the poetry that matters

Dave Haskins

Dave Haskins is published in over 30 literary journals, anthologies, and books, and has collected his earlier poems in the book Reclamation (Borealis, 1980). He has won first prizes from the CBC Literary Competition, the Canadian Authors Association (Niagara), and the Ontario Poetry Society. He lives in Grimsby, Ontario, with his wife and his 1970 MGB.


The first two poems, published in the book Reclamation, (Borealis Press, 1980) are Heard Poems, not to be confused with Found Poems in which already published phrases are reworked to form a new collage of words.  In my poems, researched by eavesdropping in Brock University’s Tower Cafeteria and the Art Gallery of Ontario’s Education Gallery, all columns except the first one were overheard.  I suppose one might debate the effect of these institutions on their client populations from such conversations.




Tables in a University Cafeteria




      In the wintertime

      we got so far




      I improvised

      And then the kids come


      went to paint


plant a yellow geranium


the air           trigonometry?         the eavestrough



The geranium fingers

      the essence of it

traffic in a     

      really basic

      yellow stain

glass ant house

      I got so pissed off

      I don’t drink coffee

      doing a whole section

      and saying

      maybe that’s good

      “What’s wrong?”


In the underworld

      went to New York city

blue snakes

      gonna take Indian music

caress a sterile

      well it’s incredible

      they mess it up so bad

      I lost thirty cents

      it’s not worth doing

      in that fucking thing


      maybe that’s good


      I really don’t know

      can’t remember






It’s Cottage Cheese




            hey         what’s this

      hee hee hee hee heeheeheeheeheehee


cloud car

             hard to improve on nature

      better than a real bird

            different thing


      yeah  abstract

      I’m hungry


blue and red

      One was         the other was

                      ----------   =   -------------

                no running         don’t touch


            can you imagine

                 the education gallery!

            bringing kids in here

      look at the queen

                 such a contented expression


           a lecherous leer

      aaaaaaaaaah god

          with everything hanging out

                  children I think love this


                 but   the quest/ion of                         whet/her or not      it may

                 cor/respond to     the experience which             ok    o/k


beyond the blue horizon

      can we take the elevator


                 at             do

             that                  you             that’s my bed

          do                             do                       stay off

             you                 that 

                 do             at 



night flight

      francis suddenly got quiet

           someone is making a record that this gallery is empty






There,  There

(a prayer)                                           



O      Whirrr      wheeel

Ahhh       Mer       Ahhhhhhh

breath / breath ha      breath haaa      breath haaaaa

merr      meeerr merrrrika

poundkitok      pound/kitok      Pound*kitty      POOOUNDkitty

wave    home       wave    hup        Wave who     YAHWEH

NAME numb     NAME!  Number   Nayayay  CP    NAAAME that   tune

da  da  amerrikahaha DamnMerrikakakah    DAMNMERI kaykaykay

aye      aiieee        heee       shshshsh

chimerrika             chimera           shaame



                                ah   mer





The Creator of the Dance Calls Time















                time   limberlost                            time timberline                               time


                                                                in Berlin


                                                un-numBered    rain                        /


                                numbing                                              trains                            /




                                                                Ulti’mate             ly

                                                   si’mult aneous               ly

                                                                                                ly                            /




                tickety-click                                   clickety-tick                               CLICK-o’-the-clock


                                                Ber LIIIIINNNNGGGGGGGGGG





(The Creator of the Dance Calls Time was previously published in the book Voices of Niagara, Moonstone Press, 1987).

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