Monday, March 09, 2009

Alice Burdick, Flutter

How pleasant it is

The church was built in one day.
But not the bodies.

The cemetery is on full-tilt alert.
It may accept us
as it’s not yet full.

Two crows eat a constant pull
to and from the melting ground.
People are speed-walking
so as not to see, but learn breath, or try.

Lean mean unconscious machine.

From editor Stuart Ross and publisher Denis De Klerck comes east coast poet Alice Burdick’s second trade poetry collection, Flutter (Toronto ON: Mansfield Press, 2008), a follow-up to her debut, Simple Master (Toronto ON: Pedlar Press, 2002) [see my review of such here]. With but two trade publications, don’t think the Toronto ex-pat has been doing nothing else over the past decade or two, publishing chapbooks and other ephemera over the years with kemeny babineau’s laurel reed books, jwcurry’s 1cent, Ross’ Proper Tales Press, Jay MillAr’s BookThug, Nicky Drumbolis’ Letters and Victor Coleman’s The Eternal Network. From her current home base of Mahone Bay, Nova Scotia, Burdick’s poems in this new collection merge the empathy and curiosity of David W. McFadden, the surrealism of Stuart Ross, and the love of language play of Victor Coleman into her own series of poems wrapped in surprise and quiet revelation. Each of her poems, each of her publications, read like graceful, understated and powerful creations; why are the appearances of her books not treated more like events?

The pursuit of tiny creatures

Clever birds sidle near,
look for crumbs or orts
as in crosswords. It would be swell
to have an opinion. Like breasts,
they don’t grow on trees
but live underwater or more.

Open a box and let the light out,
let sports take over,
trampoline over the main circle in town.
Fireflies hate fumes like watercolour,
some medium to paint into oblivion.
Circle the stakes or climb them.
Each time the heli rises,
it’s a million bucks, not too bad
if you’re carrying lungs.

Trees make lush planets
for careful peckers.
I’m not trying to be obvious
but that doesn’t mean I’m not.
People make beeping sounds:
we want to be more like cars
or happy careers
moving through shadow.

Spread limbs like you love dinner.
Harness the root, the froth
of sky. Boob your welcome
with a handshake.
Make the canteen rise
like oil in peanut butter.

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