Vallum Poem of the Week: “When Water Breaks Inside” by loudvoice

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When Water Breaks Inside

 

I thought about pouring my death chills and cold sweats down the
………. sink
my stomach said well, I guess, you think?
Because my worst memoirs defy the laws of physics

They make my body contort, stretch, distort
even against my greatest wishes
knee-deep in the wreckage, covered in soot, the sky is red
and the dust-devils are made of ash

I’ll look my people dead in the eye and into the mirror
like am I really worth this, I honestly have to ask
and I’m looking around this place, like hey, I’ve been here before in a
………. worse way

This is where people overdose
This is where the foundations of made-up minds crumble and decide
………. to take the first drink
This is where a few cousins of mine recently decided to commit
………. suicide

Even in writing this, I know I’ll sleep tonight, and do what I have to do
………. tomorrow

But I want you to wonder about my fellow indigenous men that don’t
………. leave this place
Like how the atrocities of colonialism made us be. And sealed some
………. fates, like that

***

I feel like water is pervading my eyes
Why is it so blurry?
I’m pretty sure it’s not just broken glasses
It might be years of bad habits
And continued practice
I wish I could tell you why I’m like this
My eyes are blurry
Tears are from a wellspring
Like the one my dad showed me to get water from
But now the water is pervading my eyes
It reaches up so hard
And I try my best to drink it all away—

But maybe it’s an oxymoron because it’s the cause
It’s that weak feeling in my chest
The one that makes me run
And feel unloved
I’m not even sure it makes sense
But I give it weight anyway
Like it would hold my hand in the deep dark
Or let me put my head on it to rest

They call it a dark night of the soul
Why am I here?
Why does it make my eyes water?
Why does it taste like tequila?
And why did I ask her to be my rehab?
She doesn’t deserve that

I guess I’ll wander away and hope she forgives me
I would like to wander on the moon
Because it might not be snow
It might be cold but the dark side is home
Until it’s not
Until I’m caught

It might be bright but at least it doesn’t cost a dollar
The disease festers on my heart and soul
And those things are my connection to the infinite
And that means I must promise you that I will visit those places
and bring you back things from there
It might take my life
It might not

I won’t let the dangerous spectre of that question linger any longer
………. than it has to
Because I proved it to myself once, or twice

I take my power of choice back



alexvanrocksloudvoice is a nêhiyawak napew (Cree man) from Ochapowace First Nation. His work has a exploratory emotional bent. He is a stage poet and hip hop artist.

Find him on Spotify






vallum_17-1_cover_webThis poem was originally published in Vallum issue 17:1 Home

Vallum magazine is also available in digital format. Featuring additional content such as: AUDIO and VIDEO recordings of selected poets, further poems, interviews, essays, and MORE! Visit our website for details.

Vallum Poem of the Week: “Speaking of Death” by Carolyn Marie Souaid

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Speaking of Death

 

If I had my druthers I’d pick December
under a sheepskin throw.
In full view, attending to me,
a constellation of earthly possessions:
eyeglasses, ginger tea,
The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson.
Logs flaming in the stone hearth.
Hung from a nail, a winter scene
framed in mahogany—
horses trotting through fresh snow
or a Christmas cabin nestled in the woods,
smoke drifting sideways from the chimney.
Riches for the eyes,
and for the ears, as well:
the Great Mass in C-minor, swelling,
rising as it would from a dour cathedral.

Alternately,
I could slip away in summer sheets,
white Egyptian cotton, of preference.
Nibbling on toast
I would lie in bed, pale as a moth,
gaze longingly through the soft sheers
as sunlight fades over an English landscape—
woolly hilltops brushed with lavender,
chittering birds perched like quarter notes
on a thatched roof
before taking flight along the path of the stars.



unnamedCarolyn Marie Souaid is the Montreal-based author of eight poetry collections and the acclaimed novel, Yasmeen Haddad Loves Joanasi Maqaittik. Her videopoem, Blood is Blood (with Endre Farkas), garnered a top prize at the 2012 Zebra Poetry Film Festival in Berlin. Her work has appeared in The Malahat Review, The New Quarterly the Literary Review of Canada and elsewhere, and has been featured on CBC-Radio. In April, she will be reading at the Sierra Poetry Festival alongside Hélène Dorion, Alain Cuerrier and Endre Farkas.


vallum_17-1_cover_webThis poem was originally published in Vallum issue 17:1 Home.

