Bob Pope returns to FC with a provocative poem
Samantha Quince Devastated
by Death of Biological Mother
- dramatic dialogue
The fingertips of one of the older woman’s hands land lightly on her breast like a mosquito.
Excuse me? she says.
You are my biological mother, Samantha Quince says.
Ah, I see, she says, a film crew.
Mother said to come when I can drive myself.
How nice you got your license.
That’s my adoptive mother’s car.
It looks so easy to handle.
I wanted, no needed to see you.
I have lemonade. Do you like tea?
I was inside you. I came like a moon out the side of a planet.
- inner monologue
…this woman this stranger my mother, so familiar and weirdly unfamiliar at the same time staring like she doesn’t know me… Wait, what’s this?
- hysterical rantings
Taken in their ship for days or weeks… I blocked it out of course… You have genetic me in you as well… All fine until they took me back, hovering over my parents’ house, and released us…
The older woman put her wrist to her forehead/
fainted dead away neatly on the couch hands/
coupled on her belly pretending to be out cold/
or actually out cold or as we might have guessed/
no longer as they say among the living/
Robert Pope has published several books of fiction, most recently Not a Jot or a Tittle and a book of selected flash fiction, Disappearing Things. Both re available on Amazon. His new work appears in Granfalloon, Fictive Dream, and Dark Lane Anthology.
FC introduces Eva Grace and five of her poems
a walk through the national art gallery
the gallery begins with a ticket machine,
advertising Winslow Homer exhibits that run until June
I have a pound in my pocket, about fourteen short
and I promise myself I’ll come back another time,
when I’m not running on an expired tube ticket
and a bottle of water from the corner store,
then there are the stairs, two flights that make my knees ache
the purpose is a reminder of the old adage
all the masters hanging on the wall killed themselves
I confess to not having read their biographies, but the art
tells me their stories clearly
there are several rooms
some order of Dutch and Italian eras
I skip over the flowers, all arranged as ampersands on the canvas
there is a poem waiting in that shape but it belongs to someone else
the chart map is vague, designed to make you wander
I just missed the Raphael exhibit
closed yesterday, I feel sad,
as if I could have come or even known, and they’re taking
down the little sign to replace it with Gonzalez
I walk past the plein-air room without a peek, even
though my fondest museum drinks drown in Colosseum
there are better ones in another place I saw a month ago
I lie when I say the memories are fresh because paintings with strike a chord
and vanish like they never existed
lingers like a poem you can’t quite remember
as if there’s a difference between the two
I find what I’m looking for in the busiest room, they like the sunflowers
I do too but I don’t pass over the frozen lake with slashes of grey
don’t quite fit in but neither do analogies of Aeneas I passed by ten minutes ago,
frames are art
this one is black wood
it suits the painting
like the lack on Monet
end through the giftshop, your reminder that art has to be sold
can’t just exist, but I’m a hypocrite for the comment because my pound goes for a notebook and I write a poem on a train
a genetic memory for somewhere else I’m meant to be
the body remembers long after the mind has forgotten who it was supposed to be
where the winds feel like home and the birds fly north at night
the chaos of this room, the mind map of morbid misery
at the coffee shop exist because home’s compass driven
to forgotten traces of my hands
cobbles under my feet recognized in another generation of my family
it was grace
lines just lines, that don’t fade like the others,
rhymes are like prayers
I didn’t know how to say?
never learnt the notes to these hymns
on my knees and to all the poets
whose words were sent to heavenly gates
freed me a little more the grave dug into this earth
hold me like you always have,
since I was just a kid and saved by a howling bluebird
the poets all killed themselves
their deaths rescued another one who almost did
a road that goes into the mountains, red dead grass lines the grey pavement
I’ve never stuck long enough for nostalgia to be crippling
here it almost doesn’t exist, in the bales whose individual stories I traced and killed
since when does a season provoke anger as much as the end of fall does in a trapped me
the mountains are grey and black and snow-capped with dangerous thoughts
explosives of giants that died in the canyons of the south
the yellow trees guide the path of my engine, car in reverse
of where I’m supposed to go because the quest to find myself is a one-day destination departure
away from here
I’m ready to find the shape of a soul I painted over and hid in boxes
the road led to the beach and the dunes lead down to a warm ocean eating away at the sand,
there’s a dipping sun struggling over a wash of white and blue waves
seagulls, here, are silent like my thoughts, all stilled by vast imcomprehension
foam sprays onto my cargo pants and I don’t bother rolling them up
there’s no grand revelation
and the ocean makes you feel just as lost, really,
but it’s safer on the sand than in the trees, I can tell by faint memories
still : stands
there is a day old tea in the sink unpoured, the tea bag still inside, the rim stained with colour from the water,
a bag of chips and their dipping sauce, serving spoon lying on the lid, crumbs splattered on the floor
the fridge door isn’t closed, just barely cracked open, all the magnets are jangled from a desperate grasp
keys on the ground, knocked off the table with a vase, large glass pieces make it an illusion
windows shuttered, front door ajar, curtain still open in the dark
she’ll be back to haunt it later but she won’t return as herself anymore
Eva Grace is a poet and author hailing from Calgary, Alberta. She finds the winters there both poetically beautiful and horrendously cold. She alternates between wanting to wander the nearby natural parks and take pictures, and huddling by the fire watching her favourite shows. She has published several poetry collections and has novels scheduled for the next two years. You can find more about her works and projects on Instagram at @evagracewrites or on Tiktok at @evasfiction. When not writing, Eva can be found drawing, knitting, or reading the latest release by R.F. Kuang.
