Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Truck's change of drivers for December

Many thanks go to Andrew Burke for guiding Truck during November. It was a great ride.

December's driver/editor will be Lewis LaCook. Welcome, Lewis. Drive carefully. The keys are behind the sun-visor just above the wheel.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Introducing a young poet from Macau

to the Guia Light

she followed the light

into the eyes of the forest
after her coat was stained
with the indigo mist
she felt secure
under those staring
amber eyes

the door said
close your eyes, give me your hand
then she touched
vines on the wall
flowers blossomed
cherries fell
where her fingers landed
after that a clutch of cloud

a headless bird
flew out
gliding in the flooded tunnel
a ball of light struck her
from underwater

lights out
she found herself leaning back
on a wooden chair in the little pub
her friends light up their last cigarettes
mentioning the distant afternoon of ice discovered

smoke and words
swirling tangling above
weaving cumulonimbus
pouring down some colourful characters

mossing the floor
a squirrel slips and falls
leaves a hazelnut
ten seconds after, pop
shell cracked
an ocean spreading out


Iris, Fan Xing was born in Xi’an in 1985 and moved to Guangzhou with her parents when she was in primary school. She holds a Master's degree in English Studies from the University of Macau. Her bilingual (Chinese-English) book of poems Lost in the Afternoon was published in Macao in 2009. She was awarded first prize in poetry category of Hong Kong City Literary Awards 2011. She has worked on many classical and contemporary poetry translation projects. In July 2010, she worked as a translator in residence at Bundanon Artist Centre in Australia for the translation project of contemporary Australian poetry.

Monday, November 28, 2011

everyone has their orders to follow 

one of the guards is in charge of the lock
another keeps the key
one sharpens the instruments of torture
one measures up for the simple box
and one will spade the earth in

none of these men has a name
and in the morning
each of them shaves
with a similar razor
and until
his face is gone

work of the everyday

every day of my life
I’ve built
block upon block
I added to meaning
I added things up
seemed as if
from nothing once
but that was never the way
all that I needed must have been there
I’ve puzzled it out of the ruins
yes – the materials were there
where I stood
were with me from day 1
it was just a matter of
opening my eyes

now I’ve four walls
and the roof’s almost done
where once I had
a sky 

he decides to start a religion

I have perfected the art of falling up
it’s taken me till now
and of course there’s still some proof
left to the pudding
the kind of thing angels applaud

and so it is with no little suspense
I step up on the window sill
I won’t tell you how many floors up
I hold out a finger
to test the wind
and so I lead the way

damage control

those who
make weapons
buy weapons
sell weapons
those who
tell us
we must have weapons –
these people should have weapons
tested on them


Christopher (Kit) Kelen's (客遠文) most recent volumes of poetry are God preserve me from those who want what’s best for me, published in 2009 by Picaro Press, (N.S.W, Australia) and in conversation with the river, published in 2010 by VAC (Chicago, USA). For the last ten years Kelen has taught Literature and Creative Writing at the University of Macau in south China. 

Dredging the Delta (book of Macao poems and sketches, 102pp)
published in 2007 by Cinnamon Press (UK)
on-line orders through

God preserve me from those who want what’s best for me
published in 2009 by Picaro Press, (N.S.W, Australia)

In Conversation with the River
published in 2010 by VAC (Chicago, IL)
on-line orders through

Saturday, November 26, 2011

My friends never cease to amaze me. Poet Stephen Vincent has written letters to Jack Spicer, put them together into a manuscript entitled After Language: Letters to Jack Spicer and Blaze VOX Books has published them. Here's one now, then where to buy the book after.

Dear Jack,

Now that I grow older and literally sheaves of poetry have passed before my eyes—let alone hundreds of public and private readings by poets filling my ears with their works—I am struck by the question of what survives. That is, what makes one poem endure—one that we come back to again and again over a lifetime—and others disappear like old-fashioned printed data, the shredded pieces that used to fall like snow from windows in the financial district on the afternoon of New Year’s Eve?

What makes a poem bang and resonate for years? And when it no longer resonates, why is it still possible to go hit it again and the thing keeps resonating? Or, to change metaphor, what makes a certain poem like perpetual butter in a churn, the cow’s milk turned to rich gold, those cubits on our platter.

