Collected and presented by Darcie Friesen Hossack
(Above) The words and voice of Patrick Friesen along with the musical composition and production of Niko Friesen (father and son). Available on all streaming services. Video by Ryan Flowers [also featuring a short clip of the burning house footage from ‘The Sacrifice’ by Andrei Tarkovsky (1986)]
Patrick Friesen has published more than a dozen books of poetry, a book of essays and, with Per Brask, co-translations of several Danish poets. Friesen has also written stage and radio plays, text for dance, and has recorded three CDs of spoken word and music with Marilyn Lerner and Peggy Lee, most recently Buson’s Bell with Niko Friesen. In March 2018 his book of poetry, Songen, was published with Mother Tongue, and his play a short history of crazy bone was staged by Theatre Projects Manitoba. His second Selected Poems, Outlasting the Weather, is coming out in August 2020 with Anvil Press.
Foreword by Darcie Friesen Hossack
Before social media, it would’ve taken twelve lifetimes to meet the writers, activists and peace-makers who’ve come into my life. That is as true for this unexpected collaboration with Mbizo Chirasha and Time of the Poet Republic, as for the Canadian poets and storytellers who responded for this very special issue.
Even if we weren’t featuring themes of Tolerance and Peace-building, it would still be necessary for this collection to feature writers as varied as this country itself. And so, I went everywhere I could, asking Indigenous, People of Colour and writers from our vibrant LGBTQ2+ community for their words. Soon, the poetry, followed by prose, began to arrive, from the West to the East coast, and the cold far North.
Our first offering came from Calgary, Alberta poet Lori D. Roadhouse Haney, and it was immediately clear, within a single line of verse, that this issue had the potential to be bring us to our knees with grace.
Juan Ramirez, meanwhile, calls all who will listen to participate in a social re-Genesis, while Dew Williams brings us into the realities of her Indigenous-Canadian life, through the simple act of drawing her teacher a picture, and then drawing it again. And again.
Our youngest storyteller, nine year old Raelynn, carries with her the hope that our next generation is already as gifted and inclusive as anyone who’s been spilling ink for decades. Hers is a talent that needs to be supported in the literary arts, and we’re proud to do that here.
We have a sonnet. We have a poem about the human mathematics of war. The Poet Laureate of the Yukon has graced us with two selections, while yet more poets of note than I can mention, including first-time authors, award winners and a contributor with 17 books to his name, have poured out their pens to speak peace and love and heartbreak to a listening world.
I have no diplomatic status, but I have nonetheless anointed one honourary Canadian in the person of Iraqui-American, Pulitzer Prize nominated, Pushcart Prize winning poet, Faleeha Hassan. Although she’s made America her home, Faleeha embodies the deepest, best, shared belief of our two countries: that an immigrant is as Canadian, is as American, as anyone whose great-great-grandparents were born here. With that belief in contention in the nation she’s adopted, we welcome her into this collection with gratitude and love.
Then…then there’s Patrick Friesen
Patrick (of no known relation to myself) is a Mennonite writer who needs no introduction to Canadian writers and readers. A pioneer of writing about the culture and religious tradition into which he and I were born, a generation apart, this poet has been shortlisted for our country’s highest literary honour, while clearing a path for writers like me to speak truth into and outside of our communities. If you missed it at the top of this page, scroll back before reading on. Turn on your sound and hear the voice of the poet himself. In this graciously-given video, Friesen’s words are punctuated and amplified through the extraordinary musicality and production of his son Niko Friesen. We couldn’t be more proud and grateful to them both for allowing us to present this gift to you.
Dear readers: Thank you for spending the following time with us in Canada. In choosing the order of works, I tried to tell a story.
Darcie Friesen Hossack
Daughter of Ishmael
Daughter of Ishmael,
sit a moment
rest with me
in this circle of women.
Take down your veils
and permit me to anoint your feet
allow me to cleanse you
as I cleanse myself –
Our fathers were ancient brothers.
You are my cousin
and yet we do not know each other
we feel no bond
no family ties to bind us.
Still, we know a mother’s fear –
share a longing for a healing world
need a safe place for our children.
So let me rub your feet
I promise to love your children
as my own.
As our mutual God commands us
I will obey.
Please let me obey.
