Feature Poet – Elias Assefa


Don’t you hate wood-ticks?
Well I hate poli-Ticks
what a perfect little word
to describe the people diseasing the worldBRITAIN-G8-SUMMIT-CANADA-PRESSER
with their flapping little jaws,
they crawl beneath your skin
and suck the life out of society
its a sin!

They do it with their lies,
they wear their flashy ties
look you right in the eye
and cry!

If you don’t vote for them
the world will come to an end
for you and your friends!
and your families!

Won’t someone think of the children please!
Who have to live with the consequences of these policies!
But they have a mandate!
And don’t you just love their candidate?
He’s so charming and smooth, so proper and trim
handsome and slim,
he’s sure to win!

He even has that little cleft on his chin!
And the best thing
is that you can’t even see the strings
that make the puppet sing and dance
at the first chance
for those corporations who
by the way,
pay for the political advertisements that your seeing today.

And if those corporations happen to get their back scratched
and see ten times the scratch they fronted to pay for this hack come back?!

Well, that’s just the way of the world
and if your head is beginning to swirl son
the fun has just begun
cause if you’re looking for someone to blame
you can’t hate the player,
you gotta hate the game
and the admission to play is having no shame
be willing to turn on a dime for political gain
use your talking points
to win polling points
and pretend to be holier than a saint the Pope’s about to anoint

And some of these pricks
just don’t know when to quit

Not even when they’re caught red-handed
texting pictures of their dick!
Or when they’re hands are caught this far
from a freshly robbed cookie jar.

But what I really hate about these parliment hills
is that you always have to choose from amog the least of evils
so if you will allow me just one reprieve
a message to the Prime Minister

“FUCK You Steve!”

But because we’re Canadian,
en francias if i dare
“Monsieur Prime ministare
Menge moi merde”

Why did you write this poem?
I studied poli sci and wrote this piece during the 2012 elections, specifically the new york mayoral race when Anthony Weiner got caught sending a dick pic, but is also about how I feel about the topic in general.

Feature Poet – Megan Dart

New Lines

I am not the women who came before me: they who think housekeeping is sweeping
empty bottles and unpleasant thoughts under rugs, forcing family to tiptoe on broken
glass and hushed secrets, they who ash cigarettes out kitchen windows, scurrying
smoke from lips while pshawing this dirty little habit.

Women who measure worth against waist size, trading soft earth mother bellies and
fully digested ideas for cinched belts and svelte cocktail party repartee: another martini?

They who surgically smooth out deeply dug trenches along lips pursed and brows
furrowed over decades more to ensure they stay on their husband’s bankroll, they who
say: you’ll meet your match at University, instead of pushing their daughters to pursue
degrees in engineering or mathematics or philosophy; they who say: behind every good
man is a woman, waiting.

I am not of the women who dress to go to bed: full face and freshly slicked lipstick,

Untitled by The White Deer

Untitled by The White Deer

practically perfect in every way; they who fear standing out, standing up, speaking loud,
being proud; they who call girls like me: Bitch. Bossy. Crazy.

There are days when I wonder: was I born into the wrong family?

I am of the tribe of women birthed from the bottle-necked loins of Dionysus, shot out
sparkling like a cork on New Year’s eve, raucous laugh bubbling over obnoxiously, the
loudest mother in the room yelling: follow me!

…or don’t – I respect your autonomy.

I am of the undomesticated: tumbleweed hair and tree trunk legs and the canyon crack
where headwaters run rivulets in freshly carved banks breaking bold paths toward
ocean freedom, flowing without pretense, arriving only as myself.

I am of the other: light feet, wild eyes that see too far, dangerous thoughts that wander
off the edge of the world, words that catch fire just to see what will burn.

Women who travel with a suitcase of outrageous blessings, who strap their pack to their
own back, piling wayward strands in gorgeous chaos upon a head filled with impossible
thoughts, they who trade delicacy for vast brilliance, who chart a path by stars and
intuition only.

Women who shed clothes not to show skin, but to feel the intricacy of each snowflake
as it lands, who refuse to become an endangered species, who, when told to colour
inside the lines, draw new lines.

Why did you write this poem?
For the firecracker women in my life who challenge the norm, stand on their own two capable feet, chase their wildest dreams no matter how impossibly big or seemingly unattainable, are unapologetically raw and real, laugh loudly – often and sometimes till they cry – and love with a heart that could swallow the world.