         Row, row, row your boat
         Gently down the stream.
         Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily,
         Life is but a dream.

We learn that one early as children, singing it over and over again, even though the boat is leaky, there is nothing gentle about the stream, and "merrily" happens most often only when we sing. Yet the song survives in perpetua! Some things endure, I suspect, because they are the opposite of what we know to be true. The verity is in the music, the way it rises and mocks the lie. Simple as that.

Yet, what is it about a real poem, one that does not mock, but endures whatever beauty or trash we throw at it? I have walked around Language for more than 40 years. It is as disturbing as ever. Perhaps the sculpture—a David Smith—in the park is the metaphor. The way one keeps returning and walking around it. One day a wheelbarrow, another day the spare, crude metal letters attached at odd angles to an edge of the barrow—particularly the ampersand—another day the thin dark wheel and its luminescent spokes: the sequence and absence of sequence.  Particulars compel an eye to mix the angle of light, with whatever combination of objects, into what stands—at this moment or that moment—to be true.

Anyway, Jack, that is the way I have been reading you. A ring around the poem. It does not fall down. A ring around the poem. The dance the eye makes. The ear. Sometimes you are obnoxious and terrible. Sometimes hopelessly bittersweet. A self-loathing you do go. Other times the
transparency, the poem with an utter overwhelming clarity. The “you” is way gone. Plato’s figures illumined without a shadow on the wall.  No wonder you got more than your fingers burnt. Those messages.

The test of a true poet is to correspond.

The test of a true poem? You got me, Jack.

The test is how not to die for it. Believe me.


The ecstatic is not built on an echo
   The corrugated skin of the heart
Dappled thoroughly in red, a small vowel
    Released, a flooded gorge:
Throw those rocks to the wind
    What you shout is about nothing—
When your mother—eyes closed—
Fingers the triangle across the Ouija board
Numbers like Michael Jordan’s baskets
(swish, swish) fall into place: A 3
And a 2 and a 3.  The Coach
Is a Cherokee Werewolf, Tiger Woods
Is a caterpillar: transformation falls apart
At the line of scrimmage. What we tackle
Between vowels is the incision
The stone carnage: the way I melt
    Trembling—my tail wing in flames:
My head buried and born before you.


Stephen Vincent lives in San Francisco where he is a poet, writer and visual artist. Some of his previous books include: Piece by Piece (Okike + Redberry Publications, 1967); White Lights & Whale Hearts (The Crossing Press, 1971); The Ballad of Artie Bremer (Momo's Press, 1974); Walking (Junction Press, 1993); Sleeping With Sappho (faux ebook, 2004);Triggers (Shearsman ebook, 2005); Walking Theory (Junction Press, 2007); The First 100 Days of Obama (Steven Wolf Fine Arts, 2009). Vincent’s haptic drawings and unique accordion fold books have been featured in gallery exhibits at Braunsein-Quay (2009) and Steven Wolf Fine Arts (2009), San Francisco, and Jack Hanley Gallery (2011), New York City. In 2012, the Logan Gallery, Legion Museum of Art (San Francisco Fine Arts Museums) is planning a one-person exhibit of the drawings and books. 

Thursday, November 24, 2011

a collaborative work-in-progress between Christine McNair + rob mclennan

Dismantled, lodge

But how with gnarled hands holds the many and how? The sun and shadow of Rhode Island? Let alone the earth?
                        Rosmarie Waldrop


A strata, many featured. Afterlife of trees. Streetcorner, dance. So barely noticed. Does, her little move.

Arrangement, in the teeth. Red daisies, diamond truck. My name is, not. Grammar. Red-winged blackbird, curls. No one, possibilities. The room. We speak no, French.

Authorial, activity. Barnswallow, trance. Poignant, and ephiphinal. Determined. Laurentian Hills, so named.

My father, a distant cousin in St. Marguerite, 1950s. Am I the last to know.

A talent for arranging. Words, can't break. Imagine, her left hip.


Sessional, cloud. They come in curlicues. In, waves.

