Walking Through Turquoise available now

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Walking Through Turquoise, Laurie MacFayden’s third book of poetry, continues to explore the secrets and flirtations mined in her previous titles, White Shirt and Kissing Keeps Us Afloat. The sweet, clumsy intricacies of relationships; things you want to shout from rooftops but can’t; that tickle in your gut the first time she calls you honeyMacFayden ponders a one-way trip to Mars, the turmoil of clouds, the majesty of moonstone. ‘How can desire survive the tragedy of human aging?’ she asks, never losing sight of the joyous, wet, throbbing hallelujah. Walking Through Turquoise is a celebration of the glorious, swirling twine that binds us to things of this earth and beyond.

 

can you be buried in a canoe?
can you paddle on through
and come out the other side?
if the dog jumps out will the vessel tip?
at the bottom of the lake
will your toes find mud or bone?
between the shore and the floating dock,
whose sad, lonely cry swims you home?
— excerpt, red canoe

 

Published by Frontenac House, Walking Through Turquoise is part of Quartet 2017 which also features A Tincture of Sunlight, Vivian Hansen; The Riparian, Lisa Pasold; and This Wound is a World, Billy-Ray Belcourt.

Calgary launch: Tuesday, Sept. 19, Wordfest space, Memorial Park Library, 7-9 p.m. Author readings and refreshments.
Edmonton launch: Wednesday, Sept. 20, The Almanac, 10351 82 (Whyte) Ave., 7-9 p.m. Author readings and refreshments.

the map of our world has no beginning or end
our cartography tells us not where we’ve been
or where we need to go, merely:
where we are joined is at the chest,
the welcoming corner bone of hip,
the intersection of dusk and constellation
joined by alchemy, spirits of the woods,
by hobo roads and caution stones
— excerpt, world map

11/13/15

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there is a bridge covered in locks
some with no keys, some sealed with long-forgotten combinations
some quietly closed with ribbons, with twine

there is a cathedral owned by gargoyles
pigeons and peasants
there is a tomb covered in small stones
flower petals, metro tickets, teeth, candy, gratitude
another tomb queerly smothered in lipstick kisses
still another dares us to break on through
to the other side

i got pooped on by a bird
while gazing up at the bell tower of notre dame
there are few times in a life you get that lucky
so i took this as a great and good sign

there is an art store on blvd. edgar quinet
right beside cynthia’s house of croissants
and confiture and catacomb secrets
the five-spoked wheel of montparnasse will never be solved

there are names that will forever soothe me
raspail. vavin. les gobelins.
place de la concorde. sacre-couer.
gare du nord. austerlitz.
trocadero.
this place felt like home the first time i breathed
in its sexy hot metal tang, its pink-grey scaffolding,
its sour-sweet sewer pong, its metro b.o.,
its cafe au lait, its legendary light
its arrogant smirk

the louvre. d’orsee. marmattan. pompidou.
l’orangerie. champs-elysees. l’arc du triomphe.
roland garros. louis quatorze.
piaf. monet. manet. dufy.
vincent slept here, and pablo.
ernest. gertrude and alice. toulouse lautrec.
all the genius ghosts.

rue mouffetard. the latin quarter. les halles. defence.
it’s shakespeare & co., stained glass and merlot.
it’s vervaine & lemongrass soap, striped marine shirts
and blue ascots. it’s berets and bastille,
brie on a baguette, pain au chocolat
steak-frites and pickpockets and a plethora of bad smells.

and it’s love.
it’s love and romance, this city of light
this city of forever light in your heart, your essenceGauloises
amour mama, not cheap display
you either love it or hate it,
this infuriating frustrating glorious
demon-angel of a city

it’s bonne mama abricots on a still-warm,
fall-apart-in-your-hands pastry
it’s slinky underwear and stilettos and a million androgynous scarves
it’s drinking wine from the bottle on your tiny front step
perfume and tulips in the tuileries
fountains and bees, creperies and gauloises
veuve-cliquot and trains and bonjour, allo, d’accord, d’accord

it’s anguish and liberte and fraternite
it’s haughty and magnifique and cold
it’s paris and it’s gorgeous
it’s paris and it’s burning

it’s a man on a street piano playing imagine
nothing to kill or die for
no religion too
imagine all the people
living life in peace
to a broken
weeping world

