Total Pageviews

Monday, 9 January 2017

2 poems for this challenging year: Katherine L. Gordon

Last Millennia

People grow poorer
thirsty and hungry
choking on the dust of others,
leaders align for war, an ancient remedy
for restless rioters
that has lost its transformative union,
declined into tools of oblivion.
Dark angels laugh---
no salvation left, only death undignified
messy, horrific.
We retreat into cant and dogma
dead ideals, unreasoning rant,
afraid to reach out to one another.
Hiding the mystic cure of radiant light
we offer vials of poison, dark matter
black holes, imminent  swallowing.


Katherine L. Gordon

Image result for pic planet earth

Once We Were

I conjure the ancestors
from the furry-faced
recently tail-less
to the fair- visaged, large-brained
gifted and endowed peoples
who rule all far-flung arcs
of a round and shrinking world,
now at the end of our predominance---
air, land and water more hostile than before.
We left oceans, trees and caves,
rampaged and ransacked,
justified the spoil with new versions of god,
forgetting veneration of the feminine force of nature,
the fertile and nourishing,
now demeaned, suppressed.
Because we arrogantly turn from lessons of harmony
we are doomed to disappear,
supplanted by robotic versions
of our once promising yet vulnerable human being.

Katherine L. Gordon

Thursday, 5 January 2017

Hangin' with Bubo virginiansis

Image result for pic of parhelion

contemporary haibun online:
A Quarterly Journal of Contemporary English Language Haibun
Current Issue | Contents Page - This Issue | Editorial Staff | About This Journal |
Submissions | Acceptance Criteria | Haibun Definitions | Articles | Archives | Search |
June 2006, vol 2 no 2

Chris Faiers

Hangin' with Bubo (virginiansis)
(Marmora, Ontario trails haibun - December 29th, 2004)

Another adventure on the trails of Ontario . . . it was so bright yesterday (finally) that I decided to do my daily walk facing into the sun. Chose the snowmobile trail which runs behind the old quarry hamlet of Malone. The first kilometer of the trail is thru an avenue of cedars and white pine, which then opens to a mile-long straightaway across a swamp.

About a quarter of the way across the swamp I surprised two white-tailed deer approaching to browse. This is to be expected, as many trails are lined with sumac and various other seed-bearing appetizers. Unfortunately, the deer caught my scent, and they skipped back through the swamp to a thickly wooded hummock.

Bending bloodred clusters
for a future feast

I continued along the straightaway, stopping for several minutes to soak up much-needed vitamin D. Despite the brightness, the day was bitterly cold, at least minus 15C. To keep warm I set a fast pace, and was just about bowled over by a brown and gray buzzbomb from the swamp! A great horned owl brushed within fifteen feet of me, unusual as they are night hunters. I intuited where he had landed in the thick brush on the other side of the trail. There he was, perched in the upper branches of a tree.

Solstice smudging rewards:
another new friend

I had the feeling he was also watching me very carefully, and I gave a thin high whistle to mimic a small rodent. He swivelled his head further towards me like Linda Blair in "The Exorcist". We stared at each other for at least five minutes, and I felt so crazy I held out my arm hoping he'd land on it.

Synchronicity again with the owl tribe. A few days earlier I'd placed a full-colour picture of Bubo virginiansis on my home altar. This was my third major visit from Bubo, and each visit was becoming longer and more intimate.

Ancient monk/warrior readies for fresh battle:
old ways returning

Wanting to mark Bubo's location, I noticed a skeletal stump in the swamp. I paced back to it so I could memorize the spot, and then I noticed an ancient metal number "9", like an address marker on it. Very curious.

Time to head back, and reluctantly I turned away from the sun. A haze of clouds was now hanging in the sky, and taking a last glance I saw something I'd never seen before—a huge rainbow was arcing from horizon to horizon forming a corona around the sun! After the deer and the owl I wasn't sure if this was a flashback, so I walked a few hundred yards without again looking towards the sun. Yes, it was a brilliant full rainbow, framing the sun! Sylvia told me that night these are called sundogs, or parhelions.

Buddha so beautiful
a veil is required

Sunday, 1 January 2017

ZIGZAG: Stuart Ross's New Year's poem for 2017 and Pearl's of wisdom

Dear friends, colleagues, relatives, mentors & those who fit into none of those categories —

I wish you good health, above all — but also happiness, friendship, comfort, peace, art & all the nifty things you want from 2017.

For the past couple of decades, as many of you know, I've been writing a new poem on New Year's Day and sending it out. Here’s my poem for this year.

If you wish to be taken off this occasional mass-mailing list, just let me know. No hard feelings.

Stuart Ross
Cobourg, Ontario, Canada

Image result for pic meadowlark



Yesterday the newspaper said one thing;

today it says something entirely different.
And all we did to make that happen

was sleep. Today, I looked in the mirror,

and I was unrecognizable! A meadowlark

with a broken wing. The news

is printed on paper while the meadow

is printed on lark, and we focus

our camera (a Filmo Sportster

manufactured 1947 by Bell & Howell)

on it as it zigzags into the air,

carrying just one thing under its bum wing:

a copy of Company, by Samuel Beckett

(published 1979 by John Calder). The pollsters

find that people want to hear seven words

from Company. The meadowlark, although

struggling to remain in flight, complies:

“girdle,” “inkling,” “confusion,” “vertex,”

“mountains,” “hitherto,” and “furthermore.”

