i’ll be mother

lost 26: i’ll be mother

the air in the verse, too much green to pain, the best photos taken on a moonless night – creep up on that plant, shock with flash. hey you, potato on the counter, rame. kins. hot or cold sprink.le ; what is up to when we’re not – busy turning, the butterflies having fun dreams of sweet wet of white. and on the mantle, baby jesus, lost. if they have CROP and MESI and DIME how hard can that be? she on deconstructing /i saw nothing; he stares at sculptures’ fingernails plonks them into his memory mahal with the hypothetical case of vanilla rum cum crème brulee/serves five. – blossom on the tree you know how I feel it’s a new dawn it’s a new day: pretty potato slightly suggestive rude the peel on its way to becoming. as we all are. surface like a planet, reach out and touch, offering for snow white. what’s the other prong. you are. but i have no experience being a prong. oh you’re a born prong. through though the narrow passage to the kitchen eram eras erat eramus there to carry out our business picnic baskets fishing tackle plus plenty plausible excuses and serious hazards in the act of lighting a fresh cigarette. and potato, you be father okay? i’ll be mother.

Italicized lyrics from Feelin Good, Anthony Newley and Leslie Bricusse, Greasepaint, Photo: Shai Ben-Shalom.

Now that we’re on the subject of potatoes (thanks Shai), you must find and read Jason Heroux’s poem called ‘potato’. I’m in a bit of a snit because I can’t find his book with that poem in it, but I shall calm myself by offering instead, another of Jason’s poems published in This Magazine, September-October 2005:

Odd-Sized Screws Kept In A Drawer 











The traffic sparkles and glints under the sun,
cameras flashing at a special event. The world
drains the window’s glass with one long gulp.

Grasstrumpets sway in the earth’s orchestra.
The clock ticks clearing stones from a field.
We cling to life like chimney smoke

above the dark rooftops of our shadows.
We’ll die and get put aside for a while
like odd-sized screws kept in a drawer.

Even if we never get used for anything again
it’ll feel okay to stretch out freely for once.
It’ll feel okay holding nothing together.

Here a poem to link with Jason’s, lifted from From the Academy of American Poets: POEM-A-Day



Carsten René Nielsen
translated by David Keplinger

At night things become ever so smaller, our shoes and teeth, too, and everywhere in buildings screws turn a quarter of a revolution, but even if you press your ear against the wall, the sound is rarely heard. Always there is someone who plays the gelatin piano, someone who packs his pipe with snow, and on a radio channel from somewhere in the world, where the sun is already on its way up through the mist in the horizon: a gospel choir of hoarse, nearly inaudible women.


lost 24: cherries

extremely high resolution observations, a dinosaur with feathers. observe the holes in the substance of the brain, more or less filled with boots stockings comb towel ripe cherries shirts shoelaces a scanning electron micrograph JPEG of Cyclotella stelligera. out of this world asteroid mining by robots and/or the library robot that learns (how strongly did you co-operate, correlation zero) to spout the  X-rated repartee of a coarse-tongued flirt. don’t overthink it – press 9kim8jn love the metal the rusting commodore or falcon skin-thin tires chipped windscreens glistening curves of delicate peelshine. let’s make this about the cherries shall we? auxiliary telescopes in the atacama desert region of chile – these two are not the droids you’re looking for. a japanese friend out in my woods cutting up a fallen birch stories of fetching water for grandmother’s iron tub making fires under it for a bath. the map ballpointed in tiny characters, beaver pond, plan  for six cherry trees never sent

top photo: Shai Ben-Shalom, underneath photo from website of Steven Pressfield online

