Sometimes I get wrapped up in a a song and I kinda go to another place. I saw you standing next to me on the bus but with my senses
somewhere else, I could neither read your lips nor hear your words.
"Huh?"... as I removed my headphones.
You pointed to the writing on the chocolate chip bag in my hand and repeated "Chipits?" Eating Chipits straight out of the bag is a perfectly normal thing to do in my world - I thought nothing of it to do so on the bus ride home.
"Oh yeah, sure. Chipits!...le petit frere of Hershey kisses." I shook the bag and offered you some. In a world where people are quick to say "thanks but no thanks", it was nice to have the offering accepted.
You smiled and said "I like".
I asked "chipits or kisses?"
Yes, sometimes I don't think things through before I say them but you seemed open to the game and so you know - I played.
You were a welcomed unexpected way to wrap up my day. My stop came first. I left you my bag of kisses, I mean Chipits, with my bag of Chipits.
I figure we're about the same age. I saw neither a wedding ring nor a tan line where one would be. I figure if you were to be the slightest intrigued or curious, you would either check this site or make a point to look for me on the bus next time. There is only so far a woman might go to start something, and so, she hopes you will meet her half way.
(N.B.: “see romance is not dead . . . “ – a note from the Editor
“I once offered someone a box of chocolates . . . they didn’t stay in touch . . . “ – a note from the other Editor
“them chocolates is long gone” - says the cat)
Three Bloody Words, a Chapbook written by Stephanie Bolster was originally published through above/ground press in May 1996.
A feminist play on fairytales and the overconstructed N.A. society, the two juxtapositions entangle into a dark satanist truthtelling.
Stephanie Bolster is a Poet/Teacher/Poetry Editor from Vancouver and teaches creative writing at Concordia University in Montreal.
She has written four books of poetry and her first book, White Stone: The Alice Poems won the Governor General’s and the Gerald
Lampert Awards. She has been shortlisted for the Pat Lowther Award and the Canada Writes/CBC Poetry Prize in 2012. She has written
two Chapbooks, published by above/ground press and this republication.
A parody of Disney princesses, the poetry based in the feminine magic of fairytales blows into a horror story, closer to the N.A. reality of love and life. Images from some of the most popular fairytales, Alice in Wonderland, Rapunzel, Rose Red, Snow White, Cinderella, Hansel and Gretel amongst others, are alluded to and woven into a modern day rendering.
“i can’t tell you what happened
at the tea-party except it was nothing like disneyland no
mad swirling in marvellous candy-coloured cups so fast i thought i’d puke or go sailing off
into a tyrannical sunset instead we sipped & they talked on & on under & around saying
everything except what they really meant which wasn’t much anyway only something
about freud & the loss of innocence at parties where the tea’s not sweet enough & the
sugarcubes are spiked with LSD & i’m still there watching golden strands sink into the tea their voices saying this isn’t really my story at all”
Prose poetry in first person narrative form as if in the voice of a modern day princess, mixed with the occasional free verse poem in truncated thought flow brings the reader right in close to the brutality of intimate relationships N.A. The ideal backdrop of fairytales is written in as allusions and then meted out, as if “the princess” iconic image has been run over with a car.
“in my story I didn’t even know what happened
it was already written before i came
along so i just put one foot in front of the other because there was nothing else it was the
same for all my friends i had two sisters i think maybe three one of my parents was mean i
forget which somebody combed my silken hair made me pretty dresses married me to
some prince or else an animal who turned into one had a couple of kids because it was
written otherwise i would never bring anyone into this story the whole time they were
being born those three bloody words running thru my head happily ever after”
A truthtelling that reveals the gruesome undertoad of life N.A. As if there are no choices for women in who you marry, how men expect sex without responsibility, how your husband may desert you after years together, exploding the myths of “happily ever after”. A portrayal of the “sex wars” how men are like aliens that don’t really understand the emotional pain/sensitivity of women as “they want what they want” and destroy the peace and safety of women through violations of suitability for marriage and the destruction of covenant.