Seven words of inspiration! Today

the people are frightened but

tomorrow they will rise up. Imagine

what might be possible! In 1702, when

this poem was written, the author

was put to death: an enemy of the state.

In crafting this translation, I have

striven to maintain the vitality

of the original. In this way, the frightened

people will rise up, probably tomorrow.

Imagine what might be possible!

Stuart Ross
1 January 2017

A Sparrow Came Down Resplendent (Wolsak and Wynn, 2016)
Certain Details: The Poetry of Nelson Ball (editor; WLU Press, forthcoming 2017)
Bad Engine: New & Selected Poems of Michael Dennis (editor, Anvil Press, forthcoming 2017)
Pockets (ECW Press, forthcoming 2017)
Please consider supporting my writing at

                                                            ~   ~   ~   ~  ~

Happy New Year, Chris

Who says things can't be unsaid? Lessons unlearned repeat. Of course one should never edit in an online browser but copy & paste from a file. I wrote 6 paragraphs of optimism of new year = new beginning, then lost it all. Life smirks, so, what's your attitude now?
Defiantly hopeful anyway. Things when starting again, don't take the same shape, they become better. Shane Parrish said "Velocity is a vector dependent concept. Moving in two directions that are not 100% aligned creates drag." In doing schtuff, is the focus the activity, intent, effect, words or people?

I look at Liam Burke as a model of proper direction. As he hosts Sawdust reading series and realize how well he does it. He is present for each open mic reader, each featured reader, introduces with welcome, acknowledges with appreciation, quotation, connection to other people. It's a thing of beauty to witness. There are so many people to learn from. It's the quiet ones sometimes who glow in their corner who show how life's done.

There are so many who inspire. On twitter Sarah Gailey did a run of 106 life-lessons of 2016, like "98: if someone is talking about how they like a thing, don't step in to tell them it's not that great. Dampening enthusiasm is a dick move." Or her 55: "a good way to bust through the blues is to go tell someone else how great they are." Life is continual learning.

I'm grateful for the chance to learn about things that I have no application for because knowledge in itself is interesting. It doesn't matter relevancy or how it connects. To know more about moss is its own reward.

I appreciate people who change things in the moment they occur. Like Charlie Petch who doesn't let b.s. pass, doesn't get ranty but stands ground, putting dignity in the face of undignified harassment. It's more stressful to let things pass than to call out with a simple no.

There are great poets like Sanita Fejzik who launched a chapbook with Natalie Hannah's new press which is like How Do I Love Thee, except not billowy and unresolved. Writers wow me. Their articulacy, clarity, adamancy, nuance and bravery. Natalie also does interviews for the Arc Poetry newsletter and interviewed me a few days ago. Interesting to think philosophy of why.

Life is not all dire. Chris Hadfield on twitter pointed out the advances of the year, a vaccine for Ebola, wiping out malaria from Sri Lanka, the numbers rebounding for tigers, wolves, and the gentle manatee taken off the endangered list.

Richard Van Camp, a generally inspiring person challenged: "I Double Dogrib Dare everyone who reads this to create something new in the world where two enemies make peace at the end. Ready, set, create!"

I am grateful for many people. My mom who insists on forming her own path. After a lifetime in her father's house, then her husband's she comes into her own in her 70s. She's seeking her bliss, not what other people say she should. She takes a good hard look at what she wants and needs. She grabs onto self-reliance, self-definition.

rob mclennan, who beyond his general support for writers and creating constellations of ideas and communities, recently invited people to say what did work in 2016 and derek, Amanda and I responded.

Part of my glad game is helping to organize Tree, to bring writers into the community, have people meet people who may spark and show the next step.

For you, what worked in 2016?

The new season of Tree is back next week at the Black Squirrel bookstore, 1073 Bank St. It's an extended open mic to welcome you all back.

I have a couple manuscripts on the front burners, one a surreal chapbook and one a nature/lyrical book.

My blogs have mostly petered out. My is getting out of date but I'll get that revised sometime soon. The cooking column still runs monthly at the Centretown Buzz, online or at Herb & Spice and area pharmacies, etc.

Studio Nouveau Workshops are resuming in spring (April?) probably centred around 6 weeks of eastern forms of poetry, haiku, tanka. That should be fun to explore. I expect to do an online-only side and possibly an in-person one as well.

Literary Landscape on Jan 10th is with Mirolla of Guernica books. The show continues to roll along. It's a pleasure to work at CKCU and get this excuse to talk with writers of all types.