About Megan Dart
Megan is the co-Artistic Producer of Catch the Keys Productions, Edmonton’s go-to indie arts event and production company. Catch the Keys is equal parts party starter, community activator and multidisciplinary creator. Megan holds her Bachelor of Communications in Professional Writing from Grant MacEwan University, and is a playwright, spoken word artist and freelance arts publicist. Megan is the artist liaison and publicity manager for Nextfest; the publicity manager for The Expanse Festival; a Street Team member with the Arts Touring Alliance of Alberta; the President of The Good Women Dance Collective; and a committee member with Theatre Network and the Theatre Edmonton Project. Megan was named one of the Top 100 Women in Business by The Wanderer Online, and is a 2014 Grant MacEwan University Distinguished Alumni. 

Twitter: @mldart
Instagram: @mldart

Feature Poet – Alexander Squires


Girls are sensual,  sexual, beautiful.

Their  curves wrap around me in ways I can’t explain.


Boys are tough, rugged , rough around the edges.

Heavy breathing against my neck, his chest against mine.

Testosterone and adrenaline pulsing through me

I lose myself to the feeling.

Not thinking about my body now.

Only theirs.

So why, when it’s over, am I so aware of my body.

My body that hurts me.

The curvy body of the girls I find so beautiful.VENN by Steven Mont

 Why can’t I be happy with my beautiful curvy body?

Why can’t I love my skin?

because others perceive my body in a way that makes it no longer mine.

They see my chest as “girl”

hear My voice and think “woman”

But here’s the thing.

My partner has always said it best.

He says “that chest is your chest, baby. That makes it a mans chest. That voice is yours that makes it a mans voice.”

My body is mine!

I am a beautiful, curvy, tough, rugged, PROUD transgender man.

This is the only body I get.

I will make it my temple.

Why did you write this poem?
My inspiration for writing this poem was the fact that I am transgender and I have a hard time being positive about my body a lot so I wanted to write something about the things that are good about my body because I need to see it more as my body and not the body that other people see it as.

More about Alexander Squires
My name is Alexander Squires. I’m 19 and moved to edmonton a year ago from a town of 2000 people. I came out as transgender 2 1/2 years ago when I met my current partner and I started testosterone therapy 2 months ago. I am an aspiring tattoo artist and  I love all kinds of art but only recently started trying my hand at poetry and I am finding that I enjoy it a lot.

Find me on Facebook: Alexander Matthew Squires

Support Alex’s chest surgery fund at http://www.gofundme.com/Alexstopsurgery

Feature Poet – Liam Coady

When I Go

When I rode off into the sunset
There was no blackout / Or camera behind me.
I did not recede into the distance.
I was still very much present

-Buddy Wakefield


I am a loose-lipped sunken ship.
A catatonic convulsion of yesterday.
I ride ramped into this too,
Too big of a galaxy
With sails in my windpipes and hoof tracks in my throat.
On my future coffin, you can place your bet
On if this soul will cast a shadow
On the night sky, or whether your
Catharsis and hopes were finally met
When I rode off into the sunset

With all expectations tin-foiled too tightly.
Send me sailing on a horse-drawn boat
And don’t hold the reigns and ropes against me.
Although I tried, I was not brought here
To please; to bend around your nimbus cloud.
Give me westbound wind and rewind me,
Turn my tape too far backwards
And see the yesterdays before I set off, rode sail.
Note that though we loved seldom, but kindly,
There was no blackout or camera behind me.

Truly this road and river flows both ways,
For between us there were naval wars
And western stand-offs.
Don’t forget that it was my gallop
That floated your ship, my coarse
That brought your tomorrow, my resistance
That blew the dust and wind on your bow.
All this you returned to me with fiery steed
And violent waves, given at any instance,
Knowing I did not recede into the distance.

So when I take my final venture into the galaxy,
Know this:
I knew nothing on sailing or riding.
I knew nothing on leaving regret behind.
There is plenty to go around in these saddlebags
And even more in my mast. Don’t resent
Me. I will shut my windpipe
Unless you need a westbound wind.

