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Pilots Nobody Believes (in homage to Gabriel Garcia Marquez)


Thinning my studio


I discover your unlined face looking into the future,


sketched with charcoal on lightweight paper.

partial face

My memory of you


a weak pulse


sealed away like a forgotten dimension.

the half the half

I drop clear, blue, plastic bags to the sidewalk

i copy

like fallen


sections of sky,

fadeout 1 copy

reported by pilots


nobody believes.


“Wherever they might be they always remember that the past was a lie, that memory has no return, that every spring gone by could never be recovered, and that the wildest and most tenacious love was an ephemeral truth in the end.”

― Gabriel Garcia Marquez, One Hundred Years of Solitude


A (forgotten) charcoal drawing digitally contemplated.

fadeout 2fadeout 2fadeout 2


The poem is an image passing through the mirror.


The Porcupine’s Quill press is publishing Never More Together (my wordless poem of linocuts) in the very near future.

They asked me for a few thoughts concerning how I see the relationship of visual art to poetry for their April (National Poetry Month) blog post. I interviewed myself and gave the answers permission to travel wherever they wanted to go.


How do images contain the rhythmic intonations of an expressive voice?

With shapes and visual balance.


How does an image suggest that moment of invisible vibration where the voice might pause?

Tone, contrast and resonance communicate negative and positive space, rushing to pollinate any void.

Symbols meet texture in a relationship spanning theory, time and eras bringing gravitas to the page.


How is an epic poem like an image?

With line and movement. The stories of an ancient past extend invisible realities into song. Singing like electricity before electricity was discovered.


How is a poem like a city?

By mirroring its inhabitants. As the lights go off in a city one by one a new sound emerges of all that has gone before. Missing words, animals, plants, and civilizations are replaced by images containing new information.


When is surrealist poetry inevitable?

The fantastical crosses dimensions employing the mechanics of depiction. Poetic images illustrate being.


How does surrealist poetry pulse and aim within a sequence of images?

The narrative line calls for a response, summoning persona, questing, transmitting erotic signals. Light hollows any false reflection.

Upon a dense, flat surface of slight depth, pictorial revelations are carved and manipulated. This lack of depth is like the surface of a lake or a page. The alchemy of poetry transfigures a blank page into a sequence of comprehension. The process of transfiguring dross and creating gold is recorded two dimensionally.


How is visual surrealism an aspect of alchemical poetry?

As the linocut is ‘read’ the pulse transfigures. Surrealism speaks of fragrance and desire. Alchemy embodies fragrance. As with surrealist images the alchemical poem juxtaposes both human need and the impossible.

Subconscious language is dream: entwining both image and word within a process as natural as the elements.

Directed by original idea & mind (an element); one carves into linoleum, digging, gliding, excavating, designing images to be inked, printed and surrounded by whiteness.


Does the whiteness surrounding the image suggest perhaps a missing fragment of verse?

Perhaps momentarily if seen in slow motion like a falling leaf.


Which forms of musicality fill the blankness pressing in on the image?    

Ancient heartbeats and chanting suffuse the space ‘holding’ the image.

Linocuts (in the historical manner of woodcuts) evoke instruments built by hand and the tradition of craft. One builds a poem with craft and visceral experience.

One builds a poem of the human race; the ultimate defiance of dread.


Carl Jung is quoted as saying in times of crisis we revert to primal symbols.

Ecology and psyche blur in the composition of the wordless poem.

The alchemical juxtaposes with the social.

Since its earliest beginning as chronicler of the epic a type of shorthand has evolved. This alphabetical alchemy, culturally recognized as poetry, connects to the body politic as social architecture.


Stanzas and passages translate visually in an atmosphere of memory.

The most powerful poems come from a place of hypnotic seeing.

Images float in a psychic space of precognition: poetic pictograms.

Handprints on the cave wall evolve though various historical alphabets into lines on a page, hammered like steles of old into receptive ground, marking the landscape.


Blink your eyes while you turn the page and you have early cinema.

The poem is an image passing through the mirror.


For information on Never More Together please visit http://porcupinesquill.ca/bookinfo3.php?index=291

This ‘interview’ is also posted @ The Porcupine’s Quill blog: http://porcupinesquill.ca/blog/?p=2901


Like burning coals nine bullets glide…

in this lossI do not love thee

The poem you see

is not the poem

I see,


a merchant

(of some privilege)

in Upper Canada.

new black whiteI do not love thee 4bb

His ruffled sleeves


with grease and


I do not love thee 2y9

Your poem

has been singed

by musket powder,

or perhaps

a mishandled lantern,

he mutters,

eating and drinking.

Pausing to smoke from a packed horn pipe.

that red nightlost boy

And more eating

and drinking and

striking the flint


this stainI do not love thee 3

 My poem,

on the other 


(jabbing with the fork)

 buckles and heaves,


beneath the fruits of commerce.

