new year's eve

an older poem of mine entitled "new year's eve" has been posted on the feathertale site. you can read it here.



two thoughts from al purdy

Poetry. What is it for, what does it do, what is the use of it? In Canada, poetry reflects and foreshadows both country and people. It is the voice of reason, the voice of humanity, the voice that says “I am me.” It allows us to know each other; like the CBC, it connects with all parts of the country. It says the little village of Ameliasburgh in Ontario has some relevance to, say, Granville Ferry in Nova Scotia. Above all, poetry says you are us and we are citizens of here and now, this space, this air, and this time.

- “Disconnections,” Essays on Canadian Writing, No. 49 [Summer 1993], p.187

To my mind, what a poem ought to do is cause the reader to feel and think, balanced on nearly the same moment as myself when I wrote it. And I’d prefer to be understood with a minimum of mental strain by people as intelligent or more so than myself. I’d like them to hear the poem aloud when they read it on the page, which some people can do with poems they like.
Ideally, I’d like to say a thing so well that if the reader encounters a passage in a poem which has much the same rhythm and ordinariness as this prose passage he or she is reading now: that that passage would suddenly glow like coloured glass in a black and white world. Which is probably a hopeless ambition.

-Bursting into Song, p.11 [1982]


Neruda's Nobel Lecture

From all this, my friends, there arises an insight which the poet must learn through other people. There is no insurmountable solitude. All paths lead to the same goal: to convey to others what we are. And we must pass through solitude and difficulty, isolation and silence in order to reach forth to the enchanted place where we can dance our clumsy dance and sing our sorrowful song - but in this dance or in this song there are fulfilled the most ancient rites of our conscience in the awareness of being human and of believing in a common destiny.

- Pablo Neruda, December 13th, 1971

read the whole thing here


44% of my chapbook for free!

the green muse has released it’s winter 06 issue, featuring the poetry of HAP published poet C.S. Fuqua. the issue also features four poems from my chapbook, "splattered earth" (are the other 5 poems in the chapbook worth the dollar-fifty? only one way to find out…).

check out the whole issue here, and my contribution here.


three poems

red fez has released it’s winter 06 issue, which includes three of my poems:

a note to all the poets of the world
she worries about me, you see

if interested, i encourage you to read the whole issue, as red fez is always one of the best reads out there.


remembrance day

here in ghana i find that old wars are recalled with the same strange mix of nostalgia, pride and horror as they are in canada, except these wars weren’t fought an ocean away, but instead right here. being so near the battlegrounds, and their repercussions, puts a new spin on yet another canadian holiday (no one gave me candy on halloween).

on top of that i just finished reading Slaughterhouse 5 (as part of my “read all those books you really should have read ages ago” campaign), which contains, for me, one of the most powerful anti-war messages i’ve ever encountered. in other words, i’m feeling the holiday more than most years.

along those lines, here are two poems by Carl Sandburg, written during WWI:

Murmurings in a Field Hospital


hey ted's head. you look cold. can i get you a toque?

my poem "hey ted's head. you look cold. can i get you a toque?" has been published in feathertale.

read it here.


on women and CFCs

she tells me she believes
every weather front contains
its own story

and each morning
dewy grass lingers
as a reminder that
an abbreviated history of the earth
has played out while we slept.

she smiles and i quiver inside,
flooded with images of
the countless icebergs that will soon
lumber up on arctic beaches
and collapse into thunder,
never to be reconstituted.

the sand beneath them
drowned, turned to seabed.
the rocks on the shore now
battered by the rising waves,
relentlessly bullied into sand.

each grain a new birth,
its own trembling world.

from the november 2006 issue of High Altitude Poetry

read more of my poems from HAP here.



we'd freed
the pelican
from the hook
snagged in
its mouth
we gathered
over the
body of its
partner -
who had
flown too
close, been
tangled in
the fishing
line and
the first
of us
to speak
offered that
maybe it
had died
trying to
free the
other and
though we
all knew
that was
we said
our wings
folded, our

from the winter 2006 issue of One Cool Word


is the hardest part

just as an update, because i haven’t posted anything in quite a while:

a poem of mine is coming out in feathertale around the end of the month. it’s about ted william’s cryogenically frozen head.

in november, those fine folk at One Cool Word will be printing a poem of mine, too. this one’s about pelicans. (they’ll also be printing a poem by liam ford).

then, in november, also, The Green Muse will be doing a profile thang on my chapbook, featuring four of its poems. they are about china, the country (though one of them does have a reference to dinnerware, also).

in other words:

1. november will be neat.
2. i write poems about strange things.
3. tom petty was right.

meanwhile, i have to figure out how to come up with a halloween costume in a country where they don’t celebrate halloween. so far i have a scraggly white beard which i extracted from a pill bottle…


the legacy

as i noted a few posts ago, i am currently living in Accra, Ghana, playing doting housewife to my partner, Marta, who is working here on a CIDA internship. my writing is coming slowly, but my reading and appreciation of Ghanaian poetry is rushing along. while it is endlessly difficult to find books in this city (beyond harlequin romances), whenever i come across a good shop the percentage of its shelves devoted to poetry always astounds me.

so far, the Ghanaian poet I encourage one and all to read is Kobena Eyi Acquah. his “In the Navel of the Soul” is taught to secondary school students here, and sweet god - if only we could have been so fortunate in high school. check him out, if you can find his work anywhere. if not, i’ll be back in March with a couple of his books (and i’d happily take orders for further copies, as books usually go for 1-3 bucks around here).