“so i thought i’d escape
by hitching a lift out of the forest with grizzled man in a
pickup my hair still tangled from last night two wolf scratches on my cheek we sped along
99 out of the mountains into something like reality a map distances you could plot & see
what was coming only occasional trees but his arm came up around me voice saying my
eyes so big & beautiful lips so soft what long hair you have & i knew it was the some old
A humorous look at the modern day patriarchy through abuses of power in personal relationships, giving the “princess” ideal of historical romance a shakeout. How politics and essence problems in marriage manifests suffering for women. A brilliant post-modernist Feminist work, Three Bloody Words by Stephanie Bolster.
Available @ above/ground press.
An incredible tour de force in quiet antithesis sleeps in aprés de guerre, After the Battle of Kingsway, the bees
a New Age Renaissance poem by Renée Sarojini Saklikar. Poet Saklikar is a Canadian teacher at Simon Fraser University
and helps run the poetry openstage Lunch Poems. She writes thecanadaproject, has won awards and is published in
anthologies, journals, and chapbooks. Poet Saklikar is Poet Laureate for Surrey, British Columbia.
The long poem begins in aftermath, perhaps a broken love affair, an argument, escalated into war, has ceded into the depths of time. A fascinating play with language and concepts, the images of bees hover in the background as if painted into different dimensions of time overlapping, the poem works on different levels, as if in parallel realities. In the work, bee images surface, sometimes as if the protagonists in the story are bees and there are images of bees, the inside of nests, the making of wax enclaves for honey. A magic symbol in pagan mythology, symbolizing the productivity of the community, fertility and royal enclaves, the imagery weaves an allusion to bloodlines and the tenacity of the human spirit in adversity. As if a comment on the strained cultural way of the West during the Industrialized Economy and the ensuing violence in personal relationships with whispers of the reclaiming of Holy Spirit tenets and cultural knowledge in the New Computerized Society beginning to recreate peace.
“Morphology of the
Let lists suffice, those rubbed, we that assemble:
Cardo, stipes, galea, and palupus.
The City, our essence, we might communicate,
syllable, grammar and line, beds violet, wild thyme
were we to find, cracked cement, east side court
Labium when extended, the cardo,
slender, in the laterial wall, we-
might not meet, nor share anything, a glance
on the train, commonly, as short as half,
the stipital length. See here, we gather
at the steps of public building where once
protest put down. Many genera.
there came a time, when soldiers rode, guns cocked.
Through the cardo to the lorum, winds breathe
around condo cranes, City of Night, wander
spray cans in hand, fill our shoes with sand.
O for a hundred thousand,
homes we might call to,
all the lights coming on at once-”
The poetry itself is disembodied, flows in cycles, builds a mystery, a play on time in truncated thought forms with elements of poetic prose. This poetry is esoteric, as if the poetry flowers in vines that grow through the rubble of a fallen stonewall over a score of years and more. As if this poetry has grown out of the legacy of T.S. Eliot, his post-modern works, particularly The Wasteland, but cast with a woman’s hand, inside the tenets of New Age Renaissance writing, nearly one hundred years later.
The imagery is largely of nature, different species of trees, herbs, plants, flowers indicative of the love of nature in the New Age Renaissance. Secondary images include the decaying architecture of the modern cityscape and war themes and war imagery. The word "Rentalsman" emerges occasionally within the poetry as if this is temporary, something, someone, some place you cannot own, and this is tied into the theme of war. Also, the word INVESTIGATOR, spelled out in capital letters, denotes the scene of a crime, a case of trespass someone is looking into.
“To be read as concordance, in the year of the reign 20XX
The young woman sat rigid after her beating.
No salve soft enough.
And wore glasses.
Outside, Patrol assembled nightly, and regular.
Our young girls grown up under Rentalsman,
said Mrs. Maria. Said Abigail and Patsy:
O moon, your sad steps
Again, the INVESTIGATOR:
they longed to feed him
larkspur, large-leaved lupine,
wrap him blue weed, viper’s bugloss-
In the lab, thumb edge to screen, began to decipher.
