ubterranean Blue Poetry
Volume IV Issue XI

The Cover Art/Photo:


by Rebecca Anne Banks

“early moon,

quiet sky . . . “

“(the cat, the cat

(hey, little cat,

hey, little cat)

he hides quiet

comes for dinner . . .)

and so

the fête du rue

et douce

Little Richards yellow cup

and croissants from the patisserie

the band plays for just 5 minutes

everyone talk, talk

and partay

on the train

in the stations

the sweet of the underground

and she is beautiful and Jewish

and she is beautiful in blue and Muslim

and she is large and beautiful in French

and she is beautiful in blue-green tattoos

and she is beautiful in black as she sleeps”

Subterranean Blue Poetry
Volume IV Issue XI
(November 2016)

Subterranean Blue Poetry

© 2016


by Stephen Bett

I’ve told you &
I’ve told you
& I’ve told

(I know life doesn’t
work that way)

I apologize…

— & you don’t
let it go, easy

Damnit who do you
think that’s
good for…
Chris’sake, can’t
people ever just
slip another

But that too
never runs any-
where either
Can’t get it
once, you sure
as hell won’t
get it twice

Vehicle & tenor
even odds they
both break right

Driver, passenger —
only their ink-marks
left behind

Just (go with that)

by Stephen Bett

Sometimes it’s just
too much,
other times not

It never quite
feels just alright

— bulls-eye
in the heart

Most of the time
it’s never really
straight at all,
no targets

& you just go
with that  

Featured Poet: Rob Hobkirk

A Dream Made In China


Rob Hobkirk

Somewhere in China

a woman with black hair

and almond eyes

is dyeing silk today

outside snow falls

out of grey January skies

large white snowflakes

gently falling down

inside the factory

tubs of boiling water

wooden tubs of gold


canary yellow

sending up grey clouds

steaming up grey windows

and concrete walls

while a woman

with almond eyes

bathes silk

cherry red-gold

with a broken broomhandle

silk is fished out

hung on a line to dry

hot water cherry red

drips to the ground

running with gold blue canary yellow

grey steam rising

the woman

with almond eyes

takes her tea break

drinking bitter tea

chatting with her friend

while a yellow canary

in a gold cage

sings in the tone of sky blue

somewhere in China

a woman with black hair

and almond eyes

is dyeing silk today.

Missed Connections

Craigslist Montreal – Missed Connections – February 7th, 2016 – “x.”

Sam the Shoe Gal - come and get your Irish - m4w
(bookstore doorway/ car /your lap)

age: 36

The clandestine bookstore rendezvous, eager to climb atop each other while sitting anxiously through coffee, pulling you against me in a doorway, stripping your clothes off hungrily in my backseat, breathless and sworn to each other. I've been daydreaming myself in circles and have an impossible time accepting that we lost contact. Please connect with me again if you see this - I'm back in Montréal, and hungrier for you than ever.

Tell me where we parked.


(N.B.: “under the bridge and over the moon“ – a note from the editor

“next to the all night window at Tim Horton’s . . . food and a bathroom and a view of the lake . . . for all your late night poetry needs”
- a note from the other editor

“meow . . . “ – says the cat (as he licks his paws))

Book Reviews

Changelings: the haunted,a dance with the sacred.

Byline: Subterranean Blue Poetry

Title of Book: Changelings

Author: Cassy Welburn

Publisher: Frontenac House

Date of Publication: 2015

Pages: 80

“it’s better to look at the sky than live there. Such an empty place; so vague.
Just a country where the thunder goes and things disappear.”
- from Breakfast at Tiffany’s by Truman Capote

Changelings writes into all the dark spaces of truth and Goth, brilliant haunted fairytales in New Age Renaissance poetry. This is the first book of poetry by Calgary, Alberta Poet Cassy Welburn. Her work has been published in anthologies, literary journals across Canada and the U.K. and has been featured on CBC radio.

This Poet writes original experiential poetry in the oevre of the wise child, as if through a looking glass, a certain cloud that envelopes in childhood memories, life in an Old Agricultural Community. Singular, often tragic events are written about, that disturbing bright page that stands out in a string of the ordinary, sleepy rural everydays. Psychological truisms are illustrated in dark images, a cloak of spellbinding Goth fairytales and mythos, it is a world caught inside an archaic violent rural archetype yet lives in its fresh telling with occasional glimpses of redemption, glimpses of love. This poetry is a horrific truthtelling saved through the Poet's dance with the sacred. “The more things change, the more things stay the same; The more things stay the same, the more things change.”