Marta and i spent much of the day yesterday at the University of Ghana, Legon, which has an excellent bookstore and library (where i read an issue of The Dalhousie Review featuring HAP contributor Jesse Ferguson). i mostly went to the library to attempt to discover whether The Legacy, a student-run lit journal that operated out of Legon in the 70s, was still functioning. short answer: heck no. in fact, the librarian was only able to find one dusty issue of The Legacy in the stacks. it was a bit crushing, but that one issue certainly was worth the effort put into the search. the poem below was pulled from it (with apologies from the author for not achieving prior approval, but damned if i can find you), and is representative of the high quality of the entire publication.

Hopefully, thirty years from now, people will be able to look back on what we are producing today with as much admiration.

We Are The Meaning

(To Nanaa)

Another day another world and
To live with dignity, to understand
That it is not easy to fly when
We have put our wings up for sale,
      So treat me warm, gentle presence:
There is no greater sadness here
Than the lonely life
A wholeness within, these longings
For a dim freedom, a just place -
      So where is this the choice, the essence?
Another day, other ways to
Mutter trembling apologies for
Nothing, for this tortured charade
Made of discarded bits of us all.
      And so we lean before the spell
Of the evil eye shaking our hands
Unbelieving, that this life is a dream
      That we are the meaning.

- Eugene Opoku-Agyeman
from The Legacy: A Student Literary Journal, University of Ghana, Legon
(Volume III, No. 2: September 1977)


a poem

eclectica magazine just came out with a new issue, featuring a poem of mine called "the silence is worse".

if you're interested, you can read the poem here, or the whole issue here.



memewar magazine has published "The Next Great Proletarian Revolution" on their website. i believe it will also be included in their print edition, due out in october. maybe someone can grab me a copy?

the online version is here.

thanks, memewar!


ocw = shrewd capitalists and all-around good folk

the people at one cool word magazine are neat. look! they promo'd my chapbook for me while i was on the other side of the planet:

see, it's hiding there in the corner!

sure, the almost 400% markup on the price probably hurt sales a bit, but at least a few copies got to go out on the town for the day. i think they've been feeling all cooped up at home, and most likely enjoyed the fresh air.

thanks, ocw!


Haiku 1-4

my poem "Haiku 1-4" has been published in the online mag, feathertale.

read it here.


meditation 1

here is an empty space
in my life
i will fill it with love
here is an empty space


book review: Sarna

my review of He Claims He Is the Direct Heir by Lazar Sarna is now online at poetryreviews.ca. read it here. oh, and marta and i are in ghana now. we will be here for the next seven months. feel free to stop by for a visit.


that's an order

sorry i've had no posts lately. been terribly busy with my new project, Geroy is Mr. Lube. perhaps my stupidest idea yet. check it out, though, and sign the petition.

and peruse the september issue of High Altitude Poetry. early release. so damn professional.

and check out my new favorite web mag, feathertale.

and read this poem.




the tragedy of
his golden wife
his shimmering
prison is what
we all remember
and the knowledge
that we would
be wise enough
not to make
his mistake

rarely do
we consider
the currency
that occurred
      gold now
      than sand
how much the
world longed for
green and the
singing of birds
how melodies
became the new
market standard
how the world
stopped reading
and boasting and
for one shining
moment started

from the September 2006 issue of High Altitude Poetry

more of my poems from HAP here.


colour me splattered

Leopold McGinnis, author and editor of Red Fez magazine, has been kind enough to promo my chapbook, splattered earth, on the Red Fez site. he even went to the trouble to take a photo of his copy so people could appreciate the garish red cover (why didn't i think of this?). thanks, leopold!

what is splattered earth, you ask? find out by ordering a copy right now! just click on the "paypal" icon in the sidebar. own a copy of the chapbook that has been called both "good shit" and "good crap."