Yesterday was bath day for Desirée, my beautiful feathered tyrant:

which merits a few lines of a poem:

le Tub



she has grabbed each plastic toy from the bathwater

flung it away from


                                    le Tub


a contemplation of the calming waters

one last suspicious

head swivelling check that no one’s peeking

that her towel is to hand


then dainty as a Renoir or Degas nude she steps

into the shallow glass bowl

            now the other foot –

                        she lowers herself into the inch of water

                        shivers as her delicate parts


                                    leans forward to immerse



                                    woman bathing…


I will read her this poem by Amy Lowell; obviously they are kindred souls


By Amy Lowell 1874–1925

The day is fresh-washed and fair, and there is a smell of tulips and narcissus in the air.
The sunshine pours in at the bath-room window and bores through the water in the bath-tub in lathes and planes of greenish-white. It cleaves the water into flaws like a jewel, and cracks it to bright light.
Little spots of sunshine lie on the surface of the water and dance, dance, and their reflections wobble deliciously over the ceiling; a stir of my finger sets them whirring, reeling. I move a foot and the planes of light in the water jar. I lie back and laugh, and let the green-white water, the sun-flawed beryl water, flow over me. The day is almost too bright to bear, the green water covers me from the too bright day. I will lie here awhile and play with the water and the sun spots. The sky is blue and high. A crow flaps by the window, and there is a whiff of tulips and narcissus in the air.

From About.com, Women’s History






sweet street toothy

lost 21: sweet street toothy
do not… sense of morality bone chill rent cigarettes ponies a pizza de-emphasize ethical ode translate to cypher text code… store or keep inside your car bucket of chicken elephants a babyfood jar filled with gasoline a set of rubber cockroaches a slice of smelly cheese the treasured 45 (sing out your new belief in oils and acrylics pastels 6b pencils charcoal scratch the nude into copper) twenty-four cans of soft drinks or a small bouquet of trumpet lilies, (your hair the way it curls, now grey) nor leave in the trunk your own wedding cake a small bag of doggie waste or fine Belgian chocolates for your local buddhist priest. not even the barbecue chip ice cream rescued from the rhythm of the chemical sports outlet. think flying fish bumping principia mathematica off the production lines godwottery gazump fartlek gongoozle gadzooks! – you, my sister, say my mother lied, that what/ she said was sand that fell between the slats// of sidewalks made of planks no systems fever, laws of motion or gravity no peace or utter depravity mccavity. well there you are, the gesture said, worship carves a data port in a jackson pollock painting, pumps it full of how honey is sweet, raiment of gold, cloud barred by an insistent breeze. random data misinformation feeds on misinformation but you’d be happy living inside a cuckoo clock Baurusuchia tall as you are, your huge teeth, your dog face, talk to me oh  long-legged one. those six-inch heels. head anatomical athletic training regime, duddy, stare. kibitz with outdated unreasonable positions on that sweet street of pensioners, cupboards of sugar and salt, coke. neurocity of mesoeucrocodylians: paint ink paper added removed, scraped added again scraped off, just where are we/growing my little one, little one/ where are we growing my loodle my love –

I’m out of breath after that one…but at the top, the gift of a shahai to ynklings, by poet/photographer Grant D. Savage. Thank you Grant! Photo from: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2018534/Pissarrachampsa-sera-The-70million-year-old-crocodile-huge-teeth-dogs-head.html, and you my sister said… from ‘her light blue dress’, Claudia Radmore

From Grant another extraordinary Juxtaposition:


or rounded conversation


vital statistics

in the dictionaries

or the rock

reclining on silk
or silver screens

tomorrow my bride’s gonna come
…are we going to fly

down into my easy chair
perfect mandala

will the circle
be unbroken

my form

sand grains
the brighter

and fainter stars
that many

times … is/in yours
freud/jung letters

the only
my shrink ever enjoyed

the personal
and the collective

cymbals clash/and gongs

i enter/ great mother
virgin/soror mystica

you leaven
in my mouth

… likewise i’m sure
the buddha’s wife

breasts etc dragging
not on the back of

but fathered/he
by an elephant

you initiated an elephant?
the scent of

the dung of

white dogs/scarlet woman
from india in my dream

she tried to insist
she be on my left

fixed my infinite
out of control electricty

i had been tearing out the wires
poetry synapses/you said

and i smiled
placed my mouth

on your voice
tongue-shock spilling

tongue/french kiss on french/you loudly toast
insisting you’re Quebecois/father/mother?/land

Terre de nos aïeux… (however you spell that)
sung/accented … English soprano

Too beautiful not to be passed on:

Nothing to do with writing, but I’m entranced by this photo. Those blues, those blue scallops over the yellow band, that sweep of blue from its back that slides onto the branch of brain coral. Maybe it’s because I’m terrified of water; that might lend an aura of wonder to my perception of this goby. I don’t like to look at fish or many other underwater creatures. They give me nightmares, but this goby won’t do that. It might inspire a new career, that of clothing designer – look out Betsy! It’s the first-place winner, macro-photography category, in an annual contest put on by the University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Science. The photographer is Canadian (yeaaay!!!!) Todd Mintz’s who photocaptured this cute-as-can-be yellownose goby (Elacatinus randalli) peering out from brain coral in Bonaire, Dutch Caribbean.

http://news.yahoo.com/sea-creatures-true-beauty-revealed-winning-underwater-photos-174404076.html (Maybe there’s a poem in Goby for someone…)

The discussion continued: Shai Ben-Shalom

I greatly enjoyed the discussion that Pearl initiated. Reading what people wrote was an eye-opener. I was particularly interested in those comments that described how poems are entities that have independent lives, disconnected from the author or from the reader. Sadly, I am yet to see my own poems having such lives. None of them was written for the sake of it, but rather to reach a specific target – the reader’s eye. Without a reader, my poems don’t really have a life.
Indeed, when drafting a poem I may not necessarily know who the reader might be, but he is there, somewhere. There always seems to be ‘someone’ in my mind, vague as he may be, who will eventually read my lines (or listen to me reading them) at some point in the future. The poem is written for that person. I just don’t feel secure enough in my skills to write ‘for myself’. I don’t consider my ideas to be all that important, or my poems to be all that good, to sustain their inner quality when no one is reading. Without a two-way communication, the drive to hold a pen would have evaporated. But the thought that someone would read any of my poems, react to it, offer a feedback, initiate a discussion, perhaps even reciprocate by sharing a poem of his own – now that is a reason to write!

One day, when I get comfortable with the language and become familiar with the art of writing, I may see some internal beauty in my poems, a built-in spark that gives them life of their own (perhaps in the spirit of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah, ‘there is a blaze of light on every word’). Until then, you, who may read my lines, may offer a listening ear at Tree Reading and may introduce me to your own poems – you are my motivation to write!

Shai, I think it is you who are the inspiration here, and the others in the conversation… Thank you!


lost 20: shrewbots

this tool has no options. fartlek fatuous filibuster firkin quarter barrel small cask; get hold of a skull; describe the tongue of a woodpecker and the jaw of a crocodile the flying fish so popular it knocked principia mathematica off the production line inspiration no laws of motion or gravity. fagotto bassoon the reed chorus, extremely soft stop delicate, airy tone single, or double-rank aéoline celeste string, and the salicional future celibate salacious gelatinous ocean and cretaceous of 600 million years ago wind chests enter stage right no, left, you little etruscan shrew divisions back to 1425 – 1430 there’s more to nothing than we know why is there something rather than nothing at all? 68-year-old patricia tabram- the cannabis grandma – charged with intent, viewers shocked by rhoda morgenstern’s abrasive tongue, oh morning star, who why ironically buys vintage star wars figurines, or i’m the type of person who appreciates homemade lamps made from mason jars, william and kate go plastic will and kate go wax the duke and the duchess go all in the family, a catalogue of mary tyler moore abdomens, extremely rare albino ruby-throated limited edition barbie collection in white feathers, pink bills and legs. the red eyes. there’s just no accounting for happiness or the way it turns up like a prodigal ghost ants translucent shrewbot those synthetic whiskers work in the dark like the real thing, catch the moon drifting darkly, city chicken. as billy wilder called it (in the closet) magniloquently, van gogh’s ear for music. those armoured catfish wreaking havoc in the south – we were once published in an anthology together. i’m the type of person who. and american nuns chastised chastitized charitized shafticized satirized listen to the rattle of old bones the colour of the food you eat their fusiform gyrus and inferior emporial appeal.

there’s just no accounting… from ‘happiness’, by Jane Kenyon, Poetry Foundation blog

Also, this week on the BBC you can listen to Jane Kenyon, from Scotland, talk about a trip to the Arctic: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01gf5sk Thank you Ray Battams for the tip. It was a good listen.