Lori D. Roadhouse is a Calgary poet, writer and aphorist. She is involved with various poetry organizations and is a Board member of the Single Onions Poetry Series. From 2008-2010 she was co-artistic director, performer and MC of Lotus Land at South Country Fair, and was the 2009 Poet-in-Residence for Radiant Lights eMagazine. Lori co-created the Writing Toward the Light Poetry Contest and Concert. She was the Poet Laureate for the 2015 Peter Gzowski International PGI for Literacy event for CanLearn Society. She is a featured reader at poetry and spoken word events, and has been published in many anthologies, magazines, newsletters, websites, radio programs, and a CD.
pj johnson, POET LAUREATE OF THE YUKON
Set Not Your Face in Grief
Set not your face in grief against the wind
This death is but a word
That wanders in the night
Planting sorrow in the hearts of men
Cast down the seed
Set not your face in grief against the wind
I am the rose so full of life I cannot die
For this death means nothing
I am beauty in full bloom
Set not your face in grief against the wind
For I am new and perfect
Like the snow that falls around you
I the silent miracle sift down from heaven
Set not your face in grief against the wind
For I am Raven, free in spirit
Soaring highly without bound
I am Legend reminding you of life
Reminding you to live
©pj johnson 1988
My brother Dwight was born at a time when being bi-racial wasn’t alright. My brother Dwight was born at a time when being gay wasn’t alright. We both ended up in the system. Only one of us survived. A part of me will always be missing.
This poem was inspired by a true story.
dwight was born bi-racial
at a time
when it wasn’t alright
to be bi-racial
dwight was born gay
at a time
when it wasn’t alright
to be gay
because she didn’t want
a bi-racial child
dwight’s foster parents
because they didn’t want
a gay son
dwight jumped off a bridge
in vancouver in 1969
because he didn’t want
he was my big brother
his name was dwight
©pj johnson 2020
pj johnson, the daughter of a Yukon trapper was invested on July 1st 1994 and given the title Poet Laureate of the Yukon during a ceremony in Whitehorse where she became the first officially-invested poet laureate in Canada.
A storyteller in the oral tradition, her poems stories and songs have been televised and performed nationally and globally and published widely.
Active in the arts for decades as a mentor and performer, she is also an author, playwright, actor, musician, composer, Yukon ambassador and passionate animal rights advocate.
Diagnosed with nonverbal learning disorder in 2005 johnson encourages people with learning disabilities to realize they can still pursue their dreams.
Known as the Yukon Raven Lady, johnson led a campaign to have the northern raven declared the official symbol of the Yukon in 1985.
On Canada Day 2020 pj johnson celebrated her 26th anniversary as Poet Laureate of the Yukon. She is the longest-serving Poet Laureate in Canada.
Her book “it’s howlin’ time!” is available at Mac’s Fireweed Books in Whitehorse. https://www.macsbooks.ca/
“You Think I Care About Being Cool Or Rich?
That’s Not Why I’m Me….
I Just Want To Help A Little Bit… A Little Bit Here, A Little Bit There….
I Want To Believe That We All Want To Help, Not Just Ourselves But Each Other….
I Want To Believe That Human Beings Are Like That…
That We Would Prefer To See One Another Live In Joy Rather Than Sadness….
I Don’t Believe We Want To Be Full Of Division And Separation….
I Want To Believe There Is Inclusivity And Exclusivity For Everyone….
That The World As We Know It Can Nurture Us And Provide For Us…
But Somehow And Someway… Along The Path Of Our Self Discovery…
We Have Forgotten Who We Actually Are….
Our Need For Excess Has Left Us Empty, Separated From Self…..
A New Age With Tremendous Reach That In Mere Moments Has Left Us More Distant Than Ever….
Technology Has Us Looking Around The Corner For Our Next Convenience….
While Access To Information Has Made Us Misanthropic….
And The Never Ending Stream Of Data Synonymous With Our Modern World….
Can Make It Seemingly Impossible To Discern A Simple Thought From Knowledge….
We Over Analyze And Forsake Intuition….
In An Attempt To Emulate Our Machinations…
Forgetting Ourselves As Alchemists And Creators…
Ashamed Of Moments Where We Lacked The Flair And Gumption To Do Right…
More Than Successful And Rich, We Need To Be Fair And Just….
More Than Handsome Or Beautiful…. We Need To Act Beautifully….
We Have Forgotten To Be This To One Another And In Kind, Treat Kin Like Foe….
While Networks And Social Platforms Have Demonstrated That All We Seek As Human Beings Is….
Even Now… My Words Stretch Across Miles With The Capacity To Reach Every Man, Woman And Child Trapped In The Same System I Am…
And If You Are Out There Listening For Some Reason, I Want You To Know…
“What Your Doing Matters.”
The World As We Know It Will Not Belong To The Dark Forces That Guide It Forever….
In Their Stead Will Rise A New Generation Of People Who Do Not Fear Human Progress…
A New Generation Of People Who Will Pass Over The World And Starve Dictators, Presidents And Despots Of Their Power….
