free verse

Posted: November 29, 2016 in sheree fitch
Tags: , , , ,

fitch

 

Once I met a poet
who spoke freely :

Free the lions from their cages 
Free the lines from these pages  

Some people’ll step all over you 
if you give yourself away for free  
but if you charge what you’re really worth 
they couldn’t afford the fee 

Free the lions from their cages 
Free the lines from these pages  

I see the Treadmarks on your face 

The poet set up a poetry toll booth
discovered some people pay for Truth
but this took a toll on THE POET

Free the lions from the cages 
Free the lines from these pages   

I see the Treadmarks on your heart

Roar 

roar
Roar

What’s more 
free 
than the sound 
of 

your true fierce
voice
escaping 
erasing 
retracing 

Roar with me 

The poet kept roaring free verse freely
invited anyone passing through
who was free enough
to listen

Free the lions from the cages 
Free the lines from these pages   

Roar 

roar
Roar

roar with me 

And the ones who were most free
roared with laughter

Free the lions from the cages 
Free the lines from these pages   

 

Sheree Fitch  considers herself more rhymester and storyteller than poet but plays with words every day. She writes for all ages and her award winning kids books are on a second generation of readers. She can be found at www.shereefitch.com

 

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livingston

 

Maureen comes down the hall, picking her way through shoes that lay scattered by the front door. Look at it: Leaves and dirt, and dog hair and his goddamn work thermos. The rubber tip of her left crutch got wet in the bathroom. It squeaks against the laminate as she goes. Not supposed to put any weight on that cast boot of hers. Armpits are killing her. A hopping tripod. She thumps to the entrance of the living room, and looks in at Eddie who’s looking at hockey on TV. The coffee table is littered with takeout boxes, crusty with congealed sauce and shriveled noodles.

She looks from Eddie’s profile to the television. The sound is off. Her mouth twitches. “Are you ever going to—”

His eyes stay on the screen. “What, baby?”

“—do something?

He exhales slowly. “I just got home from work.”

“I know. I’ve been here all day— all day, all crippled! I would appreciate it if you could just — Forget it.” She readies herself to retreat.

Eddie puffs his cheeks and peels his eyes from the television just as she sets her crutches back one at time. “Mo!” he calls just as her left crutch lands in a black sandal that buckles and slides. The same black sandal. The same pitiless slide.

Maureen drops her cast boot for balance then pulls it back, crying out as she slams down to the floor.

Eddie scrambles off the couch. He’s on his knees beside her, a hand on each of her arms.

“Leave me alone,” she says. “Your shoes and thermos….and goddamn shoes.” She fires the black sandal at the wall. It lands on the floor with a mild clack.

Eddie looks at the shoe. “Same ones you had on when you—”

“I know that.”

He takes her arms. “Come on, lemme help you up.”

“Bugger off.”

He lets go.

With her good foot, Maureen kicks the nearest crutch out of her way. Then, sliding on her butt, she pushes herself backward toward the front door. She turns the handle and flings the door open to the autumn darkness.

Eddie exhales. “Where you goin’, Mo?”

Crisp air cuts the stale of the hallway, and the two of them listen to the hiss of dead leaves as they shimmy in the breeze. Maureen snatches the sandal, drags herself onto the threshold and hurls it as far as she can toward the road.

Eddie scoots over and sticks his nose out the door. He nods. “Not bad.”  Reaching behind him, he hands her a knee-high patent leather boot. “Five bucks, if you can hit the mailbox.”

 

Billie Livingston  is the award-winning author of four novels, a collection of short stories and a poetry collection. One Good Hustle, a Globe and Mail Best Book selection, was Longlisted for the 2012 Giller Prize. Her story Sitting on the Edge of Marlene has been adapted to a feature film. The Crooked Heart of Mercy is Livingston’s most recent novel.

(Photo: *Shoes*, by Allison Howard)

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Up Next:

fitch

“Free the lions from their cages 
Free the lines from these pages”

 

 

 

vlassopoulos

You remember it like a watercolour or clouds,
cotton candy or sea foam:
washed out, gentle, sweet.

You ate strawberries and sliced grapes,
cold.
Sometimes you were given a cracker that you didn’t eat,
just held.
And when you were bored with it, you simply let it fall.
Easy.

You remember hushed tones, and climbing.
And laughing, and sometimes crying,
But arms when you needed them.

One day you will be on an airplane
and as the pilot flies you through a mass of clouds,
the plane will shake and you will be surprised
to learn that the feeling of a cloud is not the same
as your memory of how you imagined a cloud.
Not like cotton candy or sea foam.

Maybe the reality is more interesting
but you’re grateful for your memory,
washed out, gentle, sweet.

♦ 

 

Teri Vlassopoulos  is the author of the short story collection, Bats or Swallows (2010), and a novel, Escape Plans (2015), both with Invisible Publishing. Her fiction has appeared in Room Magazine, Joyland, Little Fiction, and various other North American journals. She is the cookbook columnist for Bookslut, and has had non-fiction published at The Toast, The Millions and the Rumpus. She can be found at http://bibliographic.net or @terki. She lives in Toronto.

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found-by-richard-van-camp

I could have been the solution to your problems.

I could have been so much more than promised.

WE could have been something.

Baby.

 

Richard Van Camp  is a proud member of the Dogrib (Tlicho) Nation from Fort Smith, Northwest Territories. He is the author of several books for both children and adults. His most recent novel, Whistle, is about mental health and asking for forgiveness. You can visit Richard on Facebook, Twitter or at his website: www.richardvancamp.com

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(photo by Richard Van Camp)

 

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hunt

Just last week, my twelve-year old son asked what I wanted to be at his age. Honestly, I have no memory of wanting to be anything. Nursing, typing or teaching were the only options. Most houses in our neighbourhood had a stay-at-home mother on duty. And all the books I read back then had buxom women landing their Mister Right in a hundred pages.

