
the phone ready
by my pillow
Keeping my promise
to you, even w/out
pillow talk (hah!)
Breathing the twin
pillow where your
head last lay
Breathing the grace
of your head”
“Cascadia they have
forever called it
A dream world
Pieces of your
Maybe a place
us in this
- it is yours
“Do not despair,
you will hold
The birds will
fly, the desert
rain) . . . “
Images within the poem are from the world of men (sports allusions) and also the
natural world, desert, seagulls, rain. As the love affair evolves he compares
himself to a seagull.
Back on track,
her wisdom wings
Lift him &
For the life of them
For the life of things
in their own
For the life of any
thing in its own
be wild of
Another grace yet
to be learned
Breathing Arizona: A Journal is a work reminiscent of the love poetry of
Rod McKuen, Listen to the Warm, minimalist and a celebration of love in
the land of the cursehold. A sweet open testimonial, presents the poet, his
humor, his grace, their love as life, the water falls through and is held in
his cupped open hands. A flight of magic in a shattered and violent world,
Breathing Arizona: A Journal by Stephen Bett.
Images from Declassified Nuclear Test Films: a brilliant read from Stephen
Brockwell and above/ground press.
by: Subterranean Blue Poetry
Title: Images from Declassified Nuclear Test Films
Author: Stephen Brockwell
Publisher: above/ground press
Date of Publication: 2014
Page Count: 11
“The sound of silence” by Paul Simon plays quietly in the grey lilt of a winter
Images from Declassified Nuclear Test Films is a brilliant read by
Canadian Poet Stephen Brockwell, born in Montreal and living in Ottawa. He has 4
published Chapbooks with above/ground press and has written 5 books of poetry,
including Fruitfly Geographic (2004) which won the Archibald Lampman Award. He
runs a small information technology company.
As This Writer goes to pick up the Chapbook to read, the title, “Images from
Declassified Nuclear Test Films” I am reminded of the movie “Dr. Strangelove”
and all the slapstick paranoia associated with the nuclear weapons age. The
series of poems are presented in 3 parts, the first perhaps a series of files
from someone’s impressions of old film reels of nuclear tests, the second is
titled “Inaudible Dispatches from Radio News” and the third is titled “Wednesday
Morning, 3 AM”.
The first poems begin, he is looking at a girl, perhaps a love interest and
something is wrong. Then the poems move to an image of a burning tree and
perhaps the image of a man before the catastrophe or was it a trick of the light
of a photo? Images of desert flowers, the sun, stars and the idea of digging
with a heavy water spade. The images unfold in intrigue, mysterious, of the
desert, presenting post-apocalypse landscape, someone hovering and observing. As
if questioning a presentation of violence that should not be, perhaps a response
on a personal level as well as a response to geopolitics and nuclear warfare.
“Let’s Face It”,
Say that – all the voices
What skin tone
adjustments, I can’t
imagine – who could?
No categories for that
declassification, too much
to see it.
And of the trees,
Match stick does not
as beautiful as sunsets.
There are no creams
for alpha particles.”
February 18-May 15, 1955,
So many objectives:
cup and horizon
at the moment
of dust, sand
of the perishable
its pitch and yaw,
flexible, but its progeny
The second presentation of “Inaudible Dispatches from Radio News” is a running
presentation of “what if” in the news with counterpoints of dialogue as if a
send up of the artefact of culture that is war.
The third presentation of “Wednesday Morning, 3 AM” is a series of sentences, as
if playing on the theme of silence after a bomb has been dropped. The idea of
silencing, an ending after devastation, the enforcement of a power paradigm, the
idea of muzzling, the end of freedom, the idea of death.
“Nothing more silencing than loss of employment in the cathedral ceilings of the
“Nothing more silencing than the derisive laughter of intimate companions you
have never met but who have eyes and ears.”
“Intoxication seldom begins with silence, frequently erupts into deafening slurs
and always ends with silence.”
“Nothing more silencing than a hand over a mouth.”
The writing immediately draws you in, the style minimalist, blunt and spare in
the first presentation morphing into poetic prose with a staccato delivery. As
if borrowing from the Beat Poets and the war misery of the legacy of T.S. Eliot
(The Wasteland), the disconnected thought forms build a picture of emotional and
perhaps actual violence. As if a reminder of the devastation of nuclear warfare
and the out of control cursehold, the stranglehold of love lives and geopolitics
in North America. Images from Declassified Nuclear Test Films is a study in
truth and violence, a classic rendering that addresses the issues of the
post-modern world as it morphs into the New Age.
Rebecca Anne Banks lives in Montreal. She has written 22 books of poetry,
a cookbook and a primer on marriage. She is the Artist/CEO at Tea at Tympani
Lane Records (www.tympanilanerecords.com)
and the Book Reviewer at The Book Reviewer (www.thebookreviewer.ca).
Stephen Bett has had fifteen books of poetry published. Seventeenth and
eighteenth books have been completed, making a trilogy with Penny- Ante Poems;
and nineteenth and twentieth books are also recently completed. His work has
also appeared in well over 100 literary journals in Canada, the U.S., England,
Australia, New Zealand, and Finland, as well as in three anthologies, and on
radio. His “personal papers” have been purchased by the Simon Fraser University
Library, and are, on an ongoing basis, being archived in their “Contemporary
Literature Collection” for current and future scholarly interest.
Stephen Brockwell is a Poet who lives and works in Ottawa running a small
information technology company. He won the Archibald Lampman Award in 2004 for
his poetry collection Fruitfly Geographic. He has had 4 Chapbooks published
by above/ground press and his latest book of poetry is Complete Surprising Fragments
of Improbable Books.
Katrina Fretwell’s eighth book Dancing on a Pin, which includes her art,
will be published by Inanna in 2015. Her seventh book, with her art, Class Acts,
was published by Inanna in 2013 and was mentioned in Kerry Clare’s online
article: “Most Anticipated Books of Fall 2013: Poetry” and was described by
Heather Spears, Governor General award winner, as “Addictive ... one of the most
unique voices in contemporary Canadian poetry”. Her poem “Kissing Cousins” was
shortlisted for Descant’s Winston Collins Prize 2012.
Anne Sexton is an American Poet who writes groundbreaking confessional
poetry in the Baby Boom era of the 1960’s. She was severely mentally ill,
suffering from depression, mania and suicidal tendencies, all of which she wrote
about as well as personal topics that were not considered appropriate themes for
poetry. She married Alfred Sexton II and had two children. She won the Pulitzer
Prize in 1967 for the book of poetry, Live or Die. She also wrote
children’s books and a play. She is best known for To Bedlam and Part Way
Back, The Starry Night,
All My Pretty Ones, Live or Die, Love Poems, Mercy
Street, The Awful Rowing Towards God amongst other works.
Martin Tomlinson is a teenage poet from the midwest. He is a member of
the Kansas Authors Club. His work has been published in Aphelion Webzine, Dead
Snakes, The Camel Saloon and The Bitchin’ Kitsch. He has two haikus in the
upcoming anthology Halloween Haikus II from Popcorn Press. He has also had a
Broadside published by Nostrovia! Poetry.