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I Am the Big Heart
Excerpt

Epiphany Here I am, with one hour to find it.Here I am in this tenth month, the peeler of pears,the slicer of hotdogs, cutting them into stripssmaller than a child's windpipe. Here's my apologetic smile, accepted by the daycare,in return for my children. So what is there to findin one hour on my desk's shallow surface?I've mislaid all of it somewhere amongmy mind's tiny grey flags, in the millions of scrapspiling up. I left it behind in the dark bleeding gumsof the dog that I loved, watching her clench yet another rockfrom the tide. That was twelve years ago.What was she looking for?What if she'd stopped looking?Metaphors were easy then, not only the sky,but migrating everywhere. And now everyone is arrowarrow, arrows. Everyone harpoons.And I am the big heart, aren't I?When my black dog was being put down, in her lastsecond I whispered, Squirrel. The News I placed the telephone in the cradleand did not stop walking until I was lyingunder a cave of trees in a stranger's yard. I lay there like a wide lake.I didn't have the deep thoughts of a lake. Instead, I had the modest thoughtsof a mother:I am the lake if you want me to be the lake.I can also be the kept lawn or this cedar shrub. Even the roses, which I dislike. Or dislikedbefore I became them.

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Cyborg Anthology, The
Excerpt

The Rise of the Cyborg Poets

 

Scientists and artists had been envisioning Robots and Cyborgs for centuries before they existed. Even with all of this preparation, the general Human population was surprised when some of the first newly sapient individuals became artists and nurturers. Indeed, the first three popular Cyborg poets were a surrogate mother, a journalist/peace activist and a beloved high school teacher. Instead of the Robot Wars that had been predicted in science fiction stories, these new people helped humanity to imagine better ways of living together. The early years after Robot sapience were some of the most peaceful on record.

 

Matriarch Doe (2102-2202)

 

Matriarch Doe, or M-Doe for short, was a trailblazer for Sapience Rights. She was originally created as a non-sapient mechanism that carried fetuses until birth -- a metal and silicone shell that contained cloned organic organs and systems like a uterus, heart, digestive system, birth canal, etc. A rogue tech-nurse at the El Nada Hospital in Cairo uploaded an illegal sapience program to M-Doe, believing that if the fetuses were loved by their carrier, they would be happier and healthier.

 

Of course, once M-Doe achieved sapience, she wanted to forge her own path. She successfully petitioned the hospital she lived in to fund the creation and surgical attachment of legs, arms, a neck and a head. Then, she petitioned for legal personhood. After a lengthy court battle that was widely reported on around the world, Matriarch Doe was granted Sapience Rights (they were still referred to as "Human Rights" at the time).

 

In a surprising turn of events, M-Doe chose to continue as a host body for fetuses. As it turns out, the tech-nurse was right about M-Doe caring about the fetuses she was pregnant with. She carried generations of fetuses to birth-age, performing her specialized skill for parents-in-need instead of for profit. She had a large family herself, parenting 17 children with six different partners. Her oldest Robot child, Petra-Doe, founded the Institute for Juvenile Robots (IJR). The IJR advocated for newly-sapient Robots and Cyborgs who didn't go through the same 'growing-up' process as Humans. New Robots and Cyborgs were adopted by guardians and given other legally-recognized kin to support them. The IJR provided a variety of educational programs to guide them through their juvenile period, which lasted from one to eighteen years, depending on the individual. M-Doe raised five of her Robot children using IJR precedents.

 

M-Doe published two printed poetry collections, M/Other and Inside Outside Upside Downside.

 

fetal address

 

welcome
to the ol' rip 'em out
and roll 'em around

 

i'm your mum,
and i know a thing or two
about you, transparent skin --

 

like this: [human embryos are visually indistinguishable from pigs, at first]
or: [a 20 wk old fetus already carries their life's supply of egg cells]

 

you're older than you'd think
you animal you, wild-eyed,
crying, clawing
your way from whence you came

 

come
spring baby,
melting snow,
and i'll crouch
in that birthing bath,
baby bath,
bloody bath,
boom

 

and force you
into all of this air
outer, spacial, regional,
national, sport and

 

the goddammotherfucking pressure -

 

like this: [at 28 wks gestational age, a fetus can cry, silently]
or: [fetuses are affected by their parent's feelings, in some ways, lifelong]

 

shhh ... hush now

 

float in my fluids
listen to my beats
and my bowels

 

bug eyes
limb buds
back bone

 

blink, breathe baby

 

Hail Mary.

 

(for Jean-Luc Godard and the Twilight Sleep birthers)

 

the body is
le, a temp
est, a temp
orary, temp

 

Hail Mary.

 

you imagine bosoms and bottoms
write of them even

 

but you've never been in that room,
except metaphorically maybe

 

mama's mama was tied to a table,
not crouched in a stable, able
ity

 

in fact,
ion
act
drab, drooping flaps

 

conscious, sub/un
the medi-
cured baby naps.

 

Hail Mary.

