Excerpt for Royal City Poets 5, 2015 by , available in its entirety at Smashwords



Silver Bow Publishing,

Published by Silver Bow Publishing at Smashwords

Copyright 2015 Silver Bow Publishing

ISBN 978-1-927616-39-0 (e-book)

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Cover Photos: Janet Kvammen

Cover Design: Janet Kvammen

Layout & Design: Candice James

Editing: Candice James

Proofreading Kathleen Katon Tonnessen

All rights reserved including the right to reproduce or translate

this book or any portions thereof, in any form

Library and Archives Canada Cataloguing in Publication

© 2015 Silver Bow Publishing

ISBN 978-1-927616-39-0 (e-book)

Silver Bow Publishing

Box 5 - 720 Sixth St.,

New Westminster, BC



Everything is blooming most recklessly;

if it were voices instead of colours,

there would be an unbelievable shrieking

into the heart of the night”

~ Rainer Maria Rilke

Every day we should hear at least one little song,

read one good poem, see one exquisite picture

and if possible, speak a few sensible words”

~ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Poets in this anthology

eileen clyde

dominic dicarlo

carla evans

kathy figueroa

jaz gill

alan girling

amy girard

alan hill

ruth hill

candice james

roberta joehle

deborah l. kelly

janet kvammen

bernice lever,

susan mccaslin

andrew parkin

valerie parks

nasreen pejvack

nancy pilling

chuck puchmayr

anna raasveldt

julia schoennagel

elizabeth houlton schofield

cynthia sharp

d.n. simmers

celeste snowber

lisa strong

adele thorne

lilija valis

bryan vogler

colleen vogler

skye weste

sho wiley

glenn wootton

lausanne yamolky

between the thin pines ~ candice james

(poet laureate, city of new westminster, bc)

i see you walking toward me,

between the thin pines,

dimensionalizing into my realm.

you are frail and old.

dressed in a blue-plaid,

worn and faded, cotton robe.

you are smiling a questioning smile

right into the core of my existence.

you seem so small between the thin pines

dotting this enormous emotional landscape

we are standing on in this dream…

if i turn my head you fade from sight.

i close my eyes for a minute; then open them

and see you growing taller between the thin pines;

looming larger and covering my spirit with your desire;

your need to be with me again…

if i turn my head you fade from sight.

i close my eyes for an hour; then open them

and see you standing beside me

close enough to touch, but still, just out of reach.

i don’t know what to do.

you’ve been gone so long, so permanently,

with no possibility of coming back,

but you have come back;

and i don’t know what to do

because i did carry on without you

into a new life and now, here you are

wanting everything to be just like it was;

but that was then;

and this is now;

and i don’t know what to do…

so i turn my head and you fade from sight

into the impermanence

between the thin pines.

alive in the paint ~ candice james

(poet laureate, city of new westminster, bc)

from shadow to light, purple to white

nestled in between death and life

i pick up my brush in the candle-glow

to paint an emotion i know will flow

with passion, lust, love and romance,

fabulous rhythm and eloquent dance.

where the blessed, frail and obscurely quaint

are part of the brilliance, alive in the paint.

then i take a step back, and step out of the picture.

i analyze the paint and survey the mixture.

i put down my brush and cross the floor,

gaze into the mirror that hangs on the door.

i stare at my image in shock and surprise

at the secrets hiding behind my eyes.

i see evidence of old truths tossed away

where guilty pleasures held court and held sway,

dipping my world into ebony ink,

clouding my judgement ‘til i couldn’t think;

couldn’t differentiate right from wrong,

a symphony from a rock’n’roll song.

so i polished my breath until it came to rest

on the satin lapel of an artist’s vest.

stars twinkled, emerged as darkness undressed

i fell to my knees and humbly confessed

the world began spinning a bright shade of white

as i moved from the shadow into the light

delighting the eye in the sky i suppose

because it applauded in quiet repose.

now, if i listen closely i still hear the sound

of that one hand clapping…the other one bound.

then the sound slowly fades; becomes very faint

but something still breathes…

alive in the paint.