so i was at this reading

so i was at this reading
and a woman was up there
she was iranian or something
old with long grey hair
and she’d written this special sonnet
king or prince or crown
or something like that

anyway, it was this
set of seven sonnets
and they all ran together
with the last line of one
being the first line
of the next and
i thought “geezus christ”
and started looking
for a fire exit
but she had already started in
about some bird she’d found
all chewed up in her
backyard and how she
named it and fed it
and scooped its poop
out of the little cage
she made for it
and I kid you not,
she went on like this
for seven sonnets
and the bird got stronger
and stronger and
then, it had to be
half an hour later, it
flew out of the cage and
out of the window
and hell, probably right
into a passing jet engine
for all we knew.
then she closed the book
real slowly with this sad
look on her face
and when she looked up
everyone in the audience
started clapping and they
had sad looks on their faces
i mean, i had a sad look
on, too, but i doubt it
was for the same reasons.
everyone was clapping
every single damn person
even the sound guy
who i’m sure lays in
bed twitching his wrists
up and down, dreaming
he is the god of volume
blaring and muting heaven’s trumpets
even he took his hands
off the soundboard
and joined in.
and then it happened.
i felt my arms lifting
i couldn’t stop them
they were jealous of their
peers, slapping together so
furiously all around them.
i started clapping, slowly
but the momentum...
soon i was stomping my feet on the floor
whistling, yelping
i stood up on my chair
screaming “ENCORE! ENCORE!”
i didn’t care that everyone else
had stopped clapping and
the room had grown eerily silent.
i pulled out my cell phone
and ordered a pizza.
i figured they owed me
half an hour of their time
and damn if i wasn’t going
to make the best of it.
so i sat there, eating,
for a good twenty minutes
listening to the silence as
it nursed me back to health
and when i was finished
the audience lifted me to
the window with their
tender palms and with
one firm push sent me
flapping out into
the busy world.

from the Spring 2005 issue of iamb. more of my poems from iamb here.


book review: Purdy

my review of The More Easily Kept Illusions: The Poetry of Al Purdy, ed. Robert Budde, is now online at poetryreviews.ca.

read it here.

while i'm posting: High Altitude Poetry is hosting a picnic/reading tomorrow in the AQ gardens at SFU if anyone's interested. more info on their website.


questions to the stars

when i die, lord, what will my father look like?
i remember him old and wrinkled, but my brothers
remember him when he was a young fighter.
will we all see the same man?

do we get to choose how we look in heaven?
can we pick our perfect age or do we
always appear as we did when we died?
is heaven filled with geriatrics?
are whole aisles of heaven's groceries devoted to prunes?

what about the babies, then?
the stillborns?
do they age?
do they become wise and strong
as their parents would have dreamed?

more importantly, lord, i'm wondering tonight about hell.
if we can pick the age we look, can we not
too pick the age when we were still good?
don't get me wrong, i look around this place
and i understand the need for hell
but i'm certain even little adolf was at some time
dazzled by the endlessness of a snowfall
the tiny mechanics of a frog's legs or
the sunken deliciousness of a black forest cake
(like the one my mother baked for us tonight).

surely that boy deserves a spot in heaven.

and lord, i know you are a busy man and
i don't want to hold you up any longer
i just wanted to say that you and me are much the same.
we both hold a lot of answers inside ourselves.
we gaze out into the unknown,
our bellies full.

- from the September 2005 issue of High Altitude Poetry

read more of my poems from HAP here.


What the hell?

I'm having to say goodbye-for-now to Ida Ferdinandi tonight. A good friend, and longtime High Altitude Poetry member, Ida is heading back to Montenegro, which, to put it mildly, sucks the big dog. It will be a great loss not just for her many close friends, but also for the wider poetry community at SFU.

Anyway, here's one of her untitled poems from the July 2004 issue of High Altitude Poetry, which somehow seems appropriate right now:

An intruder
In a strange land
On a truck
Wind in her hair
Dirt on her pores
There's a man
He gives her an onion
With the skin of a chestnut
Taste of a potato
She smiles back
What the hell?
An intruder
In a strange land

-Ida Ferdinandi


what a robin thinks

~ for Mariner Janes

but not worm
instead: lightning mother waterslide

not the words
but the shape of your mouth
when you whisper them
in a crowded airport.

don’t go to the woods or
some ragged field to try it -
it will not work

for you are the one
who understands those spaces
and a robin’s home is nothing like yours.

in the land of the robins
sounds melt into a different atmosphere
and background noises are scripts,
not soundtracks

in the land of the robins
languages and words are
drunken strangers who
wrestle shirtless in
the back allies of the clouds.

the land of the robins is a place you can never visit
though you can purchase a ticket
and wait

whisper: lightning mother waterslide

taste worm, but not worm,
a flavour that can be spoken to no one,
only sung to the sky.

from the summer 06 issue of one cool word.


water, rocks, cool words

sorry for the paucity of posts lately. i was in the rockies with family taking pictures and writing far too few poems. just got home today.

got a poem coming out in the 2nd issue of one cool word ("what a robin thinks", read it here), and i will be reading at the mag launch in 2 days:

july 28th, 2006
one cool word magazine launch
9:00 PM, Backstage Lounge
10 bucks, 12 at door

[The set list, if ya missed it:
Haiku 1-4
for you, in sunlight
To a girl, distraught, having just lost her first love
i just noticed
michael jordan]

bloody expensive, and mostly music (though good music), so i'll understand if many don't make the trek out to see it, but liam ford, colin stewart, and i all have 15 minute sets, so it should be a good evening. i'll be reading around 11:50, by the looks of it, though the schedule might just fall to hell (as they usually seem to), so who knows.

if you want to go, and are travelling from the eastern suburbs, a carpool might be possible.