Never forget, whether I found rise or descent:

I was still very much present

About Liam Coady

Liam Coady is a sweat’s drop of sunset, a wedge of a watermark, and a bit of a bush wolf. He is a recent graduate of the University of Alberta where he completed his BA in Drama with an English minor. A winner of the 2011 National Poetry Slam and a finalist in the 2014 Canadian Individual Poetry Slam, Liam has been recognized across Canada for his poetic endeavours. Along with poetry, Liam is also an actor, performance creator, dramaturge, and joe jobber. Currently, Liam has just released his chapbook Talks with the Immortal Jellyfish and is working with local musicians to record soundscapes and poetry.
You can look Liam up on his Facebook page (Liam Coady), Twitter (@TheLocoCoyote), and his current blog (liamspoetrycorner.tumblr.com)

Feature Poet – Ben Freeland

New Orleans is Clawing at My Bones

I used to dream of New Orleans
the birthplace of jazz
the humid, sinewy underarm of America
that place where the tide rolled in
corralling with it all the Devil’s rejects
the flotsam of continents
each wave rolling over the previous
that place where the soft syllabary of the Natchez
learned sharpness in the wind
and still claws through the cold blasts from the Mississippi
still angry, still bitter as hell
dragging its nails through the delta
from its rusted chains in abandoned Haitian slave forts
I used to dream of New Orleans all the time
that place where Morton jellyrolled and Fats stacked dominoes
and Bonham beat down the buttresses till they busted open
that place where sea wall shadowmaps and Sazerac swizzle sticks
tell you what time it is, and when it’s time to go home
or not
and leave you on the same barstool the following morning
paralytic, trying to remember
where you left your bike
and what ward you live in
and why the delta conspired to make the air so sticky
and the ghosts so damn persistent
Don’t they know it’s past closing time?
Yeah, that’s the place I used to dream of
that is, of course, until the day it all got washed away
For ever, we all thought
No more Frenchmen Street
No more Preservation Hall
No more seductively mangled français
The Saints, we assumed, would not be coming back
not this time
in spite of the assurances of Irish rock stars and preprogrammed politicos
Is it not true that nothing is forever
even in this town?
But then the river receded
and the night watch came
not saints, just sinners with spray paint cans
mapping the city as they swarmed through the streets
tattooing the town
with the defiXiones
the X mark
haunted crosses everywhere that spoke with a thousand voices
We’re watching you.
We may be dispersed but we’re watching you.
We’re not done here.
Tonight New Orleans is clawing at my bones
she’s there in every neon-lit puddle
every misspelled word
every unapologetic wrong note in a pentatonic scale
she’s there in every empty glass
at the end of the long night
and she’s there in every X mark
no, nothing wrong, nothing incorrect
just a seething mass of humanity
wheezing like a Louisiana freighter
dragging us all back to life
even as we kick and scream for a safer, more logical abode
Yes, this is the place I used to dream of
the refuge of the reckless
the fortress of fools
where the city sees and the water saws
and Moldovan cabbies careen through Napoleonic alleyways
like they were somehow theirs to begin with
You’re not done with me yet, are you?
Sousaphones playing Pink Floyd – you’re not done with me yet
Scarlet corsets and scandalous bike rides – you’re not done with me yet
Tearful tunes percussed by distant freight trains – you’re definitely not done with me yet
Boys who fell asleep in the army only to wake up on a streetcorner with placards round their necks
selling jello shots and shitty advice – you’re not done with me yet either, are you?
Nope, the city with too many exes and not enough whys
haunts my dreams now more than ever.
And I have no reason to think she’ll stop
so I might as well get comfortable
Nouvelle Orléans, Bayou Sauvage
prends ce que tu veux de moi.
For unlike you
I truly am defenceless.

Why did you write this poem?
I attended a professional conference in New Orleans in February of this year, and was completely transfixed by the place. As a historian by background, I’ve always been fascinated by the city’s long and complicated history, but I hadn’t realized how truly haunted the place is. In New Orleans the ghosts don’t merely lurk – they sing and dance and keep you up all night. One of the sights that made the biggest impression on me is the X marks on houses left over from Hurricane Katrina, marks that most residents have kept visible (and even painted around) as badges of survival. I wrote this poem a couple of days after returning from my trip, after several nights of vivid dreams about a place I was sad to leave.

About Ben Freeland
Ben grew up on Vancouver Island and began his writing career while in grad school at Tokyo University of Foreign Studies. A Pushcart Prize nominee for non-fiction, Ben’s historical and travel essays have been published on both sides of the Pacific, in publications ranging from the Globe and Mail to Asia-Pacific airline in-flight magazines. A relative newcomer to poetry, Ben has written plays, short stories, song lyrics and even film subtitles, and once copy-edited a letter from the Japan Financial Services Agency addressed to Colonel Gaddafi. You can read more of his handiwork at www.brushtalk.blogspot.ca.

