ditch,

the poetry that matters

Nicholas Lea

Nicholas Lea earned his B.A. from the University of Ottawa. His poetry has appeared in such journals as dANDelion, Qwerty, The Puritan and Ottawater. His work was also been featured in the Globe and Mail’s online books blog, In Other Words. He has worked on the editorial boards of Bywords Quarterly Journal and The Fiddlehead. His debut collection of poetry, Everything is Movies (2007, Chaudière Books, Ottawa) was nominated for the Lampman-Scott Award. He most recently published the chapbook, Actual Girl (2011, The Emergency Response Unit, Toronto). He lives in Ottawa.

Creature Life


Two made assumptions
regarding the delicate math,
amended, then annihilated their stance
            on space. It was time
to re-examine all things
that crossed our hearts—
the bleeding was so profuse
it caused pools
that children would swim in,
grabbing great mouthfuls
and spitting purple
fountains at one another.

In other words, they lived
well and had fun:
they covered their clothes
in thistle burrs, pretending
to be an other. We were all well
on our way to becoming
a society of tender herds, lazy
painters of glass. North,
how it grew out
of everything, how it bled
in the dream ….

- on Attawapiskat Lake, Ontario
 

 

 

Water Cycle


The commotion had withered
naturally, it was satisfied, a still pool.
Enormous branches plucked
babies from the sky
and set them down in the dirt.
Then boars came and licked them clean,
fed them their milk and dug up
truffles for them and
the babies grew to be people.

They possessed the computer-scent
of wolves. They respected the sun,
the sanctified thumb. Above all,
they loved peace
and the absurd.

Actually, there was no commotion
to begin with—
(that was an error in diction)—

more precisely, there was a soft rain
evaporating on the broad leaves
prompting further mists
that would evaporate off
of broad leaves
inducing more rains
that would ….

 

 

Mud Song

 
I found my mother
in the mud.

She said the mud was
her library, the mud
caused her mind.
She was digging
in her mud for a tax return
from 1987.
“That was a fabulous/sad year,”
she said,
“so far I’ve only managed
to unearth these meaty clams
and these stupid bars
of old government gold.”
I offered to help
but felt stupid and alone,
scared. With reticence, I asked,
“Deborah,
can I help?” She said,
“sure, but don’t blame me
for everything when you’re 53.”
Then, she took the two of us
            to her dream
where nothing happens,
and that was totally perfect.
The world filled
with dogs. Perfect.

I’m saying I found my mom
in the mud
of another sad/fabulous year.

 

 

Bored Committee


The hole of life revolves
around the trustees, the trees. These lives
daze and newcomers get yoked
to the whims of kid committees.

Every home is honed as a bee hive.
They say, “the respect you’ve earned
is an easy by-product of our wanting you
to erupt.”

In the field of a broken house a new house
smokes a cigarette. All the upholstery
sighs … the couch works steadily on a business plan
based on the persona’s responsibility
to the terrible privacies of atoms.

Bones in the mud wait
to be found, like lottery losers.

  
 

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                                                                                                                April 11, 2012