lost edge ~ candice james

(poet laureate, city of new westminster, bc)

i’ve lost my edge

in synch with the fading essence of my perfume.

i am half-sleeping beside the television,

one eye pealed, watching all the stations at once.

in the corner of my mind a jukebox starts to play.

the strings on my guitar begin to hum

under the strum and ghostly caress

of a lost wayfarer, invisible in this realm.

there is a hollowed out static

in this rolling ocean of subtle sound

that ebbs and flows to the beat of these waves

undulating, pitching and weaving,

pounding a distant shoreline into oblivion

just beyond my vision.

i wait for the silence between beats,

which i know must inevitably come,

to stretch the deafening silence

into a void of limitless echoes.

i wait and wait. i am half-asleep

wrapped in this limitless silence;


the telephone rings.

i answer it with a frenzied urgency,

grasping for straw dogs on broken leashes

held in check by bare-naked scarecrows;

hoping to hear your voice once again,

if only to hear you say “it’s over”.

but it’s not you;

and i’ve lost my edge

in synch with the fading essence

of my perfume, and

you’re never coming back.

everywhere it wasn’t ~ janet kvammen

(dedicated to my mom)

living life in continuum,

one world, one step,

one word at a time

each breath carries me to another -

motherless day

we move forward,

missing the cherished

marrow deep

always in search of a sign,

may skies speak to me

in a foreign tongue i do not know

spirit faces appear within the clouds

interdimensional apparitions,

these carriers of memory

transform me

faded nuances

of love and sorrow

shed blossoms in the springtime

once i saw my mother’s face


it wasn’t

now she comes and goes

lighting the jagged edges

of life’s second coming.

white aural speckles

leave an impression

camera flash leftovers,

not enough to feed a hungry soul

an everlasting flicker on my mind’s aperture

eyes wide open

she appears

as a dream

as hope

as joy

and sometimes a dragonfly

the judge ~ janet kvammen

buried in ross bay cemetery

across the water in victoria,

he stands here in copper repose

outside the new westminster courthouse.

a sentinel overlooking the mighty fraser.

his audience,

a convergence of crow,

court their options

four barely makes a murder.

no reflections cast in the murky water.

only the rumination

of past intentions on their minds.

judge matthew baillie begbie,

known after his death as "the hanging judge",

never did actually hang a man,

yet sentenced many with his word.

a founding father of bc,

he practiced the politics of poetic justice.

his public image: stern, stoic, unbending.

often taking the side of the underdog,

for twelve years, he was bc's only judge.

ruling with a firm fairness

during the unruly time of bc's gold rush era,

he was described as swashbuckling and debonair.

a striking 6 foot 4" figure

with van dyke beard, gaucho hat and long, black cloak.

a devout man, married to the law,

the survivor of conflicts and critics.

he fought for the rights of the chinese,

and the first nations, who called him “big chief”.

bc's "first citizen" was indeed a paradox

a true blue victorian to the end

"lord be merciful to me a sinner."

fraser dreams wake ~ janet kvammen

the memory of wild poppy

covered banks

forever blooms in winter dreams

ice breaks through the summer stars

shedding a heavy aura of grief

the dark river rises

to meet the fallen sky

overcome with light

a gush of remembrance

enlightens the grey silence

we dreamt the world

back into place

where north was south

east was new west

downtown was up

and the night a brand new day

we dreamt the world

back into space

where everything was the same

even when it wasn't

stopped clocks ticked

the fraser still flowed

beyond hope

where your smile

an extension of spring

spread across the dull november morn

autumn's blush covered the golden mile

the way a romantic rumour

sets the sky singing

an embryonic dawn

aglow in utero

four treasures ~ andrew parkin

first they took my brush:

i wrote with my own hair.

they stole my paper:

i wrote on walls.

they confiscated ink and stone:

i wrote in blood with a bit of bone.