Feature Poet – Medgine Mathurin

Man Crush Monday

I wonder what it looked like when the creator of the universe formed you.

Did he speak with a voice so tender that it kissed your skin into softness?
Or did He shout with a voice so aggressive that it ricochet to trace your jawline?
There must have been passion in the frequency of which He spoke to cause craters to land on your cheeks.
Him, being so sly, would only allow you to expose them when you smile.
I don’t know what led God to sneeze greatness over your face,
But I’m thankful for the itch that caused Him to propel constellations all over your skin.
O What would I have given to be moon!
Audience in galaxy
Witnessing wonder being planted on your mind.
His breath must’ve been warm, more welcoming than a onesie on a cold Friday night for you to always be down to earth.
Our conversations are always so easy.
Stream-like refreshing
Enough to enjoy every time I take sips.
I’d like to think that I am your avid connoisseur
But my speech becomes slurred by my awkward
I hope to one day sober past insecurities and take a full shot of you.

Why did you write this poem? 
I’ve always loved freckles and dimples I just think that anybody that have been stamped with either or both features have this beautiful peculiarity that can’t be reciprocated. Last April, I was invited to take part of a poetry challenge to write a poem a day. The day 1 challenge was to write a poem about your past/present crush. Since I don’t typically write love poems I challenged myself to write a poem about those physical features I like. This may or may not have been based in a true story.

About Medgine Mathurin
Born and raised in Haiti, Medgine spent her teenage years in Calgary and now calls Edmonton, her 3rd home. Her story is infused with English, French & Créole. Having recently graduated from the University of Alberta with a Bachelor in Biological Science, she finds joy in poetry and creative writing. Medgine’s aim through her poetry is to uplift and enlighten those who hear it. With 3 years of writing under her pen, she has gotten the opportunity to perform in various cities across Canada including Calgary, Toronto, Vancouver, and even overseas in Trinidad. She was part of the 2012 Edmonton Slam Team, and the edmonton representative in the 2013 Canadian Individual Poetry Slam, held in Vancouver last year. Recently has gotten the opportunity to present her spoken word at the inaugural launch of the Michaëlle Jean Canadian Caribbean, African Diasporic Studies Lecture Series at the University of Alberta.

Twitter: medgeemedge
Instagram: medgeemedge

Feature Poet – Joy Ashmore


People. they’re upset.
Cus they know they’re not doing what they want in life
Though they don’t really know what they want of life
though they’re doing what they’re doing what they thought was right,
they’re pursuing through the doings and the don’ts in life
Persuing and ensuing, the things that they’re doing and not really cluing into the fact what they’re doing is all an act
they know and go and glow and grow although its just artificial reality.
You the type just coast through life never seeing the light and never knowing whats right for them
if only they could see she he me and we for the things that they could be and the things that we are

Look at this guy, day after day the only thing in his way is…
well its him.
Its him and the things that he brings to his home so he feels like he wont be alone but he is you know why
because he makes it that way, You make i that way everyday everyday everyday everyday
but Dont be that way you don Have to be upset
People, Live your lives live your love just don’t give it up
because one day you know, you know you wont have it
You know you wont have it you know you just wont have enough of it…
…til its gone.
Til its done.

Til its out of your hands and out of your life
til one day one, one day there’ll be no way to say
i dont have the time
i dont have the money
i dont have the energy to make it my way.

I dont have the time
i dont have the money
I dont have the effort, to make it. Okay?
well no its not ok, you make it that way.
You sit here today because you made it that way
you are where you are because you make it that way

The troubles, the joys that you live everyday
You make it that way, You make it that way, You make it that way
You make it that way… okay?
and realize they dont have to live the typical, One way that were expected to live.
(Once something becomes a lecture, people tend to tune it out.)

Why Did You Write This Poem?
Usually when I write a poem; I like to try to make people think about their lives (and be funny if i can)
without beating them over the head with “Society is wrong” and “You’re being manipulated by the system”.
So trying to do that in a way that’s perceived as presenting information, rather than just being negative, can help the listener feel
like they’re not being attacked with the poem. That’s The feeling im trying to present with this.

About Joy Ashmore
Joy mainly works as a Visual artist based in Edmonton.
Website: www.acryliclight.webs.com
Instagram: acrylic_light
Email: the_edmonton_painters@hotmail.com