Vallum Poem of the Week: Jade Wallace, “Anemone”

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ANEMONE

 

I devoted my life to her after I saw her sleep.
When she sleeps, she still hears everything—
the planes of her face shift as I speak to her,
but her replies seem all rote or nonsense.
When she sleeps she is like God and I am too
simple for illumination. My words sink like shells,
small petrified sea blossoms, into her conscience as
deep as the ocean. Still I stream to her hand.
If a seraph should ask me how I feel about her or

how I feel about God, my answers would hardly differ—
I could pray to both of them with the same words:
I am iris and anemone,
changing blood into petals to catch your rain.
You are the almond, the algae, the elephant calf,
too vast a variance to be more knowable than a secret.
My ardour is only a flower’s covenant with a sycamore.
Your love is the limitless patience that a continent can have for a leaf.
When she sleeps, I run my fingers over the spines in our

bookcase and hear the dead letters quaking, waiting to
be revived. I know that she will wake. I know that one day
God will turn to look at me. There is correspondence that will
not be lost on the way and if it does not arrive today it will surely
arrive tomorrow. There are happenings that are inevitable and
upon which the present entirely depends. We have fields of vision
but there are also fields beyond vision and there are those so
great that they fill all of the fields over and under completely, existing
mostly out of sight. Still we always know them a little. They are

implied by every persistence in an inhospitable place. I learned this when
I lived alone and my coat grew softer about me with age but hidden itches
multiplied in the fabric of my hours. The world was incomprehensible with
errors of transcription that I could never find. My deeds were shrinking lines
bordered on all sides by deafening margins. I was less than a dog then, for
dogs at least will be mourned. Yet that is when I was surest of her, most certain
of God and of that which must come. I knew them as some plants know water—
not because I had seen rain, but because were it not for the lake sleeping
deep in the aquifer, my leaves would have long ago turned to dust.

 


Author Photo 2 (2)Jade Wallace‘s poetry and fiction have appeared or are forthcoming in Canadian Literature, This Magazine, Hermine Annualand elsewhere. They are the reviews editor for CAROUSEL and the author of several chapbooks, most recently the collaborative A Trip to the ZZOO (Collusion Books, 2020) and A Barely Concealed Design (Puddles of Sky Press, 2020), under the moniker MA|DE. Stay in touch: jadewallace.ca.

 


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: Ellen Chang-Richardson, “Please Tell Me This Will Not Last Forever”

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PLEASE TELL ME THIS WILL NOT LAST FOREVER

 

chapel street shifts pitch deep winter;

its edges, sharper its scents brighter, brittle

like peppermint ……………. or bone

.
where fever …. bush frozen

berry holly reaches its thorns to bristle

my fingers with its bitter tang

…………………………………. where deep—

.
beneath …. permafrost and

rust and dirty snow slush lies … me

…….. covered, cold in remnants of

an old white school song

.
…………………………………. our home

and native land ……………. haunting

my memory of spring.



ECR1Ellen Chang-Richardson (she/her) is an award-winning poet of Taiwanese and Cambodian Chinese (or Chinese Cambodian) descent. As the daughter of a survivor of the Cambodian genocide, she’s still trying to figure that second part out. The author of three poetry chapbooks, including snap, pop, performance (Gap Riot Press), her writing has appeared in Room, third coast magazineand Watch Your Head, among others. She currently lives and works on the traditional unceded territory of the Algonquin Anishinaabeg. Find her online at https://ehjchang.com.
(Author photo by Manahil Bandukwala)


18_1coverThis poem was originally published in Vallum issue 18:1 Invisibility.

