Archive for the ‘words’ Category


Of Memories by the Sea

Summers and spangled memory-heat rise up from the pavement;
roads of waste and want, the hurt of war and jellied gasoline
dropped from sky machines,
flying between delusions of freedom
and the security of an exceptional god.

It’s their voices distilled from that din of years;
the rubble-speak repeated now by the same cadre of believers
and their urgent end times, revelations and rapture.

Today, little men, rich in hubris, always ask for money;
feebly market unneeded things and politics;
and the women news readers, with painted faces and
wrinkle-free skin in the latest Prada,
wear shirts that defy you not to imagine them naked.

While the last genocide or child-murder
becomes the lead subject for debate and prurience
between 6 and 10
when full bellies meet certitude in blonde and
blue eyed high-definition.

Is it jaded to see all of this and
not feel outrage?
not withdraw to memory prisons and Santana in shuffle mode?
not look on your woman rummaging in the kitchen
and know thanksgiving?

In the still of this masquerade,
when the jesters and their sexual minions
miss their rhythm and pages of the script are lost,
I pause, content in knowing that time is implacable
and measure by measure, my leeward years will slip
into sunrise collections
of memories by the sea.

-Bob Canuel


Bob Canuel is the winner of the NinaAlvarez.net Poem of the Month Contest, April 2018.

Bob Canuel is retired now but has been writing poetry since he was a teenager, a long time ago indeed. Over that time, he has accumulated a large collection of poems inspired by life, the universe and everything, to borrow a phrase from A Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. 

Married for over thirty years, and formerly residents of Ontario, he and his wife moved to Calgary, Alberta, in 2016, where they are both active in the writing and craft communities.

Bob has had work published by Wax Poetry and Art, The Prairie Journal, Dying with Dignity Canada and will soon see a short poem published at Right Hand Pointing. He also had two works published in the 1990s in small anthologies now out of print.


Many thanks to all those who submitted your beautiful and transcendent work.

Submissions to the Poem of the Month Contest are always open.

And check out our two new recently opened contests:

Cosmographia Prize for Spiritual Fiction

Cosmographia Prize for Spiritual Nonfiction


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They still slice brains at the Moscow Brain Institute
with the same hand-cranked deli meat-slicer,
which carves genius into thin memories
and past sins that could flutter to the floor
from careless fingers. Brains marinate
in formaldehyde inside flowered borscht pots
while history’s great minds rest in glass cases.

31,000 slivers of flesh mounted on glass,
stored behind three reinforced, alarmed
doors. 14 green leather-bound volumes,
embossed with five letters: L-E-N-I-N.
What used to be a state secret is no longer.

These books transcribe the territorial map
of Lenin’s brain: 31,000 snapshots
of each decision, good or bad, each strength,
each weakness exposed slice by slice.

Greatness comes with more of everything.
Most brains there get only two or three
thousand chances to prove themselves.
Rocket scientists, writers, secret police,
Lenin’s widow, and Stalin—the architecture
of their brain cells disassembled.

Poor Mayakovsky, your suicide celebrated
by a white labcoat who chopped through
your apartment walls with an ax, raced
away with your unusually large brain
in a washbasin straight to the slicer.

Lenin’s widow answered questions
about her husband’s personality,
to shine more light on science.
But the Bolsheviks changed her answers
to ensure greatness. His tenor voice
became baritone—no lovesick, romantic
lead role for him. Shaky vision
in one eye vanished.

In the end nothing could be discovered
by examining under a microscope
what makes a genius—or a dictator.

-Meg Freer


Meg Freer is the winner of the NinaAlvarez.net Poem of the Month Contest, February 2018.

Meg Freer grew up in Montana and now lives with her family in Kingston, Ontario, where she teaches piano and enjoys running and photography. She began writing poetry recently, and her photos and poems have won awards both in North America and overseas and have been published in chapbook anthologies and in both print and online journals. In 2017 she won a fellowship and attended the Summer Literary Seminars in Tbilisi, Republic of Georgia.


Many thanks to all those who submitted your beautiful and transcendent work.

Submissions to the Poem of the Month Contest are always open.

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My brother danced at last with explosions and fire—
Not a helicopter, just mushrooms at Burning Man.
I had Minha with me,
accidental lover,
former ballerina with a titanium knee,
a crescent scar on golden skin.
My brother had us,
temporary parents
so he shouted in triumph at the beauty of a bespectacled blonde dancer incoming from the skyscraper of flames.
My twin let loose at last.

Got burning ash in my fucking eye!
he screamed.
So much for bliss.
The carnival was now Hieronymus but I was not going
to allow
my hypochondriac brother
to chain himself to the wheel in the sky.

My gold and silver velvet robe flapped open,
sharp sand pierced my chest.
I was a king.
He was jealous when I bought my costume on Haight
As though I had stolen it from him.
A clump of soot, glowing orange,
somersaulted jerkily across the desert floor
A lizard on bad acid.
Minha placed her hand on the back of mine.
We should find a medic.