Welcome back, Salvatore Difalco!
It’s been a few years since Sal graced our e-pages with his short stories, but we’re very pleased to publish these seven works of his poetry, which we recommend you read in sequence.
Why begin in the dark? Well, that’s where
we begin, in the dark, blackened with dust,
bending at the waist, rolling shoulders
toward the chute and dumping the load.
Uaine Archibald down the street told me
that her pa delivered coal before the war.
The present leads to a dead end where we
find a tarpaper shack. Inside the shack,
a human sits in the dark gently rocking.
A knock on the door is met with silence.
History of Light
We move like ghosts in vapours,
nothing like walls hold our thoughts
back from dashing their teeth
on the rocks that cross our path.
We can never see ourselves
outside this freak procession.
Gasoline glistens the asphalt
and a single flame gives way
to dissonance and faces melting
as if with laughter. We call this
planet home exactly why? It’s
burning, it’s not burning.
The clanging fire brigade arrives
too late to be of any use to us
with only our imaginations intact.
How long will this take, boss?
The answer might kill you, man.
And I thought I was already dead.
The false alarm at work: copy.
Incoming missile verification
with maximum music: ominous.
This happening works like a joke.
Someone smiles behind glass.
A kiss on the lips like a cigarette
—her red hair a flame-volley.
For kilometers she sits on hands.
Her airplane letters are treasure,
a maiden song, a border patrol.
Who wallows in the phone booth?
Bodyguard or actor—you ready to die?
A fugitive look, the greatest thing
the thumb can cock,
lock, rock and roll.
Super nice job man, outstanding.
The fenced place houses the sun
of a Minuteman III
with the beauty of a tight-waisted woman
set to go at 15,000 mph.
A belief in the absurdity of the past
barricades a man and a woman’s
imagination in a sunlit field.
Animals graze in buzzy green light.
The red light of authenticity
notifies the engineer
of a birthday party.
Do you know what time it is?
Paranoia: computer correction.
Keep working, green jacket.
Keep keeping time.
You need a neck rub?
A data panic night?
I imagine acceleration, a fan blade.
Do you know what time it
Desire begins there (not desire)
listening to the hiss
White and red define the exteriors
we follow through glass
This wasn’t meant to be art
as much as a heartbeat
is electric, representing a bridge
between the cage
and elemental (um) externals.
What we thought what we
thought what we thought.
Then too late, the field relieved
itself of our pulsing.
Listen to the hiss
that’s how it starts.
At least that’s what we thought.
The hand rush to the face sparked a red cloud.
What’s happening? Calm, all.
More people warrant the Lord’s mercy
than forces wired with readiness
are ready to admit. Their toys
overkill with little red buttons,
glycerine glistens their brows.
Responsibility is a blue cloud,
a flag ship wavering five minutes from the echelon.
No panic please. Come on, visual patience.
The hallucination could be just your eyes
shouting at the heart to trust nothing.
The observation zone microphone whines.
Apparatus stations, five minutes.
Wrong. Millions, repeat, millions.
A sinful meat-grinder system.
Yes, it’s heading toward people this minute.
Store the idea that this is serious,
you number one human being.
The Long Ago
Talking to the earth, hello now.
Where are the wilds we watched
in documentaries? What happened
to the lush green, the burning blue?
We broke it down and still couldn’t
make it work for us—we don’t
like the horizon anymore, it puzzles
the children, horrifies the old ones.
We take it in stride, like the locusts,
like fires, like forgotten floods.
But we do not take it in stride.
We stand like monks in quagmires.
We know it is summer, we think
it is summer, though no blue and fiery
yellow differentiate that season
from the last one or the next.
We welcome all fictions to alleviate
the dread that our histories spur:
we rode horses into bloody sunsets,
we incurred the wrath of mad gods.
Salvatore Difalco is a Sicilian-Canadian poet and short story writer. He has authored five small press books and his work has appeared in many print and online journals. He lives in Toronto.
Your baristas hope you’re enjoying this wonderful poetry as much as we are! Next week we introduce three more poets to you all. And the week after, and the week after that! The poets would love to hear from you, so please send us your Comments below.