A New Generation That Will Return Power To The Hands Of Its Original Owners…
The People Of This Planet….
And So Long As We Persevere…. So Does Our Vision Of Freedom
My Brothers And Sisters, Fellow Samurai And Warriors Of The World…. My Brothers In Steel And Banner….
Do Not Die For These Men…. These Men Who Know Your Cause But Not Your Purpose…. The Same Men Who Beat You, Break You, Brand You And Belittle You….
Do Not Lend Them Your Hearts Or Your Ears… You Are Not A Construct Of Their Bidding… You Are Not A Tool…. You Are Greater Than Your False Sense Of Patriotism And You Need To Fight For Your Freedom, Not Your Enslavement!
The Universe In It’s Divine Wisdom Has Placed In All Of Us As A Whole, A Small Piece Of All That Ever Was….
Therefore The Universe Lives Through Us, Exists Through Us And Belongs… To Us.
That Means We Have The Means To Shape Our Environment And Experience..
We Have The Tools To Craft A World Where We Don’t Need To Emulate Our Machinations And Forsake Our Humanity
We Have The Knowledge To Live In Peace And Love…. To Live In Light And Harmony
Together We Have That Capacity…..
So Begin Now,
Begin Creating A New World That Will Give Impoverished Children A Chance To Create A Better Future…
Begin To Fulfill The Promises That Were Denied To You By The Same Men And Women Who Allow You To Work For Theirs…
Begin By Enslaving Your Captor In Cages Built By Their Own Greed And Corruption And Begin Freeing Yourself
It’s Time To Do Away With The Small Thinking….
Its Time To Do Away With Childish Things And Begin To See Life For What It Is….
Begin To See A Vision For The Future That Is No Longer A Fantasy
But A Reality!
Fulfill Your Divine Capacity To Do So
Juan Ramirez is an author, musician, and athlete from Calgary Alberta Canada
Born in Guatemala, Juan has made a name for himself in Canada by writing about the tough and gritty subjects we face in life through the mediums of poetry and music, Juan is also an active boxer representing the Calgary Boxing Club
Likes: Comic Books
Antoinette Tuff was Scheduled
to Have the Day off on Tuesday
This is 911. Stay on the line with me now;
where are you?
I am in the front office. Two of our staff came in and he let them go. He just went outside and he’s started shooting.
Can you get somewhere safe? Keep the phone on. Put it down beside you.
No, I can’t go. He’s turned around and he’s coming back in. He’ll see me running.
He said he should of just went to the mental hospital instead of doing this, because he’s not on his medication.
Antoinette Tuff, a school bookkeeper in Georgia, was scheduled to have the day off on Tuesday, but a last minute switch put her in the school’s front office to substitute as secretary for the day. Early this morning she was confronted by a gunman in his early twenties.
Oh… he’s coming back in.
We’s all going to die today, lady and there ain’t nothing you can do.
Look, you want me to talk to them and try? Let’s see if I can work it out with them. I can let them know you’re not trying to harm me. You just shot outside the door. You didn’t hit anybody. What if I walk outside with you right now? What if I walk out there with you and tell them you want to give yourself up? Where are you from?
It’s going to be all right, sweetheart. I just want to let you know that I love you. OK? Bad things happen to everyone. So just hold on. You know my husband of 33 years old left me a while back. I almost took my own life but you know what, I am OK now and you will be, too. Give me that gun.
What your name? Oh, Michael…Michael Hill. Do you know that I am a Hill, too. My mom’s last name is Hill.
Look, honey, you wanna lie down here, instead? OK, good. I’m gonna sit here. OK? So just stay there calm. Don’t worry about it. I’m gonna sit right here, so they’ll come in and see us and they will know you’re not hurting me. Give me that gun, OK? It’s a good thing that you are giving up and don’t worry about it. We all go through something in life. I am proud of you.
Operator, he’s on the ground, now with his hands behind his back. I’ve got the gun. Tell those officers: don’t come in with guns. Don’t come in shooting or anything. Tell them to come in; I’ll buzz ‘em in.
It’s going to be all right, sweetheart. And I’m proud of you. So just hold on, Michael. That’s a good thing that you are just giving up. I’m gonna let them in when they buzz.. You did good, honey.
Find out what they’re waiting for. What’s taking them so long?
Operator, he said: what are you all waiting for? What’s taking them all so long to come on in?
All right, one moment.
This is POLICE. No one move!
There’s just him. There’s no gun.
Oh, Operator, hello?
I’m gonna tell you something, baby. I never been so scared all the days of my life.
You did great!
Susan Koppersmith is a poet living in Vancouver BC. She is interested in all poems and stories where people overcome themselves.
