and so it goes

by lesley-anne evans


A resident must ensure that no air conditioning units, laundry, flags, clothing, bedding
or other articles are hung or displayed from windows, balconies or other parts
of the building so that they are visible from outside of the building.

Let’s imagine she hauls the basket up the iron steps around back 
and hangs the socks, toe first. Next the shirts, always upside down, 
measuring out the pegs and their double duty, one shirt holding
hands with the next, grasping the next. This pattern 
of one of these things is just like the other, over and over 
along parallel lines, swung over the garden 
where strawberries promise jam in matching jars 
when she gets to it later. Pillowcase and towel flags 
celebrate morning and the sun bleached fresh they’ll share come dark.

“Works and Services” includes highways, sidewalks, boulevards, boulevard
crossings, transit bays, street lighting, wiring, water distribution systems,
fire hydrant systems, sewage collection and disposal systems, drainage collection
and disposal systems and such other infrastructure or systems as may be provided
within the City from time to time.

Let’s say we’re with him in the drive shed tinkering, oil under his nails 
and it won’t wash out. He’s staked the tomatoes, harvest is heavy 
this year. His brother’s coming to take steers from their mothers 
and move them up the east field, their wet noses meet him at the fence 
each morning he puts down alfalfa. They question his intent,
but no use working himself up when the south gate needs mending
and cherries are due for spray. Each day has work enough of its own. 

The Noise Control Bylaw regulates or prohibits the making of
objectionable noise within the City of Kelowna that may disturb the quiet or
enjoyment of other individuals. Objectionable noises include playing radios
and stereos at high volume, or keeping animals or birds which by their noise
unduly disturbs the surrounding neighbourhood.

Let’s picture Sunday afternoon and they’re all there, blankets 
spread on the grass, boy cousins playing stick ball, girls all whispers 
and giggles. He looks at her sitting across from him, remembers
how she planted whips in the fields alongside the men. How her mouth 
is a rose opening, her legs summer gold and capable of carrying them 
well through winter. He bites into his pie, Macintosh, cinnamon,
pastry flakes on his tongue, the flavour of what the land gives
and what it withholds. She leans over, her finger to his mouth 
returns to hers. A taste of him and the pie, that sweetness 
taken in, as she will welcome his body 
in, their harvest in a small house 
by the side of a gravel road.

“Parcel” means any lot, block, or other area in which land is held or into
which land is subdivided, but does not include a Highway.
“Subdivide" or "Subdivision" means:
(a) the division of land into two or more Parcels whether by plan, apt
descriptive words, 
or otherwise;
(b) the consolidation of Parcels into one Parcel by plan; or
(c) the creation of a Highway or a portion of a Highway by plan.

We’ll end it here, say nothing of yellow excavators, fallow fields, 
a sign crudely taped to their white front door. We’ll downplay entirely 
asbestos removals and shattered foundations. We certainly won’t mention 
the grandson’s salvage operation, his pickup and flat bed trailer 
with the old drive shed loaded high, a land barge 
floating long down the lane way, dust clouds in waves,
the field of ripening alfalfa. 


Portions of text taken from the City of Kelowna Civic Bylaws, “intended
to keep Kelowna clean, healthy and safe. City Council enacts bylaws that are
created, interpreted and administered by a number of City divisions and departments.
Bylaw Services promotes, facilitates and enforces general compliance with bylaws
that pertain to the health, safety and welfare of the community.” 
(http://www.kelowna.ca/CM/page1329.aspx)

vineyard

by lesley-anne evans


To walk a vineyard’s long line,
the thrumming rhyme
of post and wire, post and wire,
post and wire. Gnarled stumps
of last year’s growth pruned back hard
to four thin arms, how
everything waits
from the ground up.
Rivers of stone hand gathered
and laid down row by row by row
to warm the waking roots,
this pause, this expectancy,
this too is a prayer.

statement of place: lesley-anne evans

My history with dirt begins as a small child on my grandfather’s two acres, walking barefoot into his vegetable garden I pick a beefsteak tomato big as my hand, and bite down. Juice oozes down my chin and that taste, sun warmed sweetness mixed with earthy undertones, is a marker for how I long for the land and find what feeds me.

I am Belfast, N. Ireland born, with rebel, mystic, and stubborn mule hard wired. My early career as a Landscape Architect in Toronto, Ontario, melds a childhood fluent in Latin plant names, an artistic and no fear of dirt under the nails sensibility, with environmental stewardship. After several years of consulting life I retire West in search of a simpler way. As my creative expressions morph from landscapes to motherhood to words, themes of environment, humanity, and earthy spirituality emerge.

Kelowna, British Columbia, is my home of 22 years, coming full circle from the 1940’s when my grandfather spliced apple whips in Grimsby, Ontario, then shipped them to the Okanagan Valley. The agriculturally rich and vital Okanagan landscape is my contentment and inspiration. Although wilderness is here, I borrow wild views and stay on tamed edges where I lose myself in thought without danger of being eaten. Spaces that feed my creative spirit are Okanagan Lake beaches in off season, cut alfalfa fields, apple orchards, cemeteries, greenways, and South East Kelowna rural roads. I find my place here and learn to flourish.

