Submission Information

Nicholas Lea -
Excerpt from Decalogue: ten Ottawa poets

Dummies wonder

To what do we owe this unfuturing,

this failing to pale our time?

Am I alone in this?—

The elliptical . . . cheering on
a dummy
dream, careening into sleep’s
cabbage-role afghan. You’re
not-fallen (this time)—just

An unjust
stomach, bloody with art: abstract
and squiggly, like the veins from run-off
on a muddy bank. And all this blood-

flow, ferrying primal fear is nothing
like dusty sunlight through barn slats.

More like a travelling circus, diverted.
So why fry the ironist, in all her
care-full uncaring? Who’s unfeeling
when they yawn
over-dramatically at the cathedral?

And on the subject of death—
the horror of decomposing—the unthink-
able thought of being eaten by the world’s
chemistry. We’ll call it

a new school in a wood somewhere
where dummies wonder, rummage
for rumoured streams, all parched
and far-fetched.

Dear You

You’d be jealous.

To be here in the unyoked
momentary blindness. Not
missing giggling past the porn
store or arguing the missed
jurisdiction of our coolth—saying:
I’m going to sight my sets a little

blossoms drop bombs on the un-
soaked notion of a sick ocean,
a frolic in the zucchini field
a tough

Forget finding obsolete teeth
in the street: fresh-blooded and flesh-

Scratch rescinding into night, pushing
our children to    the    thrum   of something

No stopping to browse The Terror Shop
Thick in the Business of Innocence.

In this battered matter (of fact) your
envy would brim, spill over—no . . .
vehicle your every whim.


I shall never want or need

Any other literature than this poetry of mud

- John Ashbery

When we try to pry
the stick. When the mud’s grip
outdoes the sun. The field
was flooded by torrent, our clipped
hope distopia-ed in seconds.

The grabby wind
currents the opaque pane of water,
shoves dry tubers in its random

The history of this sprig . . .

a querulous encryption too
occult for even your grandmother’s
cleverest archaeology; a mirroring
no yoga-moment could ever refract, illuminate.

Throwing hay from barn roofs is no
the rain-veined knoll, the gold that shoots
through everything,
is water on your eardrums—

is a contest of wind and indifference.

(from Everything is movies)


   At the time
it didn’t sink in, didn’t cleave to,
when someone said once don’t hold back.
It was grainy, granular,
like a fan-organ vanishing—was like
suspicious instruments made
to imitate waterfowl. And when
I heard it, I shrugged it from my immediate
being, volleyed the genius reason in-
to the fast evaporating chasm.

Call it what you will:
supra-fraternity, missed sisterhood,
fashioned magic.

But you are not my dangling gargoyle—my
lover-in-plastic—sparse as the defunct lacrosse
field: super-flooded by a million glittering globules.

All the while, behind my back,
conflating your masterpiece, pitted against
your shoes, in the senseless klezmer of dream.

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