4 event equation

july 19th:
Barbara Adler CD Launch
8:30 doors, 9:30 show, Anza Club
7-10 bucks
more info: perdido_tusk(at)hotmail.com


july 22nd:
Summer Dreams Reading Festival
12:30 - 8:30 PM, Robson Square
all the details here
(note: HAP is reading at 12:40)


july 28th:
one cool word magazine launch
9:00 PM, Backstage Lounge
10 bucks, 12 at door
more details here


august 10th:
HAP poetry reading/picnic
12:30 PM, AQ Gardens, SFU
(i'll be bringing two-bite brownies)


a skateboard and helmet



chemical spill

i’m not going to personify the muddy little thing
dress it in the human bondage of nazi
gas or guillotines or worse

i’m not going to invoke chernobyl
or any other place we have
convinced the soil to reject

i’m not going to observe how this
could have been foreseen
how in fifty years we will be dead
and possibly our children too

as will this fish, its gills burned
off by caustic soda, its arc
collapsed as guts fold in on one
another and dissolve

as we too will fold in, one day, like petals
though i need not bother you with details
we have shared before:

we walked slowly forward
hands firm in the bellowing silence
you whispered ‘the smell is weaker than i imagined’
i dropped my pen into my pocket

now, hours later, i pull it out to find
it no longer smells of pocket, or fish, or you.

from the 2006 issue of Quills Canadian Poetry Magazine.



The Next Great Proletarian Revolution

It will be led by Dilbert.
He will begin at his office by
tossing the pointy-haired boss out the window
and, swinging a letter opener in the air,
declaring the seventeenth floor a workers’ paradise.

He will then slash through the bottom of panel four
dropping on to Snoopy’s dog house, where,
through a broad-based leafleting campaign,
he will whip the Peanuts into a revolutionary fervour
ousting Charlie Brown’s cruel canine food rations
and Lucy’s abusive monopoly on psychiatric consultations.

The uprising will spread across page D 12.
The members of the Family Circus will
break from their coffee-mug prison
and rally with Calvin and Hobbes
and Marx and Engels
on the spacious lawns of Capitol Hill
that lie nestled in the upper right hand corner
of Doonesbury’s third panel.

Finally, the funny page revolutionaries
will tear down all the borders and titles and by-lines
and with the pieces build one large panel
in which they will gather
chanting and dancing
throwing their three-fingered fists in the air.

And we will chuckle to ourselves
folding them up and sliding them
into our purses and overcoats
as we squeeze into the subway train,
the winter chill clinging to our ears and socks.
We’ll pull our collars up to the cold
smudging new wardrobes with the dark ink of the revolution
and cursing our misfortune,
wondering what on earth we will wear to work tomorrow.

from the July 2006 issue of High Altitude Poetry and the October 2006 edition of memewar

read more of my poems from HAP here.


book review: Zieroth

reviewed The Village of Sliding Time by David Zieroth for poetryreviews.ca. read the review here. i'll post new poems o' mine soon. oh, and the West Coast Poetry Festival is starting on wednesday (runs 'till saturday). seems a good deal smaller this year. all the shows are in the evening and at The Western Front. more details here.


the furthest away

grandpa picked them
and presented them to grandma
who gave them to little cousin
to wash then handed them to
uncle to serve to father and
daughter and boyfriend arrived
from across the planet only
for this blackberry dessert
and maybe it was cousin’s
tiny hands but the berries
are riddled with ants and
grandpa doesn’t seem to
notice grandma uncle cousin
father don’t seem to notice
daughter doesn’t seem to notice
but boyfriend does and he
the furthest away from all
of this doesn’t know what
to say or what language to
say it in so he crunches them
down and later that night he
tells daughter and father who
howl and avoid admitting
they would have done the
same though later they
stay up much of the night
agitated by some invisible
thing that determinedly
tickles its way down their

from the spring 2006 issue of iamb: sfu's creative writing journal. more of my poems from iamb here.


hockey and hobbes

here's something i submitted to The Peak as a feature. by the end of the week it somehow came out as a letter to the editor.

there are always a lot of cardboard boxes around The Peak office. i'm beginning to suspect they have a transmogrifier.

anyway, here is the feature/letter. hell, maybe it's a chicken by now. or a panther.