Vallum magazine is also available in digital format. Featuring additional content such as: AUDIO and VIDEO recordings of selected poets, further poems, interviews, essays, and MORE! Visit our website for details.

 

Vallum Poem of the Week: “The Beast in the Garden” by Jim Fisher

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The Beast in the Garden

Pecking and pecking at the chicken-coop wire
The chicken cannot hear the chicken-keeper;
Eggs fall apart; their shells cannot hold;
Loose embryos are spilled into the world,
The bloody yolks are spilled, and everywhere
Sustainable ingredients are spoiled;
Chefs waste in the kitchen, while the birds
Scratch at scraps with passionate intensity.
Surely a food revolution is at hand;
Surely some regional cuisine is at hand.
The Seventh Cuisine! Hardly’s the joke out
When a totem out of Mutual of Omaha
Starts from nowhere—The Seventh Cougar,
Face with lion body and the tread of a feather,
Night-eyed and pitiless, ranging as the moon.
It twitches tipped ears, and before it
Flee the horns of the abundant urban deer.
The wild vanishes—but won’t disappear
When twenty hundred thousand years of terror
Shoot the hot blood when it’s our flesh stalked,
And the predator, its buck passed round at last,
Crouches behind Chez Panisse, and is shot.


unnamedJim Fisher first circulated “The Beast in the Garden” on handbills, following the shooting of a mountain lion around the corner from Chez Panisse in Berkeley, California in 2010. A former Stegner Fellow in poetry at Stanford, Fisher is a frequent contributor to the online magazine DIAGRAM, including a divination card in last year’s 20th anniversary tarot deck, 20 of DIAGRAMS.


The Wild CoverThis poem was originally published in Vallum issue 13:2 The Wild.

Vallum magazine is also available in digital format. Featuring additional content such as: AUDIO and VIDEO recordings of selected poets, further poems, interviews, essays, and MORE! Visit our website for details.

Vallum Poem of the Week: “Remembering the Mountain Murmuring” by Yuan Changming

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Remembering the Mountain Murmuring

 

Twenty minimeters of pink petals.

Twenty minimetres of stretch and reach
……………..Floral foil, twenty minimeters
…………………….Of soil, grass, dew, bush

Sitting in green meditation about

……………………The balance between yin and yang

Myriad of leaves,
……………………Falling down with mists

………..Of last night approaching—twenty minimeters

Of ethereal presence, kissing
…………………..The thick ridges—is the soul

………..The melody of equanimity?
Insects sloughing off

In chameleon-rhythms.
………..You stopped as you heard them

Twenty minimeters of dandelions rolling against
…………………..The vastness of sky and mountain


yuanc-2019Yuan Changming grew up in an isolated village, started to learn the English alphabet at age nineteen and published monographs on translation before leaving China. With a Canadian PhD in English, Yuan currently edits Poetry Pacific with Allen Yuan in Vancouver. Credits include eleven Pushcart nominations, nine chapbooks & awards, as well as publications in Best of the Best Canadian Poetry (2008-17), & BestNewPoemsOnline, among 1,809 others across 46 countries. 

 


Vallum 15_1 coverThis poem was originally published in Vallum issue 15:1 Memory and Loss

Vallum magazine is also available in digital format. Featuring additional content such as: AUDIO and VIDEO recordings of selected poets, further poems, interviews, essays, and MORE! Visit our website for details.

Vallum Poem of the Week: “Dig In” by Christina Shah

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Dig In

learn to become lignin
living, but stiff
the interdependent men
will talk 
over you
at you
about you
object, topic

nascent agent

put your roots down 
and pretend;

the storms are normal

your tissues will become inflamed by
the fine salt spray
of casual abrasions

you will be scarred by lightning indignities

the fight’s a grind
each quiet ring
each arthritic old limb
a lonely, lovely victory

 


Christina Shah photoChristina Shah was born in Ottawa, lives in Vancouver, and works in heavy industry. Her poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in various journals– including Arc, Vallum, The Fiddlehead, Grain, EVENTand PRISM international. She recently completed her first full-length poetry manuscript. On hot days, you’ll find her at a good swimming hole.


