Friday, January 5, 2024







I suppose it's some kind of creative lack, but I have always found it difficult to write about my own poems. However, when rob kindly invited me to do so I agreed, if only out of gratitude and for the sake of good practice. Surely I have something else to say about these poems, besides the poems themselves? I mean, other poets seem easily able to do this. Well, here I go, to give it a try.

I wrote most of these poems while living on Blakely Island, a private island among the San Juans, in the far northwest of the US. It's a beautiful spot, and I woke to a magnificent view of the water each morning. The heron often occupied the redwood tree just outside that big window, and would announce his flight with a tremendous squawk. So I would call back to him, "Squamadoo! Squamadoo!" and this in my mind became his name.

New Year's Eve & Some Noises

Noodles and butter for supper.
A cough and a bark from

the bank down below.

Loud boom disturbs the heron

who flies over squawking,

I reply "Squamadoo, squamadoo."

No, I don't know what that means,

but that's okay, neither does the heron.


In a similar vein, every word in these poems is true. I write from a place where the dark of the world is fully present along with humor and an extremely stubborn hope. What often develops are pieces that begin as amusing or tongue-in-cheek as a way to deliver what in my experience is a fundamental reality of life force.

That humor doesn't sustain throughout the work, though, and in a natural rhythm within it, poems will arrive that are more serious in tone, such as One Frog, or ploy, or Missing the Trick:

Missing the Trick

let me defend you
said the mirror
in the sea,
then vanished.

all of them singing so kindly,
the gunslingers,
slinging their guns in harmony.

we know you can't live
in a world so sweet without
training so watch how I do this
she sang
and then


That poem came directly from the view of the water, its mysterious face, its conveyance of that combination of clarity and mystery, that opacity of meaning.

I never know when I undertake to write a poem which of these two directions it will take: wry humor or a kind of tender seriousness. I like not knowing that in advance. Sometimes that direction will change mid-stream, during revision.

For the most part the poem is in charge. I experience the poem as a kind of sensation upon which a few words ride; my job is to flesh out those words so that the sensation is still alive on the page and can be felt by others.

“You Can’t Make This Up” says all that, more succinctly:

You Can't Make This Up

I'm not going to make this up.
The words are too heavy for that,

sitting there like rocks on

the windowsill.

They let no light through, only between

They may serve as reminders

but only of themselves and of


                     Opa City
a town in

the sourceland of






Kyla Houbolt has been writing poems all her life, and began publishing in 2019.  Her first chapbook, Dawn's Fool, was published by Ice Floe press and is sold out; her second, Tuned, was published by CCCP Chapbooks + Subpress. Surviving Death, from Broken Spine, is her third. But Then I Thought is her fourth.  Her work has appeared in numerous publications including Sublunary Review, Barren, Janus, Juke Joint, Moist, Neologism, Ghost City Review, and Saginaw. Most of her online work can be found on her Linktree: @luaz_poet | Linktree Her current social media presence is on BlueSky Social (still in beta as of this writing), here:, and on Instagram @kyla_luaz.

ryan fitzpatrick: My New Work

from Report from the Reimer Society, Vol. 1 No. 1


after Nikki Reimer


Sincerity requires sarcasm.

You know, for clout.

And, hey, I’d like to know what’s inside the cardboard horse too!

Oil to the left of us, oil to the right of us.

Listen, Fitzpatrick! I’m trying to be a person rather than that “Oh No” internet comic strip.

Institutional cuts for institutional ruts.

Just a mid-afternoon nap of a neighbourhood.

Social Costco.

Eat all this beef for some gender euphoria.

I muted the word “men” on Twitter about a month ago.

Defamiliarization for the people.

Malls before swine.

Just what this town needs: a Zeller’s Boutique Pop-Up.

I set out to throw my landlord in the ocean and all I got was this stupid inflation spike.

“Galen Weston should be shot in the street” is not a thing I believe *wink*.

Institutional buts? Butts?

Pose poetry.

More like, the open-faced sandwich of contemporary writing.

Welcome to Sprawl City.

When you’re joking, but also.





ryan fitzpatrick is the author of four books of poetry, including the recent Sunny Ways (Invisible, 2023) and Coast Mountain Foot (Talonbooks, 2021). His first non-fiction book Ace Theory, a book-length essay in fragments about asexuality, will be published by Book*Hug Press in 2025.

Thursday, January 4, 2024

Vera Hadzic : Two poems





River Linkages

Cities come together on the banks of rivers—
where you find clusters of life,
ecosystems trembling with mud.
Children leave footprint mirrors,
reflective in the damp of river-dirt and -sand.

On boats and rafts, people feed long, slicing
lines into the water. Lines which are invisible in any light but sun;
everyone waits for deep-river fish, big and pale-scaled, to bite.

They bring baskets of clothes to wash
in trickling water, submerge and rub them in river-foam
until the cotton shrinks and weaves into the shape
of a flower, a white lotus spiralling
in the grasp of wet, gobleted hands.

At night, droves of bugs rise from the water-scum
and coast, each a mottled ornament, over
human settlements. Mosquitoes and moths, converging
on roofs and in doorways.

Only fire chases them away—big beacons
in the shape of ribcages, spiced with disintegrating
wood. Peeling slivers of burning fish meat.




trompe l’œil

what could be any more dead
than the heap of moss black fur, piled

a hairy anthill at the foot of damp pines
five arrows stick like toothpicks in gums
spoiled by disease

                            the bear hunt is over
                            dogs inhale their own paws, tease
                            pine needles with their tongues, hear horns

       the bear, divested of its pooling black pelt

       slipping off naked shoulder, mechanical

       bone, like pond foam off a goose wing


       an actor in the London playhouse enters

       this encompassing dark coat, the human skull

       helmeted by the second dome of the bear’s

       hollowed head, a convex and empty temple

the treasure room ceiling rises and rounds
to a cupola, except it is only flat as paper

here, the cooling of marrow and tangerine
skin peels to dead cell cocoons
or cigars

                           look up to the public balcony
                           the gold boss is a roving bear’s eye, but dead

                           this is a museum now: beneath, clutchable,

      palm-sized treasures, urns rounded

      as ribcages, plates big enough

      for cuts of bear meat—water, the mirror-

      maker, has glossed smooth these secret

      glimpses into the anatomy of dead people’s lives

      softening so lusciously for readers of history

      like a ripe, peelable fig: this pretending to know

      the gears, the machine-like pulley of the roasted

      shoulder, its soaked meat: the feast

      is watched


          above: faces turned in speech,

          cheeks made bulbous as pears or peaches





Vera Hadzic (she/her) is a writer from Ottawa, Ontario, and is currently studying English and history at the University of Ottawa. Her work has appeared in Common House, flo., and elsewhere. Her first chapbook, Fossils You Can Swallow, is from Proper Tales Press. She can be found on Twitter @HadzicVera or through her website,



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