Everything I need to know about suburbia I learned from Port Moody hockey


after the game

what about
all the other days

all the other days
after the playoffs

we can spoil
our ballots &
our appetites & read until
our eyes dry out
because it's not the end
of the world
or the semester
it just looks like

it is just
the end of the season

- from bookends, by ryan andrew murphy, High Altitude Poetry, July 2004


things for you to know (and tell others)

one cool word magazine is holding a fundraiser at cafe deux soleils on commercial on tuesday night. 5 bucks gets you some music, rc weslowski and a performance by barbara "the-reason-i-come-to-the-defence-of-slam-poetry" adler. she's worth the five bucks all on her own. take a gander for yourself here (click "Watch").

i will most likely be there, and if you let me know, i'll save you a seat (i'll do a better job at this if i'm there, of course, but i'll try either way).

also, high altitude poetry is having a reading in the AQ gardens at SFU this wednesday at 1 pm. it's supposed to be sunny so it should be a swell time.

oh, and if you feel like reading a poem, read this one. it is admired by the rob taylors and mike hingstons of the world alike.



cassius clay was a helluva fighter
he danced and
he taunted and
the cameras couldn't keep away and
muhammad ali was the same
big and bold and brass and
the cameras were obsessed

he could find no rest no escape
he ran off to the congo and
rumbled in the jungle with
this guy who makes grills and
they beat the shit out of each other and
everybody cheered and
the cameras affixed themselves to
his arms and his legs and his brain and
maybe that's why he got parkinson's and
started shaking like a
frightened old man overcome by a ghost and
when he lit that torch in atlanta
the games where bombs burst in air and in olympic park
where bodies lay bloodied and blistered in the
golden glow of the muddy southern sun

when he lit that torch he was shaking so much you
almost thought the thing was going to go out but then it
struck against the oil and this flame
bigger than anything any of us could have imagined
leapt into life and muhammed stood under it, shaking and
now i meet kids named cassius and all they know is they were
named after some boxer and i tell them that i knew this man
i saw him light the torch in atlanta
i saw him change
i saw everybody change
i saw a flame leap up that i could not have imagined

we all needed to change our names
to change our anthems
but only he had the guts to do it
so young cassius you have your name
take it and shake it and turn it into something else and
cassius you will shine forever in that muddy southern sun.

from the Fall 2005 issue of iamb. more of my poems from iamb here.


new laptop

after three days
i look down in the toilet
and wonder which of the
programs i downloaded
carried that virus


the last month, in review


i’m tired

and you are asking too much

to expect me to turn these words

into something


i’m not baking

and if i was

everything would be burnt

and you would be crunching it down

and smiling in a feeble attempt

to not hurt my feelings.


graduation day

took the walk today. grew my beard out long for it and everything.

now i need a new stock answer when people ask me "what do you do for a living?". i'll try "hobo" out for a while and see how it goes.

even though these were published recently both elsewhere and on this blog, i figured this would be a good time to re-post my SFU swan songs:

in prose: on truth and tenancy

and poetry: upon my graduation from simon fraser university

more Peak columns here, and HAP poems here.

photo credits: marta iniewska (art samples here and here) for the hats and ben gabriel (art samples here and here) for the floating head.


as promised...

for nathan (a poetry production line poem)

the future, he says, is commin down on us
like a hotsh ot freight train

running straigh through the petting zoo...
of my soul

for the future is furry, but with sharp sharp teeth


battle gear that impresses upon the dreams of my dear
who remains forever occupied by recreational activities.

written on September 28th, 2005 as part of the inaugural HAP/iamb Poetry Production Line by Jack Kerouac, a clown, a poet with a black, black soul, a war poet (sadly, not featured) and Ms. 19th Century.

p.s. liam ford just posted three amazing poems on his blog. read them here, here and (especially) here.


surprisingly few "monkey typewriter" pictures on the net...

High Altitude Poetry is both reading poems (as part of the English Department events) and running a production line at the SFU Open House tommorow. trouble is, we just found out about the reading part yesterday. so...if you've been printed in HAP (i.e. you're on this list), let me know and you can come read. that would be neat.

i want to give you a sample of a sweet production line poem, which was written during our very first production line with iamb last summer, but it is in the glove compartment of my car (which is in the shop for repairs). i'll post it when i get it back (update: here it is).


The New Canada

Experts say that much of Vancouver,
including, for that matter, my home
lies on the silt deposits of the mighty Fraser river

and when that great earthquake of ours hits
(and don't worry, it will hit)
that silt is going to shift around
and our houses will crack and crumble
and slide into the rumbling sea
gasping women and
gasping children first.

So I've decided that I might as well ship off now,
compose my eulogy and
book my plot in a mountaintop cemetery.

A gravesite chiseled out of deep Cascadian granite
where my drowned and shaken skull can rest
even after the meteorite kills off the rest of you poor bastards

even after the next generation flaps its muddy fins
up the forking tongue of the Fraser
into the shock-browed peaks of the new Canada.

from the July 2004 issue of High Altitude Poetry

more of my poems from HAP here.