My wildly creative Landscape Architect/land developer spouse challenges me to see how great project design can sometimes warrant uprooting orchards and leveling farmsteads. It’s not easy for me to accept this. I often write poetry as record and witness to what was. I imagine a way of life where we sustain ourselves yet save vernacular and wild beauty, all the while knowing I live a contradiction of railing against what puts bread on my table. This too feeds my creative process.

icebergs near twillingate

by edward harkness


From this bluff on the coast of Newfoundland,
hulks appear like a ghostly armada.
Near one, a sight-seeing ship vanishes
as it passes behind a steepled mass—
a sudden lesson in size, scale, distance
and the shape of things to come.
Bergs, I learn, wander a mile a week,
bearing cargoes of blue light.
Notre Dames of ice, their buttresses crack,
spires break, topple, un-architected
by the warming Atlantic.
I picture myself on a pier
when one of the bergs arrives,
awash, smaller than a dinghy, enroute
to nothingness, a glass gargoyle, last one
of its kind, bobbing next to a piling.

ancestry

by edward harkness


I’ve spent entire days lost in the warehouses
of dust, searching the archives, imagining my ancestors
boarding ships for America, leaving the coal mines
of Cornwall, only to end in Wright County, Iowa,
in an untended graveyard wedged between a corn field
and the Union Pacific line, their stones toppled,
their names scrubbed by a hundred fifty winters
to an indecipherable blur.

I leave them in their moldering beds to stroll the garden,
drawn by a rufous hummingbird needling the feeder,
his head a burst of copper in the angled morning light.
I love how he bobs among the squash blossoms,
barging into one yellow mansion, then another,
insatiable, as I am, at times, impatient to say
the unsayable, wondering what difference it makes
to the purple finches bickering in the laurel hedge.

I go out again at dusk. He’s still there, levitating,
hovering among the beans, seeking a droplet
from each white beaker. Then he’s gone,
leaving me with my ancestors and their beards,
bonnets and gold time pieces. Farms failed.
Over in Illinois, the Averys upped stakes,
arriving by train at Puget Sound, dumbstruck by the girth
of doug firs and hemlocks bejeweled by April rain.

William, Josie and the new baby, Birdy, trundled toward
a logging camp near Bremerton, bouncing in a wagon
to the end of a mud-gummed road. Might they not have
passed thickets of wild rose? Might they not have seen
those same flashes of copper, startled by the furious
whir of hundreds of rufous hummers, themselves
migrants from Mexico? I want to think so.
I want to think Josie, exhausted from the journey,

said to her baby, Look, sweetheart, at all the wildflowers,
as their buckboard came within hearing
of the rasp of whipsaws, the scream of a steam whistle
and the crash of a felled cedar in this, their new home.

something has been reading the fireroots

by brenda hillman


aw aw: crows’ eyebrows… 
The termites have hastily married—soon  
they’ll drop veined wings—  till their vows 
                          are outside!  In the woods,
a shaman moment… tries a cure:
pleiades of sun,   a thrush  [Catharus guttatus] 
     brings spots to you, a seedful anarchist—

              The magicks are merging.
 Lambs swell in the bellies of the ewes;
the great dead approach,
       famished for winter berries…
     What is the enigma 
you carry halfway to equinox, 
your soul feeling his own princely skin
               in the back seat?

Origins of expression— in the caves, 
the fury of nations, 
the handmade stars of lovers’ cries,
     the abstract stroke—; stop telling us 
        what to do, Indo-European languages!
everything has been eating the fireroots, 
    its fluffy hatchlings scratch along— 
it says to itself:
we are on loan from a seamless realm
   —in the pledge, dot-dot,
   —in the syllable of the clause 
              (You’re just making that up)
Am not. 	(Are too.)
Am not.

 


“Something Has Been Reading the Fireroots” was first published in Seasonal Works With Letters on Fire, Wesleyan University Press, 2013

practical water

by brenda hillman


What does it mean to live a moral life

It is nearly impossible to think about this

We went down to the creek
The sides were filled 
    with tiny watery activities

The mind was split & mended
Each perception divided into more

& there were in the hearts of the water molecules
    little branches perpendicular to thought

Had lobbied the Congress but it was dead
Had written to the Committee on Understanding
Had written to the middle  
    middle of the middle
    class but it was drinking
Had voted in cafes with shoplifters &
    beekeepers stirring tea made of water
    hitched to the green arc

An ethics occurs at the edge 
of what we know

The creek goes underground about here
     
The spirits offer us a world of origins    
Owl takes its call from the drawer of the sky



Unusually warm global warming day out

A tiny droplet shines 
    on a leaf & there your creek is found
   
It has borrowed something to
    link itself to others

We carry ourselves through the days in code
DNA like Raskolnikov’s staircase neither
    good nor bad in itself