[note: the scholar-poet’s brush, ink stone, ink,

and paper were called the four treasures.]

love at dusk ~ andrew parkin

a distant fog at dusk

wraps up the rhinestone lights

of tai po’s towers.

the long trains trundle

loaded carriages

through day’s last hours.

below, the village yawns;

dim doorways gape

before the prompt return of night.

the sea’s a polished slate.

along its edge the traffic slides

unseen, except for gleaming eyes.

as dogs begin to bark and bark again till light,

the darkness folds within its cloth

all dreams of ivory and horn.

we who know so little,

though once we knew so much,

discover wisdom

in love’s lightest touch.

after all ~ andrew parkin

a small boy, after all, grows up

in the hearts of family.

we might have seen him

in the neighbourhood, when he ran

with friends and smiled,

or tried a slap shot

or suddenly became a soldier

in another game.

after all, he was soon just one

of the two thousand three hundred

canadians in the multi-national force

dedicated to democracy and peace

in treachery’s terrain we call afghanistan.

myles, a name after all

that echoes caesar's word for soldier,

bombardier, fifth field regiment

of the royal canadian artillery,

you gained the rank of hero,

flag pulled taught, folded, salute fired.

all of us who mourn and others yet unborn

owe some shred of decency to those young men.

four died by one exploding bomb;

freedoms survive the politics of death.

when terror's loaded dice roll out,

innocence the loser, survival here at home

has its price in blood – after all, yes after all,

we who care and others yet unborn

owe homage to the families in tears.

in our nation's story of the recent lost,

we now know someone we had not known before.

out of our sight he braved all fears,

horrors unknown by us, and yet could smile:

mansell, myles, fifth field regiment,

b.c. boy, and, after all, eternally, a man.

swimming the fraser ~ alan hill

there was industry here once

the empire grind of logging, milling, shipping.

whey faced children

freshly sieved from “the old country”

pressed their faces

to the heavy glass of titanic wooden windows

waited for overall suited fathers

to deliver their wrought bodies home

the mailman to skim in letters from aunts

uncles that were never seen again.

then history went backwards

nature unnaturally returned.

a municipal placed eden, settled compactly

into a smooth administrative whisper

among the trees

the many headed highways, pythons of modernity

slumbered across the city’s neck.

here now, the remained white poor

yoke a scattering of dodge caravans into circles

new immigrants shelter under ethnicity

around overloaded picnic tables.

i reached out to the sturgeon grey tide

let my feet, crab themselves across

a wide eyed rosary of beach stones

braille themselves between

the obligatory massing of canada geese

the alter high minefields

of sharp stones and shit

littered between my nakedness , the water.

my oil slicked skin sparked in algae

boomed into the undrinkable flow

wished me in over my neck

beyond the flush of chemical toilets

the urban enema of tourist launches

into the deeper sink.

the yacht sail mountain tops floated over

the forest ambulanced down

to offer up branches, the touch of rescue  

the sun to punch it fingers

into the river’s spine.

on the jetty, a murder of clumping teens

congregated around skimpy swimwear.

a gaggle of ‘tween bodied wannabees

nested themselves under the warrior eyes

of tattooed older brothers-

boys and girls circled themselves

around government issue picnic tables

found shelter under a tepee of bc bud

that cuffed me to an odor, brought back

other summers, other voices

what i felt then, now know

the light, the moments of heat on the flesh

sometimes you

the shade at the edge of the forest

sometimes me.

i didn’t swim much-

just enough to thread my body

along the borders

of the pockets of warm and cold water

find the grey between

where there is space for faith.

the end of the west ~ alan hill

living alone with others has been my way.

out in the early morning

hung over, 5am.

silence, sliced by a train

a heavy freight pointed down into

the brain of the states.

the first commuters,

negotiate the last drunks.

a semi-trailer exposes its teeth

crunched in slow retreat

up front street.

exhausted lovers head home

mumble dumb obscenities,

snake into each other’s bones.

two refugees of love dance before

a shuttered wedding shop

loose their bodies in a snaking tango

along columbia.

a loosening buckle of moonlight

balances on the tongue of

a swelling horizon

flames the inflated grids of

colonial streets

that whittle down to knife point

at the river edge

at the dockside, a tug creases into mid channel

white horses

hooves banded in gold

trot out towards the pacific.