No one said London is very cold
Because I only sailed in the warmth of my city
And I never shook a snowman’s hand
I didn’t notice the wool socks or leather gloves
And because quoting is forbidden – in my mom’s opinion –
I did not borrow a coat from Gogol *
Or anyone else
I packed a bundle of my hot memories
And I left
The loving hearts shortened my farewell with fast beats
And reduced all their wishes to one “stay warm”
But before I could blink
Her watch came close to me
Shouted in my ear -: Big Ben*
I was terrified
When my stories froze.
The watch fell on her back laughing
When I told her:
I was hiding in the pocket of my poem
Warming by the fabric of letters.
*Gogol is the Russian novelist Nikolai Gogol, author of the coat story that novelist Turgenev said, “We all got out of Gogol’s coat.”
*Big Ben is the famous London clock that started in 1859
About the war a talk
What if I slept all that time
I had hibernated from 1980 to 1988?
To be a safe bear
Or wood frog with full body parts
Is much better than being locked in a damaged soul
Your meaning of existence is peeling harshly
Whenever the storm of war is blowing.
1980 to 1988 , the duration of the Iran – Iraqi war
wood frog, this frog dies in the winter time and comes back to life in summer
About the war a talk
Even the survivors of it
Their heads are still overloaded from pain of memories
What keeps you tied to this chair
when the forest in the morning is flooded with perfumes
Like a woman is ready for a date?
The walls are grey here
So is the time
Little by little you are trying
To take back yourself
But a bloody memory falls from
The tip of your pen
Draw your photo on the face of the paper
While you are running breathlessly
Trying to hide from the siren, attacking aircraft, buildings that fall on those around,
Shreds of your friends that collide with each other randomly in the air
Memories one after another
You become invisible to yourself
Days are dry on the calendar
Echo of life dies silent
The more you try to get away from the past
But a heavy question weaves itself around your feet
What do you want to do?
The forest only needs a moment of silence
Just like you
Faleeha Hassan is a poet, teacher, editor, writer, playwriter born in Iraq, who now lives in USA
Faleeha is the first woman wrote poetry for children in Iraq. She received her master’s degree in Arabic literature, and has published 25 books. Her poems translated into (16) languages
She received many awards in Iraq and the Middle East.
Pulitzer Prize Nomination 2018, Pushcart Prize 2019, IWA
Cultural Ambassador – Iraq, USA
Notes on Finding Peace
To stop the sound of one’s footsteps
and kind of make a trade
with tall neighbourhood fir trees
and the wind winter offers the morning
seems easy when no thought is needed.
Then what is not to be called debris
can be observed all along the sidewalk
to entertain in a way both ear and eye,
caught in a crack the frost caused
in the shape of a familiar mystery,
one I figured out during other walks,
one I have found more than once,
an icy broken twig,
a tiny discarded peace sign.
Last of the crickets
Every morning I wake up
with this line
my challenged mind:
“I hope this is the day
he’s been shot twice
between the eyes.”
Happily today a new bother
occupies my head instead
being out of the house
intentionally removed from news,
all the ongoing Trumpian dross,
I open the garden’s gate
stopped by the musical legs
another inescapable line
playing over & over as the sun
lowers during a late afternoon,
as the new season called Fall
allows me to be slowly lulled
by the frightened last cricket.
Chad Norman lives beside the high-tides of the Bay of Fundy, Truro, Nova Scotia.
He has given talks and readings in Denmark, Sweden, Wales, Ireland, Scotland, America, and across Canada.
His poems appear in publications around the world and have been translated into Danish, Albanian, Romanian, Turkish, Italian, and Polish.
His collections are Selected & New Poems ( Mosaic Press), and Squall: Poems In The Voice Of Mary Shelley, is now out from Guernica Editions.
A school day, when I was nine or ten
the class was asked to draw a picture of their family
I drew the planet earth, a beautiful mixed blue and white marble
It took up the whole page
I added crazy swirls of green. A few mountains
and shapeless countries
My drawing! Not perfect, but I was proud
I handed it in with vigour and a smile. My teacher, her face withdrawn, didn’t seem as impressed
She turned the page back towards me, frowned and said
That’s a very nice picture, but not what I asked for. Please go draw a picture of your family
I sat back down and thought
I drew again
I drew a river flowing next to a shoreline
where a fire pit was alight with flames.
I drew horses in the background standing in high grass in front of great trees
I drew a teepee held up with tall sticks wrapped with hand printed cloth.
