POETRY: JESSICA LE
GAPING AT THE GROUND WITH THE WINDOW OPEN
we are driving up the side of a mountain
when we run into a lone black cow. she stands
with her knees jutting out of her flesh,
black hide strained bursting, wild stitch holding
together cloudy blood and burnt milk.
you park the car, cutting the ignition, tumbling
out. the air is black exhaust wisping away,
feels dry and flat, cool against the raw wet of
your underarms. the cow lowers its head.
and this is the land of the future, here, the
scraped dry red of the earth, tufts of grass
shuddering in the wind. we walk past metal birds
dipping low into the earth, drawing out oil
thicker than blood, black as anything. watch
the clouds yellowing against the sky,
dimming where they meet smoke, joining
hands only to unjoin them. watch
the sun split itself open like a red, red
plum, sharp against the thickening sky. watch
bugs claw their way out of the cracks in the
dirt, the way they swarm the nearest sweetest thing.
making our way back to the highway
we stop by the side of a small stream and plunge
our hands into it, steal plums from a nearby tree
and sink our teeth into them. juice bleeds down
your chin, and we wash the red off our hands
and watch it pool at the end of the water,
the red earth clouding into black exhaust,
then wisping away. the cow lowers its head.
Jessica Le is currently an undergrad business student at Western University. Her poetry has been published in Western University's Symposium Anthology, CSC's Alt Mag, and is forthcoming in 愈, healing Magazine. She lives in Ottawa.
FILM & POETRY: FIONA TINWEI LAM
Plasticpoems from F T Lam on Vimeo.
Plasticpoems, 2:28 minutes
Written by Fiona Tinwei Lam
Animation by Nhat Truong
Sound Design byTinjun Niu:
This short animated video depicts two concrete/visual poems by poet Fiona Tinwei Lam from her collection of poems Odes & Laments (Caitlin Press, 2019) about marine plastic pollution
Plasticnic from F T Lam on Vimeo.
Plasticnic, 1:13 minutes
Written/Narrated by Fiona Tinwei Lam
Animation by Tisha Deb Pillai
Sound Design byTinjun Niu:
A humorous animated video poem about plastic pollution that shows how we destroy nature while seeking to enjoy ourselves in the great outdoors.
The video poem is based on a shaped poem in Odes & Laments (Caitlin Press, 2019)
Note: all words come from letters in “plastic” with no doubling. Each shift occurs with the addition or removal of a single letter and/or a reordering of the letters.
"Quench" originally published in Odes & Laments, (Caitlin Press, 2019).
Fiona Tinwei Lam’s third collection of poetry Odes & Laments celebrates the overlooked wonder and beauty in the everyday, while lamenting harm to our ecosystems. She has also authored a children’s book, edited The Bright Well: Contemporary Canadian Poems on Facing Cancer, and co-edited Love Me True: Writers Reflect on the Ins, Outs, Ups & Downs of Marriage with Jane Silcott. Lam won The New Quarterly’s Nick Blatchford Prize and was a finalist for the City of Vancouver Book Award. Her work appears in more than thirty-five anthologies, including The Best Canadian Poetry in English (both 2010 and 2020) and Forcefield: 77 Women Poets of BC. Her award-winning poetry videos have screened at festivals locally and internationally. She teaches at Simon Fraser University’s Continuing Studies. fionalam.net @FTinweiL
POETRY: WHITNEY FRENCH
MINING THE MOON (A DÉCOUPÉ POEM)*
a fine gray powder
meet the Moon’s surface
covering lunar regolith
probes discover Helium-3:
a source of energy
trapped in Moon
equivalent value of a metric ton
harness it in reactors
harness it in
dust and heat
700 degrees centigrade
to manage large quantities
for this main reason: dollars
no one sent in proposals
to the Moon
but "cleaner than fossil fuels."
inhale the gas
of the century!
and recovering astronauts
roving robotic miner
who walked the surface
who meet our planet’s needs
makes mining lunar program
INTERLUNE a go,
“probably the only way”
says the Director of the University of
Fusion Technology Program
59 million dollar lunar orbiter
that kind of
needs fusion technology.
putting tens of millions of dollars
into bags full of regolith
during solar winds,
supply energy of a city of ten million
for a year
a shift in dependence
from oil to dust
within our limits
push the lunar mining concept
push the ocean through wind
push us through rare reason.
make their way
1,997 miners are close to breaking;
take the concept back
to Earth because
“they won't go back to the moon”
“going to go back to the moon”
“piggyback on —“
to the moon” “so far!”
“space agency barriers”
“don't see any others
a variant of this plan
in this playful time,
balls of gas, may not be
right, 1,997 miners
close to breaking.
“won’t go back.”
the miner collects $145, the Program
collects $59 million
this kind of gas, safer?
1,997 astronauts brought back
building up, would pick up
it's a possibility
breaking the Ocean
so now; project another way
to repel the breaking,
if we sit on our hands
by the factor of 3,
we blast through Luna
can’t go back
a depth of choice.
in fact, main reason
seems to be generated
miners shift the Moon’s surface.
that’s enough to lure
we could float
on facts, repel reactions
in enough crude,
found a clean source overall
helium-3 captured interest
stimulus, captured thousands --
but the planet’s needs
off the table.
the breaking continues
years go on…
billions of humans
without a Moon
* “Moon Dust: The gray powder may hold a source of clean fuel.” By Dave Cravotta. Final Frontier, November/December Issue, 1996, pg 40.
Whitney French is a storyteller and a multi-disciplinary artist. She is the editor of Black Writers Matter, a critically acclaimed anthology published by the University of Regina Press in 2019. Additionally, Whitney French is also the creator of the nomadic workshop series Writing While Black. The work featured is an excerpt of her forthcoming science-fiction verse novel. She lives in Toronto, Ontario.
© Copyright 2023 | Watch Your Head
Sign up for our Newsletter
Buy our print anthology Watch Your Head: Writers & Artists Respond to the Climate Crisis (Coach House Books, 2020).