the poetry that matters

Carol Shillibeer

Carol Shillibeer lives in Vancouver. Her poetry and/or images have appeared in Room, The Malahat Review, ditch, CV2, Counterexample Poetics and others.


[Archive] <txp:if_different item="M11%" /> <!-- memento mori -->


List: (in progress)


dead dreams, 42 journals worth

invisible people inside tired photographs

mouldy desires; infectious scar tissue

unheard songs that skunk sings; recorded on 8-track

abandoned pieces of what-i-once-thought-was-true (unknown number)

divorcing siblings; thou-shalt-nots sticky with rancid horse glue (at least 10)

broken necklaces; cloudy beads; de-quilled porcupine hides; dried out myrrh

beading projects never completed; broken needles; rusty pliers

marriage-gift vases with badly glued shards holding incense dust and the tail of a

            cat long since dead

pictures, pre-death, infant of 18 months, her head lapping happily in the lake

pictures, pre-death, infant of 2 days, already unconscious and falling through the

            arms of his mother

pictures, pre-death, woman of 56 years, writing a book of poetry

text books never read (8,731); trees never identified (uncounted); names of rapists

            never punished (uncounted, some now deceased, some still active)

drawings never attempted (uncountable); songs never played (ibid); instruments

            never attempted (n-4) 

broken bits of pencils; dead poems (innumerable); stories too scary or sad to write


ancestors never acknowledged (thought about incessantly); ancestors preferring

            invisibility (pictured); descendents (unknown number)

pre-ancestral rocks (multi-millionaires re The Bank of Chronology) objectified,

            pictured in black and white 

dreams that left me for dead (unknowable number); 

scores of medieval musicians, once played, now deleted (scores)

yellowed ads for chemistry sets never purchased (27 items, some much older than


lavender, tobacco, mugwort, hierochloë bodies burning (volumetric measurements of smoke


poems written but never read; unexpressed for fear of classification








[Archive] <txp:if_different item="M13%" /> <!-- re-san-it-ize -->


method: walk & walk & walk, past tiredness, for days, in silence, no reading, no writing, [but listen, to the wind, to the land walking], & move one foot, the other, & again


{assumed: categories are dangerous}


method: read tarot, after a couple of years, if i work hard, learn lots, remember the world is, remember the world isn't__made up__remember my mind is__made up, one day a card will fall & my mind will break_____________open________will____________return


{assumed: people who have the power to force categories are dangerous}


method: move out, live in the car, sit in a cave, in a tent, in the deepwoods, in the world-quiet, breathe, breathe, breathe, break beliefs into pieces, observe, collect data...breeeeeeeaaaaaaaaaaaaaathe


{assumed: survival depends upon staying at least one step ahead of the categorizor}


method: go to the jump dance, get up at dark, start dancing, sleep at dawn, get up, sweat, cook, dance at dark, sometime on the 2nd or 3rd night mind will (may?)              re   turn


[reviewer note: this phrase is repeated often throughout the original journals : break beliefs in pieces, observe, collect data, breathe, breathe, breathe]


{assumed: when a psychiatrist asks you to imagine something, they mean imagine something safe}


method: wait for spring, the sensory overload and the learned attachment to limbic will break    break stutter-stop & i & break, &           re     turn


{assumed: categories are necessary in human life; if outside the currently acceptable, the intelligence to stay invisible is a good thing}


method: fictive kin, circle, chant, dance, wear out the i, mind will break open into we__into me


[break belief in pieces, observe...]


{assumed: if one can't stay invisible, couch one's imaginitive excess as poetry, this will increase one's health rating in the game}


method: learn chemistry/calculus/cellular biology/geology/latin/anthropology/ archaeology/astronomy/ [reviewer comment: or any of the "ology" "onomy" forms would probably suffice] __the scientific method applied back on belief functions like a can opener__actually (not dream) think


method: go sit on a dock, listen to the water break against the wood, watch the crows come, when the first one begins to talk to you, breakage is imminent __ this is how you will know


{assumed: that one will constantly break one's own categories, and rebuild, so as not to fall prey to one's own inner psychiatrist}


method: write poetry, after a couple of years if i work hard, learn lots, mind will think __ words will sink & sanity, it will have been achieved


(break                                                                                                                                                                  belief )




[reviewer observation re excavated list: all methodologies and assumptions seem to have proved painful, if also successful.  it is unknown if a mis-wired brain is a necessary precondition, but it is thought not]



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                                                                                                                June 22, 2013