Utilitarian in its task.

How opposite to your


I do not love thee 11I do not love thee 2

Stanzas fallen,


on the floor of an electric carriage.

I do not love thee ww

A volley of

projectiles silencing

the pocket-knife

you gestured with.

A strange brew

of calamity

 brought upon


I do not love thee 2yyI do not love thee 4

My eyes are closed

upon your plight,

I do not love thee

or thy sacrifice.

black and white drama colourizedtwodno


One late summer night last July, 18 year old Sammy Yakim commandeered and emptied a streetcar in Toronto while waving around a small knife and holding his genitals. He was surrounded by a bevy of police officers and shot dead. One of the nine bullets might have missed. Then they tasered him.


I created a Sammy Yakim – Mayor Rob Ford (as merchant of Upper Canada) visual dialogue depicting ‘the chain of office’  as representative of corporate social values having little or no compassion.


Upper Canada (b.1791, the predecessor of modern Ontario) was considered by Reformers (see Upper Canada Rebellion) as a rigged game with ‘haves’ and ‘have nots.’  To contextualize this social dynamic: Sammy Yakim would not have been accorded the privilege afforded those with position or connections to the establishment of that time.


Could his life have been valued any less, anywhere, any time?


The idea for titling this post Like burning coals nine bullets glide came from poetic verse in  ‘The U.E.; A Tale of Upper Canada’ by William Kirby:

Like burning coals two rifle bullets glide!

Page 170



The Colton Map of Upper Canada (1855)


Crown Island by Catherine Graham

crown island 1
I am surrounded by Crown Island,

a weave of rock and sand; the waves

lap against me, sizzling white strings.

crown island aa Read the rest of this entry »

Walt Whitman Bursts Into Song Concerning the Civic Debate over Jets at Toronto Island Airport

jets 42

Come said the Muse,

  Sing me a song no poet yet has chanted,

  Sing me the universal.


 In this broad earth of ours,

  Amid the measureless grossness and the slag,

  Enclosed and safe within its central heart,

  Nestles the seed perfection.

jet jet

  By every life a share or more or less,

  None born but it is born, conceal’d or unconceal’d the seed is waiting.

jets 1

  Lo! keen-eyed towering science,

  As from tall peaks the modern overlooking,

  Successive absolute fiats issuing.

jets 4

  Yet again, lo! the soul, above all science,

  For it has history gather’d like husks around the globe,

  For it the entire star-myriads roll through the sky.

jet montage 1

 In spiral routes by long detours,

  (As a much-tacking ship upon the sea,)

  For it the partial to the permanent flowing,

  For it the real to the ideal tends.

jet montage 2

  For it the mystic evolution,

  Not the right only justified, what we call evil also justified.

new three

 Forth from their masks, no matter what,

  From the huge festering trunk, from craft and guile and tears,

  Health to emerge and joy, joy universal.

jet montage 4

 Out of the bulk, the morbid and the shallow,

  Out of the bad majority, the varied countless frauds of men and states,

  Electric, antiseptic yet, cleaving, suffusing all,

  Only the good is universal.

jet montage 5

 Over the mountain-growths disease and sorrow,

  An uncaught bird is ever hovering, hovering,

  High in the purer, happier air.

jet montage 9

  From imperfection’s murkiest cloud,

  Darts always forth one ray of perfect light,

  One flash of heaven’s glory.

jet a new montage seven

  To fashion’s, custom’s discord,

  To the mad Babel-din, the deafening orgies,

  Soothing each lull a strain is heard, just heard,

  From some far shore the final chorus sounding.

jets 2

  O the blest eyes, the happy hearts,

  That see, that know the guiding thread so fine,

  Along the mighty labyrinth.

jets 11

Walt Whitman, from Book XVII: Birds of Passage, Leaves of Grass, Project Gutenberg

jets 7

Imagining Walt Whitman (1819 – 1892) addressing this issue,

I considered his thoughts pertaining to all matters,

expressed in his poetry.

jet 6

Archival, public domain photographs of Toronto Island found on Wikimedia Commons.

Images include:

Painting by Arthur Cox (1840 – 1917) Toronto from the Island, 1875 (Public Domain), Toronto Public Library


A 1907 postcard of a Toronto Ferry Company ferry crossing the bay from the city of Toronto to the Toronto Islands, (Public Domain) Halton Hill Public Library


Hanlan’s Point Hotel and Regatta, 1907, (Public Domain) photo: William James, City of Toronto Archives


Milkman, Toronto Islands, 1944, Public Domain


Photo of Main Street (below), Centre Island, Toronto, 1944, Souvenir Folder of Toronto Islands, Photogelatine Engraving, Ottawa, Ontario (Public Domain)


 The majority of Toronto residents living on Toronto Island were evacuated in the 1950s to make room for parkland. 


