Poetry Moves on Transit
Welcome to Poetry Moves on Transit, a program that places poetry on ETS (Edmonton Transit System) vehicles.
Announcing our Spring 2019 Poetry Moves on Transit Winners!
We are elated to announce the four winners of Poetry Moves on Transit: Danae Strelau, patti sinclair, Don Perkins, and Kim Mannix! The six-person jury had the wildly difficult task of choosing top four poems from 148 blind submissions, but in the end, these four poems traveled HomeWord into our hearts, climbing their way to the top! The poems will ride city transit beginning Edmonton Poetry Festival week, April 22nd.
My heart is ancient
These arteries, this face, this heart is ancient;
The same ingredients run through my grandmother’s veins
As she fled her home
With the only belonging light enough to carry: Courage.
She was the first who taught me
You need no house to have a home;
It is scaffolded with lumber of the heart
And built with the mortar of blood and water family.
If that is true,
I’ve been living out of a suitcase for a while.
Danae Strelau is a poet, existential therapist, and coffee enthusiast in Edmonton’s core.
Where To Begin
I attempt to write like long fields
of equally measured lengths
but each piece becomes a bunch
of falling red
and white handkerchiefs
random in their landing
or shall I acquiesce to what happened?
give it time to find its legs, allow it
to usher me home because it was so much
bigger; where it was so much bigger than me
A poet of a certain season, award-winning poet-at-large patti sinclair has found home-time after time-in poetry; both composing and performing: see http://poet-at-large.blogspirit.com.
When a metaphor prowls its coyote way
through thick morning mists across crusted spring snow,
attentive to delicate scrabbling of rodents below
closely attentive to muffled canine padding above,
appreciate the hard symmetry
linking mouser and mouse,
predator and prey,
their lives equally dependent in this dance,
each stepping softly to the music of the other.
Don Perkins is an old dog trying to learn a new trick: retirement. Writing poetry helps.
There’s home in a forest.
Loons’ tremolos free-floating over the lake,
acrid scent of sister forests succumbing to flames.
You’re young here, stepping into the skin of a boy
whose summer meant making fire,
pulling hooks from the mouths of gasping fish.
You’d like to die here, where bedrock pops
like a blister on the forest’s thin-skinned foot.
Where years later your tibia could be snapped, studied.
Your growth marked by the rings on your bones.
Kim Mannix is a poet and dark fiction writer who shares a happy home with two cool kids, one remarkable man, and two wily felines.
Poetry Moves on Transit Spring 2019 Runners Up
They waged a war
They waged a war staged on the toaster dial,
each morning wrenched to the right
(she liked her toast black, smoke-alarm burnt)
and each evening twisted to the left
(he liked his still soft inside, fresh-baked)
or—worse yet—forgotten in place until
the smell of smoke brought him running
to the charred remains of her pyrrhic victory.
He knew she’d left for good when he stopped
burning his toast.
—he’s gone. He leaves behind only dark
drifts of fur, translucent as evening.
From other grey shadows the cat separates,
jumps up on the chair. He stretches, turns in a circle,
bonks his head on the table. He purrs loudly,
sheds soft Russian Blue clouds onto the floor.
His tail quivers with what must be sublime relief,
this scratching of some long-unreachable winter itch.
Then as quickly as he appeared—
Borders of Memory
Tonight we roll a group of seniors in wheelchairs
through Home Depot where they cradle
garden shears in blue-veined hands,
reminding one man of fragrant
sweet peas that grew
along his fence
along borders of memory,
another recalling a robin that spent a winter
in her leafless apple tree instead of flying south,
staying closer to home.
the blood of my people
upon abandoning home
and like my many mothers before me
i must do the same
that is our legacy
we always leave
My childhood home is gone-
a stuccoed 30’s house with green trim.
In its place- a cold, square structure
glass and stone, with no curtains.
Eyes stare through that naked glass, as I gawk
from my open car window in disbelief.
I wonder if the ghosts have stayed?
The trees we once climbed as children
remain, as sentinels.
when you read this you will not think I love you but I do
My mother spends family dinner showing us
photos on her phone. We each bide time filling
our mouths, shirking our feudwords—coats and coverups stay
half-on, half-told, writing our selves within our absences.
Her apartment is our place of perpetual avoidance energy where
I see a familiar potential for me familial nevertheless. I
find epiphany thinking that she is not normal and therefore
does not deserve normality. How much do I owe you
for having half my blood? Home, maybe? Every time as
I leave I see her say, she will come back.
The gardener’s bargain
it may well be
that i seek to care for green, planted things
as a way of serving my own self-interest
look how gentle i was with your little ones
look how they have grown while in my custody
when i am in your soil
let your roots hold me with such kindness
let your earth be my gentle resting place
when i can grow no more
Home in her own body
woolly socks with high-heeled sandals
slacks pressed, and an oversized hoodie
classic, tragic, perfect
a sublime cheekiness
at home in her own body
I let down my defenses, my judgement
and, for a moment, I am her . . .
outside of this body, my body
cashmere sweater, manicured nails
temple, prison, home
घर ( “home” translated from Hindi)
home is the carefully planted kiss
on my mother’s plump cheek-
the place where I smile as I fall asleep
home is ginger chai by the fireplace,
nestled under layered of blankets-
feasting on my dad’s childhood stories
home is where i wander back to
no matter how far I go-
sometimes i take home with me
and sometimes I am home.
Years after your loss
In returning to the place
You had gone missing
I noticed something:
How the snow seemed like a gift
To the barest branch
Learn something from
the way he carries melody
in his pocket, and radio waves
on his shoulders,
his bookended smile,
humility, quiet wisdom in parentheses.
He sheds his barbed wire scars
and keeps them in desk drawers
with a laugh like rewound VHS tapes
and with ashes and shale
that smell like nothing but the wind.
Old Wives Tale
Snow-baskets heavy, the sky
laden with crumbs.
My mother refuses to bake bread
on days like this;
she says it tempts fate.
Sent outside to play,
we taste the yeast in snowflakes.
Do Life with
Eric J. Stormer
do life with
talk with, cry, argue, laugh with
build with, fight, hug, learn with
walk with, care, shout, play with
sing with, love, pray, die with
ones to do life with
The key to ourselves is to
Understand the face
We never like to witness
But which we can never
Deny its existence
To do so is to walk
Into the world
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.