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: Lauren Turner, “The Second Person Has Departed”

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THE SECOND PERSON HAS DEPARTED

 

 

A gold sequin dress isn’t any use in a fire. I scribble down every cypher
I gathered about you. There is no kindness in letting you know

when the world unclasps, emptying its prayer palms of us, our preordained
survival. Did you expect me to carry a gun? asks the body

of the lake. Like something broken loose, you’re there, stalking shore
in your thrifted aviator jacket. Triassic schools of sturgeon thrash

the silt, under the shade of absent reeds. Migratory fowls land in arrows
of feather, viscera. The rust that blood turns. Water becomes a blip

at the center. Water is an end. Kitten, you call, what colours survive
behind our cloudscape now? To no one in particular, to the me inside this

blue-ceilinged kitchen. I wish I could recollect you with gentler hands
than nostalgia. How it behaves as the aggressor, coercing renewal

from depleted sediment. It’s golden, I tell the you who left, and aflame
with newborn constellations. What you’d read there isn’t my guess. 

 


by l'orangerie photographie

Lauren Turner is a disabled poet and essayist. Her chapbook, We’re Not Going to Do Better Next Time, was published by knife | fork | book in March 2018, and her full-length debut, The Only Card in a Deck of Knives, came out with Wolsak & Wynn in August 2020. Her work has appeared in Grain, Arc Magazine, PRISM International, Poetry is Dead, Cosmonauts Avenue, The Maynard, The Puritan, BAD NUDES, canthius, and elsewhere. She won the 2018 Short Grain Contest, was a finalist for carte blanche’s 2017 3Macs Prize, and made the longlist for Room Magazine’s 2019 creative non-fiction contest. She lives in Tiohtiá:ke/Montréal on the unceded land of the Kanien’kehá:ka Nation.

 


18_1coverThis poem was originally published in Vallum issue 18:1 Invisibility.

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: Naomi Kanakia, “The Girl”

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THE GIRL

 

The girl from high school—not my high school—had long straight hair
and a foxy face and her body, a cylinder, with slightly wider hips,
was perfect for the sheath dresses she wore.
Vee was a Circassian, famous beauties in their day, well-prized as slaves,
her mother a refugee from Turkey, never marry a Muslim, she said.

But that is not her, in the corner of the cafe, perched on the couch,
with the man who—no point describing him—he is white and a man—
they are so useless, men—this is a belief amongst a hundred thousand
misogynerds—men are useless, superficial, external, mere repositories
of ambitious semen, driven to produce and build wealth and

enact feats of strength, and if not that to rape—but the woman who isn’t Vee—
because her name was Vee—the girl in high school—not my school—my
friend’s girl—not my best friend—the girl who worshipped me—brought
signs to my It’s Academic games—told everyone I was the smartest
person she knew—-the girl I imagined as my slave, purchased from—

But it’s not that girl in the corner of the cafe. My girl, Vee—the one I never owned—
she is a foreign correspondent based in Belgrade—but this girl
I do not know—this girl is nothing—just some white man’s possession—
Oh but now I remember, Vee texted the other day and said she’d loved my book:
“I always knew you’d grow up and do something amazing.”

 


IMG_0806Naomi Kanakia is the author of two young adult novels, out from HarperTeen and Little, Brown. Her poetry has appeared in American Journal of Poetry, Antigonish, and Soundings East. Her stories have appeared in Asimov’s, Clarkesworld, Gulf Coast, F&SF, The Indiana Review, Lightspeed, and others. She holds an MFA from the Johns Hopkins University Writing Seminars and lives in San Francisco with her wife and one year old daughter.

 

 


18_1coverThis poem was originally published in Vallum issue 18:1 Invisibility.