sleeping with books ~ cynthia sharp

inhaling the exhilarating

bouquet of new print

by the golden glow

of the reading lamp,

i taste little pieces of prose,

then fall all the way in,

comforted in the texture of pages, 

soft as sun-warmed 

belinda’s dream roses,

inviting the inscription of

free verse rhythms 

in the sleeve.

highlighters and ink stars

bleed wild flowers

across aqua-coloured

egyptian cotton sheets.

water lilies blossom

in the sapphire satin blanket,  

spirals of petals and sepals 

arising like northern lights 

over greenland.

sipping jasmine tea,

in bed with my books,

my soul unto itself,

i speak aloud

my deepest revelations

of passion and awe,

how much i love

the home they are to me.

softly in cedar ~ cynthia sharp

moving through the forest

to the place we used to be,

my fingertips brush your ashes,

blending them with memories 

you loved,

sensations that touch gently,

yellow rose petals from our garden,

peppermint tea,

drops of moonlit rain,

sounds of the ocean and 

spirits of the trees 

in the leaves 

of your journal, 

my love for you. 

your sweetness lingers ~ cynthia sharp

flying with you 

was the gentlest dream ride, 

diamond and alabaster 

stanley park nights,

celtic trees and cold air,

your body keeping me warm,

scent of cedar,

moonlit snowflakes 

flickering across the tips of the boughs,

your eyelashes caressing my face 

in friendship openness,

the spark of your kiss 

stirring my desire,

like peppermint tea

tingling through my insides,

rhythmic waves of the sea

enticing us all the way.

lonely for our conversations,

the frosted pine 

on the mountain

wait with me –

i am longing 

to laugh with you, 

spinning ‘round the forest

in your arms, 

to love you again

in earth memory.

sunset ~ d. n. simmers

waterside restaurant was having a private party, after a flood.

while the restoration crews were working in the late afternoon there, where dogs do tricks,

near the walkway. in celebration, a stockyard of fools, dancing near the long lick of water, rising

along the sands. window panes nearby glinted in a sliver of sun. broken mirrors of light, that

were a prayer for the dying. as they came down the long path from the trees. cutting themselves

from the wooden shoed forest, in the early spring light as flowers that were they were bursting

from the grass. as vagrancies. while the chaos that follows the light is now dying. as ice. and the

polar night eternal came with them. as footmen in the darkness. that was to follow them out to

where they gather. as foam that would pour outside the doors. left open. in the noise of clearing

out and the waters. the miseries, that bring back the image of the flood. earlier in the same day.

new day. first light and the dark organs and the cylinder was raised by the troop that had

stopped at the beach. ever flowing, and a single image opened a canister. and dust and bone

fragments drop as dried flowers. rain and tears came down. floating down. into the water

lapping as a dog would lap with its tongue. lapping and dissolving the dust into color. changing

the eternal water that was the first life. taking the fragments of foam. bringing them back, into

bowls of water. not telling us of the beginning. nor an end. that has just started.

dark birds circling ~ d. n. simmers

after billy collins

so hot out, the cars

old special pieces of metal

in bright colors like flowers.

all tented to keep out the heat.

the circling birds bring knife and

fork to this shimmering kitchen.

where the heat multiplies with the minutes.

bathers and boats

may be out there in the bay but

so far away from the darkness and the heat.

like something from a painting.

while the paint on the

sidewalk bursts

and blisters

like tar bubbles.

somewhere a baker could use this

searing air

to bring bread to these crawl away hell holes


the side

of morning.

sweat ~ d. n. simmers

out there snipping flowers that

have come and gone.

heat and hat and cutting steel fingers.

they fall.

withered by daylight and

the sauce of warm winds.

along the edges seeds find a place to start again.

against the odds their little heads are

green. pop up life.

they come out as the day burns on.

grateful for shade of

their taller sisters

who are bursting with life.

before they wither they will

leave a few seeds by the

side of the garden.

near the grass

brown and turned by the fast and sizzling sun.

pretty little thing ~ valerie parks

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