Wednesday, 6 June 2012


I like coffee.
I like the way it makes me rush
through things
makes my hands shake.
I like when I wake up
and my eyes are crusted with sleep
and coffee rushes in wakes them up.

I like when it becomes softly brown
with cream
and sometimes
a teaspoon of sugar
if I’m feeling mean.

I like that it’s good hot and cold,
not like me,
not like when my moods shift
from hot to cold.

Coffee is good when you need
to say
and it reaches
for your hand with quivers.
It is especially good when
it’s in that large mug
in your large hands
spending time
with the morning paper.

I like coffee most
when it is in a white mug
one of the ones from the 60’s
(the ones in small diners)
and I’m sitting across from you.
I like watching the cream packet
swirl and mix with the watery brown
liquid that is almost always
bad coffee.
But this is my favourite kind of coffee,
the coffee I have with you.

A Response

I used to write poetry
for no audience at all,
the lines sent off into space
like speckles of dust
lost in morning light.

The words would alight
off the page and
I’d hope
into you, but

of course they did not.
The frantic rush through darkness
letters tumbled back to me
no dial tone.

Then one grey day
words came rushing through
my own door,
language that fancied
creaking roofs and

softened faces.
And I thought what a thing
to have poetry,
to have words freely rushing in
guided by the morning light.

Hive: The New Bees 2 theatre collaboration promises a honey of a show

Resounding Scream will be bringing several theatre companies under one roof for a series of site-specific performance shorts

Chapel Arts, an event space at the edge of Strathcona, is about to give honeycomb housing to a dozen different independent theatre companies from the Vancouver area. Resounding Scream Theatre company is hosting Hive: the New Bees 2, a smorgasbord of theatre, dance, and music, all packed into one former funeral home.
The premise for the show is 12 independent theatre companies coming together, each given a nook of the Chapel Arts venue and asked to create a 10-minute performance inspired by the space. The participating companies include Rice and Beans theatre, Escaping Goat Productions, Human Theatre Collective, and Workingclasstheatre, among others.
“The inspiration for the show comes from the Progress Lab Company, a professional theatre group in Vancouver who has done this kind of show three times before,” said Catherine Ballachey, referring to the team behind La Marea, one of the most popular productions showcased at PuSh Festival in 2011, which used the shops of Gastown as stages and shut down roads for the performances.
Ballachey is the co-artistic director of Resounding Scream Theatre, and an SFU alumnus. She has written and directed three original plays, and is currently acting as the senior front of house manager at the SFU Woodward’s cultural unit. After completing her undergrad, she formed Resounding Scream Theatre with fellow SFU theatre major Stephanie Henderson in 2009 to bring a unique and fresh theatre experience to Vancouver.
The name Hive: the New Bees 2 comes from the hive-like space the performers are given; each nook is like a honeycomb in a beehive, housing a few performers from each company. The place will be buzzing with emerging and young artists, hence the “New Bees.”
“There’s a musical, a dance company, a few different installations; my company’s piece is a performance where the audience can come and go throughout the night. It’s just kind of continuously going and very interactive that way. It’s the kind of environment that lends to some experimentation,” Ballachey said.
Each performance will occur simultaneously, and the audience members will be encouraged to move from one piece to another. One production involves two people in a Winnebago-style van, with just enough room for about six audience members.
“I know as a young artist and as an audience member, when I went to the professional version, I was so inspired by seeing all these artists share the same space and share their work and work together,” Ballachey said.
The event is a mosaic of art forms. Some groups have as many as eight performers using a larger area, while some use only one or two people working in a smaller space. Following the theatre performances, there will be an after-show each night, including performances by prog-rock band Criminal Caterpillar, the comedic styling of David MacLean and Jacob Samuel, and the Gal Pal DJs on the final night. The event is a coming-together of the Vancouver arts scene, which has become increasingly necessary following the provincial funding cuts.
“Everyone approaches art really differently. At SFU they instill a certain kind of mentality in you: you focus on working with each other and making those connections. With visual art it’s very competitive, so it can be hard; you worry sometimes that there’s an ulterior motive. But people are very genuine and just want to do their art, whatever it takes,” said Ballachey.
While networking of this nature has become almost a necessity in the arts industry, it also creates a colourful and thriving community that works together to create new things. Kind of like a colony of bees.
“It’s tricky to convince people who haven’t been out to the theatre to come out to the theatre. There is a movement in the arts of being more self-sustainable, of running more like a business,” Ballachey said. The Vancouver independent theatre scene is dependent upon those who are eager to collaborate and to partake in the arts being created. Spring and summer is the time for independent companies to put on performances, while the colder seasons are generally the period in which professional companies put on shows. The separation of seasonal theatre helps to keep competition at bay, and also means that the warm months are filled with unique performances by passionate young bees.