A women sat cross legged on the ground with a feather in her hair
She tossed colourful bits of unknown things into a large basket
while her babies busied themselves crawling about the dirt and grass
I drew a man with feathers around his neck
trailing down his bare-chest while he hung fish from a vine
There! My family. Even though my horses looked like goats
and the crawling babies could have been grasshoppers
I placed the picture on the teachers’ desk. She only sighed
Do you not understand? Your family! Who you live with now!
Your parents your siblings!
She handed back the page, unwanted
My Native Status taken away a second time
since I was adopted at the age of two.
I drew a third picture, with less than half my heart
and watched the other children turn in drawings, their pictures taken at face value
In my third drawing, my mother and I stood next to a large high-rise building
A man next to a house waved an enormous hand
I drew a dog by my father and a cat by my mother. A rainbow decorated the sky
I colored the sky blue and the grass green
I filled in the bricks on the building and the wood on the house
I added trees, a car in the driveway
Was this my family?
I walked slowly over to the teacher’s outreached hand
Good job! What a fantastic drawing
And this time, she placed a star on my page
Dew Williams is a French Ojibwa writer born and raised in Ontario Canada. She is a writer of poetry, non fiction and fiction. She holds certifications from the Humber school of writers.
New Canadians, they called us
the families on our street
Italians and the Greeks
To distinguish us perhaps from the old Canadians
like Mrs. Brown two doors down
who had a moustache and a stubby black dog
who waddled when he walked
and a carpet-beater of metal and wood
New Canadians who brought old words
from the old country like sculapasta
for draining spaghetti and sculapiatta
for draining plates, paletta and scupa
to sweep the floor
who brought old habits from the old country
like wearing black the rest of your life
if your husband passed away, bonarma
and praying to Sant’Antonio for the recovery
of something lost, praying the Madonna
for safe travel
who brought old ideas from the old country
like indulging children, li picciliddri
and respecting the elderly, li vicchiarriddri
and not forgetting where you came from
Unforgettable moments, this growing up in this
new Canada, like 45s on the record player, dancing
when company arrived, like pleating, tying
unfolding Kleenex into rainbow-coloured flowers
to tape onto the silver Strato-Chief when cousins
married, like watching nanna roll paper-thin lasagna
from the magic of flour, eggs and a pizzicuni of salt
using the stegnatore, a four-foot rolling pin
my father fashioned by sanding an old broomstick
like picking basil from the garden, fresh and fragrant
for the jars of tomato sauce simmering
in the bagno marina
And then there were the rhythms of a language
that predates Italian, this Sicilian with roots as wide
and wild as its branches, not just in Latin but in Greek
and in the tongues of the Spaniards and Moors
the Normans and Carthaginians who came
to this sun-drenched triangle of an island
and never left
Rhythms that continue to resonate like the ninna-nanna
that soothed us as babes, the tarantella we danced
the pluckings of the mandolin, sad strains
that speak of longing, of leaving the beloved land
to and crossing an expanse of salt
These were my cradle rhythms, the sounds
I in turn rock my babies to, the snippets and stories
I pass on to them of the subtleties, the complexities
of what it means to me
a new Canadian
a pearl in this diamond world … Josephine LoRe has published two collections: ‘Unity’ and the Calgary Herald Bestseller ‘The Cowichan Series’. Her words have been read on stage, put to music, danced to, and integrated into visual art. They appear in anthologies and literary journals across nine countries. https://www.josephinelorepoet.com/
Color No Assumptions
The doctor thrusts you in my arms
Wailing and flailing in protest
Joined by my umbilical cord
I carefully examine every familiar limb
Trace my trembling finger on
Your smooth stark white, white skin
that glistens and shines
Against my lustrous cafe latte hue
a color contradiction
this biology lesson forgot
My Snow White. My Snow White
There is no border
There is no race
Is the twain
Where worlds collide
Mingle in red, red blood
Kelly Kaur’s poems and works have been published in Sanscrit, West Coast, Singa, CBC, Mothering Anthology, New Asian Short Stories, Short Story Dispenser (Central Library), and YYC Portraits of People. She is a 2019 Borderlines Writers’ Circle participant through Writers’ Guild Alberta and Alexandra Writers’ Centre in Calgary, and she has completed her first novel, Letters to Singapore.
RAELYNN, AGE 9
The Gem and the Rainbow
There lived a girlboy named Rylie. One day she was going for a walk and she saw a bottle. She opened it and saw a map. She opened it up and she saw a world that had a lot of things. There was the Volcano of Doom and the Speaking Stones Valley. After Rylie was done, she packed her bag and wrote down in her notebook, “The Map of Fantasy.”
When the long ride was over she thought a lot about what would happen. She put on her rainbow shirt and lay in bed thinking and thinking.