A Kindness of Bees

I am running in the stubble
of a grain field
towards my father’s voice,
skirt floating like a flower-bed.

I am running to the combine
stopped on the hill,
my father shouting
a jar of lemonade in my arms,
skirt flapping time.

I am running with the cold jar
of lemonade sloshing against my skin—
and step into a bees' nest, uncover
the sting of the earth, like the smack
of a belt, my skirt flying.

I feel the slam of my father's voice
against my name, the bees on my skin,
running with sweat,
I'm yelling, my knees pounding—
I am losing—
that is the swarm of me in the air,
the cold sound of my voice
sloshing against time.

The combine is parked, lemonade
is running down my legs, spilling
into the ground, the grain, as my father
comes towards me. There is nothing
in his hand. Here is another secret
I've unearthed —
the storm in his face can be traded away.
He says my name, the bees in my hair

The title reminds me of a children’s book with a similar name, The Changeling by Maurice Sendak, a real baby is replaced with a blue ice baby, a haunting. The Prologue begins with a poetic prose story of a brain damaged child/brother, Joe, who is sent away to an institution when he is a young child. One of the main themes, is the reconciliation of his loss to the Poet and to the family, how the empty space, the sorrow of missing, is filled by conjecture in mythos. Other themes include family, children, birth, the violence of accidents, farming community stories, patients in hospitals, stories of teachers, faith healers/Old Time religion, weddings, death. The poetry is vivid, paints violence, a juxtaposition of sharp images with the light, pulled into the place of the sacred, a place of mythology, by the Poet.


At the bridge
the horse balks,
ears back, eyes rolling white,
the old man slides down
from bare back
with a single rope
attached to the metal ring
in the halter
now tight across the stubborn nose.

Boots sucking mud, the man
steps onto the bridge
pulls the rope taut,
white fibre muddy
hands slip
burned raw in a moment.
Mouth wiped black,
he lashes out with all he’s got
a kick up into the chest,
useless rubber bent into toe
Christ! Then
a fist pounding that nose.

The horse rears, its
neigh a shrill whistle,
ducks lift from the river as one.
They are held there,
in the profane embrace
of spring rain.

Man and horse
mud and bridge”

As if acknowledging the violent undertoad of existence, the hidden violence that usually goes unspoken, unwritten, is put forth front and center; the modern world in memory with classical archetypes. There is a running theme, an undercurrent for peace in the post-apocalypse village, as if highlighting the darkness, naming the violence, brings hope for peace. This poetry is considered, every word carefully placed, pared in, yet not minimalist, occasionally as poetic prose. Ms. Welburn is well read quoting some of the greats, quotes and writings, including Anna Akhmatova, William Butler Yeats, Walt Whitman, David Bowie, Mary Oliver, Birago Diop, Gerard Manley Hopkins. Images are from nature and rural settings with occasional allusions to the Bible, Ancient Crete and Ancient Greek mythology. Interestingly, one of the poems, “The Twa Sisters” is based on or borrowed from a book of English ballads from the 13th century by Francis Child. A dark tome in old English during the times of the plague, the story of 2 sisters performing funeral rites for their father by spreading his ashes in his favourite place and one of the sisters meets with an accident.

A very strong first book from this Poet, I look for more poetry from Cassy Welburn. Writing into the night, into the dark . . . a brilliant dirge of the Old World Village dressed in Goth and New Age Renaissance sensibilities, a fantastical read. Changelings by Cassy Welburn.

Available @ Amazon.ca.


0123456789: 10 Poems by Christian Bok.

Byline: Subterranean Blue Poetry

Title of Book: 10 Poems

Author: Christian Bok

Publisher: above/ground press

Date of Publication: 2016

Pages: 16

“When I find I can't remember
What comes after
"A" and before "C",
My mother always whispers,
"Letter B."
- from Letter B Song and Sesame Street

0123456789: 10 Poems is an exciting art nouveau Chapbook from above/ground press, composed almost exclusively of new made up words, experiments with language and new mythologies. Christian Bok, Canadian Poet/Conceptual Artist born in Toronto, studying at Carleton and York universities and teaching at the University of Calgary until recently. Bok has created new languages for science fiction movies as well as pushing the bounds of the traditional artform e.g. using Rubick’s cubes and Lego bricks to make artist’s books. He has written 4 books of poetry, Eunoia (2001) won the Griffin Poetry Prize (2002).

