Our home got stuck in a trash collector

Pull the spare mattress from under my parents’ bed
comforter under my arm. Leave it. Retrieve
my pillows and Can you try sleeping in your bed?

Could insist I have been, dreamt I died
everyone I love died, and I saw it all
from within the devourer’s maw.

Moments to convince them. Lie down.
Say nothing. They relent but I imagine
them and the trash collector dream of clear floors.

Our home got stuck in the head of a trash collector.
Dream-possible, we are ever up the road.
We march out with stuff and in and out again.

He raps on the truck to signal it forward.
We come with hardwood. We come with gift bags.
The cab necks ahead but the trailer extends as an angler’s jaw.

We shovel up from the cellar. Neighbours sneak more.
Junk mail carriers and paperboys are routed here.
Milkmen resurrect to soak it all.

Butcher pulls up and gestures, “Hey you
—I’m a kill you when you’re here.

~

This one was the product of two possible prompts: helplessness, and the coziest memory I have. Thanks as always to my parter Kate Maxfield for making me think.

The Ends of Civilization

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It is a slash year. The crews saw west
grimacing the border. By Oregon/BC, the Vermont/
Quebec gap chews sapling. How many thousand miles
or kilometres back did we last crack
“Coast Guard Moses got it made.”

It is the election year, the one we learned
the atomic weight of words, figured how many
could carry a razor. The Earth’s longest border
its largest, most harmless scar.
Every six years, no one speaks of

the crew threading coast, from Maine/Nova Scotia
camp-stove and credit card fully-fueled.
From just high enough, ants chisel away forest.
A crawling sensation. Handmade imperfection. Law.

***

For National Novel Writing Month, I’m writing a poem a day. They may wind up with a overarching narrative, they may not. I’m receiving daily prompts from my partner, and new poems should be published the day after they are written. The prompt for today’s poem was the Slash, the 20-foot-wide gap in the treeline demarcating the Canada-US border.

Photo Source: Vermont Seven Days

The Desert and The Flood

Horsebroke_2 Production previewProud to announce The Desert and The Flood, new poetry from Amanda Besserer, is now available for pre-order via Horsebroke Press.

The Desert and The Flood is the first collection of poetry from Amanda Besserer in nearly a decade. After a long hiatus, Amanda has made re-emerged with a voice both romantic and grounded. Her poems tour the wreckage of lunar accidents, hop Charybdis, and dangle their feet from the rings of Saturn. Most of all, this is the poetry of a survivor; of someone who has learned when to purr—and when to roar.

Amanda will be reading at the Factory Reading Series in Ottawa on Friday June 17 at the Carleton Tavern (FB link). The book will be available there and at the Ottawa Small Press Fair the next day, Saturday June 18, at the Jack Purcell Centre (FB link). Pre-orders via Etsy will ship on June 17.

Want a taste of Amanda’s work? Visit and follow Revolution From My Bed.

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.

Out from the shower

 

 

Downstairs, to my son, my partner sings

This Must Be The Place (Naive Melody),

halting where the instruments will fill

finding the words in her hand.

I put on a pair of clean white briefs

three o’clock on my mind.

 

Last night I bowled alone.

Going home, spoke to the driver

about moving around Ottawa

again and again and again

and again and again. He has a child

and a child and a child and a child.

 

Today, someone’s going to say

the drivers deserve poverty.

 

Yesterday the bachelor

went too long for my tolerance.

The gun games, the liquor tasting,

the big steak I forked for myself.

Ready for the brewery tour

the one guy without a desk job

clapped his hands & said,

“Let’s go see people work.”

 

Looking presentable, I left the Best Western

struggling to close my wallet, the neon sign

reminding, “If you’re here, you’re home.”