Tree Sketches were each composed by a different species of tree. As a writer, connected to story, I felt it a salient action in this time of environmental crisis to step back and listen to the subjects I might otherwise have written over.
Each caption includes the species of trees, both common and Latin names, as well as the duration and date of each composition.
Tree Sketches # 1 & 3 were originally published by The Blasted Tree in 2017 as a series of broadsides, while the remaining works are presented on its website, all of them presented under the title The Sign of Poetry.
Sacha Archer is a writer who works in numerous mediums as well as being the editor of Simulacrum Press. Archer’s most recent publications include Inkwells: An Event Poem (Noir:Z, 2019), TSK oomph (Inspiritus Press, 2018) and Contemporary Meat (The Blasted Tree, 2018). Houses (No Press), Framing Poems and Mother’s Milk (both Timglaset) are forthcoming. Archer lives in Burlington, Ontario with his wife and two daughters.
READING THE MURMURATIONS
In the end times, they say,
the birds might silence themselves,
drop feathers as hints, molt at odd times,
and mate with their fiercest rivals.
But the days will arrive
no bells rung with symbolism,
no trumpet voluntary flourish,
no drums rolling attendant.
They will have already arrived,
these muted and too quiet days,
dressed in common clothing
and pretending to fit in–
silencing mothers and lovers
as they come, trailing catastrophe
in their muddied wake.
Kim Fahner was the fourth poet laureate for the City of Greater Sudbury (2016-18), and was the first woman appointed to the role. Her latest book of poems is These Wings (Pedlar Press, 2019). She is a member of the League of Canadian Poets, the Writers’ Union of Canada, and a supporting member of the Playwrights Guild of Canada. Kim blogs fairly regularly at kimfahner.wordpress.com and can be reached via her author website at www.kimfahner.com
it’s all unseasonal rains
winter in the Great Lakes these days
in niibin the boreal is ablaze
the amazon and outback aflame
increasing tsunamis and earthquakes
and all we can do is yell CLIMATE CHANGE
what else do we say?
while the US keeps taking brown babies away
numbered like the West Bank
Japanese internment camps
the Indian act
our migration routes are older than your borders
we have cultural items older than your legal orders
this is natural law renaissance
embodying ancestors’ excellence
bringing land back
on ready when RCMP attack
resistance is a way of living
Sâkihitowin Awâsis is a Michif Anishinaabe two-spirit water protector, geographer, and spoken word artist from the pine marten clan. She has contributed poetry to Forever Loved: Exposing the Hidden Crisis of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls in Canada, Red Rising Magazine, kimiwan ‘zine, and Introducing Atrocities Against Indigenous Canadians for Dummies. She is continually inspired by acts of decolonization, Indigenous resurgence, and community resistance. Follow @awan.ikwe.
SCREAMING INTO A PIANO
… The pictures captured a mood of as much astonishment as joy; it was as if the delegates could not quite believe they had succeeded in reaching an agreement of such significance.
- Amitav Ghosh
Recalling decision 1 / CP.17 on the establishment of a room
wide enough to hold your imagining. Like the moon
fallen onto the field, new
& mistaken by my aunt for a spaceship. Also recalling
relevant decisions to respond to everything by screaming.
Rain lines. Parts per million diluted
light. Each acre along this river
& if there are still children blowing tufts int o
iv e n
the adoption of planned repairs for the south
entrance north alley west gate. Recognizing that
even in crossing towards it I would stubbornly
remain a parallel incident. Reimagining no one
there. Back bicycle wheel spinning
hillside. Throwing the moon.
Acknowledging that agreeing to uphold & promote
revisions ought to be enough
this time. Singing.
"Screaming into a Piano" previously appeared in a chapbook Night Leaves Nothing New (Baseline Press Oct 2019)
Emily Lu earned her B.Sc. at the University of Toronto and her M.D. at Queen’s University. Currently completing her postgraduate training in psychiatry, she lives in London, Ontario. Night Leaves Nothing New (Baseline Press) is her first chapbook.
Carleigh Baker is an nêhiyaw âpihtawikosisân /Icelandic writer who lives as a guest on the unceded territories of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm, Skwxwú7mesh, and səl̓ilwəta peoples. Her work has appeared in Best Canadian Essays, The Short Story Advent Calendar, and The Journey Prize Stories. She also writes reviews for the Globe and Mail and the Literary Review of Canada. Her debut story collection, Bad Endings (Anvil, 2017) won the City of Vancouver Book Award, and was also a finalist for the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize, the Emerging Indigenous Voices Award for fiction, and the BC Book Prize Bill Duthie Booksellers’ Choice Award. She is the 2019/20 writer in residence and a 2020 Shadbolt fellow in the humanities at Simon Fraser University.
“Wailsong 4 Sydney” collects instances of a novel form of found poetry that I call the amput(ransl)ation. First, a random string of alphanumeric characters is typed by hand into Google translate, which misinterprets this string as a legitimate entry in one or another language (often, but not always, recognizing it as Arabic script). Then, one or more characters are iteratively excised from the string, producing a descending sequence of alternate translations, until not much more than a stump is left.
While perusing this form, on January 10th, 2020, in the midst of the Australian bushfire crisis, I happened upon a sequence that spoke of Sydney, Australia, of greenness and heat, of smoke, and of payment. Delving a bit deeper, I identified the sequence in question, and explored various permutations of both the string and the type and order of character excisement, ultimately producing this sequence of found poetry, which serves as a dirgesong for the bushfire crisis currently underway in Australia.
It is typeset here in Australia, an open-source typeface designed by Denver Ross that "takes inspiration from the arches of the Sydney Opera House to the waves of Bondi Beach."
