the poetry that matters

Christine McNair

Christine McNair's work has appeared in The Antigonish Review, ottawater, Misunderstandings magazine, The Bywords Quarterly Journal and a few other places including a recent above/ground press broadside. She won second prize (poetry) in the Atlantic Canadian Writing Competition and an honourable mention in the Eden Mills Literary competition. She tries to pay the bills working as a book conservator in Ottawa.

termination shock to heliosheath

this record is constructed of gold-plated
volcanoes, earthquake, thunder, mud pot
copper. there is an ultra-pure sample of
footstep, heart beat, laughter, tame dog.
isotope uranium-238 is electroplated on
ships, tractors, morse code sheep herding
the cover. uranium-238 has a half-life
horse and cart, a chimpanzee, the first tools
of 4.51 billion years. possibly, a civilization
saturn 5 lift-off, f111 flyby, or wild dog
could use the ratio of remaining uranium
life signs, pulsar kiss andor mother/child
elements to determine this record’s age.


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the many waters

aqua aurantiorum bezoar biconiae
bryony capraporum cerasorum
nigrorum cinamonis coelestis
composita cordialis epidemica
hordeata hysterica imperialis
langue de bœuf limonis
lumbricorum lunacum
melissa mellis


the keep

ligaments strain against
foot flex on floor

imprints of heels and digits

eyes focal, in glance
names repeat: again

our luckless drift
from one shelf to the next
the dementia of icebergs

there’s a portion of me
counting steps

at the end of a wall
is an ache is a
is a paint chip

demibold gestures across
clock face,  still

if there’s nothing
but elegy in it

let      let      let      let
me     me     me     me
go      go      go      go