The Malcolm X-treme!

i'm often proud of my suburb. when it comes to social issues, the environment, etc., it's usually low in 'sub' and high in 'urb'. then we go and do something like this:

Black Panthers to prowl ice in Port Moody

By Larry Pruner The Tri-City News
May 14 2006

Port Coquitlam Buckeroos are history, which was the theme of many of the monikers submitted in the Junior ‘B’ hockey club’s recent name-the-team contest.
Only team owner Ron Luniw wanted something new when he shifted the franchise to Port Moody from PoCo after the last Pacific International Junior Hockey League season.
Meet the Port Moody Black Panthers.
In the Black Panthers, Luniw believes his team will have a fresh look while keeping close ties to the Port Moody Minor Hockey Association, whose rep teams go by the nickname Panthers.
“Nothing against Port Moody minor hockey at all but I still wanted my own identity,” Luniw told The Tri-City News Friday. “Hopefully, their players will go one day from being Panthers to Black Panthers. I want them to also realize we want a close connection to their faction.”
Luniw said he received nearly 200 submissions over a three-week period in the name-the-team contest, including such traditional suggestions for the PoMo club as the Prospectors, the Gold Rush and the Locomotive.
Two youngsters offered the name Black Panthers, with Port Moody 16-year-old Patrick Moussa and Port Coquitlam 11-year-old Callum McDonald sharing the winning prize. For their effort, the two will each receive a season pass to next year’s Black Panthers home games.
The team will retain its former uniform colours of red, white, black and grey, although Luniw said that’s more to resemble Canada’s national teams than maintain tradition.
A new logo has also been designed; it’s a panther bearing its teeth and claws atop a hockey skate, with the words “Black Panthers” encircling it.
“I guarantee you we will be the best-dressed team in the league,” Luniw raved.
The Black Panthers, whose players are usually 15 to 20 years old, will hold an invitational rookie camp June 16 to 18 in Pitt Meadows. For more information about the camp, or regarding season tickets, email portmoodyjuniorhockeyclub@shaw.ca .

i don't know whether it's worse that our PIJHL Hockey Team has chosen to call itself the Black Panthers, or that no one at the Tri-City News said "hey, this name choice may not be entirely appropriate. maybe we should make a note of it in our article." yeesh.

i sent a letter to the editor about it. they didn't print it:

The editor,

The Port Moody Black Panthers? After games, will there be parties? Black Panther Parties? And what am I expected to do to celebrate a goal, bow my head and raise a gloved fist?

The 16 and 11 year olds who came up with the name shouldn’t be expected to know better, but their parents and those in charge of the team most certainly should. Surely someone involved in the operations of the team, or, say, your own reporter covering the story, could have pointed out how inappropriate a name this is. This name selection reveals our incredible ignorance of (or indifference to) North American history, and will make us a laughing stock once the word gets out.

I may be too quick to judge, however. Is Black Nationalist literature going to be distributed at games? Will players be encouraged to use their sticks to forcibly resist oppression? If so, the name might just fit. Otherwise, lets find a new one. How about the “Port Moody Malcolm X-treme”?

Yours truly,

Rob Taylor

on that note, a poem from the suburbs:

socialist paranoia

green means 'go'
unless turning left.

red means 'stop'
unless turning right.

even the traffic lights
are out to get me.


upon my graduation from simon fraser university

most of all i will miss the first-years
eyes bulging, hands sweating
distributing trotskyite newspapers in the morning
attending stephen harper rallies in the afternoon

newborns staying up all night
desperately finishing that last reading
highlighters flashing like emergency flares
illuminating their faces -
the cherubs of the study hall

(though i, too, know the stats:
the percentage of them who have criminal records
who drink too much, who illegally download mp3s
the percentage who were sexually active at 13
raped, molested, gay bashed)

they can be found in the hallways
crying after a career-ending
GEOG 100 mid-term
shrouded by seven of their closest high school friends
who hurriedly comfort them
coo like doves

i see this performance often

a messy reminder that squall
is not only our term for the
howling tantrums of babies
but also for storms

the sky dark
wind relentless
you and i holding on to
palm trees, lampposts
praying that soon
this will pass
the sky will clear
and a new day
will be born,
more tender
than the last.

from the May 2006 issue of High Altitude Poetry.

more of my poems from HAP here.


it's ok, she asked permission

the may issue of High Altitude Poetry is coming out next week, and when it's online i'll link it here.

Jenn Ku, however, has provided us with a sneak peak of her poem that will be featured in the HAP may issue on her blog. the poem is more than a little good. read it here.


april - pri = al

april was 'national poetry month'. more accurately, this april was 'Al Purdy poetry month'.

in mid-april, a documentary/reading/gordonpinsentlookingwistful on Al, called 'Yours, Al' aired on CBC. it wasn't as good as the Bukowski documentary 'born into this', but it had some of the same 'my-god-they're-typing-the-words-right-on-the-screen' effect, which pleased me.

then, later in the month, Al's 'Rooms for Rent in the Outer Planets' placed second in that silly 'Canada Reads' radioganza (like a normal extravaganza, but on radio). mad props to Susan Musgrave for nominating it.

on top of all that, early may brought with it an Al Purdy conference at the U of Ottawa.

all of this tickled me silly, and just might aid me in my goal to have every person i know (and possess at least a moderate inkling of care for) read one Al Purdy poem before they die. any poem would do, like this one, or this one. 'The Country North of Belleville' would be preferable though, or 'Transient'.

to end my Al Purdy wet dream post, here's a poem i wrote quite a while ago, when i first started to realize that poetry was more than the English 12 curriculum:

continental drift

I’m having an Al Purdy moment,
one in which everything I've
ever written is shit
because Al wasn't a 16th
century playwright, he didn't
strut around in pantaloons
pacing the chartered Thames
he wrote poems about
100 Mile House and slept in
Eskimo huts in the N.W.T.
he crapped in the woods more times
than Byron, Donne and Shelley combined
and maybe that's supposed to
give me some relief, a clearing in
this wasteland of trees and gravel
but before Al I always took
comfort in my distance from talent,
from species of birds I'd never heard of
and all those elongated words.
Talent was something I didn't
particularly care for
something I was quite happy
to keep at an ocean's reach.


