cactiMellow Mama ain’t doin’ nothin’ but doin’ nothin’. life with fibromyalgia’s like that. sitting, like eden robinson, with her feelings : old friends. trapped in her intestines : popcorn seeds

there is a lot she can’t tell you. won’t tell you. don’t tell you.

she is in her 60th year
in her vancouver bed running her lines
the whole world asleep & she pops up singing

“it’s the last time i will buy tp here
the last time i’ll make the bed
i’m goin’ back to Az with the rice i bought there last year”
& in the dream, her favourite romantic poetry prof. Rob Dunham asks her why she doesn’t work in India & her whispersecret is that Ellen D. was her gf all night long

Gaia the dog is disgusted with mama when she hears the “fff” on her lips, Ma cussin’ out the assholes driving. Gaia turns
her back to Ma, stares out the window. ma bolts for a buck
dangles her head in front of the AC. dries her hair

moody blue crows huddle on the road. not even god himself could blow the snow bright clouds that nudge the mountain tops away

a hawk above the US army freedom ranges. talons spread military choppers alarm the starlight pines & congestion relief projects but the scarlet sunset scores the sun-scalloped surface of the Superstitions. Ma sees herself spread out on the landscape like paint

bent over books
bent over boobs
boobs on tum
bob on top
on top of me
why i didn’t report
my SFU prof
on top of me
bob on top

her groin is groan pulled
stuck at the entry point *
drives by Angel’s Ladies Brothel where the plane landed. Area 51. nothing else around for miles.

when she was just a little girl
dad told the anti-abortionists to “Fuck Off”
her mom had flowers for her, 7-up, popped-her-cherry-jello
Gramma meet her on the other side
days when it is easy to be alive

it is not hallowe’en but there are needles in the apples & bananas. she has spent most of the day magnifier on her head plucking micro-splinters out of the sides of her fingers
it could take a person down. one thorn at a time, finger at a particular angle place it, lick it, pull it, ouch! trust a must. upwelling. tears. colourless streams on a windshield

she dreams in full colour
is a purple prickly pear cactus
a rattler on the bank of the Salt River

now it is twenty degrees in her park model
narrow hallway to fold her body in
not pull her shoulders back
but hold her breath. she’s been holding it all day so far
newscasters asks folks to pick apple snails out of scottsdale waterways

a piece of fluff spooks her as it spiders across the bathroom tile & she sees faces in the kitty litter. strangers hobble by her trailer in walkers, buzz by in golf carts. ladies bob in her pool on oodles of noodles. she has become one of those gogograndparents with the tv on. she knows the authors of the books on her shelf but opens Netflix. the food party on. god bless her ‘lady of blessed whatnot’*

in the Redding newspaper: a beaver is struck by a car in Columba Park. a woman wrapped it in a towel, went for help. she will not tell us what Richard Delp was doing when she returned. the place where fire ravaged the earth this july. flames up to their doorstep.

what is that out of the corner of my eye?

girls in Tahiti don’t go to school cuz’ they can’t afford the tuition. in Target, a fella is taking a little look-see, pictures up a woman’s skirt. another woman, detained by loss prevention agents, switches the labels at Walmart. she remembers those agents calling the cops on her when she was eleven. Molson/Coors Canada are getting into the cannabis business. more people were killed in the settling of the US than in WWII. loomis trucks are being blown up in Johannesburg with the guards still in them. nothin’ really to write home about

are all the girls going to bed at night like beached
refer to the whaler’s dictionary.

there was an old lady who lived in a shoe
she blesses each swallow of water
peace is somewhere

where is home  bill bissett  time  p.160
fake poem  jamie reid  a temporary stranger p. 37
stuck at the entry point  jonina kirton  an honest woman p.6
lady of blessed what-not  amber dawn  sodom road exit p.10

social media’s shut me down. my writerly voice has gone into hiding because my audience has gotten too big. there’s so much now i can’t tell you.

whereas once my audience mostly consisted of canadian writers, musicians & close friends, now i have many facebook friends who may or may not share my political beliefs. as i approach sixty, one would think the need for approval would vanish!

the american government has flagged me at the border for ties and equities. they tear my van apart every time i cross the border. the city of vancouver want five thousand five hundred dollars from me for the empty house tax even though my house was not empty. facebook removes posts from my thread that they don’t like. google knows the minute i step out of the house; where i am at any given moment. i have become catatonic.

