Poetry Moves on Transit

Welcome to Poetry Moves on Transit, a program that places poetry on ETS (Edmonton Transit System) vehicles.

The Top 25 Poems, Spring 2018!

Because we received so many spectacular poems in our last round of Poetry Moves on Transit, we have decided to publish the Top 25 poems. Congratulations to the four winners again (Nicole Lachat, Kelly Shepherd, Hailey Siracky, Elisia Snyder), as well as to Kat Cameron, Caley Campkin, Luciana Erregue-Sacchi, Stephanie French, Leif Gregersen, Stephen Gust, Amy Kaler, Abigail MacBeth, Mark A. McCutcheon, Wendy McGrath, Marco Melfi, Patti Sinclair, Rudy Smith, Cliff Therou, and T. Isabella Yellowbird!

Immigration Poem
Nicole Lachat
Winner, Spring 2018 Submission

To you, who would leave me with nothing
but the inheritance of my people’s disappearing
know, that the lines on my mother’s face
are a road-map home, and the deep brown
of her eyes are river stones shaped to outlive
drought and flood. Having to overcome for centuries,
my people have learned to birth bridges. To keep fire
within. All we need is to flick our tongues
like flint against steel, open our languages to see
how they warm, how they light —

——

Midden
Kelly Shepherd
Winner, Spring 2018 Submission

Caragana seed-pods break underfoot:
each crack predicts a green burst
through asphalt, the birth or explosion
of a star. The dark red and white swirls
on the seeds are maps of galaxies,
watersheds, inner ears. Patterns painted
on bison skulls. A field of dandelions
gone to seed: an orrery made of summers.

——

How do you use your voice?
Hailey Siracky
Winner, Spring 2018 Submission

Sometimes I don’t.
Sometimes I hold it in my hands like a firefly,
watch it glow in the dark of my cupped palms:
the swift, rare thing I caught in the night,
the small light I don’t know how to set free,
the beating wings in the cave of my hands, whispering,
shy.

——

“dear busperson”
Elisia Snyder
Winner, Spring 2018 Submission

practice            kindness.
           perfect it.
      fail.
remember that.
practice it
    alone
               or
                       with a competitor.
beat yourself
at it.

——

Elms
Kat Cameron

I mourn the loss of every tree.
The elms that lined the avenue are gone—
that green inverted sea.
I mourn the loss of every tree,

cathedral memory
stripped to ruin.
I mourn the loss of every tree—
the elms that lined the avenue are gone.

——

Untitled
Caley Campkin

Maybe it seems
like the glaciers of your mind
are eroding your thoughts
and the winter winds
are swallowing your words
But I promise
the ground will thaw
the flowers will begin rooting
the birds will sing as they return home
And so will you

——

Half a Ghazal
Luciana Erregue-Sacchi

Along the crisscrossing paths of our grief
Dye me in the blue hue of your regrets

Red blips I touch, red-lip kissed last letters
Ink my words with the crimson hue of your regrets

I dream of gentle verses, aspen leaves, gliding oars,
No need to sink in the verdant hue of your regrets…

——

Identity
Stephanie French

My heart rehearses rhythms of Africa
Ancestral blood flows to my hips
Riding calypso coloured waves
I long to understand
So I run towards wisdom
Hidden in melinated fields
Hoping to find
My name

——

On My Way To Work
Leif Gregersen

Above: massive looming clouds that excite
Even in a city         Where in memory
A tornado               Found a trailer park
Created carnage    What a tragedy
That day I biked     Through two feet of rain
In a way                 Proud to witness the power
Of nature               The clouds look so violent
No sound              Just massive dark clouds 
Years passed, will we remember this day like '87?

——

Maintaining Non-Literal Friendships in the Twenty-First Century
Stephen Gust

We went shopping together, for
party invitations and a DVD boxed set.
She tells me that we need to go shopping
again, sometime. It was really fun.
We ought to go again, sometime.
I attempted to arrange a date,
How is Tuesday at 10:00?
We need to go shopping again,
sometime. We really ought to do that
again.

——

You can stop looking
Stephen Gust

You can stop looking for poetry in everything.
Face-down in the January grit and slush,
in the middle of the bus tarmac,
there’s the lone third of a ginger root
that was cut longitudinally, so that
this cross-section looks like a dancer.
That’s not poetry, that’s garbage.

