Welcome to the fifth edition of Fresh Voices, a project from and for the League’s associate members. The League’s associate members are talented poets who are writing and publishing poetry on their way to becoming established professional poets in the Canadian literary community. We are excited to be taking this opportunity to showcase the work of our associate members in this new series!
We’d like to extend a huge thank you to Sue McMaster, who helped curate the first four issues of FreshVoices. With this issue, we welcome Blaine Marchand as our new full member mentor. Thank you, Sue and Blaine!
“Tongue of silver” by Norma Kirby
you were always one for
. they tumbled out of your mouth
. like water over shallow rocks
. bubbling and burbling in a rush to
. to some distant conclusion
they were not sentences but pebbles tossed across sun warmed stones
what can you buy with words? you would say as we ate life together
. good friends giggling through
. outrageous plots
. adjectives bumping into nouns
. your tongue twisting and flying
I think often of your stories
. stored in cupboards of baloney
. how effortlessly you would fling open the doors
. reach in and pull out one that made us chuckle
when I remember you
. I remember the lilt of your voice
. rising to rise again
. buoyed by the heat of a room of laughter
yesterday I wrote down
. some of your words
. sketches of fibs and worn out fables
. but the colour of the font was ebony
. and you always spoke in rainbows
“Future” by Maria Figeuredo
while listening to Justin Bieber ft Khelani “Future”
youtube tiles, mosaic step ladder following Jacob up
the rabbit hole
grounding gourds in checkmating
this now here arpeggio fire fingers burn like usher’s reckoning
how much space in this future? how long the wake of this wait?
Strength and temperance love’s flight and fire
Robe me white in velveteen in cashmere in
between the sheets the slips of trade the screen’s cool caress
Down the rabbit hole nesting with you black leather for my comfort
Blue blanket curving around me
Until the day breaks night’s fast
Until the future comes
Like opening a door
into this page.
“Counting Swans” by Susan Atkinson
On a recent trip to Toronto my child becomes
obsessed with counting swans.
Everywhere we walk along the Harbourfront
she counts them.
I tell her that they find a mate for life
and fall in love.
She wants to know if that is true
then why is there an odd number?
I can only think of one explanation
but it’s sad
and reminds me of a funeral
My friend had been the first to pass
in his family of twelve
and as the mother and father led the processional,
the father wheeling the mother in her chair
the children followed in pairs,
the youngest without his partner.
But today it is spring and I do not want to talk about death.
Count them again, I say.
“The Grammar Error” by Christopher McCarthy
‘We have a new President
and no seems happy about anything.’
No seems happy about everything
happy about falling oil prices
happy about building pipelines
& the burgeoning energy industry
happy about the price of a Big Mac in Venezuela
happy with the God of Jobs.
No seems happy about anything
sewering interest rates
skyrocketing property values
afternoon delighting in extremism,
Christians, Muslims, Israelites.
No seems happy about anything
cornstalk hairdos, fake news,
Bannon, Baldwin, McCarthyism.
No seems happy in the alt-right
No seems hatey in the alt-left
No doesn’t know what’s going on.
Christopher McCarthy is an Ontario-based poet & essayist. McCarthy runs and works at a quiet clerical job. He lives in Toronto.
Curated by Lesley Strutt and Blaine Marchand, these poems represent just a small portion of the great work being produced by our members, and we are excited to have this opportunity to share their poetry with you. If you are interested in contributing to Fresh Voices, please send 3-5 poems to email@example.com. You may submit only once per month, but you may submit every month until your poetry is selected. This opportunity is open only to associate members of the League–if you are interested in joining the League, please visit our membership page!