i went to a family funeral the other day in north vancouver. my mom’s best friend died & i was shocked at how i was reacting to folks there. i remember thinking when i was young, he’s tall, dumb & german so i didn’t talk to him. we knew dad didn’t like eastern europeans, germans included. what had happened in the second world war was plenty alive when i was born in ’59. when i tried to strike up a conversation with this fellow at the funeral, i wondered why he didn’t introduce me to his wife hovering behind him. maybe that’s how it is with some straight fellows talking to a nice looking woman who they are not suspecting is lesbian.

i suppose the racism in our household was not that unlike the racism going down in the other houses in north van. in the sixties.

i have just driven in from phoenix with my cat & dog & the renter has stained my grandmother’s duncan fife table and my coffee table ; the chance you take renting out your home to strangers. he left me a joint, three bottles of vodka in the freezer, japanese whiskey in the cupboard & a bottle of white wine open in the fridge. i’m glad the booze didn’t call to me. i called him & asked him to take them away. “pour them down the toilet” les said. that’s where the joint went. the renter looked like a rain cloud when he came by.

the boy i had a big crush on in high school just hung himself. there is no talk of a celebration of life. so few people know he’s gone. our april vancouver sky weeps.

& my friend laureen just suddenly died. i had always been jealous of her friendship with rola. they became closer because they had children of the same age & why wouldn’t they? laureen suddenly got pneumonia & a week later, was dead, at 58.

these are the few things i can tell you. there is much more of far reaching significance. i guess i am going to just have to write another book. if i could only get through my editor’s eight hundred comments on my current manuscript. wish me luck!

yet, i return home after six months to discover that the trans mountain pipeline is not a done deal. great balls of fire!

i love that

Words for the Year

Leave the dishes.
Let the celery rot in the bottom drawer of the refrigerator
and an earthen scum harden on the kitchen floor.
Leave the black crumbs in the bottom of the toaster.
Throw the cracked bowl out and don’t patch the cup.
Don’t patch anything. Don’t mend. Buy safety pins.
Don’t even sew on a button.
Let the wind have its way, then the earth
that invades as dust and then the dead
foaming up in gray rolls underneath the couch.
Talk to them. Tell them they are welcome.
Don’t keep all the pieces of the puzzles
or the doll’s tiny shoes in pairs, don’t worry
who uses whose toothbrush or if anything
matches, at all.
Except one word to another. Or a thought.
Pursue the authentic-decide first
what is authentic,
then go after it with all your heart.
Your heart, that place
you don’t even think of cleaning…

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Jane Eaton Hamilton

65 Queer and Feminist Books To Read In 2018, a list by Carolyn Yates at Autostraddle. Look at all these lovelies. Why, you’d never have to read a book by any author on that idiotic UBCA list to be edified, shocked, enchanted, moved, transported, renewed, challenged, taught, expanded!

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Jane Eaton Hamilton

Jess Zimmerman at Electric Lit writes:

“The Paris Review publishes twice as many men as women; are men twice as good? The New York Timesdescribed Stein as “regarded by many as a champion of new talent, including some women writers,” but that “some” is poison. One can’t really make the case that Stein was a champion of women writers generally; under his auspices, The Paris Review went from one-third women writers to… one-third women writers. So who broke through to be part of the illustrious third? This is not to say that the writers who did make their way into The Paris Review’s pages aren’t worthy, but we should illuminate the hand that picked them, and the other work it cast aside. In short, if you weren’t already paying attention to the ways that whiteness and maleness determine what we value in art, you should be now.”


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cat mac

palo verde



cat canyon
jojoba ramada

riparian corridor
back swimmers

water strider
fishing spider

parrot feather
paper wasp


columnar cacti
crucifixion cacti

whirligig beetle
sonoran lyre snake

rat kangaroo

screech owl
white-tailed deer

bats bees moths

& one hundred thousand
for a rattler bite

i reach down into the briny pool of stingrays
chocolate, ivory, beige
& as if from nowhere
three or four of them
brush their angel soft noses & wings
against the backs of my hands

& the otter whips
round & round
behind the glass
returns always to meet
my dog gala’s eyes

& the puma
wild eyes of ice blue
whirls through his ochre cliffs
wide-mouthed yowls at gaia

the prairie dog who catches sight of her emits a fear cry
his mates rush into their earthen holes

& my totem, the Mexican wolf
seems the…

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