Saturday, October 31, 2015

thanks and bye (for now)

a blogster named Hal drives a Truck
did ask me to try my own luck
at finding some poemers
who'd ride in October --
now over, I'll get off and walk ..

thanks to Hal and to all the poets who joined this past October's ride ...
-- maxianne 

Friday, October 30, 2015

Steve Luxton: Night of the Quebec Referendum, 1995


There’s a riot scene at the Jean Talon Macdonald’s.
With most customers at home glued to vote returns,
The idle burger-gals yadder,
Rhapsodize about downtown dress and shoe shops,
Argue over who in Hollywood’s “hot”,
As, converged there on the off-night,
Their boyfriends whoop and cavort.

The only old guy here is me
Straining to hear the results on the ceiling corner TV.
Junior gangstas obstruct curious citizenry.
Too bad.

After one more dancer rocks my booth,
I give up repeatedly pointing at the screen,
Cup my ears,
When, nearby, a young waitress pulls
A lad onto her lap.

Waving a big french fry at his mouth,
She croons whether his
Other “momma” is as sweet.

“Let go!” he replies, grabbing it
And shoving it down her considerable cleavage.

–The Young, at fry-heat....
In such conditions, trying to follow Politics
Is the art of the impossible.

The TV suddenly goes blank,
The restaurant lights flicker.
Closing Time.
The young revelers begin leaving.
“Damn it!” I shout. “Who won?”
What?!” A sparkly-nailed girl says
Near the exit.
“The referendum! Who won?”

“Who cares!” she shrugs with a
D’you-live-in-a-museum? look.
Steps out just as
High over Montreal’s north-end,
A single bottle-rocket rises
Trailing forking, gilt glitters.
–A victory sign! But whose?

Lithely sidling past me, her lothario shouts–
“Hey, girl! Looks like
A party’s goin’ on!
You coming?”
Then like a virtuoso he
Break-dances out.

Born in Coventry, England, Steve Luxton has published five collections of poetry, most recently In the Vision of Birds: New and Selected Poems. His work has appeared widely in literary journals such as Canadian Forum, Canadian Literature, Fiddlehead, Sidestreet, and Jacket (Australia), and in Next Teller: A Book of Canadian Storytelling. The former co-owner and editor of DC books, he was one of the original editors of Matrix magazine and The Moosehead Review, and one of the founders of the now defunct Montreal Storytellers, an oral storytelling group which performed in both Canada and the U.S. Before retiring and moving to the Eastern Townships of Quebec, he taught English Literature at John Abbott College and Creative Writing at Concordia University. Luxton is presently working on a collection of poems with a political dimension.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Mike Montreuil and Maxianne Berger: Five Co-Written Tanka

Some years back, over the course of a few months, Mike Montreuil and I co-wrote some tanka. We traded prompts -- two-to-three very brief lines that were not cast in stone, but served, rather, as malleable ideas. For the five below, I’ve provided the prompt alongside the poem for those who might be interested.   mb

fading ink
all about the trenches
the smell of mud
reading between the lines
love kept grandpa warm
to read in between
the lines

sugared almonds
my mother's cookbook
opening up
that sweet crunchiness
yesterday so long ago
recipe book open -
my hands travel
to a time in the past
lace swirls
over deepest blue
our Earth
lying under the sun
one never looks sick
one never looks sick
lying under the sun

my firstborn daughter
was wed
in the morning light
the hills seem far away
the hills seem far away
in the morning light

look out, world
'cause here I come
a woman
walking with a smile
and a springtime urge
spring time urge
the woman walking
with a smile

Montreal poet Maxianne Berger and Ottawa poet Mike Montreuil co-edit the on-line periodical Cirrus : tankas de nos jours.
For more about Cirrus

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Mike Montreuil: Four Haibun


We’re growing old, you and I. Friend. Lover. The years have passed without our noticing. Except, our once young bodies have disappeared. The times we shared are memories we are grateful for. We’re growing old, you and I. . .

            morning news
            my favourite actress
            gone too early



In my dream, I quietly fell while riding the currents of the North wind. I saw those around me laughing at the way I became a leaf, changing colours, from red to brown, falling and becoming one with the damp ground.

            early morning
            a layer of snow
            covers our sins



Is it the weekend yet?

            from speakers
            in the coffee shop
            Bob Marley sings
            “Get up! Stand up
            for your rights”

I thought not. . .



We both notice the emergency lights up ahead. Police cruisers, ambulances and a fire truck reveal the accident site. Flares illuminate the gravel strewn pavement and a rough double wheel path towards dense underbrush and the darkness of the forest. In our minds, we come up with multiple scenarios. Yet our eyes return to the forest.

            your kiss
            brings me to life


Mike Montreuil lives in the coldest capital city in the world, Ottawa, Canada. His English and French haiku, tanka, and haibun have been published online or in print. You may find him observing the wildlife in one of Ottawa’s many coffee shops.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Angela Leuck: A Haiku Sequence and A Tanka String


Inspired by Kazuhiko Ito’s

dear brother
don’t forget this—
flying through the sky
have heavy entrails                   
Ferris Wheel: 101 Modern and Contemporary Tanka
Kozue Uzawa and Amelia Fielden, trans., Cheng & Tsui, 2006

Dear son,
remember this:

birdsong after rain
isn’t music
to worms

the peace dove
shits on your head
just like any other bird

with sultry voices
don’t have to shout


home from college
my older sister
sprawls on the sofa
brazenly reading
Lady Chatterley’s Lover

outside my window
the snow-covered
T.S. Eliot
climbed in his youth

dull gray day
I turn on the lights
at lunchtime--
how once I devoured
Koestler’s Darkness at Noon

to remind himself
how lucky he is
my husband
dips into
the Gulag Archipelago

Award winning haiku and tanka poet Angela Leuck has been published in journals and anthologies worldwide. Her poems were included in Haiku Journey, a video game by Hot Lava Games (2006). The author of Garden Meditations and a cicada in the cosmos (inkling press, 2010), haiku white and haiku noir (carve, 2007) and Flower Heart (Blue Ginkgo Press, 2006), she also has edited numerous anthologies. She is the founder and organizer of the Black Tea Haiku Group in Montreal, and in 2005, with Kozue Uzawa, she co-founded Tanka Canada and its biannual journal Gusts.