Wednesday 20 April 2016

5 poems by rob mclennan

The little nothings, 

                   The words are already there, you just have to read them
                   Lesley Yalen, the beginnings in 

Numerically, thin. A coral silence. We spring up, formidable. Snow-fell, fall. Equilibrium. Love, a poison. Daffodil. Landscape, postures. Light slants, disappoints the stones. Geometry was fashioned to be lonely. Lacunae, swish. Such analytical capacity. A mark of stairwells, kings. The rains came. I work hard at this. All likeness disappears. Depreciates. My tongue grew pebble-strength. The neighbour skunks: made for the underside, foundations. 

Our endless, numbered days 

                   what touches in what language
                   Rob Budde, Dreamland Theatre 

About to go broke, home. Faint circles through our head. At birth, the sacred brain. To summarize a platitude. Cut off from the world. An echo, beauty. Winter, spring: unwinds. An autumn purge. Laughter. Sings, blue. Demands, unbroken sentence. Bordering the colours, wind. Enticements. You would not be neutral. A legend in youth. This ghost on fire. Seven dwarves. Carved out from a future time. Clouds flex muscles, take a head count. The car ice-coating. Frozen down to asphalt. Fractured. An authority we can’t justify. Fear of falling, opens. Empties into lungs. 

Acceptance Speech: 

                   I love the ology of clouds
                   Mary Ruefle, Trances of the Blast 

Disorient, a shape. Cohere. What matters would be, antibodies. Truth. I want this, ambivalence. Branches: allusions wrestle, wing. Says one: forbid, thoroughly. What would have been excluded. Coiled, hammer, anvil. Reluctant patterns, boundary. Says one: we dismantle, endlessly thorough. Biopsy: linguistic. I am not ambition: all my roads repeat, interior, repeat. Winning. Snow-branch weight a study, low to ground. This brutal, excessive heat. 

The opposite of harm, 

                  Pain’s absence, like a footprint in snow
                  but the iron had eaten into my flesh 
                  there was nothing, nothing to record
                  Hillary Gravendyck, Harm 

Choraled, breathless. Bleach, and honey. Mirror-flat, unspooled. Or simply, pulses. Last. What worries me is this. If you could breathe. Medicinal. The underside, of linen coolness. Bright lights. Blade, a scalpel. Thorned. Reenergize, the empty cells. A stuttered brightness, braille. What sky of onion skin. Bedazzled. Soup. I want what, she. This lettered calm. A perilous scene of contact, right this second. Listen, wind. If you could breathe. Words cut excess, list. Into the lungs, absorbed. A cradle. Deep exhale, rust-red. If you could breathe. Grey-crumpled ash, a smear. Estrange. This bandaged, battered montage. 

A study in silver

Here I saw blue. Accordingly, sank. Like a hole in the ground. A tremendous intention. Through what sparks can’t penetrate. Determined, and framed. A lifetime might pass. I moved very quickly. Showered prose into interior. Walls shored up to buttress. Declared, and pushed back. How shallow the dead breathe; how quickly. The light caught the furrows. Protected. The beauty of style, and braids. Plural. Rearranged, into. We knew not what. Meaning was short lived, slick, and without fixed dimensions. Of absolute discretion. Pure. Devoured on the spot. Intermittent. We are of the present. Abandoned, by years. Skeletal, the story matters. Follow scattered directions. Step forth, and create. From this day, the firmament. 


Born in Ottawa, Canada’s glorious capital city, rob mclennan currently lives in Ottawa. The author of nearly thirty trade books of poetry, fiction and non-fiction, he won the John Newlove Poetry Award in 2010, the Council for the Arts in Ottawa Mid-Career Award in 2014, and was longlisted for the CBC Poetry Prize in 2012. His most recent titles include notes and dispatches: essays (Insomniac press, 2014) and The Uncertainty Principle: stories, (Chaudiere Books, 2014), as well as the forthcoming poetry collection If suppose we are a fragment (BuschekBooks, 2014). An editor and publisher, he runs above/ground press, Chaudiere Books, The Garneau Review ( ), seventeen seconds: a journal of poetry and poetics ( ), Touch the Donkey ( ) and the Ottawa poetry pdf annual ottawater ( ). He spent the 2007-8 academic year in Edmonton as writer-in-residence at the University of Alberta, and regularly posts reviews, essays, interviews and other notices at 

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