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: Shanan Kurtz, “Grasp”

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GRASP

 

have you forgotten
the terms of this pact,
the lines we once lifted
from songs that
remind me
of bells and stems,
a collection of waves,
a kill, a cure,
a whim
made permanent, arcane

did we ever lie close
in the black
of a room belonging to no-one,
switched like breakers
curved to conduct
the pitch
of a laugh,
a meteor shower, a shimmer,
a culvert,
a quarry
turned sleight of hand

so thin the grasp
of whispers held
for hatching plans to stay
somewhere
within your reach,
an iceberg,
an archive,
steady, remote
unflinching,
done and
dusted

still I’ve missed
how the sky
bent back to our will
steeped in each other’s
guiding pulse
a doubt, quelled
a tonic
a longing
to be set against
the gape, the maw
of a truly
starless night

 


ShananKurtz_2Shanan Kurtz is a visual artist working in sculpture, installation, and photography. She also writes poetry and essays from her studio in Nottawa, Ontario. Her work has recently been published in The Northern Appeal and she was awarded an Honourable Mention in 2021’s Power of the Poets contest, co-presented by The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery and Toronto International Festival of Authors.

 

 


Vallum16_1_Cover_web_fixedThis poem was originally published in Vallum issue 16:1 Connections.

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: Ashley Hynd, “One Shot Over the Line”

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One Shot Over the Line

— after Kevin Carter

Necklacing: the act of hanging a tire soaked

in petrol around a person’s neck then
lighting it on fire

It gets heavy after a while and they always fall over
crumpled into a pile of human remains in the sand
the smell stays in your clothes
you wash and wash
and wash them
clean

then you never wear them

In twenty years time they will make shrines to me
accumulate all my worldly approximations and
claim I saw more than there was to see
in twenty minutes he’ll stop screaming
and I can start to wash my clothes
clean

 


ashley hyndFounder and facilitator of Poets & Pancakes, a monthly brunch for writers, Ashley Hynd believes in building and fostering community. She sits on the editorial board for Canthius Literary Journal & Textile KW and is a Poetry Mentor with Textile KW’s Mentorship Program. She was consecutively longlisted for The CBC Poetry Prize (2018 & 2019), shortlisted for Arc Poem of the Year (2018), and won the Pacific Spirit Poetry Prize (2017). Her work has appeared in many publications across turtle island and her debut chapbook Entropy was released with GapRiot Press in 2020. Ashley lives on the Haldimand Tract and respects all her relations’ relationships with the land.


Vallum16_1_Cover_web_fixedThis poem was originally published in Vallum issue 16:2 Connections.

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 Chapbook Award 2021 Finalist: Malcolm Sanger | Stone Series

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Malcolm poem


me2Malcolm Sanger is a graduate student in Tiohtià:ke/Montréal. Originally from Toronto, he has studied anthropology and literature and worked in restaurants and reforestation.

 

 


Malcolm Sanger is one of the finalists for the 2021 Vallum Chapbook Award for his chapbook Stone Series.

 

Stones Series is a group of poems set in Yucatán. They come from ethnographic fieldwork on tourism and migration in the region, work on Maya glyphs and sites by anthropologists Dennis Tedlock and Quetzil Casatañeda, and essays and poems by Charles Olson and Roman Jakobson. At its center is a list of words (or found poem) that someone Sanger lived with wrote down to translate. These words animate narratives and questions around materiality and language, sound and image, archaeology and anthropology, espionage and translation, analogy and parallelism.

 

Vallum Chapbook Award 2021 Finalist: Heather White | DES MONSTERAS

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signal bars | wi-fi | time | headphones | battery

<DES MONSTERAS share | send

We came off the mountain and I
was still holding the stick I’d used to
prod at the fire and as a baton to
conduct us, singing; also to point at
our paths and the solstice moon,
which was up in a cupboard the
clouds kept sliding open and shut.
Down by her orange car, Caroline
asked about the man I was now
seeing indoors. Waving the branch,
still conducting something, I tried to
summon how I felt. I liked a lot
about him but wasn’t sure if he
reciprocated: he was not very
demonstrative. I hadn’t used this
word in a while, but having dredged
it up I kept repeating it, hearing how
it tapped on the core of the issue,
feeling how it kicked at the tires.