——

Victoria Park Road
Amy Kaler

Look – trees gold-washed
Rising out of the autumn-scarlet valley.
Haze lifts, moving dreams like air.
Memory says: You know
These trees have been barren before, this valley
Scraped grey by ice, dragged by winter.
Do not forget the cold, do not forget
The times you froze.
But do not fail to remember
This day, this light, these new leaves.

——

Sandcastle
Nicole Lachat

Only in dreams are his eyes still in his head.
Only there does the sea forgive and send him back
to shore without fish eggs hatching in his mouth.
Only in dream, or the country I cannot reach,
is his brown skin still tight around his voice
and not undone parcel paper caught in the rain.
If there is no body can there have been loss?
Two weeks without a trace until he washed up,
with grandmother’s pleas turned to sand in his throat.

——

Reminder
Abigail MacBeth

A fruitful day in fields of forget-me-nots,
The only concern, of joy.

Sunny skies in gardens of giggled secrets,
Morals unknown and uncared,
Lost in a breeze.

Settling into the night,
A starry blanket stretching above,
Hands bundled with wilted flowers

——

Stranger music
Mark A. McCutcheon

we met in the agreed-on
school parking lot
in a far-off neighbourhood
neither of us lived in
she handed me the money
I handed her the violin
neither of us knew how to play
we drove away in opposite
directions leaving the lot like
no cars had ever parked there

——

the goldfinch charm
Wendy McGrath

is more than
a song of passion that transforms purple thistle down
into spun threads of dragon’s beard candy

is more than
a song of passion that turns with the leaves
falling like your feathers to an undercoat of yellow

is more than
a song of passion that sounds with sweet orange
whistling down our birth our life our death

——

Dry Cleaner’s Notes
Marco Melfi

Dry cleaner isn’t subtle leaving tiny scribbles
so colourful—like wannabe lovers, flirtatious
fingers tugging, twisting—pinching
the shirt’s middle button.
These thin pink paper strips tell me, just me,
of a stained sleeve, a creased collar
and how they’ve pre-spot the intimate defects
of delicate fabrics I trusted only them with.
While we talk weekly, it seems, it’s always
about faults.

——

Whyte Pelicans
Kelly Shepherd

I saw them once, in the middle of the night
flying in a V formation, low over the Avenue

their wings quiet as footsteps in damp leaves
quiet as a drop of sweat, a cool breeze

on the neck. Quiet as breathing, as a heartbeat
in the throat. Shadows light instead of dark.

——

Moon Speak
Patti Sinclair

how she hangs with you behind the building     
	eclipsed
shadow caught in her throat  
how the moon speaks waxing
waning, half moon, full
after the light spoke with her
how she can act      void
the way she shines nightly      somewhere
how the moon does not speak of worthiness
	only light

——

the wind speaks through you
Patti Sinclair

go—go—to the landscapes you drink with your heart
where mystery is loved for its shimmering touch
and death, the sweet dessert
and the wind speaks through you, go—go—
to your home; an ocean’s eyelash on the sand
where the village sings at sunset
this place of rest, where you can find
what is between your feet and the ground
and you, your words may land there

——

The Tourist
Rudy Smith

Let me stay awhile in your world
Let me see, hear, touch, taste, and smell
Let me map your borders and explore your geography
Let me study your customs, traditions, and taboos
Let me breathe in your air, drink from your rivers
Sup from your orchards, and sleep under your stars
Please,
Let me stay awhile in your world
And I promise I will take my leave of it
If and when you’ve had your fill of mine.

——

The Search
Cliff Therou

I am tired,
From the weight
Of so many answers,
Carried in my hand,
The name of the river
That runs through Drayton Valley?
The last time the Leafs won the cup? Still,
There is so much more I could ask,
But then, all I really need to know
Is when will I see you again?

——

Blood Quantum
T. Isabella Yellowbird

i swim in a sea of white eyes
inside i am a pulse of red blood that stains
i hear the war cries of a distant past
my tribe was led to slaughter & slain
The wagons have surrounded me.
I wake up and I am holding the lost flame
of a German patriarch and a Cree matriarch.
Blood memory betrays the beast I cannot tame.

About Poetry Moves on Transit

Poetry Moves on Transit is an Edmonton Poetry Festival project that puts short poems into public transit vehicles. Three times a year we circulate a new flight of four poems in 800 ETS buses. Poems selected for the project are funded primarily by the Edmonton Arts Council.