war words




English narrates
list and/or pause


Arabic nestles
between and/or in 


Slavic nictates
question and/or


the restoration of virtue and civic order

I’ve forgiven driveways
for their slant

a sermon
in my shinbones 

under bruises
I fly and fly

purple hematomas

halfhearted sickle
cell studies

let every thread pass
from silo to silo

lateral scars parallel
slough in crop circles

four cardinals
warble I’ve got just enough
prairie to just about manage

under boot kick
my pretty mouth


interlude: time machine part 1

Christine is a knuckle laced with ribbon growls puts petal to metal is giggling is sunlight on the lino and her lungs are not speaking to one another is two fortunes in one cookie oh dear is still a kind of blue but also in a sentimental mood is a kind of blue is a shipping company that operates the Moss–Horten Ferry, the most trafficked ferry route in Norway hits the road Jack is in love with an antiphonal is dance me to the end has archived away 2008 may have just eaten the world’s most perfect avocado destroys herself one cuticle at a time is too young to understand object permanence is brought to you by the letter W is my enemies only had sass and all I had was nerve glows in the dark had fun with her comrade in arms and came home to an acceptance letter whoo is a figment of your imagination is come armageddon, come everyday is like Sunday is shushy shush shush is they’re dreadfully fond of beheading people here must be shutting up like a telescope is stuck underground follows the rabbit is halfhearted craves lilacs thinks dead aviators should not have facebook profiles jumped the river in three good strides bites into a bittersweet heart is listening to Wild America very loudly embraces your paraskavedekatriaphobia is when the night is cloudy, there is still a light, that shines on me,/ there will be an answer,/ let it be is quickly running out of margin dances with a ghost across palais des papes tilework lux flux is very fragile it is fortunate that she has been digitised and that the library has a fascimile is high functioning is a long way to go without a map reads tonight at Cafe Nostalgica 8 pm and you want to be there oh yes you do don’t argue with her she knows that thing you did last summer is a stranger is sleep drunk Joe DiMaggio and Tom Stoppard got into a fight Singapore Airlines flight crew cheering what is glad Degan came to visit O-wa he feeds her addiction to sad songs, whoo disagrees with her dream is writing letters no one will ever read smiles as she tumbles is fun is enjoying a bottle of ‘design time’ makes the dough and you get the glory sings a duet of Doctor Blind, into the phone is cloistered is somewhere between here and there is keep on calling me names, keep on, keep on is uncertain reads this afternoon at the bywords launch there will be reading and a launch she’ll probably wear a frock misses her uncle hides is listening to Miserere, Tallis Scholars enjoyed listening to the other readers is stupidly nervous about reading tonight reads tonight; one of many launching the latest issue of www.ottawater.com is the bookbinders’ newsletter also maybe the new poems what should Andrea and Christine name the penguin they’ll be ice sculpting doesn’t want, isn’t sure, can’t say, dunno, won’t should she go to tree or should she go to poetic intentions or should she hide under her bedspread is crushing your head is kinda stupid sometimes bah who is right, who can tell, and who gives a damn right now I had dreams that frightened me awake I happened to escape but my escape would never come … I love it never stops is an overdose of Joy Division is a dream hangover, full of cloudy impossibilities heard the excellent messagio, should sleep, is reading Paul Celan instead of sleeping looks forward to raising cain in two cities today is lucky to know you beauties, damn skippy takes to the sky had fun last night with those nice poet fellas stakes her heart on it buck-o is 71 pages has plans for her firecracker weekend goes to watch the inauguration in the cci cafeteria, feels like school is a handful of clanging keys, shook so hard dreamt roses on the mistral is limitless undying love which shines around me like a million suns/it calls me on and on across the universe has spoken twice (briefly) in the past five days thinks maybe she should go out today thinks good thoughts for Paul quietly listens is better on paper writes in a fever, with a fever, of a fever is a text message on the news, I landed in the Hudson smiles in flames remains virulent, listening to an unhealthy amount of mazzy star, fiona apple and the jesus&mary chain owns a plethora of puffers, just found four different kinds has the consumption, where are her violets, her french lace handkerchiefs, her artful setee feels fourteen, the answer to all is clearly Concrete Blonde burns across the horizon haunts the visible world with spectral grace is pretty blissed out is port, chocolate fondue, a massage and nordic baths this afternoon looks forward to tomorrow sets a match to it now knows that Baltic amber is irridescent under uv light is tightroping learnt that though similiar in appearance, nail polish remover pads are not the same as eye makeup remover pads and should not be used on your eyes has written 25 pages in the past three days for her long(ish) poem is ha-ha this a-way, ha-ha that a-way, ha-ha this a-way man oh man will soon hurl her manuscript into the world and is writing a tricky long(ish) poem dreams without concession dreamt manhattan, silver veiled acrobats, frozen cherries, a flowering moon misses Amy, everything’s less sparkly swears, fumbles, drops, loses, finds, repairs, sleeps kicks at the darkness till it bleeds daylight is going to be all kinds of reckless tonight, oh yes “you come right over here and explain why they’re having another year!” Dorothy Parker I too am not a bit tamed – I too am untranslatable considers the shape, scope and temperament of a perilous window is happy to have seen Sue + Tom and waves bye to a disappearing Hyundai can be seen in certain conditions and under the right lighting is pretend likes the witchy wind even though it slammed open her front door sketches out days unknown tumbles up and down stairs minds the gap is cowboy junkies & sparkling wine & early to bed sings have yourself a merry little Christmas to friends flung across timezones, her long lost novas ties ribbons, folds paper, nips her fingers, hums Justin Rutledge (Too Sober to Sleep) silver bows & fools gold paper unpretties herself, craving a blank sleep keeps looking at the window edits herself thoroughly anticipates Hanukkah fun with Kim in Burlington is Toronto-ed blesses the highway with her beatdown Sentra Again gets the hell out in eighteen hours threads the line between holly and humbug fills with Christmas rage is tired of being tired/nauseous/tired But at least she makes excellent mint chocolate cookies holds herself together cyanoacrylateishly is one of the sexiest artists in Ottawa Amanda says so My candle burns at both ends;/It will not last the night;/But ah, my foes, and oh, my friends--/It gives a lovely light



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