Those are good questions and I have no answers for them.

the indefatigable rob mclennan interviewed me as part of his ‘Ottawa small press fair at home.’ You can read the whole interview here.

This whole endeavour has all brought me back to my roots, photocopying and stapling black and white art together and just getting it out there. It feels great.

New publications, tour dates

A lot going on, such as a beloved work in print: the first poem I wrote about my son (for my wife) has been published in (parenthetical) magazine from words(on)pages in Toronto. You may read it online but I strongly suggest ordering a copy of the magazine—words(on)pages produces beautiful books.

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New chap-poem: A cento after Cameron Anstee’s  chapbook ever the night goes beautiful has been published as a chap-poem by Puddles of Sky Press—it’s called “the night goes” and it’s free with an order of something awesome, like the graphic novel issue of illiterature issue v. the graphic novel or The Hopeful Barnacle: New & Selected Poems of Andrew Nurse.

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Two upcoming tour dates: Tues. June 28 at the Tree Reading Series (Ottawa) with Talya Rubin & my friend, the incredible JM Francheteau, and Sat. July 2 at Artfest (Kingston) with tourmates Cameron Anstee and Justin Million, and the wonderful Frances Boyle. Both those shows are free, so please come out and buy some chapbooks if you can. Artfest is going to be just incredible, with sixty poets reading in Kingston’s City Park over the long weekend. Cannot wait.

2016 05 22 Blackman Jeff author photo for Tree Reading -  credit K Maxfield

New title from Horsebroke press: My little press is taking on its first poet (who isn’t me) with a collection from Amanda Besserer. It will launch Fri. June 17 at the Factory Reading Series (Ottawa) and be available at the Ottawa Small Press Fair the next day (Sat. June 18). If you can’t make it to Ottawa, you’ll be able to order it via our Etsy store at that time. More details on this project very soon.

Mine

This poem is a collaboration with Justin Million, poet-in-residence for Synapse Files. Follow Synapse on WordPress and Twitter for his own poem-a-day all month long.

~

Human on the end will replay the message if I like

 

a very god conversation

I am instructed and humbled

reminded by administration

I am on the healthy baby roster

 

Human at the end, maybe only

 

between, I am in conversation with gods who flush the toilet, make bad coffee, linger too long at parties, tell me

“I’ll get there”

 

reminded by the world

I am a healthy baby in need only of a god, and stairs that aren’t a devil’s

 

galaxy because they seem red-void

 

Let’s erase the pencil that’s unable to common

 

line my shelves with folk

 

I breathe the same air as the broken, but I am trying to laugh out

joy to repair

 

arm’s length to what isn’t close

 

less language, please

I mean, I am trying to mean something meaningful here

 

please understand I am happy to watch you

watching the skies with my words in mind, finding nothing

 

at least you’re looking where I’m looking, then

 

and I’ve already got down covered

 

More worries are erased in commonplace statistics

 

shells forked

 

Superman breathes the same air as well, but his jokes aren’t super-good.

 

Joy lingers in a text somewhere

but quick time’s a disorganized devil ever-pencilling galaxies

 

 

 

we’re only flush with aim for getting where’s water

less mystery, please

 

I mean, for all our meaning do we mean well

 

certainly rarely heed understanding

 

all our tries hook-shaped gestures, climbing motions

at last moving where’s we’re aiming, hell

we took aim already and been ailing for that steady, steady

 

power’s just

clothing, joy

 

a text from a super person

 

aiming at water, here, and missing 70% of the time

 

my ire hollers, quarrels with her telling me I’m lucky I’m so cute

 

what a hook that keeps the angry poet on stage, foaming at the mouth with oceanic ire

 

dissolve the text sifting for a metaphor their editor’s can’t but pretend to understand because the grants

 

to colloquialize the Swedish table and chairs into a quaint

 

family reduced to fools, the ones that follow you through storms, and your crown of flowers

 

your head needs watering

 

the amount of times I’ve licked my fingers to ready her

I am ready to accept you as the kind of lover you only poetry with

 

how many fingers you put in my mouth

Civilization: Single Player Setup

 

I’ve been trying to up my people’s happiness.

The central tenet of our faith: water is good.

Ottawa is hash-tagged with rivers and canals;

today, we should be ecstatic to be alive.

 

One suicidal friend fled west, says

he is shamed by dignitaries. The downtown

BIA shuts down a t-shirt giveaway;

you must ask for the right to be generous.

 

Another suicidal friend ripens in subsidy.

She repays charity with other charity,

literally. She dreams of renewal;

to be made useful in the arrow of ex-pats

 

teaching English in the East. A third friend,

also suicidal, once East, appears automated.

From above he appears to be in perpetuity

finishing a painting, thick with better edits.

 

More friends, maybe also suicidal, pen odes

to their prescriptions, fatten with baggage.

I feel each draws on my productivity, heathers

my vision of a hundred percent self.

 

These are not my stories to tell but I am in them.

The rural legislator describes the defense

he pit against his arsonist son-in-law. His daughter

condemns what Hansard cannot deny;

 

it was not his story to tell. My friends

once saw themselves in my words for myself,

my baggy self-portrait. I am sorry

for saying nothing so long, and now so much.

 

My advisor has no answers. She assigns icons.

When I will not share she presents me a red shield.

To my common cloth she has affixed a purple medal.

But I do not know if the gold diamond or blue vial is better.

 

I have never been assigned a plain, smiling face.

The eye is winked or the tongue is stuck. Maybe

the Pac-Man’s cheek is blushed, but it is never

a plain, smiling face. I am sick with nuance.

 

This is my story but I am not in it.

This baggy caricature slips off my motion.

In three-hundred words, a stranger insists

Robin Williams did not die from suicide;

 

he died from depression. No one dies

from suicide, the stranger insists. This

they insist is requisite to development,

to people who live so long they stack.

 

I’ve been trying to up my people’s happiness

posturing as a provider of day-dates and texts.

My advisor has no answers. She identifies

my greatest share of costs is personnel.

 

I close my window, lift my red shield.

The sky is off-white with water, rain today

or snow tomorrow—either way the city wet.

I ask someone to chill, but fuck if they forget.