Lower frequencies are the mind
What happened to the creek 
    is what happened
    to the sentence in the twentieth century 
It got social underground

You should make yourself uncomfortable 
If not you who

Thrush comes out from the cottony 
   coyote bush glink-a-glink 
           chunk  drink 
   trrrrrr
   turns a golden eyebrow to the ground

We run past the plant that smells like taco sauce

Recite words for water 
    weeter wader weetar vatn
    watn voda 
[insert all languages here]

Poor Rimbaud didn’t know how to live 
    but knew how to act
Red-legged frog in the pond sounds like him



Uncomfortable & say a spell: 
blossom knit & heel affix
fiddle fern in the neck of the sun

It’s hard to be water
    to fall from faucets with fangs
    to lie under trawlers as horizons 
    but you must

Your species can’t say it
You have to do spells & tag them
     
Uncomfortable & act like you mean it
    
Go to the world
Where is it
Go there

 


“Practical Water” was previously published in Practical Water (Wesleyan University Press, 2009)

misanthropy

by robert wrigley


— for Paul
 

The only words that exist here
are mine. Well, mine and Paul’s,
who carved his name and a date
twelve years ago in this log
by the fire ring. Let me revise:
the only words that are spoken here
are mine, though they are infrequent.

Unless I am mistaken, all I’ve said
aloud today is “Good morning”
to a cedar waxwing, and “Thank you”
to the wind, for blowing the horde
of mosquitoes away for a while.
Also “Shit,” when I dropped my spoon
in the dirt at breakfast this morning.

At the top of the peak I walked up
earlier, I said “Yes,” peculiarly affirming
the sweat and rigor of the walk. Also the view.
On the way down, entering the trees again,
I saw a bear’s excavation at the base
of a slope of scree and started singing,
for some reason, “When I’m Sixty-Four.”

Because I love places without people,
some people conclude I do not love them.
That I prefer the company of trees.
But by tomorrow, the third day of near wordlessness,
I will be a garrulous fool, addressing the lake
and greeting a single small, white cloud
like an old and very dear friend passing through.

That night I’ll speak my praise to the fire
and say a few poems by heart to the dark.
Then, as the flames begin to settle to coals,
I’ll speak to Paul himself, almost as though
he were here with me, and promise him,
though I disapprove of what he has done,
that I’ll get his name, at least, into a poem.

written in a journal, while sitting on a rock, in the frank church river of no return, august, 2008

by robert wrigley


Very early gray-lit morning. I’m shivering
in my boxers, barefoot in sparse high country grass,
pissing, when I see on the lake’s opposite shore,
a solitary wolf, making its way wherever it is
it’s going, half an hour or so before sunrise.
It may be that it senses my shivering before it sees me,
or hears the spatter of my piss, but now there is no doubt
I am something it would rather not see nor especially be seen by.
It picks up its pace and moves back into the trees.
It stops now and then to be sure I haven’t moved,
then at last breaks into an actual run, and disappears
among boulders along an ancient glacier’s terminal moraine.
I do not ordinarily rise so early to relieve myself,
but through the tent flap I could see mist rising
from the cold surface of the lake, still
and dimpled everywhere by feeding trout.
They were feeding, and still are, on mosquitoes,
which are now everywhere on me and likewise feeding,
but I’m still standing here, shivering, knowing
when the sun comes out it will awaken the wind,
and the wind will ruck the surface of the water
to a thousand tiny, soundless waves, and knowing also
that if I stay where I am, motionless, I might yet see
the wolf again, though I do not, and at last
I do a kind of spasmodic dance to shake away
the mosquitoes, and head back to my tent,
when I note, along the way, the massive canine tracks
of a wolf all around the fire ring, all across
the worn campsite ground to within no more
than a foot from the head of my tent
and around the tents of my still-sleeping compatriots too,
which I will point out to them when they awaken,
after I’ve put on my clothes and built the morning fire,
after I’ve lowered the food bags from the tree limb
we hoisted them to last night, and brewed
a pot of coffee, and sat myself on rock,
and slathered bug dope abundantly over
all my exposed flesh, as I wait for the sun to rise,
for the wind to roughen the surface of the lake,
for them to join me here, where I will point out the tracks
and tell them, in great detail, what it is I have seen.

statement of place: robert wrigley

I have lived most of my adult life in Idaho, and I spend as much time as I can out in the woods and the river canyons. The immensity of Idaho’s wild lands is why I continue to live here. My wife (the writer Kim Barnes) and I spend, on average, a month of nights each summer, camped on one or another of Idaho’s rivers, fly fishing. I love fishing because it’s the only thing I’ve found that’s nearly as difficult, and rewarding, as writing. Since I’m a ways into my sixties, I don’t backpack as often as I used to, but I still get myself into the wilderness for at least one trip each summer. I have heard and twice even seen wolves out there, for which I feel blessed.