Article Category Archives: Poetry

Instructions for Lucretia

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Instructions for Lucretia


Take a spoonful of sugar for the hiccups
Dash his brains into his mouth
Map the stretch marks on your thighs
Stay grounded by looking up
Inhale the sky
Avoid long speeches
Call your mother, talk about the day you were born
Admit to nothing
Open the window and roll the sun between your fingers
Laugh until it hurts
Until you cry
Measure your comfort in crow miles,
the distance between your life and honour
Wear your jewels to bed
Don’t make or ask for promises
Slice open the underbelly of every cloud
Let it rain
Let them drown.


Ceramic book by Marla Benton titled "The Secrets to Survival"

The Secrets to Survival by Marla Benton (ceramic)


Listen to Hollay Ghadery read “Instructions for Lucretia.”



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To the author of the fiction craft book who wrote this prompt for beginners: “Write a short story from the point of view of a young girl being pursued through a dark park by a crazed man with a knife,” fuck off.

To the same author who followed up with “Now rewrite it from the point of view of the man with a knife,” please continue to fuck off.

You dropped “crazed” from the second description. Aaah, he’s just a guy, you know, who could be having a bad day, you know, he needs our understanding, you know, why don’t we look at this from his point of view?

Comparisons are amphibious, odiferous, odalisque.

Right now I have all the words. But you don’t have to accept that. You can revise at your leisure, as soon as I leave the room. I’ll send in a woman with a knife.

Not fair? Oh, here she is.

Photo by Justine MacDonald showing graffiti art of a woman's eye on an orange and yellow concrete wall.

Orange and Yellow by Justine MacDonald


Listen to Tanis MacDonald read “Crazed.”



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I wish laughter were
the last thing to go
but it goes
before hearing,
before thought,
before breath,

this bubbling thing, this spasm,
this wriggling fish,
half muscle, half air,
that flops out of us,
with a hook in its flesh.

I wish, one last time, I had heard
the collapse of the tent
of your expectations—
that gasp of recognition
when reality set in, and shook

you—the slow motion surprise
of an elegiac comedy
or bumbling profundity; the swift
kick of irreverent rationality,
or elegant absurdity;

the canvas roof caved in
and you, sitting wrapped in the fly
with your laughter flopping—
silver, strange, familiar—
as walleye or trout,

on the hook end of breath:
half live,
half divine;
half tickle,
half shout.

Illustration by Susan MacLeod showing an elderly woman and man. She has her eyes closed. Neither are smiling.

To the End by Susan MacLeod

Listen to Anna Quon read “Laughter.”

Somebody Get a Wig

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Somebody Get a Wig

To work in comedy is many things:
good wigs
late nights
loud bars
free beers
never stable
full of gossip

endless hours writing sketches
only to have them forgotten
minutes spent on a throwaway joke
that lands much better

Ceramic sculpture by Teresa Bergen showing a juggling unicyclist on stage.

Juggling Unicyclist by Teresa Bergen

being gutted to hear
I didn’t get it
and again
and again

casting calls
my self esteem’s worst nightmare
not too pretty,
wouldn’t turn a head
someone reads these
and thinks of me

feeling like a fraud
what’s even funny
how do I write

When it works
adrenaline rush
laughter from the audience
“That was amazing!”
“Thanks for coming”
calm on the outside
bursting with excitement inside

I’m meant to do this
I know it

moments later
feeling awkward
out of place
debit card is declined
drunk woman in the bathroom
she likes my lipstick
she shit talks my show to her friend

take the bus home
replay the show in my head
fall asleep
wake up the next day
start the cycle all over again

part of something
a community
a troupe
frustrated beyond belief

tender moments
warm embraces
surprising friendships
and howling at the moon

Listen to Samantha Adams read “Somebody Get a Wig.”

Two Yahoo! Poems

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If you die in Canada do you die in real life? —Yahoo inquirer

If you die in Canada, the bears beat their breasts
until the berries in their fists bleed and the Mounties
ride backwards. If you die in Canada, you fall through the ice
and land in Michigan.

At 7:30 in Newfoundland, the wood for your casket
will be harvested, sustainably, by David Suzuki
and the Beachcombers. Die in Canada and the Canada geese
fly in a lowercase v.

If you die in Canada, you’ve lived in Canada: the tilled,
the untold. And if you die tonight, without me near, dear brother—
all of Canada will be sorry.


Encaustic by Lisa-Maj Roos showing a red maple leaf

Maple Leaf by Lisa-Maj Roos


Is having a dog a sign of communistic behaviour? —Yahoo inquirer

The animal is a sign of a need, surely—
one that we’re too frightened
to say out loud.

Not a need to hold each other,
necessarily. Not the need of weak-willed men
to tell someone when to sit or fetch.

Perhaps it is a need to know
the scraps falling from our table
are not wasted,

or know the hairs
on our carpets are not our own.

Vladimir Lenin had a cat that he posed with
but never named.


Listen to Angeline Schellenberg read “If you die in Canada….”


Listen to Angeline Schellenberg read “Is having a dog….”