Franco Cortese is an experimental poet living in Thorold, Ontario. His poetry was longlisted for the 2019 CBC Poetry Prize and has appeared in Literary Review of Canada, The Malahat Review, Canadian Literature, The Capilano Review, filling Station, ditch, and others. His recent chapbooks include aeiou (No Press 2018), uoiea (above/ground press 2019), and teksker (Simulacrum Press 2019). He also has leaflets, booklets and other poetic ephemera out through The Blasted Tree, Penteract Press, and Spacecraft Press. His work has been published both within Canada and internationally, and has been anthologized in Concrete and Constraint (Penteract Press 2018) and Science Poems (Penteract Press 2020).
BY STEVE MCORMOND
DARK CLOUDS (ANOTHER APOCALYPSE)
The clouds rolled in and never left.
Lightning in them but no rain.
Life, as Auden observed, went on
disinterestedly. There was the tuna
casserole to keep from burning, the dog
whimpering to be let out.
Panels of experts convened on TV
to discuss the subterranean rumblings,
the preponderance of messianic cults.
We perked up at the gory bits,
the jumpers and self-immolations,
rituals involving goat’s blood.
Accustomed to instant gratification,
we wanted our apocalypse now.
How many times could we say goodbye
before we grew bored, turned a blind eye?
We had fetishes to attend to,
money to make and spend.
Years since we’d seen the stars,
they ceased to cross our minds.
What advice can I give, my fledglings,
my little vanishings, as you pack your things
and prepare to leave? Everything is fine, the sky
has been falling a long time. My wisdom in short
supply, these words must seem vague and kitschy
like the Lord’s Prayer painted on a grain of rice.
Already you are better than me. Each generation
is and should be incomprehensible to its parents.
We will want to go quietly. Don’t let our grey hair
keep you from meting out the judgment we’re due.
Love immoderately and permit yourselves rage.
Anger makes things happen. The mob is gospel.
And to those who claim it couldn’t be stopped:
At every point along its path, the arrow is still.
"Dark Clouds (Another Apocalypse)" and "Envoi" from The Good News about Armageddon (Brick Books, 2010).
Steve McOrmond is the author of four books of poetry, most recently Reckon (Brick Books, 2018). He lives in Toronto. www.stevemcormond.com
I NEVER GOT OVER 60 LIKES
When hasn’t life been expendable?
Another train departs
tossed on a heap of disposables
Cell phones plastics mountains
There is no law
Only the monied
This too shall pass
We already know the ending
We’ve seen it
Left before the credits
“I didn’t think it would be such a downer.”
“This sucks, let’s leave.”
“Why did you unfollow me?”
“You unfriended me bitch”
Like that’s the end of the world.
Just one click
In a darkened theatre
We stay to the bitter end
The price of the ticket
To see what might happen
Any surprises plot twists
“I didn’t see that one coming”
The oldies the goodies
The good guys show up
Oft times even only one
To set the captives free
To take down the evil ones
Shot in glorious black and white
Light projected a fresh stream
the cup of one’s hands
When there was free water to drink
“Can I have a glass of water?”
“Water some water please”
“My daughter needs some water.”
You only think you’re tired
The entire tired sick fucking world is
It sucks to be tired
tired of this all of this
Maybe I’ll message Christopher
See if they’re tired, too.
KIRBY’s earlier chapbooks include Cock & Soul, Bob’s boy, The World is Fucked and Sometimes Beautiful, and She’s Having A Doris Day. Their full-length debut, This Is Where I Get Off is now in its second printing (Permanent Sleep Press, 2019) and currently being adapted for the stage. Kirby is the owner and publisher of knife | fork | book. www.jeffkirby.ca
Pretty Paws is an on-going series of miniature graphite drawings, depicting severed beaver hands and feet with manicured nails. This series accentuates the natural lengthy shape of beaver claws by applying playful, over-the-top nail art. These nails embrace the kitsch, meaning excessive and tacky ornamentation, which is absurd on both beaver hands and as a beauty standard for women. The application of this artificial beauty onto the decaying beaver appendages creates an uneasy tension by referring to the outstanding issue of cosmetic testing on animals.
Sarah Pereux is a Canadian artist currently working in Toronto, Ontario. She is an undergraduate student in the joint Art and Art History program at the University of Toronto Mississauga and Sheridan College. Working primarily in drawing, her work explores questions concerning environmental ethics, consumerism, and empathy. She uses the alluring aesthetics of monochromatic graphite to create an attraction-repulsion effect that occurs once the viewer dissects the subject-matter of the image.
(after A.M. Klein)
The weather cites the welling mercury;
un autre mois comme ça, we'll all be dead –
so say the clamours banging on our walls.
In the papers, calls
for carbon caps are lain next to a sea
of melting rhetoric. Sunburns run red.
A week, and it will break! How many stores
of all their A/C units are blood-let?
Outside their boiled abodes, the city tries
to fight off fire with ice,
cones ripple and dip, kids squeeze their Freezies warm.
There are no winds to fan our fevered têtes.
But it will come! One night this week a boom
will wake the sweltering masses, light will flash,
fat drops will pound upon our window panes,
then roust from cooling rooms
the sardine-tin-packed youth to a terrasse
'til autumn overtakes us yet again.
Alex Manley is a Montreal-based writer whose work has appeared in Maisonneuve magazine, The Puritan, Carte Blanche, and the Academy of American Poets' Poem-a-Day feature, among others, and whose debut poetry collection, We Are All Just Animals & Plants, was published by Metatron Press in 2016.
An anthology of creative works devoted to the climate crisis and climate justice.
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