Hybrids, peaches. So, you make. Misty expectations. August. What we try to, hold. Vowels, a lung. An eighth troubled day. An undergrowth of bodies. Landed.

You were significant, rail. Tethers, the bike paths. Written, from opposite ends.

Old age is its voice. Invented, out of sight. Basement, cooling stage. The birdsong, insular. Make tea, play guitar. Autoharp.

Pecked, out a balloon. A red remark.


A corporate appeal, denied. The trap door, opens. Ultimately, appeared. A warbled, contradiction. Cowboys, up a name. In French, les voyageurs. Hernias hold in, scarves.

Not to know our time. Placing bones into the earth. A perfect, bit. They raid the biker hills.

As old as I am, now. Porcelain, chops. Deceptions, wire. String.

The snow, precludes. It is, only August.


« le jour où il l'avait rencontrée dans un champ de fraises »
            Un homme et son péché, Claude-Henri Grignon


August stings, deceives, unravels. Under my feet the lawn corporeals, slides up and slips. It circles round and there are trees and they are around and the windshudders. The trees shudderflex. The rain bends the roof. Barely bearable, instep peels down onto cold grass moves imperceptibly. The deck sighs. My feet are on the grass. We labyrinth round. My buried dogs yip in the earth. They eye you cautiously. The deer eat the flowers. The rain buckets.


The balloon store has closed. All the puppets are lost. The crawl up the chalets at night and hoof the sky. Howl and pull at the shingles. The balloons evolve into jellyfish, luminesce, purr. Feral bicycles roam the streets, slick the medians with coral. They are not to be approached past midnight.


Sainte not saint. Feminine distinct. Adele stretches, yawns, picks at her teeth. Adele is the colour of the sky. Adele is rambunctious and shivery. Adele is running in heels. Adele shakes her braids out. Adele kicks the mountain. Adele contains the forest. Adele bites the wind. Adele pushes her fists into the mud. Adele is the smell of crushed leaves. Adele creaks the thunder. Adele turns the cross into an earring. Adele hums a tune. Adele saves a pretty penny. Adele consumes peaches by the bushel.


My fifteenth grandfather stirs at the mention of Rhode Island. Fluffs his wig and sleeps miles away, where the trains no longer go.


Read rob discuss the collaborative process at Open Book

Christine McNair's work has appeared in cv2, Prairie Fire,, Arc, the Bywords Quarterly Journal, Descant, and assorted other places. Her first collection of poems Conflict, is forthcoming with BookThug in spring 2012. She works as a book doctor in Ottawa, is one of the hosts of CKCU Lit Landscapes, and blogs at

Born in Ottawa, Canada’s glorious capital city, rob mclennan currently lives in Ottawa. The author of more than twenty trade books of poetry, fiction and non-fiction, his most recent titles are the poetry collections A (short) history of l. (BuschekBooks, 2011), grief notes: (BlazeVOX [books], 2011), Glengarry (Talonbooks, 2011), kate street (Moira, 2011) and 52 flowers (or, a perth edge) (Obvious Epiphanies, 2010), and a second novel, missing persons (2009). An editor and publisher, he runs above/ground press, Chaudiere Books (with Jennifer Mulligan), 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

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

3 Poems by Jill Jones

There Are No Extras

It’s all busy
even at ground level
hello cellophane, hello ants
days beget days
that’s the charming
the little songs
jumping out of backpacks
and while koalas
fall from the trees
and offer us their thirst
that’s past cute
like all les urgences
flood, drought, five cents left
in any language
is something even these
two tourists expand, give them
a map or a branch
of Christmas bush
while they wait at the
interchange, time for
tannin and sugar
readjust kit, the long
city road melts
inviting, eh
no extras needed
all here

Jill Jones

Yearn For You

Perhaps it starts with the ravens, it seems
like conversation, perhaps you still call them crows
in an old dream the unknown neighbours neighbour
check spotty rain, flatbed & dog, cold chisel

is it sun making the hens go, barbara ann’s in number one
ignoring us, you can’t go back, we have no
church clothes, you can never go back

small inscription in concrete
grass fires, temperatures, witnesses, no clothes
no rain to bear, buzzing flies, buzzing leaves

peggy sue scrapes paving, the ravens stop
you can’t compare this rain
now beginneth, you don’t return
to a dream of your old clothes