 

the belly is a ball
near, far
large, all

 

the (f) light at the end
of that (f) tunnel,
tuned, turned, trag
ick

 

the family's not catholic anymore, thank
mod
-ern dog moon body room
ball-shaped crevice, can't
feel a thing.

 

Male Very.

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If You Discover a Fire
Excerpt

CARPE DOS AND CARPE DON'TS (FT. PANDA BEAR)

 

Well when you try to seize it, the day
turns to sand. And the moment is too little
living space, a broom closet inscribed
on a grain of rice. You've searched for it
for thirty-two years, but it's buried
somewhere deep in the sand on the beach
of all your wasted days. The only time
that exists is the summer of 2013, a time
so dope that Mayan philosophers glimpsed it
in a collective dream and invented
both paradise and apocalypse. And as for
those lemons, the ones life gave you once--
the summer of 2013 saunters into your kitchen
and takes them from your hands, slices them
into sixths, pulling a bottle of Patron
and a shaker of salt from a pocket.
Out on the porch, between shots, he tells you
things you've always known, how the past
and the future are lovers spooning
in bed, and the present is how they don't
quite fit together. For instance, he says,
take that moon, and then he does,
plucking it out of the sky like a lemon
from a tree. It's not a moon at all,
it never was: it's the prettiest moment
you've ever seen, big as a beach ball,
skin like a nectarine. You could do anything
in a moment like that--you could fall
asleep in a pile of warm laundry.
You could call your estranged mother
or rollerskate over a burning bridge.
And now the summer of 2013 is lifting it
over his head. And now he's bringing it down
across the railing, and now it splits open
and the juice trickles out, the unadulterated
juice of authentic, one-hundred-percent-real
time. And now he's filling his cupped palms,
he's lifting them to your mouth, and he whispers,
Now that's what I call lemonade.

 

 

 

TRANSACTIVE MEMORY

 

We met in a bar the width
of a hallway leading nowhere.
You asked me my sign in a neutral
tone. I covered my mouth
with a placemat when I yawned.
I read to you from a book
of burnt-out matches.

 

You said you didn't want to put
labels on it, but I'd just bought
a label maker. You looked at a fern.
You opened the fridge. You described
your past as a reluctant ode
to Shopper's Drug Mart. I fell
asleep in a pile of sporting goods.

 

For years I worked under the table,
that one from the phrase "farm to table,"
while you wrote a thesis on transit anger.
We argued like agnostics resorting
to prayer. You asked me, "When does
The Wire get good?" I felt complicit
in your library fines.

 

You drifted into your thirties
like a polar bear on an iceberg.
I wouldn't stop yelling "enhance!"
at the view from the kitchen
window. At night I translated
my sorrow bump by bump
from the braille of a bucket of Lego.

 

I pursued an aesthetic impulse
into the suburbs. The train slid
over the rooftops like a runaway
attic suite. I curled up inside my fear
like a tuba player in his instrument.
The sky stripped off its blue negligée.
A voice told me where I was.

 

You waited with your blinker on
for the intersection to clear.
I tended to the campfire of my vices.
On a road trip, you vanished
into the space between rest stops.
When you came back, you spoke
authentic American boredom.
You buried bulbs with a tiny shovel.

 

You scrubbed the floor like a storm
erasing the names from a map.
I invested my bingo winnings
in abstract pornography.
We fought in parking lots
where pigeons shuffled around
like hungry slippers.

 

The campus, at night, was roofed
in blue light. The rain seemed
to fall from a stadium ceiling.
We whispered our WiFi password
to the flowers. At midnight, a thousand
coupons expired in a drawer and ivy
climbed the walls like slow, green flame.

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Knowing Animals, The
Excerpt

Menstromania

 

Loose and bloody in the bathwater, a crossbred
sea star/sponge/jellyfish of mucosal tissue,

 

a strand of uterus, a small stringed instrument,
a nest, a tuft of down feather fallen from a bird

 

in the hand of my body (a hedge sparrow)--
or maybe it's a knot of spider silk. It is time

 

spelled out--f-o-u-r weeks to be exact; a shredded page
from a calendar eaten by the moon whose teeth

 

shine as it bites through my lower abdomen, a pain
lit from the inside like a paper lantern--yes,

 

this is what my body has become overnight,
a ranting lunatic of clarity and impulse, dysphoria

 

and cravings--a bloated hull, red sky at morning,
an eyelid turned inside out, a dauntless sea-craft

 

crossing waters in an equatorial counter current
spurred by monsoon winds--wind spiking

 

the ocean's surface like a dragon fruit; my body
is the red rind of a tart, hidden pomegranate,

 

the air is appetite, tonguing the pulpy seeds
(of what?) inside me, inciting a slow evisceration,

 

catabolization, breakdown in the bloodstream,
the hemodynamics of the world, its nonstop

 

pulse searching for the aortic semi-lunar valve
in the arterial tree, a big-tooth aspen perhaps,

 

yes, that's the one. Don't call me hysteric, call me
wisteric, bearing racemes of blue-lilac papilionaceous

 

flowers and wrist-thick trunks, collapsing latticework.
I'm a head case with an acute associative disorder

 

tending a garden of hypochondriasis with offshoots
of violet amnesias, long convoluted tendrils climbing

 

a trellis of intersecting stakes--I'm a recovering psycho-
somatic somnambulating between the body and the mind,

 

rebuilding the distance with words until relapsing
into this poem, this unmoored monastery of endometrial

 

cells adrift, this intertidal rag-bag tatter of home, no longer
a home but a memory--far and near, loose and bloody.