This poetry plays with sound and rhythm, creates new words and language, like the beat of a new drum the elegant creations are considered, the new rhythms speak of poetry and language with a new face. The jumbled spellings include a Phonological Key. The poem Valuveula “is a hymn in the Tlonese language” the Tlonese language first imagined by Jorge Luis Borges. As if borrowing from the tradition of DaDa that grew up around the First World War, a totally nonsensical artistic manifestation in reaction to violence, devoid of all meaning. In Bok’s presentation meaning drifts in and out, as if the fading in and out of an old black and white film reel, from sensical to nonsensical, a celebration of film left on the cutting room floor woven into beat. As it catches you and draws you in, the Poet gives glimpses of a very sophisticated story, sometimes slapstick, sometimes enigmatic, as if a reaction to violence, perhaps influenced by modern world politics and violent times N.A.

And Sometimes

syzgy pyx

jynx synch
tryst ptyx
spy glyphs
grr glycyl

sylphs fly
by tsk tsk

nym nymphs
hmm my zzz

sty styryl
lymph cyst

wyrds wych
mythy lynx

cry by nth
crypt styx

myst wynds
shy by shh

myth hymns
my rhythms”

Nobel Laureate Tomas Transtromer said “The language marches in step with the executioners. Therefore we must get a new language.” The new language by Christian Bok is sophisticated play, as if someone after a bottle of wine is caught babbling into a mirror, “he said”, “she said”, a disconnect that flies into magical realms. In mythos it is the gift of freedom, constructed in poetic rhymes, perhaps a peace accord for the New Age. The new constructions play off the English language, enigmatic, perhaps in secret messages, en camp de camp.

The Doomsday Song
(For Freidrich Nietzsche – Upon the Death of Superman)









This writer imagines a depressed child dressed in a Super Hero costume, flying his little Super Hero toy around the house on a rainy day, chanting this poem. Perhaps a fresh look at angst in tongue and cheek, as the New Economy takes hold and the hoped for return to grace without the violence of the “cult of ego” values, without the fear and paranoia of the Old Economy, peace in the post-apocalypse village.

Taking experimental poetry into the concourse of new words, new language and achieving great heights, brilliant art nouveau, 0123456789: 10 Poems by Christian Bok.

Available @ above/ground press.

Passengers and Scripts

Scripts and Passengers:

Evening skies


Rebecca Anne Banks

(inspired by The Muse and Dylan Noble)

“she asks me while blinking,
will you be my Passenger, always
waiting for our next secret entanglement -
as our hands meet, our touches conversing”
- from Her Eyes Hesitate . . . by Adrian Ernesto Cepeda

“and hot Summer

the darkening

night shadows . . . “

beauty is

as beauty does

beauty bang

beauty done

and all the young kings.

Fresno confederate flags,




“I hate my life”


more than this

beauty is

as beauty does

beauty bang

beauty done

and all the young kings.


more than this.

(we are not free

this country)

“the bluebird’s wife


summer in the tree,



and then gone . . . “




falling into

black and white

film noire

mad man of Dionyssius

and the writing

the writing

the writing upon the . . . wall

"is that a stage cue?"

insert a line of thought ___________________ here

choice – plant a bomb . . . no, too much pain, too much rain

choice – plant sunshine . . . yes, no pain, no rain

5 seconds




"you’re not smiling"

insert a line of thought ________________________ here




insert a line of thought __________________________ here

"you’re still not smiling"




fortune cookie say

“water under bridge,

see fish swim”


"o' soft in blue

the sky deep

pink clouds

deep the moon . . . "

“make up!”

“it might be in your best interest to _______________”

“only on a true love affair”

“i am forever damned to hell, why should a true love affair matter?”

“just for really expensive gifts”

“make up!”

“how many more toys do you need?”

“i broke them all”

“summer birds

in blue sky evening . . . fly”

“how much is that dancer in the window”

“the smell of cinnamon biscuits in the hallway”

“the naked chapdelaine”

“secret maps”

“secret meetings”

“the Hotel le St. James”

“the Ritz Carlton”

“symptoms of disease”

“tell me where it aches”

"blue sky Oresteia

blue cloud

dark and quiet . . . "

walking, walking

each footfall

walking into cages

see all the people in the cages

walking, walking

walking out of cages

see all the people out of cages

see all the people walking in and out of cages

see all the people in cages

“golden treetops on fire

sunlight by greysky

Summer evening . . ."