When she woke up she saw it was morning. Then she heard a knock on the door. She opened the door and looked at a boy in a skirt.
“Hi!” She said.
The boy said, “Hello!”
She invited him in. She thought for a second and asked, “Would you like to come for a trip?”
The boy thought and said, “Sure. How long would it be?”
“I’m not sure,” said Rylie. “What’s your name?”
“Oh, I’m Joshua,” said the boy.
“That’s a nice name,” said Rylie.
“Thank you,” said Joshua.
So they walked for a while. Then Rylie said, “What is that?” She was pointing at something in the flower garden.
“I don’t know,” said Joshua. He picked it up. “Wow!”
Rylie asked to see it. She was so glad. “It’s the lost Coin of the Sea!” She said excitedly.
Joshua was so glad. He had never heard of the Coin of the Sea, he told her. “What’s it for?” he asked.
“Oh, it’s a key to what we’re looking for, the map.” said Rylie.
“Oh. Why do we need the map?” Joshua asked.
“Well,” said Rylie, “there’s a rumour that says that if you find the map you can use it to find the most prized thing ever: the Gem Crystal!”
“Wow,” said Joshua. “Hey, I have a question.”
“Yes?” Said Rylie.
“Um, can you call me Josh?”
“Sure,” said Rylie. “Can you call me Ry?”
“Yup,” said Josh.
Rylie held the coin and said, “Let’s take a looksie. It says we have to find the…I don’t know what it says at the end.”
“Let me look,” said Josh. “It says we have to find the…um…the gold feather!”
“The gold feather?” Asked Ry.
“We should look in bird-like places,” said Josh.
“Okay…hey Josh,” said Ry.
“Yes?” He said.
“I’m a girlboy.”
“That’s okay,” he said.
“And I…” said Ry. “Nevermind.”
“Please tell me!” Said Josh.
“I really am very glad there’s more of us,” said Ry.
“Well that’s good. We’re very lucky,” said Josh.
“Hey Josh…can we make a rainbow flag?”
“Sure,” said Josh.
“Yay!” Said Ry excitedly.
Ry and Josh said, at the same time, “Let’s start looking for that map.”
“Where should we look first?” Asked Ry. “Um…what about the museum?”
“Sure,” said Josh. “We have to look hard.”
The two went to the museum and looked around. They were very tired of looking until Ry said, “I found it!” She was pointing at a picture.
“That’s just a picture,” said Josh in confusion.
“Well, go through it,” said Ry.
So they crawled through and then they came across a glass container. They saw a piece of paper inside.
“Is that the map?” Asked Josh.
“Yup, I think it is…” said Ry.
Josh opened the glass door and picked up the piece of paper. “It is the map!” Josh said. “Let’s start our adventure!”
Raelynn, age 9, lives in Alberta, Canada. Creative at heart, she sings, draws, and, of course, writes! She loves all things unicorn and snuggling her favourite cat. She aspires to work at an animal shelter when she’s older, and has a heart so big it could heal the world.
hard to believe
we were taught
to lie down
hide under desks
turned the threat
of nuclear fire
into a kind of game
wiggled our bums
at the unseen enemy.
not so funny
my little ones
alive with the idea
of forgotten wars
I see them
eager to answer
at the very second
they become ash.
* * *
you can never
and you can never
step into the same
the words feel
against some idea
once believed in
more than words
was swept away
* * *
one never wins
with the dead.
they never change
into anything better.
are too busy
becoming stone, water,
some undiscovered element.
they are cunning
the dead, forget
a vague borealis
of doubt, are full
of lies, betray
every whisper, every
trust. are always
right. reveal nothing.
they are a silence
that never listens
a town abandoned
one never wins
with the dead.
they never quite leave
feast on shadow.
keep their secrets
Ken Cathers has been writing and publishing for over 50 years. His work has appeared in numerous periodicals and anthologies and his seventh book of poetry, “Letters From the Old Country” was recently published by Ekstasis Press. He has a M.A. from York University. His lives on Vancouver Island with his wife, sons and grandchildren.
Somewhere a Creature
Upon the planet’s stony hide unloved
Where sandstorms scour bones to piles of chalk
A kaleidoscopic rash of domes erupts
Passing sense orbs swivel, rumble, gawk
Each hemisphere a mystery inside
Bauble, beast, arcane chemistry?
To look would alter flow of sun and tide
The world’s awobble with uncertainty
Beside one dome a garden grows abundant
Beside another knives do claim some flesh
There’s talk of secret springs, an end to hunger
Somewhere a creature slips its master’s leash
Once the drift toward meaning has begun
It is a thing can never be undone
* * *
Written in response to Nanaimo’s DisconTent City that stood for 6 months in 2018 on unused industrial land in the heart of the city. At its peak, the encampment housed 450 people. It became the target of far-right group Soliders of Odin on multiple occasions.