Had I really witnessed my twin at age six,
friendless in the playground riot,
friendless save for the pale-green puffy jacket
he clutched in his lap?
Or was it our mother who saw him there,
and told us later
how she’d burst into tears at the sight of one of her little boys
who didn’t know how to play?

Maybe it’s hard to lead another person to joy,

but here in the windy inferno,
I’d be damned if I didn’t try.
He’ll be fine, I said.
The crust of sand crackled under my boots.
My left palm gripped a ribbon that Minha gave me
a hundred minutes before.
Her hair whipped around her big soppy deer’s eyes.
Ethan moaned, on his knees,
convinced by the inferiority of his boring black robe
he was doomed to go blind.

Now inside the medic’s tent,
my brother being tended
I wait with Minha on folding chairs.
Another young lady punches herself in the forehead.
Neither the tattooed doctors scurrying around, stethoscopes flapping,
nor I, hairy knee trembling with fear for my brother’s eye,
know what to do about the weeping stranger.
I was
a dancer,” the young lady cries
to the canvas ceiling
fluorescents revealing her despair
for all to see.
Party time over.
A tiny ballet shoe on the hard dirt beneath her folding chair.
A bone pressing out of her ankle skin.
Her joy is embalmed on her wrists–
a hundred multicolored bangles rise and fall with her tears.

Minha crosses the floor, kneels behind the girl.
Her hand on the stranger’s shoulder.
She whispers into her ear.
The girl softens
the cacophony of competing sound systems retreats
the plastic-and-tin folding chair holds me eighteen inches above the packed dirt.

A single sparkle that had once graced a cheek
calls to me from the floor
to tear my eyes from my queen’s caress of this stranger,
because as she whispers to the girl,

sweet milk pours over the other patients
in their soon-to-be-obsolete-again Victorian costumes
straight towards me.
Look away.
She is an accidental lover,
a girl from the midwest who I’m not supposed to fall in love with tonight.
So I tear my eyes from her,
to the tent door flapping open,
to the chaos of the night and a thousand other parties,
to the road like a long tall princess waiting to be fucked,
to a thousand restless flappings of my mother’s wings.

-Ari Gold


Ari Gold is the co-winner of the NinaAlvarez.net + Cosmographia Books Poem of the Month Contest, January 2018. The other winner is Sharon Whitehall’s poem “Prince Christian Sound, Greenland.” The two created a lovely juxtaposition that put in me the mind of fire and ice, and that is why I broke tradition and chose two winners.

Happy New Year!


Website: AriGoldFilms.com
Instagram: Instagram.com/AriGold
Twitter: Twitter.com/AriGold
Facebook: Facebook.com/AriGoldFilms

Ari Gold is a student-Oscar-winning writer and film director whose films are linked by musical and environmental themes. As a writer, his work has been serialized in the Serbian newspaper Danas, and he is completing both an adult novel and a middle-grade novel this year.

His new feature film, “The Song of Sway Lake,” has been selected as Opening Night Film at four films this month; he also directed the cult comedy “Adventures of Power” (“One of the funniest films in recent years” – NY Magazine), dozens of award-winning shorts and videos that have been presented everywhere from Sundance to Karlovy-Vary, and the short film “Helicopter” about his mother’s death in the helicopter crash that killed rock music promoter Bill Graham.

His most unusual distinctions include winning High Times Magazine’s “Stoner of the Year” award, and being enshrined in the Guinness Book of World Records for commanding the largest air-drum ensemble on earth. His next major project, currently in development, is a game-changing action-adventure fiction TV series about ecology, war, shamanism, and the liberation of the human spirit.


Many thanks to all those who submitted your beautiful and transcendent work.

You can still submit to the Poem of the Month Contest (ongoing), and to the Cosmographia Chapbook Contest (until Jan. 12, 2017).

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Weave in, My Hardy Life

Weave in, weave in, my hardy life,
Weave yet a soldier strong and full for great campaigns to come,
Weave in red blood, weave sinews in like ropes,
the senses, sight weave in,
Weave lasting sure, weave day and night the weft, the warp,
incessant weave, tire not,
(We know not what the use O life, nor know the aim, the end,
nor really aught we know,
But know the work, the need goes on and shall go on, the death-
envelop’d march of peace as well as war goes on,)
For great campaigns of peace the same the wiry threads to weave,
We know not why or what, yet weave, forever weave.

-Walt Whitman

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On the Road Home

It was when I said,
“There is no such thing as the truth,”
That the grapes seemed fatter.
The fox ran out of his hole.

You . . . You said
“There are many truths,
But they are not parts of a truth.”
Then the tree, at night, began to change,

Smoking through green and smoking blue.
We were two figures in a wood.
We said we stood alone.

It was when I said,
“Words are not forms of a single word.
In the sum of the parts, there are only the parts.
The world must be measured by eye”;

It was when you said,
“The idols have seen lots of poverty,
Snakes and gold and lice,
But not the truth”;

It was at that time, that the silence was largest
And longest, the night was roundest,
The fragrance of the autumn warmest,
Closest and strongest.

-Wallace Stevens

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