3 poems and 1 ford

i recently remembered i had 2 poems online, as part of the "thank you" zine we whipped up for stephen buckley upon his (2nd) graduation from SFU back in 2004. then, after we'd put in all that effort, he turned around and came back for his masters. now (as of tonight) i'm officially off-campus before him. how does he pull that off?

the poems are "untitled" and "afterthoughts", and you can read 'em here.

also, liam ford is an spankingly good writer (read his blog). he wrote a great review of a bukowski reading/film for kicks magazine called "Impolite Poetry" . read it if you like yourself.

on the subject of mr. ford, and in order to ensure the title of this post makes sense, here's a third poem:

literary revolution

- for liam ford

what if ford and taylor had been poets,
deconstructing and compartmentalizing
poems into images, rhymes, devices, etc.?
an assembly line working all night,
welding on metaphors and greasing the syntax.

think of all the poems we’d have by now:
we’d each get a new one stuffed
in our newspapers every morning,
we’d line our birdcages with them,
throw them as confetti at weddings.

there’d be so many that eventually
we’d stop reading them carefully,
only skimming to that part 2/3rds
of the way down where they throw in
the joke to lighten the mood…
you know, just before it gets heavy.

and we’d like it, of course,
it would be handy and comfortable
unlike the tourette-inspired system of old
where poems would spurt out unannounced
from all sorts of questionable individuals
and locales.

but still, i say god bless the automobile
and ford and taylor and the automated
plague they unleashed upon this earth,
bless them for staying the hell away from
poetry, leaving it to us inefficient schmucks
barking and howling in the woods, mixing
our metaphors in the most unproductive of
fashions, accomplishing little and realizing
that that was exactly the point, all along.



gotta love googling your name while stalling for exams. i found my first wiki-reference. i bet 10 bucks it won't last more than a week.

here's the original article/rant, if yer interested: Is the Golden Key screwing you over?


2 sites

anna moorhouse is a great poet. she has a blog. it has a new poem on it. see for yourself.

also, i believe i have found the greatest poetry blog ever. it has a whopping 2 entries. read the first one first, and the second one second.


lucky number 7

my final column in The Peak just came out. it's called "On truth and tenancy", and you can read it here.

if yer interested, here's the poem i wrote a couple years ago that inspired the column:

in the W.A.C. Bennett Library

maybe Wacky Bennett
built all those dams
and universities
because he knew
that he couldn't stop
the flow, he could
only slow it down

turn it into something
we could comprehend
(something we could power
our coffee grinders with)

a shrine beaten out
with our muddy human
fists where we could
worship the water
as if it were holy,
as if it were our own.


i want a poem

i want a poem
so shit-stirringly good
that every fourteen year old girl
who’s ever forced to read it for
english homework starts
crying and every fourteen year
old boyfriend who argues
‘poems are for wimps’ secretly
reads it at night, too.

i want a poem
so bum-fuckingly awesome
that people smile when they
overhear someone saying the
title - a simple title - one
word, ‘rain’ or ‘bench’ or
‘troglodyte’, something the poem
can lock in a submission
hold and squeeze until
it taps out.

i want a poem
so titty-jiggilingly superb
that even that guy you know
who always quotes
bad song lyrics out of
context then howls
because he’s so much
goddam smarter than
everyone else can
never make it look bad
no matter how slowly
or obnoxiously he recites it,
no matter how many times
he pauses to laugh
along the way.

i want a poem like that.
i want it so badly.
i dont need to write it
i just need to see it
or at least find a few more people
who believe that it exists.

from the March 2006 issue of High Altitude Poetry.

read more of my poems in HAP here.


chapter book

I've come up with a chapbook, splattered earth. It features a fistful o' poems inspired by some time I spent in China. Here's the set list:

the cops in hong kong
bus across the chinese border
all i can do
modernization eulogy
while admiring headless terracotta warriors
pen pal (2nd printing only)
i'd studied mao

If you'd like a copy, they are available at the People's Coop Bookstore (1391 Commercial Drive, Vancouver) for $2.00, or you can track me down and buy one in person ($1.50, or $1.00 each for orders of 3 or more). Also, you can order one through PayPal now for $3.25 and I'll send it right to your doorstep. I'm also certainly open to chapbook trades.

IT'S HARD TO BELIEVE, I KNOW, BUT IT GETS BETTER: While supplies last, all in-person and online sales will include a bonus poem, "viciously in our throats", from my upcoming chapbook child of saturday.