From Grant Savage: These new poems, well I’ve been enjoying them.

Juxtapositions IX


half full
half empty

in or out
of tune

with/in my mouth
throat singing

for my supper/eat
off the fat

of the land

is it these pills

with my/your

long hair

of lilies
in the breeze


the outward

curve of hips
of flowers

sacroiliac/liliums kiss
sex to sex

for the moments’
summer of flesh

in the mind’s …

rain’s decomposition
these lines

young and gleaning
but the sadistic

the astringent
and the favourite vintage

the black bottles of Samos Naxos
vintners to the gods

sweet since
one thousand B.C.

sex of american novels
the libraries

the couplings
on and beneath

the covers
of paperbacks

the whips on
or the corsets containing

either spill
or prevent

the jiggled

sharp or flat

or full/round

of milk
and honey

via Zach Wells on facebook (no pun intended, Zack works for ViaRail) here is Kay Ryan, former Poet Laureate of the United States.


Nothing whole
Is so bold,
we sense. Nothing
not cracked is
so exact and
of a piece. He’s
the distempered
emperor of parts,
the king of patch,
the master of
pastiche, who so
hashes other birds’
laments, so minces
their capriccios, that
the dazzle of dispatch
displaces the originals.
As though brio
really does beat feeling,
the way two aces
beat three hearts
when it’s cards
you’re dealing.


The Poetry Conversation:

Continuing the conversation with Shai Ben-Shalom:

Shai: Susan’s words (See ynklings April 22) resonate with me, as my writing is often in an attempt to deliver messages. If I don’t have a message, I don’t usually have a poem. Only on rare occasions I may play with words in order to come up with something that sounds good, or reads well, without including some messages in it.
In this regard, most of my poems are built around narratives and I view them as tiny vehicles of communication. Whatever they carry could also be carried by other vehicles, such as short stories, short films, etc. Perhaps my limited command over the English language does not allow me to truly enjoy poetry that revolves around shapes, sounds, tongue-twists, etc. Perhaps my training as a scientist is reflected in my poems, as if I am on a quest to formulate a new hypothesis and support it with data with each new poem.

I don’t know if poems need to be overly balanced. There should be room for personal variations, in a sense that one may write primarily with his ‘logical tools’ whereas another one may be more attentive to his heart, but the two may still live side by side, even within the same poetry collection or during the same open mic session. I don’t see a problem with a poem that is too clever, or too sentimental, although I may wonder about poems that sound too stupid or too disconnected from emotions…

Thank you for sharing this thought-provoking piece!

In a further email, he adds:

 I looked at ynklings; an interesting site that offers plenty of food for thought! I had a special interest in what Grant wrote about homeostasis in nature and the need to have some imbalance in order to preserve life. How true!

As far as your own thinking goes, well, I have had the opportunity to listen to you on Open Mic sessions, and to read a few of your poems in chapbooks, and my impression is that a lot of thinking goes into your writing! You may avoid the formalities of putting down your thoughts on a paper for all to see, but this is different than avoiding the thinking…

I hope the discussion will continue. I was just starting to get engaged…

From Pearl Pirie’s Pesbo blog:

What’s the use(fulness) of poetry?
At best it may bump and knock loose something else in someone else that dislodges a hidden brick of meaning. Then their chimney falls in and there’s a house fire. Then you get on like a house on fire. No, that’s not it.
A poem is a synthesis of all that’s come before. Copy, combine, transform. It’s remixing and perpetuation of some part of something. It’s the outcome of perceptions.
I like the idea of poem as by-product, like paper scraps cut off after the real product of text is printed. It isn’t useful as by-product, if not used. Unless it existing is a use. Which it is. Is it sufficient leveraging of the gift of living? Poetry is a thankfulness, a paying back, the gift of being alive.

Yeaayyy!!!! Carol A. Stephen and Luminita Suse!!!! Finalists in the 2012 Canadian Authors National Capital Region Poetry Contest!!!!

A last note: Tomorrow’s ynklings will be posted late as I will be in Montreal. My overnight holiday!