We met in a poem with a tree in it,
shedding its leaves on an old continent.
The branches that sheltered us have grown.
We keep coming back to their embrace.
We are still together in a picture on the wall.
It falls down from time to time.
Each time we hang it up,
we trust in the same rusty nail.
How the light sits on those leaves
before they throw themselves to autumn.
Each year we save some from the mouth
of a devouring god.
Their reds, oranges, and yellows
will last at least until spring.
Our tree has a red mark on it,
barely visible in the dim winter light.
Its branches throw shadows across our walls.
We live in fear of the axe.
Reading by MA|DE, who collaborated on “Death Goes Green.”
R. “to be sifted is to be fiction”
I am Buddha & so can you
be a black-eyed Susan
in a livestreamed zoo,
in this beautiful world
to the birds of prey,
scarab beetles, trepanning,
the nether world, fake cedar
stain deck whorls, seven studs
lined up in a row
like a spine full of bolts
Habit merely March, inward
violets, across the street,
windows, more daily unravels
the dog cries in its sleep, who knows
what brokenness crosses the cut
O I know nothing, it is bright
on either shore, the moon is cold,
not what it was, thinned at
high tide, silent engines
K. Under the Bodhi tree
my only empathy
is on the silver screen
and I say
y’know I feel it too
that a body/
can muster enough
joy to forget
and the stoics
to escape the guilt
that befell all sitters
| and |
we sat und
er the tree
and we lea
rned and w
e learned a
nd we lear
ned and w
e learned \
| that \
if we tree-sit fo
r long enough w
e can heat up one
another’s cheek with a
One species’ trash is another species’
sustenance, this is the paradigm
of all endurance. Endings in
unended landscapes. An ant
responds to its hill, ergate child
held close by gravity. The sky looks
bigger today. Absence will do that
to a space, like when fungus disappears
plastic into itself. But death has always
been green like that, its bone roots
reaching out — pushed into living soil.
Escape from Trash Mountain, so many
unmade things. The bears play dead;
an old tree falls and they pretend
not to hear. Close their eyes to the night
and make the moon disappear.
Garbage is never ugly in the dark.
The moon does not exist if nobody
is looking; it goes out like a snuffed
candle when the sun blinks.
At the same time I sip
from an ice-filled cup,
what luxury, someone struggles
We exhale cautiously —
now air is poison.
in Karachi or Kentucky or
wakes up from a gentle dream.
Warm winds and soft
of a passing herd.
A friend once told me
that ecosystems thrive
when we forget them.
Will we flourish
when we are lost,
A wagon wheel digs
deeper into muck.
In a place
far far away
there is a hill with no footprints.
There is a hill with no footprints,
a river unswum, an island
that rose and fell
without a person knowing.
It was lost
and its unknowing
new flowers bloomed. Colours
and scents we’ll never know.
Our decades of excavations
refill themselves. A year from now
we can claw back
our way to where we were—
or become forgotten ecosystems.
Warm winds and soft grasses, yellow
wildflowers on parkgrounds.
We can know riot but now,
can we learn to wait? For summer
to solve our problems.
A flash thunderstorm
cleans the garden. The flowerbeds
are ready for planting.
the maple leaves [ ] gather
with their blue hands
even the story
of the mind that blue fan
my intro— preens language (bet
the fire there the words
was to the lake swirling
a lash of gravity lingers into the night
in the silences
anthologies of our need
words them into harmony
we feather what is absent
them & crow
surface of the poem
you wake the sky
the trees are pools of words to you.
the thin blue how beyond hope
intro— what is not of
you are caught into chain the city.
[ ] your name forms a hollow
the absence that meets the mind
the children remember
when the breaking
we do not [ ]
the mind’s pool of words
with fallen rain
the musty rooms
the grammar of the wings
here I could be said (in the story.
I am me now.
their beaks into a thought
All artwork created for Is This A Good Time by Tristan Onek’s AI Aesthete.
Manahil Bandukwala is a writer, editor, and visual artist. She is co-lead of Reth aur Reghistan, a literary-visual arts exploration of folklore from Pakistan, conducted in collaboration with her sister, Nimra Bandukwala. She is the author of two chapbooks, Paper Doll (2019) and Pipe Rose (2018). She is on the editorial team of Canthius, was longlisted for the 2019 CBC Poetry Prize, and won Room’s 2019 Emerging Writer Award.
The disabled poem-making entity known as Roxanna Bennett gratefully resides on the aboriginal land covered under the Williams Treaties of 1923 (Whitby, Ontario). They are the author of the award- winning Unmeaningable (Gordon Hill Press, 2019), unseen garden (chapbook, knife | fork | book, 2018), and The Uncertainty Principle (Tightrope Books, 2014).
Conyer Clayton is an Ottawa-based artist and gymnastics coach, originally from Louisville, Kentucky. She has 6 previous chapbooks and 2 albums and currently writes reviews for Canthius. She is the winner of Arc’s 2017 Diana Brebner Prize and The Capilano Review’s 2019 Robin Blaser Poetry Contest. Her debut full-length collection of poetry is We Shed Our Skin Like Dynamite (Guernica Editions, 2020).
Azlen Elza is a computer programmer and designer whose projects lie in questioning or inventing the future of human-computer interaction—whether designing new ways to learn using technology, teaching artificial intelligence to create art, music, & images, or (as in this case) fine-tuning these algorithms to collaborate with us on poetry.
Daniela Elza’s poetry collections are the weight of dew (2012), the book of It (2011), milk tooth bane bone (2013), and the broken boat (2020). In 2011, she earned her PhD in Education from Simon Fraser University. Born and raised across three continents, Daniela is used to crossing borders, to dwelling in liminal and in-between spaces. To date, she has worked with over thirty collaborators.
Kate Felix is a writer, film maker, and failed home-schooling parent from Toronto.
Leo Guipard is a newly minted fifth-grader. He hopes to become a jet plane pilot before they all get replaced by drones.
MA|DE (est. 2018) is a collaborative writing partnership comprising interdisciplinary artist Mark Laliberte and writer Jade Wallace. Their poetry has appeared in Vallum Magazine, Poetry is Dead, PRISM International, Trinity Review, and elsewhere. MA|DE’s debut chapbook, Test Centre, was released by ZED Press in 2019, and they are currently working on their first full-length collection.
Khashayar Mohammadi is a queer, Iranian-born, Toronto-based poet, writer, translator, and photographer. He is the author of the poetry chapbooks Moe’s Skin (ZED press, 2018), Dear Kestrel (knife | fork | book, 2019), and Solitude is an Acrobatic Act (above/ground press, 2020). His debut poetry collection, Me, You, Then Snow, is forthcoming with Gordon Hill Press.
Anne van Amstel is a Dutch poet and psychologist. In 2016, her third book of poetry was published by Nieuw Amsterdam. She is a regular poetry contributor to Hollands Maandblad, which rewarded her with its 2015 poetry prize and in which she has recently started to publish short stories. Her work has been included in about thirty collections of poetry. Together with Rob Kloet, drummer of Nits, she made the CD Vlinderslag (2009). Anne lives and works in Amsterdam.
Is This A Good Time: divination collaborations was edited by Síle Englert & Andy Verboom and published by Collusion Books (in collaboration with 845 Press and its ebook, June 2020: A Pandemic Anthology). Collusion Books, an imprint of long con magazine, operates in K’jipuktuk, Mi’kmak’i, the traditional, unceded, and unsold territory of the Mi’kmaq. We are all Treaty People.
Is This A Good Time: divination collaborations is copyright © 2020 by Collusion Books. All rights reserved by the named contributors.