The source for the pterodactyl jet was a generic, uncredited image.




lullaby glullaby izlullaby jlullaby izsoftly so so



Soon a sun

Shall rise


and now

Leonard Cohen is singing

His shadow


and now

White winds

Cascade in waves

Against the windowpane


and now

It’s four

in the morning,

at the end

of December…


and now

Amazed and amused

We fall

Into a mirror,

Draining remaining

Precious drops

Of dark port rum


Clay vessels in the song

of a



Clay vessels in the shadow

of a



softly so solullaby lzlullaby izlullaby zlullaby-glullaby iz

lullaby pk

Lullaby on his most recent album Old Ideas


lullaby 2lullaby 3lullaby 4

Brume by Cristina Castello (translation Pierre L’Abbe)

and alwaysthe calling twoo

 The planet is a little outraged girl

With its days without dolls and its eyes without pupils

Her bundle awaits on a strange train platform

Next to millions of sadnesses without reply

A train that will carry to the tomb her gloveless heart

depth organnand seafaceand and french tunnel

A plucked nib on my chest, this is the world

Stone hole, empty gap

All the chalices converge on my blood

I am a fountain positioned to offer

But the wound passes through the mouth of the poem

Abandonment resists the sky

And rattles the soul of the earth.

Or perhaps, is God dead?

All abandoned


and textured doubleand old gold

Why do they, my eyes, look at them inside?

And why do they inside these beings look at my eyes?

No one but the Absolute answers.

Crystal and steel I am, but everyone sees the sword

And no one could imagine my crystals in shards

and cool depthsand alabasterand another sphere

I will resist in an armour of poetry

I will resist swinging from the murmur of the stars

I will resist perched on the peek of a blade of grass

Attached to this moon of snow sailing through the mists

Who stare at me from the branch of the tree, that they cradle.

I can still open my hands to Those about me

village woman xx

I will not die without seeing that in the bundle Christ sings

I will not die before the compass foretells an epiphany.

and loyoroand overlap

Cristina Castello is an Argentinian poet and journalist now living in France. Her work is committed to peace and beauty against all social injustices. Her poems are always a commitment to the dignity of life, beauty and freedom. They have been translated into several languages. Her books include, Soif, (L’Harmattan 2004); Orage, (Bod 2009),Ombre (Trames 2010) and “Le chant des sirènes” / “El canto de las sirenas” (Chemins de plume, 2012).

and where you are

Pierre L’Abbe is a Toronto translator, publisher, ebook designer and author of both poetry and short story collections.

and full scaleand thumbprint

Lao Tzu (again)

amoeba 5xxxxshadowy two

Music in the soul

amoeba 2x

can be heard

paper amoeba

by the universe.

amoeba 12amoeba 2x



Toast with Honey

street look

You walk home from the dance

Thinking of the girl you met

Wearing an orange dress

street 1

You wonder

If she would love you

If you tied yourself

With rope

To the wing

Of a small plane


A tree

street 2

Cars drive slowly crunching snow

You think of human pyramids


You see the tree on the horizon

& plan a filmic strategy

street 3

She spoke with an accent

Pronouncing the titles

Of paintings

By her favourite artist

Influenced by somebody


Following breakfast


Wooden spoon dripping honey

You foray out into the world:

Emergency investigation

At the library



Summoning the gods

of the Dewey Decimal System.

street 5

Last night the street was quiet with softly falling snow, not too cold, and it took me back to something that may or may not have happened.

I remembered being young & swirling ribbons of sticky, amber honey & trips to the library.

And walking home late at night considering both the terrible and the hopeful & being puzzled by the odd flash of invisible magic charging the air.

The NASA space photo used under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License.

The goldfish found online, no photographer credited.

The street scene I snapped with my phone.

double oval

The Loves of Sochi (2)

oval 16oval 9cityscape 2

Cubist spires

Assembled in the clouds

The new Soviet man

Aligning his spine

oval 8new walking

Tumbling quickly

Into descent

A boneyard deliriousness

oval 12

Bring me a glass of water

n spoon noval 19

I fought during the siege

It’s true!

I was young


Into the rubble

Running for ammunition

My bones ached

We had no bread

oval 25wall drop

Your heels resound

One foot is heavy

Are you with child

oval 18

Your son glancing

Over his shoulder




softly turning

I myself


During the allegretto

circus time

Do you have a glass of water

oval 9final





Quarrying impossibly

Stony stone

I was broken


It was late when I stepped off the train

Children bouncing candy-coloured balloons


Fathers and mothers soft as dough


The new Soviet man

a file

Inside crusted bread

new social science

Cubism condensed

To a slate grey

Now you pass this way again

oval 19bus stop

What is that look you are wearing?

oval 12deeply soodeeply soodeeply soo



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