At the 95 book challenge I crested 170 books and chapbooks, over 23,000 words read. In a shift, my favourites tended to be non-fiction. This year I ranked them and added more columns for demographics. Writing by males I ranked 3.5, by females 3.1, by multiple gender 3 and by non-binary 4 out of 5. I aimed to read more diverse but natives and people of colour comprised only 1/4. GLBTQQ2 was only 13%, disproportionally few to population. I aimed to read more classics but half was published in 2015 or 2016 and only 15% from over a century ago. I like stretch reads where they don't resonate and are hard reads, as well as oh-yes ones.

Until next time, keep reading and keep writing,
Copyright © 2017 Pearl Pirie & phafours press, All rights reserved.

Pearl Pirie & phafours press

Thursday, 22 December 2016

hawks soar on Winter Solstice

Thanks, Daryl, for the surprise arrival yesterday of bear creek haiku #136  : )-  I put it in my pocket & carried it as a talisman on my daily trek on the snow covered local trails. The highlight of the hike was watching a curious red tailed hawk circling high above, who was soon joined by a larger hawk with dark wings. It was the day of the Winter Solstice, and sunny and warm after several dark, cold and dreary weeks. The hawks seemed more interested in spiralling on the high currents than in hunting for rodents in the valley below, and it was a treat watching them soar.

After the refreshing walk I decided to spoil myself with chicken fingers and a glass of red wine at the only good local cafe. I devoured bch while sipping the wine and waiting for the chicken fingers to fry - perfect way to wind down my day!

hawks soar
on the shortest day
of 2016

As you keep sending me bear creek booklets, I feel I should reciprocate, so today I mailed you a copy of CROSSING LINES: POETS WHO CAME TO CANADA IN THE VIETNAM WAR ERA - pretty sure you'll enjoy it.

season's best and a productive 2017,
peace & poetry power!

Related image

Tuesday, 20 December 2016

stuffed chef's meatless green peppers

Image result

Hi Jim,
We'll have to compare stuffed green pepper recipes & the results sometime  :  )-  My friend Sierra asked me to make them a few months ago, as I hadn't made stuffed peppers since my cooking days. So I gave it a try, & they were a great success with both of us.

I dug out an ancient cookbook of Sylvia's, which suggested parboiling the halved peppers before baking. I put them in a pot of boiling water for a few mins before I stuff them now. For the filling I use rice - basmati or jasmine preferred. I add a touch of curry powder to the boiling water for the rice to give an extra bit of flavour, also lots of butter pats (can't use too much butter when cooking!)

When I'm sauteeing the ingredients - the diced tops of the peppers, a bit of diced onion (find onion gives me indigestion now), lots of diced garlic cloves, some diced ginger root & shrooms. I deglaze the pan with some generous dashes of red wine - you also can't use enough red wine when cooking, something I learned at Georgie Brown.

As I'm semi-veg, there's no meat in my sauce, so I add half a bottle of 'Classico" spicy red pepper sauce to the sauteed veg & let it simmer, similar to making spaghetti sauce.

I mix the blended sauce & cooked rice together & stuff the slightly parboiled peppers, adding a nice topping of grated parmesan and/or cheddar, depending on my cheese larder. I bake at fairly medium temp for about 3/4 of an hour, maybe jacking up the heat briefly at the end to fully melt the cheese. Serve with several glasses of merlot or shiraz & Italian bread, preferably ciabatta lunga clusters.  

Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm Goooooooood!!!   I made them yesterday, so this aft I'll cheat & just nuke one of the very large peppers.

On 2016-12-18, at 11:42 AM, jim christy wrote:

I forgot to mention that I too made stuff peppers. Three or four days ago but I steamed, father than baked them; weren't bad. Have you ever thought about writing something about your jobs?
Maybe even and industrial cooking haiku (or maybe not).

Tuesday, 13 December 2016

went down to the demonstration, to get my fair share of abuse . . .

Jason Miller/The Intelligencer
Molly Mulloy holds a sign calling for fair voting outside the constituency office of Bay of Quinte MP Neil Ellis. Mulloy and other advocates rallied outside Ellis’ office in Belleville Tuesday.
I'm the "T" in count (blue parka)
pic from Belleville Intelligencer

Chris --

Thanks for signing up to join the Make Every Vote Count Day of Action. Note that this event still needs a host. We need your help to make this happen.

Hosting is easy, and we'll help you every step of the way. All you need to do is show up at your MP's office at noon with a copy of the Liberal electoral reform promise. We'll invite people to join you and send you a step by step guide to help you get organized.

Can you step up to host? Sign up at or call (855) 532 3609 ex 40 to confirm with us.

Don't want to host but still want to attend? Here are the details again:

WHAT: Make Every Vote Count - Belleville
WHEN: December 13, 2016 at 12pm
WHERE: MP Neil Ellis's Office
100 Station St
Belleville, ON K8N 2S5
Google map and directions
CONTACT: Event host: Lynne ·

If enough people join this National Day of Action, we can send a powerful message to the Liberals that we wont let them get away with backtracking on their promises on voting reform.

The more people who join, the stronger our voices will be. Can you invite a friend or two to join you on Tuesday?

We're in this together,
Leadnow Organizing Team