 

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the stars are watching you

the stars are watching us

if i could come to where you are
if i could touch your shining face
if i could hold your broken hand
if i could sit with you in the treetops

my eyes grow dim
but i could sculpt you in the dark
and the stars, the stars are watching you
even when night is brittle cloud
the stars are watching you

if you could come to where i am
if you could touch my grateful face
if you could hold my broken hand
if we could dance in places soft

your eyes smile and cry at once
they show me how to open
when november cleaves the tides
the stars are watching us

Another Golden opportunity

My second book, Kissing Keeps Us Afloat, was honoured with a Golden Crown Literary Society Award in the poetry category in July. I was not able to attend the awards ceremony in July in New Orleans, so this afternoon Frontenac House publishers Rose and David Scollard have invited me to crash their Quartet 2015 preview party (2 p.m., Harcourt House, Edmonton). I’ve been asked to kick off the readings with some selections from KKUA and my debut collection, White Shirt, which also won a Goldie in 2011. The event starts at 2 p.m. and will be hosted by Quartet editor Micheline Maylor.

This year’s four-pack features:

  • Changelings by Calgary poet/storyteller Cassy Welburn;
  • Two Minds by prolific B.C. author Harold Rhenisch;
  • Niche by Nova Scotian visual artist and poet Basma Kavanagh;
  • ClockWork by California based poet Zaid Shlah

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‘That Laurie MacFayden, she’s a howler’

KKUA cover FINALLovely review of Kissing Keeps Us Afloat from Michael Dennis over at Today’s Book of Poetry.

And when I say lovely, I mean fan-fucking-tastic.

Some highlights:

kissing keeps us afloat is a sustained torrent, a laughing rush, a relentless scream/yodel of passion. This red boat has no oars as it crashes against the shores of love, breaks up on the rocks called desire.

Fearless, charismatic, funny, elegant, eloquent and frequently so horny you’d think the sky was falling before her final possible hump. Laurie MacFayden has done something wonderful in the dazzling kissing keeps us afloat.

And we love, love, love the joyous title. Around the office it won the poll for best title this spring.

This collection is a “page-turner.” You really can’t wait to hear what MacFayden is going to burn up and turn red next.

(A poetry page-turner? Blush.)

What MacFayden has done over the course of kissing keeps us afloat is to romp ribald, I mean Henry Miller, Anais Nin, Erica Jong rutting – and like those excellent writers, reach so much more of the reader than simple erotica ever could. In these poems love does not always win, passion is not always requited. That’s not the point. It is the celebrations, the joy you remember that gets you through the dark. The promise of joy that brings us to the threshold of another dawn.

All that jazz and more is in the keen, crisp kissing keeps us afloat.

That Laurie MacFayden, she’s a howler. An Allen Ginsberg howler, celebrating hope and hard love.

(Takes one to know one, methinks, MD)

Today’s book of poetry thinks MacFayden’s kissing keeps us afloat steps up and delivers big time. Love isn’t all sweetness and light, she knows everything.

You can read the full gorgeous love letter here.

(Michael Dennis, can I offer you a ride in my red boat?)

12 words

her holy hands scorch me
that effervescent grin
the laugh that went into the candle wax
those splashing eyes
her fingers a myriad of vowels, of consonants
that eclectic thing she does when she breathes me in
her winsome writing dress
introspection is where she stepped onto the bus
murmuration is where she got off
our trinity involves flannel, soft grass, omelettes
i made her mulligatawny soup for breakfast
she sang vespers for me in the bath