Twas the night before CanLit Christmas by Pearl Pirie
The night before Christmas, all through the nation
Not a poet was paid cash, not even at this station.
Poet stockings were hung over their sofas with hope,
For Nelson Ball or Ann Carson, not soap-on-a-rope.
michael e casteels was musing vispo amalgams.
Catherine Owen was at a riverside photoshoot,
While Rita Wong was out foraging our national roots.
While metaphors of death pranced thru their heads.
Amber Dawn in her ‘tats, and Bök in his promo beret,
opened their books, and sipped pumpkin lattés.
While Monty Reid rosined his strings, then his shoes.
Liz Howard stayed tight in her shaking tent.
Lorna Crozier was out of country, at an event.
Across the country Chase barked, Faiers tilted his head.
Dave O’Meara couldn’t hear it over a patron’s news
And Domanski was out in the bush chasing a muse.
Quill & Quire turned their opera glasses to the matter.
Running from the window, John B Lee was The Flash.
Humming, beaulieu stencilled the dog, the shutters then did the sash.
Jenna Butler paused planning where to plant and till.
NourbeSe Philip heard a suicide, but not that noise.
Ben Ladouceur was distracted by all the pretty boys.
The cacophony grew louder and louder out in the yard.
And what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But an access paycheck, pulled by nine clever reindeer.
I knew in a moment, it must be… A.F. Moritz.
More rapid than submissions or applications they came,
And he whispered, and rumbled, and called them by name:
On, mclennan and Brossard! Howell, Dumont and Connelly!
To the top of the Parliament! To the top of the field!
Now’s holidays! Holidays!! But you’re all strong as steel!”
There began to build an interesting energy.
What it was, I wasn’t sure…but it had to be good
Like a Vancouver Conference in my very own hood.
Through the window A.F. Moritz came with a…gall dang.
He was dressed all in wool, from his suit to his slippers,
And his clothes were all burnished with toner and glitter.
As an antlered Yann Martel one gave reading tips.
Poem broadsheets were falling like so much fresh snow.
It was Rudolph mclennan tossing them from the cargo.
Their cheeks were like so…cheeky, noses like… for expediency, let’s stick with “cherries”!
Stuck out of Moritz’s pocket was a PoetSeries bandana.
mclennan’s wry little mouth was drawn up like a Santa’s.
And joined in the vowels of Wayde Compton, and blerrrrks
of Paul Dutton. Sandra Ridley slipped in as the fifth.
then McCaffrey and jw, McNair and Stephen Ross Smith.
And learned new ways to vibrate their teeth.
Folks texted out, poets flooded in. Shauntay Grant,
Burdick, Wells, Priske, Brockwell and Di Brandt…
Soon sound itself became the great northern forest.
Chrisses Johnson and Turnbull mmmed. Gary Barwin whistled.
Sound poetry; CBC’s focus drifted like down from a thistle.
Soon gave all to know we had nothing to fret;
As a group with passion attracts more of the same
Soon onlookers and curious joined in the the game.
Mia Morgan finger-snapped. The next improv kicked in.
Overtones crescendoed, a wall of sound was evaded.
The sounds swelled and softened and finally abated.
If you missed it, you missed it — you had to be there.
Leaping back to the carpet, (bought with OAC grants)
Moritz said we should do this each year, if we get a chance.
They drifted off in dribs and drabs, in bits of bodily hum.
They left not a book but as they disappeared from sight,
I heard someone call “Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night!”
A note from the author: “Twas the Night Before Christmas was previously believed to be authored by Clement Clarke Moore, I give thanks to Major Henry Livingston Jr. (1748-1828) who Don Foster traced the poem to in Author Unknown: On the Trail of Anonymous.”
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fun with can lit///hello from the rainforest...happy new year to all
over Thetis Lake
winter in her wings