And swipe in, left, and again, swipe.
Rhythm defined an axis.
These pages found:”
In the essence of mythology writing, taking a certain situation in real life and extrapolating into New Age mythos as universal truths and magic through the art of poetic form, After the Battle of Kingsway, the bees by Renée Sarojini Saklikar is a brilliant offering in New Age Renaissance Poetry from above/ground press.
Available @ above/ground press.
This fantastical long poem is a double-cento comprised of the works of Yehuda Amichai, an Israeli Poet born in Germany after W.W. I and
emigrating to Israel & Mahmoud Darwish, considered the National Poet of Palestine born in Al-Birwa in 1941. Both Poets are born in
and writing in the tumult and violence of the Israeli and Palestinian conflict, both poets are internationally acclaimed poets for
peace. A cento is a form of poetry that rewrites the works of one or more poets, all the lines of poetry are rearranged to form a
new entity, a new poem. The term “canto” is derived from the Latin “cantus” or a song and “canere” to sing. The “canto” is a major
division of an epic or long narrative poem and is considered a form of protest since ancient Roman times.
A New Love/ An Aching Stone is an ingenious weave of the works of both Poets, Poet Amichai and Poet Darwish, creating a
serenade of prayers for peace, a protest against war and broken love relationships. Pete Smith is a Poet/Writer born in England,
emigrating to British Columbia. He has had his work widely published online and internationally and has written a book,
Bindings and Discords (2015) and this is his second Chapbook to be published with above/ground press.
A Middle Eastern song for peace, in love, that flies high, up in the spires of the cathedral, a yearning for the peace of love in dance in this life. The lines, like the lines of a psalm are expertly woven, one set of lines from Poet Amichai and one set of lines from Poet Darwish, culminating in a brilliant post-modern protest of epic and dance.
“Let’s go as we are:
wills patched with many patches
and my song needs to breathe: poetry isn’t poetry
because of the wall.
Which exile do you want?
If the west wind does not come
on time, a feminine moon to fill the poem’s
sighs out of a purple dream. A wind brings smells
in your lilac night, I am he who was one day
forced to see the injustice among the thorns,”
An elegant weave of short lines in the post-modernist style, without rhyme. Nature imagery, war themes, Biblical allusions, Greek/Roman mythology are classicism laced with the designs of beauty in violent places of without.
“and only echo replies
“Perhaps I’ve been here once before,
the road of invaders who want to renovate their history,
make again a new love
over an aching stone.”
The canto moves as if a conversation with a prospective lover, perhaps a love affair that cannot last, the history of without, the currents of yearning, the exile. This cento is the presentation of the dialectic of the iconic lover, a universal theme, the broken love affair is also the war, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in the background. And in the heat of tension the sorrow and the calling of the Spirit back to karmic purity, true love and peace. The tension of the work builds in dueling songs, rises to climax, perhaps in the consummation of a love affair:
“But at dawn, with first light,
out of the frivolity of no-shape
after making love . . . “
“a salty perfume,
cake smells from inside the ruin,
put the letters with the letters for words to be born,
prophesied into the firmament of your flesh.”
only to find himself alone, sitting in an “abandoned theatre”, the conclusion of the love affair/the war hangs in the balance. The suffering is grave. There is a diaspora of love and death within grave misery, playing into the lucid imagery, songs in their mythos that pray for the end of war and the continuation of love. As if the peace of the homeland, the peace of love, happily ever after, is beyond the grasp, something that sees the Poet's outside dreaming, the poetry offering in concert with the Holy Spirit. A fantastical feast of sites and sounds Middle Eastern, a fantastical protest of war and violence, the double-cento, A New Love/ An Aching Stone featuring Israeli Poet Yehuda Amichai and Palestinian Poet Mahmoud Darwish, created and presented by British Canadian Poet Pete Smith and above/ground press.
Available @ above/ground press.