 

 

 

 


16_2 Fear CoverThis poem was originally published in Vallum issue 16:2 Fear

Vallum magazine is also available in digital format. Featuring additional content such as: AUDIO and VIDEO recordings of selected poets, further poems, interviews, essays, and MORE! Visit our website for details.





Vallum Poem of the Week: “Abandoned Space: The Police Station” by Marguerite Doyle

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Abandoned Space: The Police Station


There is a riot beyond the chain-link fence
bedding is scattered wildly about
and the Sting, planned carefully
by Nettle is out of control.

Lassoing summer’s cold blue moon
a Climber has gained the perimeter—
wraps the barred windows about
with trumpeting billows.

They catch on hidden barbs like mouths,
warning shadows that leap and fall
of careless sprites around
the rockery and wall.

The Pond, who took no active part
reclines unmoved, but just now
her face caught a trick 
of the light.

It beats on the dark glass, chilling
smoky Woodbine curling up,
and Ivy turns to drink
her poisoned cup.


DSCF6087 (3)

Marguerite Doyle is from Dublin, Ireland and is interested in exploring her native city and its surroundings as the poetic space. She likes to bring imagination to her work and to see things from different perspectives. Marguerite graduated with an M.A. in Creative Writing from Dublin City University in 2020. As well as being published in Vallum: Contemporary Poetry, since graduation Marguerite’s work has appeared in Third Wednesday, Vita Brevis (Editor’s Choice Award), The New Welsh Review’s New Welsh Reader, Reliquiae Journal and Rue Scribe. Marguerite’s work was recently selected for inclusion in The Ireland Chair of Poetry Special Commemorative Anthology Hold Open the Door, which marks the 25th anniversary of Seamus Heaney’s being awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature.


This poem was originally published in Vallum issue 17:2. To view other content published in this issue, look here.

Vallum magazine is also available in digital format. Featuring additional content such as: AUDIO and VIDEO recordings of selected poets, further poems, interviews, essays, and MORE! Visit our website for details.

Vallum Poem of the Week: “I Find It Hard to Begin a Poem Sometimes” by Chinua Ezenwa-Ohaeto

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I Find it Hard to Begin a Poem Sometimes

 

Anything can be a flower if you are not paying attention. 
I should say something about our doormat.
I should be in my essays or interviews discussing this place.
When standing in front of a mirror, my body tells me how reversed I
………… have grown.
I see you through this poem, in every word I write and you read.
Sometimes like a smile crawls through my face, and I say, think what 
………… you may.
I believe the first step in anything is making a step.
Each time I walk myself out of the bed;
there is something else that walks out with me.
Say it’s my voice. The same as my neighbour’s
who tells me, no girl will ever love you.
Though in my dreams, I am not a ruin on every lip.
In my prayers, I ask for a metaphor, the kind not buried in the face.
It’s important that I let everything know that I truly want to be happy. 
But not happy like two strangers in a bed in search of true love.



DSC_0200Chinua Ezenwa-Ohaeto is from Owerri-Nkworji in Nkwerre, Imo state, Nigeria and grew up between Germany and Nigeria. He has a Chapbook, The Teenager Who Became My Mother, via Sevhage Publishers. He became a runner-up in Etisalat Prize for Literature, Flash fiction, 2014. He won the Castello di Duino Poesia Prize for an unpublished poem, 2018 which took him to Italy. He was the recipient of New Hampshire Institute of Art’s 2018 Writing Award, and also the recipient of New Hampshire Institute of Art’s 2018 scholarship to MFA Program. In 2019, he was the winner of Sevhage/Angus Poetry Prize and second runner-up in 5th Singapore Poetry Contest. He won the First Prize in the Creators of Justice Literary Award, Poetry category, organized by International Human rights Art Festival, New York, USA, 2020. His works have appeared in Lunaris Review, AFREADA, Poet Lore, Rush Magazine, Frontier, Palette, Malahat review, Southword Magazine, Vallum, Mud Season Review, Salamander, Strange Horizons, One, Ake Review, Crannòg magazine, The Question Marker and elsewhere.