Jill Jones

‘What Are My’

WHAT ARE MY clothes worth what
are my clothes if they fall or are
taken within a box that if taken
away to be burnt or buried sailed away
on rivers which disappear breezes on
borders and roads and grid brown borders
wilder when they fall and flake wilder
with my naked arms naked ears with
sounds burning sounds burying sounds
saved in particles and streams not saved
but scattered as tokens in roads but
not any more than more or if more not
less than other than this hope less
free scattering no return falling free

Sometimes you want to say even here
is elegance even as it falls apart in the
opulent choking time spinning air

Jill Jones


What the critics say:

"poetry of unsettling mystery and beauty. ... passionate and parodic at once, as cool as all get out." The Australian
"... building bridges and points of access and communication, forming a whole, prescient and often deeply moving experience." Poetry International Web
What Jill says:
"I'm interested in relationships between states and locales, shifting borders, the openings in closures, pleasures of exploration, the great themes, like the weather. Walking is important, slow mobility across terrain, the temporal process.

I’m working somewhere between the lyric and something more broader, more discursive, so I move from either investigations of interiority or sensuality merged with the figurative which may also speak to larger structures. The poems have become a broken song – fragmented, flagrant, floating - perhaps an abstract or ruined lyric, where ‘I’ has shifted from the centre.
The way I work has evolved from a continuing interest in texture, pattern and transience, of jumping in the midst of the flow, experience in language underway, asking questions about how the pieces don’t fit as shards alter meanings."

 from her homesite at

Saturday, November 19, 2011


We must render them such
Must not dent the fender when we leave
Must wear our best turquoise dress
Must paint our beauty with great cause
Must pause at the landing
Drape the fabric of the skirt around the sleeve
Must have the door opened as we enter
Must leave an impression
Must not promise anything
Must keep our hands to ourselves
Must make our possessions possess us
Must salt our tears to gain attention
Must feign heroism
Must seek redemption from an audience
Must relieve ourselves in easy chairs
Must hide our spears unless pushed to the edge
Must find a hedge to stand against
Must erase ourselves with prayers of consolation
Must blame our mistakes on bad influences
Must sigh openly
Must take each tragedy in hand
Must squeeze it tight
Must seek consolation
Must drag it out of them


Bobbi Lurie's "23rd Psaltery" was in the October edition of "Truck"~ she has also had work in Hamilton Stone Review. She is the author of three poetry collections: Letter from the Lawn, The Book I Never Read, and Grief Suite, all published by CW Books. 

Bobbi lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA

Friday, November 18, 2011

This charming archaeologist with her spade…


And still they come, yes, dressed
in hard hats these days. Sporting
an iPad rather than a clipboard.

Eager for the site, both tramp
the ravines, check and cross-check
the coordinates, plotting aright.

You know, he says, the story
behind the fall of the king?
He began to unpack the tools.

She shook her head although
she had read the annals well.
There was work now to be done.

We’ll open the first trench here,
he said, forefinger marking
a firm trace across a mound

of grass. The usual grid? she asked,
preparing flagging tape while
he laid out their trenching tools.

What hope, he murmured, do you
think we have to chance upon
some fragments of bucchero here?

Hmm, she said tartly feeling
he teased her like a girl and
noting for the first time thinning

of the cranial hair as he knelt
as his task. That and a lot
more, I hope. But really thought

he must be getting past it, tapping
on her iPad’s keyboard, Dig One,
October 16, trial trench A.

She settled it between her knees
as he took up his spade. Years
past as a keen young ‘post doc’

her heart had raced to attend
his class, to be the one chosen
by him to explore the next site

and kneel beside him to take
the treasures out. Back then
the brush of a sleeve, the touch

of a steadying hand was cherished
and happily recalled alone
in expedition tent at night.

But it seemed that was all. And her
name always second to his
on their papers the Society

brought out. Her mind now came back
to the present dig. Time to
photograph with the turf laid back.

She pinned down the grid of tapes
to make the quads and placed flat
the chequered photographic scale.

