ditch,

the poetry that matters

Jeremy Stewart

Jeremy Stewart is the author of (flood basement (Caitlin Press 2009), a collection of poems about growing up bad in Prince George, British Columbia. His work has been shortlisted three times for the Robert Kroetsch Award for Innovative Poetry (2008, 2011, and 2012). Stewart was 2007 winner of the Barry McKinnon Chapbook Award. His writing has appeared in filling Station, ditch, The Annandale Dream Gazette, and in the Forestry Diversification Project anthology (UNBC Press 2006).

 

   

The poet Viktor Khorodchinksy

 

1. This is the White Sea, frozen.

 

2. This is a page torn from the 1975 Sears Catalog. It showcases a collection of thus-headed “Nifty Knits.”

 

3. This is a young Howard Hughes straightening his tie.

 

4. This is a tangled stretch of the Salekhard-Igarka Railway, also known as the Road of Death, which is currently slated for rebuilding.

 

5. This is a Ray-O-Gram of a stethoscope and a rubber glove arranged to look like a face.

 

6. This is the only known photograph of the poet Viktor Khorodchinksy, shot at Solovki in 1937, aged 24 years. He is blinking.

 

7. This is the White Sea.

 

 

This thus

1. This is a haeccity.

 

2. This is a piece of white card stock with the word “haeccity” written on it in black sharpie held up by a twenty-something man with a scruffy beard.

 

3. This is the Oxford English Dictionary Online entry for “haeccity” or “haecceity.” It cites Duns Scotus.

 

4. This is thisness or thusness, found in the wild, clinging to a Spruce bough, chewing Doublemint.

 

5. This is the entire contents of a filing cabinet full of dental x-rays being fed through a shredder.

 

6. This is a digital representation of the sound waves produced over two minutes of feeding the entire contents of a filing cabinet full of dental x-rays through a shredder.

 

7. This is the actor who played Shredder on the first Ninja Turtles movie having some work done at the dentist.

 

 

 

To the bark

1. This is a Pileated Woodpecker clinging to the bark of a crabapple tree.

 

2. This is the philosopher Slavoj Zizek blowing his nose on a page torn from Augustine’s Confessions when there is a perfectly good handkerchief with an embroidered portrait of Joseph Stalin on it right in his left breast t-shirt pocket.

 

3. This is the chance encounter of an umbrella and a sewing machine on an operating table.

 

4. This is Kurt Cobain’s black Stratocaster with a bumper sticker on the body that reads “Vandalism: Beautiful as a Rock in a Cop’s Face.”

 

5. This is the philosopher Jacques Rancière doing a Sisyphusian marathon with the number “0” stapled to his chest.

 

6. This is the larvae of a wood-boring beetle wearing a tiny black tuxedo with no sleeves and no trouser legs but with a smart, black bow tie, somewhat sloppily tied.

 

7. This is an Ivory-billed Woodpecker clinging to the bark of a crabapple tree, smiling and winking at the photographer.

 

 

 

Chains II

 

1. Here is a picture of an old nun chain smoking actual chains.

 

2. This is a photo of someone’s uncle vomiting upon reading a sentimental greeting card message in an aisle in the supermarket, fall 1986.

 

3. This is a stuffed, cooked turkey caught on film doing the Macarena.

 

4. This is E.T. snorting chopped up Reese’s Pieces for the wicked high they give his little alien metabolism.

 

5. This is a woman in Wal-Mart wearing purple leopard print tights two sizes too small and a fur coat. Her eyes seem to saying “I’m thinking now of a glazed doughnut.”

 

6. This is Michael Keaton in his full Beetlejuice costume and makeup standing in the line for the bathroom.

 

7. This is Drew Barrymore in full Michael Keaton costume snorting chopped up E.T.

 

 

 

Admirable

1. This is the image that graced the dust jacket of the first edition of Lolita.

 

2. This is a pencil crayon drawing of a Red Admiral butterfly on the first end page of the first copy of the first edition of Lolita.

 

3. This is one of the newspaper clippings we see tacked to the wall near the end of Taxi Driver.

 

4. This is the blue and white silhouette of a man used as the default image for a male’s profile on Facebook.

 

5. This is a photo of your mother just before you were born. It was shot on slide film and cross-processed, so the reds and blues really pop, and the whites are all posterized.

 

6. This is a cat with a litter of kittens feeding. Wait, no: one of the creatures at her teats is a baby skunk.

 

7. This is a 1961 Red Admiral butterfly design on a Czech postage stamp.

 

 

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                                                                                                            July 19, 2013