“you really have 2 b so careful about everything”

“so that nothing matters”

paste up

planned obsolesence

"is that a stage cue"

insert a line of thought __________________________ here

"you’re not smiling"



could cry and cry and cry

put cue ____________________ here

“and now for a word from our sponsors”


wave goodbye

wave goodbye to the camera)

“evening sunlight

the underbelly

of pom birds

in the sky

orange sweet

Summer cold . . . “

hand hammered punk

my favourite Brother Bob

a progression of Buddhist monks

all reincarnated as Brother Bob

Brother Bob sings the blues

Brother Bob knows the news

now, we will never be without another Brother Bob

leo sanger

the god of candy chord

freight shack

train jack

but where is Brother Bob?

singin’, singin’

with his Star-crossed lover in their kitchen.

(today is their 60th Anniversary together)

“happy anniversary”

“happy anniversary”

“happy anniversary”

“through rain

sweet the warm


through rain . . . “




cat o’ chariot

“would you have survived what i

have been through?”

ships to Croyden

Blackpool’s in

turnt salmon runs


turnt sweet salmon,


turnt salmon sweet,


honey and thyme

on a white and gold china plate

of you i dream


serve soup a thousand different ways

apricots and almonds

flowers and flowers . . .





and dance

and dance

and dance.

“and hot Summer

the darkening

night shadows . . . “

beauty is

as beauty does

beauty bang

beauty done

and all the young kings.

Fresno confederate flags,




“I hate my life”


more than this

beauty is

as beauty does

beauty bang

beauty done

and all the young kings.


more than this.

(we are not free

this country)

“blue, blue vermillion

Summer sky, slow

fades to black . . . “


Bedard, Danielle. Teaser. (Photo)

Cepeda, Adrian Ernesto. Her Eyes Hesitate . . . (Poem)

Downie, Gord and The Tragically Hip. New Orleans is Sinking. (Song)

Dylan, Bob. Tangled Up in Blue. (Song)

Eliot, T.S. The Waste Land.

Keeshig, Lenore. Running on the March Wind.


Rebecca Anne Banks lives in Montreal. She is the author of over 27 books of poetry, a family cookbook, a book of children’s stories, a book of World Peace Newsletters and a primer on marriage discernment all available at Amazon.ca. She is also the CEO/Artist at Tea at Tympani Lane Records (www.tympanilanerecords.com) and The Book Reviewer at The Book Reviewer (www.thebookreviewer.ca).

Stephen Bett lives in Victoria, British Columbia with his wife Katie. He is widely published in journals both in North America and internationally. Bett is a recently retired college professor from Langara College, Vancouver. His personal papers are being archived at Simon Fraser University and he has written over 18 books of post-modern poetry. Some of his best known works are 3 Women, Track This: a book of relationship, Breathing Arizona: A Journal, Sound Off: a book of jazz, The Gross and Fine Geography: New and Selected Poems, Un/Wired amongst others. www.stephenbett.com.

Christian Bok is a Canadian Experimental Poet/Conceptual Artist born in Toronto. He studied at Carleton and York universities and has been teaching at the University of Calgary as of 2005. Bok also creates experimental art and has created new languages for science fiction movies. He has written 4 books of poetry, Crystallography (1994), Pataphysics: The Poetics of an Imaginary Science (2001), The Xenotext (Book 1) (2015) and Eunoia (2001) won the Griffin Poetry Prize (2002).

Rob Hobkirk lives and writes in Northern California. He has a love of family, friends, nature, finding art in its many forms, listening to baseball games on the radio, and cold watermelon in hot Summer. He often writes at a local coffee shop in the morning. He runs an Internet art blog, “Hobkirk Art Blog” and creates the art for his book covers. And he has written two books of poetry, Haiku Avenue and Somewhere Poetry Grows Wild Under the Eucalyptus, a book of short stories, Blind Date, and has just launched a novel, Tommy’s Exodus. www.hobkirkartblog.blogspot.ca.

Cassy Welburn is a Calgary poet and storyteller who has shared her work across Canada and in the U.K. Her poetry has appeared in literary journals, anthologies and on CBC radio. Her book of poetry, Changelings, came out in 2015 with Frontenac House.