Hive: The New Bees 2 runs from May 24–26 at Chapel Arts.

Originally published in The Peak.

Monday, 21 May 2012

Public Property

You have become public property I can
trespass anytime I want
and fill your holes with crushed tin cans
and toxic waste.
Every word you say is censored with black lines,
hanging off your lips like an arrest warrant.
VHR slots spin pornographic imagery
of you grocery shopping,
choosing the freshest milk,
flexing and lifting bags of flour. Speakerphone

mouths, announcing arrivals,
megabytes of information,
soldiers trampling all over recently fertilized lawns.
Your chest is a billboard
announcing infidelity.
Your pounding, exposed flesh is coded
by the trickling of ink.
Everyone already knows you are available for the taking;
Prime real estate up the curve of your cheekbones.
running for the border all the way
down the curvature of your spine, like a crooked dirt road.

The state has declared your pronunciation of ‘mine’
a national park,
a plot point for one hundred public kisses.

Monday, 23 April 2012

NaPoWriMo day twenty three: ekphrastic poem

Civilization and Its Discontents

Moth eaten and ruinous:
the Arabic rug we once sat cross-legged on,
eating Chinese from tiny origami boxes.
You spilled red wine in the corner once,
that time we fell into peals
 of laughter
over something you’d said,
knees knocking together and apart.

I’d lie on the rug and think of Egypt,
dry sand dry mouth,
the heat of your gaze masking as
the Saharan sun
burning into me. I’d stay and practice my technique
of avoidance.

You’d relay verbatim the love notes from diner napkins,
and I’d count out the inadequacies
on my toes; run my hands up and down the carpet
and proclaim I wanted to take it with me.

When it began to unravel it started in the center,
“things fall apart; the center cannot hold,”
but what most do not know,
is that it begins at the center;
it begins at the beginning,
it starts when I say hello.

Monday, 16 April 2012

NaPoWriMO day fifteen: parody

I Wandered Lonely As A Cloud

I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced; but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company:
I gazed---and gazed---but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:

For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils. 

-William Wordsworth

This is surely what Wordsworth really meant:

I wandered lonely as a star,
Sloppily composed belt of Orion,
When all at once I looked afar:
A patch of flourishing dandelions,
Invading the garden, amongst the beets,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Popping up everywhere

choking out my peonies,
the yellow eyes a piercing glare
not a real flower but a phony:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

I knelt down and plucked up a head,

And I forswear I am not mad:
I heard “ouch!” as it cried with dread
And wept as if it were sad:
I gazed -and gazed -but little thought
what drugs Coleridge to me had brought.

For oft, when on my couch I lie

In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
those weeds ravenous and rude;
And then my cup with opiate I fill
And dandelions perform vaudeville.

Friday, 13 April 2012

NaPoWriMo day twelve: a homophonic poem

So I decided to tackle a poem by Baudelaire to homophonically translate.  This is not as simple as it may sound.  Translating a poem in another language based on sound is difficult when you know the other language, even partially.  I had to rid my mind of all the French I knew and read the language as if I'd never heard it or seen it before.  Anyways, I tackled the first stanza of "l’invitation au voyage."

Mon enfant, ma soeur,
Songe a la douceur
D’aller la-bas vivre ensemble!
Aimer a loisir,
Aimer et mourir
Au pays qui te ressemble!
Les soleils mouilles
De ces ceils brouilles
Pour mon esprit ont les charmes
Si mysterieux
De tes traitres yeux,
Brilliant a travers leurs larmes.

And this is how it turned out:

My own fault, my sweet,
Sponging up delicacies,
Tallying up violent enterprises!
I aim to lose,
I aim to mourn
Or patiently and quietly reassemble.
Lay silent moments
they say, briskly.
But man is free only of shame,
but the traitor is you,
brilliantly traversing the length of my arms.

I took some liberties. I think next time I will try German or something a tad more foreign to me.  The challenge was fun though!