While she snapped away, he leaned
on his spade and watched her work.
She felt his eye assess each move

and yet, rest upon forearm,
or flank or the fall of her hair.
She’d seen him with other girls,

noticed his little ways when
they strove to please him,
even those who lacked the skills.

Some of them found favour with
him in other ways, away on
digs for months. She ground her teeth.

Now that the years had taken
the venusty of her youth
and he showed no sign that he

might offer her the ultimate
in colleagual rights, she put
such thoughts firmly from her mind.

He had a wife, homely no doubt,
though down the years she had hoped
that the great love she could offer

would compensate for comfort,
cultivation of habit
and the cold Sunday lunch. No,

she had erred and wasted those
years she could have found someone,
a soul mate, partner in research.

The scrape of his trowel disturbed
her thoughts. Look at this, he cried
as he levered at a stone.

Two stones in fact, too heavy
for hands or small tools. She craned
to see. Get me the crowbar,

he called and peered through a crack
between the slabs as he stooped
on all fours. She brought it quickly

and stood astride the twitching,
now prostrate form, with his arm
forced down into the dark depths.

Here! Here! He called. Lever those
two slabs apart. I think it’s
a burial chamber. Can see

shards, sarcophagus maybe.
His brusque tone rasped on her heart
but she reached forward the steel

just as he had commanded.
More, more! he grunted, thrusting
his arm deeper yet. She swung

the lever to one side with
all her strength and put an arm
to steady herself in the small

of his back. But he was not
there! In an explosion of dust
and rush of stones disappeared.

The crowbar jangled away
on broken rocks to one side
and she was gripped in guilt.

Had she pushed him? There was no
cry from her leader, just thud
of a body deep in darkness.

She waited and listened quiet
for some further sound, movement
from that second grave. Called out

but no answer. They had no torch
to use that day. Satellite
phone the only way to get aid.

But she sat down on a stone,
perhaps in shock, perhaps
contemplating life’s new turn.

Was this release? Or was it
Fate’s compliant master stroke?
Or was she digging blind?

Glen Phillips
© November, 2011.


Prof. Glen Phillips is a retired life-long teacher - from country school to university Professor. He has been a considerable force, both administratively and creatively, in the literary scene of Western Australia. With decades of research and local reading and writing under his belt, he has become a frequent lecturer in China where he shares his love and knowledge of Australian history and literature as, Honorary Visiting Professor at the Univesrity of Shanghai from 2004 to 2010. From the first turn of the shod to his his retirement in recent years, Glen Phillips began and ran the Creative Writing stream at the Edith Cowan University, Mount Lawley, Western Australia.

Glen Phillips has published ten collections of poetry, among many other books he has contributed to and edited. He is represented in over 20 Australian and international poetry anthologies. Since his so-called retirement, he has written a number of short stories in tandem with poems, based mainly on the Australian and Chinese landscapes. He continues his acadmic contribution as Director of The International Centre for Landscape and Lanuguage at Edith Cowan University where he has also set up a small publishing arm.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Patrick McManus, Poet Laureate of Raynes Park


his poem
came to him
in a dream
via a sweet
lovely topless
garlanded muse
in Grecian robes
and inscribed on
an amphora
he gratefully
memorised it
and hastily
upon waking
still entranced
put it to paper
but later sadly
they told him
that it was written
in Linear A Minoan
undeciphered Eteocretan
which no one
has been able
to read for three
thousand years
but to wait
they were
working on it



he loved
her north
her south
her east
her west
her latitudes
her longitudes
but most of all
her loved her
rampant hot moist
fecund tropical 
equatorial zones



at his local
poetry group
open crit session
he was minded
of his old
school playground
the bullies in action
putting the boot in
or perhaps of
the TV
nature program
about hyenas
tearing apart
their prey
some fighting
for the liver
others for the
juicy heart
leaving only
gnawed bones
and a lot
of blood


Patrick McManus: His biography seems to have been turned over in the allotment. If I dig it up, I'll post it. Otherwise be assured Patrick is a prolific poet, a legend in Raynes Park for his lively readings, a kind grandfather who only occasionally tortures the grandkids with his verse, and a very active contributor to poetryetc, an eccentric poetry site online.