…. trash | list | photo | edit | new

.


heatherphotoforvallumHeather White lives in Montreal/Tiohtià:ke. Her writing on art and culture has appeared in Canadian Art, the Brooklyn Rail, Real Life, the Rumpus, and elsewhere. Her current practice experiments with hybrid forms and memoir, and she’s now at work on a collection about leaving.


Heather White is one of the finalists for the 2021 Vallum Chapbook Award for her chapbook DES MONSTERAS.

DES MONSTERAS records the hopes and humiliations of arriving somewhere new. Composed by phone, torquing formal constraints into solace, its fifteen notes trace both an insular retreat and an impulse to connect during the Montreal winter of the pandemic. The chapbook is a poptimist’s account of moving and courtship that speaks to the thrill of beginnings, the threat of histories, the whims of grace, and the work of candour.

Vallum Poem of the Week: Matt Rader, “Zero + One”

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Zero + One

 

No thing, a zero in the amber of time, then one.
At the edge of the mind a soft rime: then one.

The brook was running clear. Now it’s gone.
I’m here, cried the killdeer, I’m here. Now it’s gone.

Jewels of rain like We’ll grow rich with water,
Like every number were prime. Then one.

We built a small house in the womb of the woods.
Twice you gave birth there. Now it’s gone.

A storm sky etched by lightning, dissolved by light.
Twelve bodies trenched with lye, then one.

My name flashed in your mind, the familiar
Pale specter in the mirror. Now it’s gone.

On the horizon, tank columns, shattered sun.
The force of force is two—a rhyme—then one.

I kept one swan, black, in the cameo I wore
Around my neck like fear. Now it’s gone.

Nine grapes eight windows seven plains six fires
Five priests four dogs three crimes two heathens one…

In the dark eye of the night the moon brimmed,
An incandescent tear. Now it’s gone.

In the meadow of despair grows nothing plus nothing
Plus nothing in knots of brooklime. Then one.

In the morning, the fever broke like a horse.
All your life: a ringing in the ears. Now it’s gone

From the diamond fire walked the eight legs
Of the bodhi spider, numerator, sublime earthen one.

You held your third finger to the statue’s third-eye.
In your mouth a ruby appeared. Now it’s gone.

We made love in the corner of the laundromat.
Many deaths. Many lives. Many times. Then one.

Quietly, the maple tree undressed itself at our feet.
We had something, Matt, my dear. Now it’s gone.

 


2Matt Rader is the author of several books of poetry including Ghosthawk (Fall 2021). His poems, fiction, and nonfiction have appeared widely nationally and internationally. His work often addresses chronic illness and ecology. He lives on unceded Syilx territory in Kelowna, BC, where he teaches Creative Writing at UBC Okanagan.

 

 


18_1coverThis poem was originally published in Vallum issue 18:1 Invisibility.

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 Chapbook Award 2021 Finalist: Sally Quon | Laid Waste

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One More Mountain Sunrise

 

One more mountain sunrise,
golden light, clouds of
peach and lilac.

The forest calls –
I answer.
Road dust and moss,
pinecones and birdsong.

I was going to write a poem for you.

Instead, I chose
one more mountain sunrise.

 


Author Photo-SallyQuon.Sally Quon is a back-country blogger, dirt-road diva, and teller of tales.  Choosing to express herself through poetry, photography, and creative non-fiction, Sally has been published in all three. In 2020, she was a finalist in the Vallum Chapbook Award and The Muriel’s Journey Poetry Prize.  Her work has appeared in numerous anthologies including Voicing Suicide, Ekstasis Editions.  Sally is an associate member of the League of Canadian Poets.

 


Sally Quon is one of the finalists for the 2021 Vallum Chapbook Award for her chapbook Laid Waste.

 

In Laid Waste, Sally Quon explores the myriad of emotions that come on the heels of physical abuse.  From trauma, anger, bitterness, loss and despair to learning how to let go and rediscover hope, these poems are a snapshot of that journey.