Kim Goldberg is the author of eight books of poetry and nonfiction. Her latest is Devolution, surreal poems of ecopocalypse (Caitlin Press). Her Red Zone collection of poems about urban homelessness has been taught in university literature courses. She lives on Vancouver Island. Twitter: @KimPigSquash
Devalued and Discarded
It was nothing personal.
We were thought to be dying trees,
the wrong species in a long
ridge of cultures and colours.
In spite of torn out pages, broken branches,
we glue ourselves back together,
scarring up beautifully;
our inflorescence thunderous
in tone, primed in loud, burning hues,
rooted in opaque and dimming shades –
we know where we stand,
who we are.
There’ll always be someone,
in a sea of dead wood,
destined to fertilize
what can’t be killed.
The Wisdom of Flowers
Despite the terrors
unleashed upon our earth,
the madness of days,
the honeysuckle blooms,
the din of coral bells,
though trifling –
out-rings the tongues
of angry men.
Trees, Bees and Other Things
In our land of native flora
do you know the colour of milkweed in bloom,
crawled inside a nurse log,
lounged in wildflower’s golden meadows,
or climbed the pliant willow at water’s edge?
Within these canopies,
colours burst with bees refusing
to give up their lives for false alarms.
Even the wasp has no time for attack.
Yellow with reflection,
observe, the business of pollen,
listen to the soft burrrr of transparent wings –
hive-imprinted dance celebrates
its measure of collective purpose.
Lynn Tait is an award-winning poet/photographer living in Sarnia Ontario. Her poetry has appeared in Contemporary Verse 2, Vallum, FreeFall Magazine, Literary Review of Canada and in over 100 North American anthologies. Her photo art has graced the cover of seven books of poetry. She is a member of The Ontario Poetry Society and the League of Canadian Poets.
Smoke hangs over Cologne. Fires rage in all sections of the city. Yesterday, for six and a half hours, Allied bombs pounded buildings and streets. It is a victory for an ancient calculus. Nearly six thousand bombs fell. Large bombs.
Today the noise is wood burning, rubble settling. It is those maimed yesterday dying today.
The loss is mathematical. It is the feet of the dispossessed in shoes that are not even shoes on pavement wrinkled and buckled or melted to original tar. It is the pistol fire of thieves looting homes known to be well larded. Even in this ruination, murder is a crime. But who has the will to make accusations?
The noise is the caught breath and cry of an infant just born in the refuge of a family tomb. The noise is bellies hungry. It is the sobbing of the child Lev, mother Leni Gruyten, father escaped Russian prisoner of war Boris Denko, both of whom subsisted hand to mouth among the city’s underground population. Both are now dead.
Prayers reach for the quiet sky.
The war is over in Cologne.
Wade Bell is the author of four books of fiction, A Destroyer of Compasses, Tracie’s Revenge, No Place Fit for a Child and The North Saskatchewan River Book (stories set in Edmonton and Jasper). From Edmonton, he has lived in Ottawa, Barcelona, Spain, and now Calgary.
DAVID C. BRYDGES
We Are All Connected
“We are like islands in the sea,
separate on the surface
but connected in the deep.” ― William James
The world body is a house of horrors,
as uninvited germ guests have arrived,
via pancontinental travel transmissions.
Walls of false security exposes uncertainty,
plagues tense question of what is next.
Fear a vice grip pressures our breath.
Histories wise eye does not blink.
Confined to stay at home cells, for the “Public Pause.”
Ann Frank’s ghost counterbalances any discomfort.
Complain no eggs at the supermarket, recall Bosnian
soldiers’ story imprisoned nine months on a hillside.
Honour heroic frontline workers grim shifts.
Disturbed if N95 masks, gloves, face shields,
protective gowns enough to avoid infection.
Praise all workers keeping us semi-functional.
Heartened and saddened by double TV news
102-year-old Italian woman survivor of 1918
Spanish flu recovered from the COVID-19 virus.
Julie, a sixteen-year-old girl near Paris, doesn’t.
Striking without morality equal in ferocity,
from princesses’ politicians, priests’ atheists,
doctors’ nurses, police officers’ prisoners,
seniours and one-year-old infant in Chicago.
Isolated ICU ventilator records last gasp.
Funerals a solitary desert of cactus tears.
Death bells are ringing everywhere.
I oscillate between despair and delight,
then see green buds after brother prunes
seven shamrock kitchen windowsill plants.