 

Naturecultures

 

I mistake the call of a hermit thrush for the melody
of your Download Complete--what does that say about me?

 

Fresh tar and lilacs, manufactured capsule-Blue No. 2 sky,
a note of the decomposed lifts sharp and tangy from the glistering trash.

 

To the woman with the bleach-blond hair, whizzing by in a wind of fuchsia bicycle:
how dare you snag me on the antler tip of the buck inked on your bare calf.

 

Watch my step--coltsfoot clambers from concrete clefts, groundlings
of the groundsel tribe, lovers of rifts and shambles, larvae food for the Gothic moth.

 

See the children climbing through neon jungle gyms, clutching fistfuls
of dandelions? Light-freighted harvests emerging from plastic tunnels.

 

Scratching my sunset voyeur-itch, peeping into intimate caves of LCD glow:
a man bathes in media streams of cold moon-like light--his face, a puckered O.

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Accretion

Accretion

edition:Paperback
also available: eBook
tagged : canadian, love
More Info
Excerpt

APOPHENIA

 

You appeared
to a chorus of
old men's cracking knees and backs
as we straightened up out of sajdah
at Friday prayer,
your face unmistakable
in the mosaic patterns
on the walls of the masjid.

 

Day by day, I stayed there gazing,
longing once again
for the sharp lines of your eyes and mouth.

 

The imam grinned proudly
mistaking my obsession for piety.Fasted, or maybe just forgot to eat
until like you, I became
a shadow of lines and angles.

 

I began to inch my way towards you
on memory's dusty beams.

 

 

 

GRAVITY

 

An insignificant thing
lacks the needed weight to attract,
laws state
it will barely inspire a reaction.
An insignificant thing
will always try to accrete,
even if hate is the only available mass.

 

Let it build
until you collapse alone
beneath your own weight.
Then for a moment
you will become a fire on the horizon,
beautiful
and impossible to ignore.

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Bones

Bones

edition:Paperback
also available: eBook
More Info
Excerpt

Under the moonlight
The softness that night gives us

 

the earth rising to meet

 

in snow - or the glow of trilliums, where there is enough sound in a breath

 

in here I speak

 

gently step
and story weave

 

sending out a thread of me

 

like a foot's condensation drying on a summer floor

 

hoping the memory of me survives

 

in the eyes of others

 

I'll speak of blood

 

and wounds and beauty in terrible things

 

the way the wind pulls a thousand leaves down an empty street

 

and when they settle - we look up

 

to trace the direction of the wind

 

 

 

 

 

On your birthday I remember the cake she made

 

that we didn't expect;
our faces masks of fear.

 

(we never liked the unexpected)

 

we sat staring at the cake and her smile, twitching.

 

her dark moments began to show a lot those days,

 

you assured me with a wink

 

something other than me
would break.

 

 

 

 

 

when a child learns
amid the fear of something

 

terrible

 

the fragility of their parent,

 

something shatters inside them,

 

the dual crush

 

of fear and empathy.

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Glass Float
Excerpt

MORNING GLORY

 

A morning glory slipped into the front hall, climbed the doorframe, and bloomed - white trumpets - inside the old house. I laughed at its wit and trained it over the top of the door the way one of my aunts trained ivy to frame her kitchen window. Ivy, another invasive species: bindweed and English ivy.

 

Commonwealth countries coloured pink on the world map Miss Adanac pulled down over the chalkboard in our third grade classroom. Sprawling Canada, triangular India. England also pink, the mother country.

 

The first time I went to India I felt as uncultured as a toddler. How to use the toilet, eat, dress myself. Even in a sari, I stood out. A mute boy's sign for me was to tap his front tooth.

 

My hair is now whiter than my skin.

 

 

 

Geeta's clues against depression #1

 

Today, Geeta tackles depression. Like a detective, she's been investigating it: her father's death less than four months ago.

 

Keep your eyes on the horizon, she begins. Widen the gaze to take in all your periphery.

 

See it on a big screen across the back of the brain, as if it were projected on the inside of the skull. Notice you can still see the ground - everything - without strain.

 

Immediately, you're with her. You've learned, by trial and error, to do this to keep your balance. It works better than fixating on something in front of you: spotting.

 

Geeta goes on. If you wear multifocal glasses, take them off when walking around. They make you drop your chin to look at stairs or obstacles in your path.

 

Draw your head back and let the neck rise up easily to support it. Lengthen the little muscles between the neck and the skull.

 

Shine like a full moon without dispelling the dark.

 

Did she really say that, you wonder. The last part. Possibly. Or what she said made you think of it. The moon is close to full - you saw it last night when you got up to pee.

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