Thursday May 23

mclennanrob rob mclennan was born and currently lives in Ottawa. The author of more than twenty trade books of poetry, fiction, and non-fiction, he won the John Newlove Poetry Award in 2010 and was longlisted for the CBC Poetry Prize in 2012. His most recent titles are the poetry collections Songs for little sleep, (Obvious Epiphanies, 2012) and grief notes: (BlazeVOX [books], 2012), and a second novel, missing persons (2009). An editor and publisher, he runs above/ground press, Chaudiere Books, The Garneau Review (, seventeen seconds: a journal of poetry and poetics ( and the Ottawa poetry PDF annual ottawater ( He spent the 2007-8 academic year in Edmonton as Writer in Residence at the University of Alberta, and regularly posts reviews, essays, interviews and other notices at


site map: draft

listen. like wings sprouting in the mind the bonepile grows
                        emily carr, 13 ways of happily


hard-bodied; crunching past,
a singing,         sword; the Queensway,
                                    fractals, lifts; an interruption

            carved from minutes; language promised,
vertabrae, sudden-fused; a blind, and brilliant eye,


fabricate; a distance, line,

            dig deep, down; Preston,
            forty, fifty feet; to read between

the words; this ancient copper pipe; evacuate,
melancholic, full
                                    reduction, taps; a tense arrangement,


Sparks Street, 1970s; they dug a new foundation,
                        rediscovered, bodies; dead,
                                                one hundred years,
            misplaced a graveyard

                                                speculates, we see how easy


softly; barren, made of graven teeth,
of gravel,                     light

they signal their exhaustion; the poem, not in drafts,
expands their figures,

            a list of push-ups; bordered, tiny instep graves


a talent for arranging; tabulature,

            Bank Street torn for miles; heading south,
a rumble, in

                                    rebuilds, responds; an angel, motion

sparrow whistles starfish; long dissent,


what makes a city; coppertones,
                                    their slow, officious greens

            we flabbergasted, scaffold; gloveworn, laid
            in planks,                     and service

blush of chlorophyll: all your hidden pearls,


box-like, dole and ignorance; petaled, peal
of misshaped grass                  dowel
                        to a bowline, knot

embraced: orange-amber backhoes stretch, scrapes baritone
to bedrock, bass
                                    , a charcoal undertone


fasten, afternoon; tugs from the waist,
bleeds sidewalk step,              unpaved,
                                                from the median,

            crows, Parliament,
            a star on Parkdale buried; framed,

or way on land between two, absolutes


coolstationed air; a sober
second,                        leaves graze; simpletons, nerve-clusters,
            emblazoned blacktop; yellow borders,

stitched and low-pitched; seasoned,
em-dash, glistens

white line painted white line painted this white line

from distinctions:

Why try
to revive the lyric
                                    Hoa Nguyen, Hecate Lochia


What we, have not yet named. Lift groceries up three flights of stairs: lower, sort, repeat. The space of an hour. We, are only we; are not yet. She, is sensitive to this. Awaken. Insomnia, the structure of. Where we place our shoes. Blank page, a line ahead. I make your mother tea. A list of phantom verbs: unknown. You are not yet, you. Translation. The days are beautiful. Writing, empty. Walks. The one space we can’t enter.


No way of knowing, yet. But she might feel. Dentist predicts: a boy. Gifts an Eeyore toothbrush. Kim dreamed: a girl. Fade, remain, entire weeks. What have we to offer? Wings, detach. Break free. The black thick space of mouth, collapsing. If snakes could feed, could eat the tail. Begin again. Who are you, really. Snow emerged, and covered. Dreams of snow. The mind has space, but history is in the ground. Expect you might just crawl out, fully formed.