A day later one clover and fresh shoots
head straight for sunlight, as nature deeply
works its deified grace of regeneration.
Am delighted life will triumph because we
are always connected to a radiant resilience
no shadows of suffering can ever extinguish.
David C. Brydges is a cultural historian, and community legacy builder, whose visionary mission is to bring the world more poetry. He’s artistic director of Spring Pulse Poetry Festival in Northern Ontario. Memberships include Stroll of Poets, Edmonton Poetry Festival, Parkland Poets, Ontario Poetry Society, and League of Canadian Poets.
Lean into me
You won’t hurt me
I’m actually tougher than nails
Not my fragile body
But my spirit and my heart
Lean into me
I have so much to share
And so much to learn
Together we can grow
Until this body doesn’t matter
Lean into me
I know it seems strange
This frail body hides an
Betrays a fierceness of will
Lean into me
It only takes patience
The effort will be mostly mine
But the reward will be more
Than you imagined
Michele Rule began writing poetry and short stories in elementary school. She lives in Kelowna, BC where she raised her children while serving as City Councillor and an activist for women’s rights and housing. Six years ago Michele developed a rare disease which left her in chronic pain. Her writing now focuses around disability and ableism.
Darcie Friesen Hossack is the Danuta Gleed runner-up and Commonwealth Prize shortlisted author of Mennonites Don’t Dance stories (Thistledown Press) and forthcoming novel, What Looks In. She’s a foodwriter, a photographer, and lives in the Rocky Mountains with her husband, an international award-winning chef. Sign up for food blogs with recipes at https://stonepeakprovisions.com/
MEET TIME OF THE POET REPUBLIC PUBLISHER
Mbizo CHIRASHA, UNESCO-RILA Affiliate Artist. Freedom of Speech Fellow to PEN- Zentrum Deutschland,Germany. Alumni of the International Human Rights Arts Festival in New-York, USA. Literary Arts Activism Diplomatie. Globally Certified Arts Mediums Curator and Influencer. Internationally Published Page and Spoken Word Poet. Writer in Residence. Arts for Human Rights Catalyst. Core Team Member of the Bezine Arts and Humanities Project. His illustrious poetry, hybrid writings, political commentary, short fiction, book reviews and Arts Features are published in more than 400 spaces notably the Monk Arts and Soul in Magazine in United Kingdom. Atunis Poetry.com in Belgium. Demer press poetry series in Netherlands. World Poetry Almanac in Mongolia. Poesia journal in Slovenia. Bezine Arts and Humanities Webzine in USA. The Poet a Day in Brooklyn, USA. Litnet Writers Journal in South Africa. African Crayons in Nigeria. Poetry Bulawayo in Zimbabwe. Pulp-pit USA. The FictionalCafe international Journal, Texas USA. Best New African Poetry series in Zimbabwe, Zimbolicious Poetry Collections in Zimbabwe. Co-edited Street Voices International Publications with Andreas Weiland in Germany. Co-Edited Silent Voices Anthology, a Tribute to Chinua Achebe. Co-Edited the Corpses of Unity, solidarity collection to victimized Cameroonians with Nsah Mala. Curated and Edited the Zimbabwe We Want Poetry, Inside Digraceland speaking poetic truth to the Mugabe regime and other bad regimes. He owns the Time of the Poet blog zine, MIOMBOPUBLISHING that published the #GlobalCallforPeaceProject titled the Second of EARTH is Peace. A LETTER to the PRESIDENT his experimental resistance poetry colection was released in August 2019 by Mwanaka and Media Publishing. Co- Authored Whispering Woes of Ganges and Zambezi with Sweta Vikram in India. Good Morning President his first poetry collection was published in 2011 by Zimbabwean published based in United Kingdom, Diaspora Publishers.COVID 19 Satansdeadly fart is forthcoming. Chirasha is Founder and the Chief Editor of Brave Voices Poetry Journal, https://bravevoicespress.home.blog/ and WOMAWORDS LITERARY PRESS,https://womawordsliterarypress.home.blog/
MORE INFORMATION visit, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mbizo_Chirasha
A Note on Time of the Poet Republic, Canada Gig: In bringing so many Canadian poets and writers into the Time of the Poet Republic, our Republic has become a bigger and more perfect country, where all of the world’s kinds of people speak and write towards a peaceful future. In this issue, we began by calling on themes of tolerance, but the responses far exceeded that scope by reaching for a higher bar, that of acceptance, unity and love of diversity. In what is expected to become a powerful partnership, Mbizo Chirasha and Darcie Friesen Hossack intend to forge further cultural exchanges through creative ideas and literary arts activism.