You can order a copy from the sidebar by clicking on the "Pay Pal" button ======>

A sample page from the chapbook can be viewed here.

A brief review of the chapbook, by Leopold McGinnis, editor of Red Fez Magazine, can be read here.

Thanks for your interest!

x / ?

iamb, sfu's creative writing journal, just launched it's third issue. good on 'em. got a couple of poems in it: "all i can do" and "the furthest away". pick up a copy pretty much anywhere on sfu's burnaby campus and (hopefully, maybe) some other places too.

iamb's been nice to me in the past, publishing four poems previously ("thief", "so i was at this reading", "2005", and "cassius").

here's one of 'em (from issue two, fall 05):



as close to
the middle of nothing
as possible

we seem unable
to construct a name
for this decade

the 'tens' sounds ugly,
especially when
compared with

those glorious,
shining 'twenties',
but still

it is infinitely
better than
this decade

which must be
the 'zeros'
if anything.

we launch cameras
up our asses, explore
the outer reaches of our colons

but still stand
around, mumbling,
wondering how to

describe this decade
we find ourselves
squeezed inside.

maybe that's why
the 'nineteen-zeros' were
void of history

a century of wars
famines scandals
plagues terror

maybe the
nineteen-zeros were
the same

(pestilence, death,
squalling babies:
the works)

maybe there were
tear-jerking stories
to be told but

no one could
lay out the
timeline so

they skipped on
to WWI and hoped
no one would notice

and the devastation
of the zeros was lost to us,
the terror erased

or lulled into
hibernation, waiting for
the zeros to return.

now it has
begun seeping up
through the grass

corroding our
pipes, raining down
from the sky.

we're trapped here in
(as close to the middle

of nothing as possible)
with this terror we
can't explain, we

can never write
down and a century
from now no one

will know how
to describe this
time, they'll say

"you know,
the 'two-thousands'"
but no one will understand.

it will be
the death of us.
it will be

terrible and calm.

high altitude poems

poems o' mine in high altitude poetry (pdfs):

The New Canada (july 04) [fulltext here]

I sometimes wonder about fruitflies (september 04) [fulltext here]

foreigner (november 04) [fulltext here]

irradiated (january 05) [fulltext here]

i'd studied mao (march 05) [fulltext here]

these two dogs (july 05) [fulltext here]

questions to the stars (september 05) [fulltext here]

howl (september 05)

a long story
(november 05) [fulltext here]

i want a poem (march 06) [fulltext here]

upon my graduation from simon fraser university (may 06) [fulltext here]

The Next Great Proletarian Revolution (july 2006) [fulltext here]

midas (september 2006) [fulltext here]

on women and CFCs (november 2006) [fulltext here]

the warmth at the heart of stones (november 2006) [fulltext here]

five hours from Tamale, back of the bus (january 2007) [fulltext here]

January 17th, 2007, Ada Foah (march 2007) [fulltext here]

my body has been devouring me for months (march 2007) [fulltext here]

after the game (september 2007)

my wife tells me about the plane crash (november 2007) [fulltext here]

Hastings and Carrall (march 2008) [fulltext here]

spinal, roman, etc.

i've been writing bi-weekly columns for SFU's student newspaper since january. six down, one to go (now added). here they be. if yer in a hurry, my favourite is number four, written in the middle of the Jyylands-Posten cartoon excitement.

p.s. if you have no interest in sfu campus politics, ignore numbers three, five and six. if you have no interest in anything, ignore them all.

#1: Beer and Popcorn

#2: On splits and ditches

#3: Stealing is bad

#4: The same toilet

#5: Varsity Blues

#6: Free Lamb Shanks!

#7: On truth and tenancy


"five things" archive

This Morning in a Morning Voice - Todd Boss

The Sea Eats Our Land - Kwesi Brew

jasper texas 1998 - Lucille Clifton

Alligator Boots - Doug Draime

Savannah Rain, West Africa - Daniela Elza

Non Redibimus - Jill Alexander Essbaum

Without Roots - Edith Faalong

The Colonel - Carolyn Forché

The Other River - Terry Glavin

Canada - Henrietta Goodman

Oceanic - John Grey

Feeling the draft - Bob Hicok

At the Galleria Shopping Mall - Tony Hoagland

Station - Maria Hummel

Cactus Love - Jeff Latosik

TDCJ Reel - Donato Mancini

In Time - W.S. Merwin

For Sue: Lev's Late Wife - Joseph Victor Milford

What will I say of this time? - Kerry Mulholland

Hole 2 (East Facing West) - Sachiko Murakami

The Lie - Don Paterson

Song in my Heart - Diane Seuss

The Melon - Charles Simic

Korean Echo - Tom Sheehan

A Good Fish - Derek Sheffield

The Mysterious Arrival of an Unusual Letter - Mark Strand

for k - Jeffery Van den Engh

Skunk - Zachariah Wells

Honest Things - Kelly Jean White