Then I met Scarlett O’Hara. Not that I dared compare myself to her. I was tall and gawky. Too much arm and leg. My hair, mousy-blonde and straggly. My skin all patches of dry flakes and T-zones. Long bangs could hide half the blemishes and the others I attacked with Clearasil. But Scarlett told me to stand straight and proud. Could I do that? Dare I try? And she tossed her mane of dark hair and sashayed. I couldn’t put together a sashay to save my life. Meanwhile I continued praying my hair to shoulder length. I let Scarlett-on-the-page demonstrate sass and brashness with men, but opted out on boys myself, fearing I’d somehow manage to screw things up. Besides, happy endings weren’t written for girls like me. Were they?

Nonetheless, I began to wear a little makeup. Starting with that sheer pink Yardley City Slicker my mother bought me for my Grade 7 year-end party. Mom was a lipstick-before-you’re-out-the-door kind of woman. Seemed safe. But classmates played spin the bottle while I sat on the stone wall outside in the backyard wishing I was brave enough to join them cross-legged on the dingy carpet in Yvonne’s rec room.

As my skin slowly cleared, I laid on black mascara and pitch-black eyeliner. Too much? I rouged my cheeks and traded the demure silver studs for huge hoop-earrings. I backcombed my hair and pinned kiss-curls at my cheeks. The hairspray was toxic but it became my friend, transforming my fine hair into a virtual helmet. Perfect? Well, I could pretend.

Just as fake-it-til-you-make-it helped me feel more pulled together, the world of outward appearance began to relax. Or maybe I just learned to pretend better, wearing pantyhose instead of stockings and garters, middies instead of those dangerous mini-skirts, wearing my hair long and flowing instead of a spray-bombed nest. It gave me comfort swinging and swishing across my shoulders as I eased down the school hall clutching books to my chest. Was that a sashay? Before long I became more comfortable in my own body – in my own life. I smiled more once the braces came off.

I thought about law school and architecture. I sketched and wrote. Teaching never left my list, but I added so much more. I could be anything. Eventually my attention turned to boys and, although convinced no one would ever marry me, I was content not to be one of those moonie, dippety-do girls, trying out surnames in the margins of notebooks.

Maybe growing inside-out was better after all?

 

Barbara E. Hunt is the author of The Patternmaker’s Crumpled Plan (Piquant Press, 2011). Her work has been featured in literary journals, anthologies, magazines and newspapers across North America and on CBC Radio One. She has played a mentoring role in poetry for the Diaspora Dialogues in Toronto. Her work with Phanta Media, The Writers’ Community of Durham Region and the Ontario Writers’ Conference are her heart.

♦♦♦

 

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unbroken

Posted: October 17, 2016 in ann douglas
Tags: , , , ,

douglas

It had been a foolish idea to bring the umbrella with us on that stormy autumn day—a silly whim propelled by a truly misguided gust of optimism.

Nothing was going to be able to protect my five-year-old son from this particular storm.

Not me.

Not his mother.

And certainly not some flimsy, dollar-store umbrella.

And so the umbrella ended up being battered—badly—as any sensible person might have predicted. The wind can be as ruthless as an umbrella is unforgiving, after all.

Our hearts—his and mine—didn’t fare much better either.

Marriages aren’t supposed to fail.

Mothers aren’t supposed to leave.

And little boys aren’t supposed to be left to try to make sense of it all.

* * *

I still don’t know what led me to hold on to that umbrella—what made me decide to carry it back home with us rather than simply leaving it to writhe, tattered and broken, on the boulevard beside the bus station.

And I have absolutely no memory of heaving that grotesque and useless object up on to the top shelf of our front hall closet, where it languished, forgotten, until this morning.

In the end, all that it took to dislodge that pathetic umbrella was an innocent tug on a winter scarf—a scarf my son needed in the wake of the first heavy snowfall of the season.

His eyes lit up at the sight of the mangled umbrella, which had morphed into a nondescript hunk of nylon sporting a few twisted and misplaced aluminum spines.

Cool! Can I have it, Dad? Can I have it, please?”

I shrugged as he bounded out the door, scarf forgotten, brandishing the umbrella like some sort of precious talisman.

As I watched, he scrambled up the mountain of snow at the bottom of our driveway, placing the hardy remnants of the umbrella across the top.

“Look, Dad. A snowfort!”

 

Ann Douglas  is the author of numerous books about parenting including, most recently, Parenting Through the Storm. She is also the weekend parenting columnist for CBC Radio. You will find her on Twitter at @anndouglas and www.anndouglas.ca.

 

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morgan

We leave ourselves wherever we land,
jettisoning flotsam,
even if it’s only the accidental dust of skin
we settle in every room.
It’s the hello, the fingerprint,
the subconscious erection,
the careless monument that says:
We were here in this place.
Before you,
we also saw this water
and sat in this sweet mulch of fall grass.
We call back to ourselves,
if only by the shape of a palm pressed into tin
left ugly for the next comer.

 

 

Elan Morgan  is a writer and web designer who works from Elan.Works (http://elan.works), spreads gratitude through the Grace In Small Things (http://www.graceinsmallthings.com) social network, is a co-founder of GenderAvenger (http://www.genderavenger.com), and speaks all over. She has been seen in the Globe & Mail, Best Health and Woman’s Day magazines, TEDxRegina, and on CBC News and Radio. She believes in and works to grow both personal and professional quality, genuine community, and meaningful content online.

 

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