(@ChinuaEzenwa)


This poem was originally published in Vallum issue 16:2 Fear

Vallum magazine is also available in digital format. Featuring additional content such as: AUDIO and VIDEO recordings of selected poets, further poems, interviews, essays, and MORE! Visit our website for details.

Vallum Poem of the Week: “Washed in the Blood” by Roberta Senechal de la Roche

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Washed in the Blood

 

I would call you a wing,
but you might disappear into thin air,
when I am not ready, or cannot
say anything down to earth.

…………. Already you are twirling
…………. long dark hair behind your ear
…………. around your right index finger, looking
…………. outdoors at nothing in particular.

 

Thinking too much
where it starts and
where it finishes,
what it is for, or not,

When it is all in the moves,
what shakes, gets down
and dirty, but maybe
washed in the blood.

Can this really be bred in the bone,
what we put up with, taking
what is not ours, hands down
especially when no one is looking,

and what we do, or not, as though
we can’t bear it, the cut we want to make,
even of our own, leaving someone
else to stitch it all back together?

Small things must be at work here
inside, hidden, insensible
slow secret mouths whispering
the end of structure, unbalancing.

You once said you would die for the chance to,
then later said it was not that good;
one should know better
than to ask for more than others.

…………. A red bird flies from a lower branch.
…………. You turn and say the storm has torn
…………. all the ivy from the oak.

 

 


Senechal de la Roche copy 4 Roberta Senechal de la Roche is an historian, sociologist, and poet of Micmac and French-Canadian descent, and was born in western Maine. She now lives in the woods outside of Charlottesville, Virginia. Her poems have appeared in the Colorado Review; Glass: A Journal of Poetry; Yemasseeand Cold Mountain Review, among others. She has two prize-winning chapbooks: Blind Flowers (Arcadia Press) and After Eden (Heartland Review Press, 2019).  A third chapbook, Winter Light, and her first book, Going Fast (2019) are published by David Robert Books.


This poem was originally published in Vallum issue 17:2. To view other content published in this issue, look here.

Vallum magazine is also available in digital format. Featuring additional content such as: AUDIO and VIDEO recordings of selected poets, further poems, interviews, essays, and MORE! Visit our website for details.

Vallum Poem of the Week: “Four on the Floor” By Amy Lerman

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Four on the Floor 

 

You tell me you like house music—
how the synthesized thumps traverse your veins,
hippocampus, so you are twenty again,
the exotic American, dancing
with strangers and pint glasses
at Le Beat Route.

Then there is the music of house—
the fridge’s decade-old respirations;
unsettled, foundation cracks;
the a/c’s throbbings, constant, desperate, unsyncopated;
they make me think of Jodie Foster lying
in a New Mexican array, that movie scene 
where concussive transmissions arouse her 
to finger her headphones, 
to reaffirm space.

I think about space, too,
all kinds: nebulas; mileage; 
caesuras; naked fingers; the gap 
my night brace never fixed; how you space
yourself when you tell a story, your space 
so close our shoulders fuse,
as you shift from heel to heel,
trying to meet my steady beat—

until you back into 
the blocks, the no loitering signs
between our houses, 
leaving me to listen 
to your absence and 
the spaces between my breaths.


vallumAmy Lerman was born and raised on Miami Beach, moved to the Midwest for many years, and now lives with her husband and very spoiled cats in the Arizona desert, where she is residential English
Faculty at Mesa Community College. Her poems have appeared in Rattle, Slippery Elm, Smartish Pace, Common Ground Review, Prime Number, and other publications.

 

 

 


This poem was originally published in Vallum issue 17:2. To view other content published in this issue, look here.

Vallum magazine is also available in digital format. Featuring additional content such as: AUDIO and VIDEO recordings of selected poets, further poems, interviews, essays, and MORE! Visit our website for details.