Walking Through Turquoise launches Sept. 19-20


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


we wanted to let love come in

after hey, that’s no way to say goodbye
for edmonton poetry festival, birds on a wire event, april 2017

remember what our bodies craved, when we were newly healing
blueberries and honey tea,  that sleepy, river feeling
we mapped out tender places, stolen moments for the taking
no greater gift than kissing you, sweet lover, upon waking
we wanted to let love come in, what made us so afraid?
the girl inside you sang back then; my sad piano played

we found a quaint discreet hotel, without much of a view
we left the maid our morning sheets, they smelled like me and you
we wanted to let love come in — like light, it finds a crack
for me that was your blessed skin, your freckled upper back
for you it was my winter eyes, you said they saw right through
you said they made you realize we can’t always be true

you opened me like beaujolais, and sipped until i came
and when the chimes of midnight rang, i cried out your old name
i paid you back in poetry, i paid you back in rhyming
yet despite how deep we loved — we loved! — we always blew the timing
we tried to set up house in greece but never got it right
dinners began with sambuka and ended in a fight

i want to be your hero knight, but i can’t be your man
we navigate the distances the only way we can
i asked you once, where did you run? you said we’d meet in france
now that it’s time to part again, you still owe me that dance
the clock is set for leaving, is there something i should know?
you’ve made it so damned clear to me, you’re really gonna go

we found a thousand crazy ways to make each other cry
you couldn’t be nobody’s wife; i had to paint the sky
still, remember what our bodies craved when we were newly healing
blueberries and honey tea, that safe and floaty feeling
no greater gift than kissing you, sweet lover, upon waking
we fed each other’s hungers with the morning gently breaking
we wanted to let love come in — like light, it finds a crack
and now you’ve gone, but hey, i’ll never stop wanting you back

© laurie macfayden, from Walking Through Turquoise, Frontenac House, 2017

macfayden 2




this love affair

Needs a new identity
Needs a disguise
Needs a walk around the block
Should start wearing dark glasses,
An overcoat

This love affair can’t get the coffee the way I like it
Doesn’t quite go with the drapes
Might want to consider
A smaller place
Witness protection

This love affair is no 5-star hotel
But it looks you in the eye
It is not limousines and glitter
More pop rocks and bass trombone
This love affair needs a lot more salt
Kitchen reno, seriously
Complete overhaul

This love affair could use a vacation
Wants a timeshare in Barcelona
Thinks a stroll on the beach will cure everything
This love affair changes its flame
Whispers her name
Catches the next train
Dances in the cliched rain

This love affair licked its lips
Sank midnight ships
Crashed the car
Swam too far
Gasped for air
Laid it bare
This love affair
Smells like burnt hair
Refused to paint the town
Almost let me drown

This love affair
Stung like a million bees
Brought me to my knees
Started dressing better
Sent the scarlet letter

Got an A in penmanship

how to tell when you’re being left by a heartless girl

broken heartit starts with her saying it’s all her; it’s not you.
it starts with her saying she just needs some “space.”
she will say she still loves you and always will.
she will hold your hand and beg your forgiveness.
she will let go of your hand and cry.
she will let you sleep with her one last time.
she will say she wishes it didn’t have to be this way.
she will have whispered conversation on the phone,
then pretend it was a wrong number.

she will forget to come home on the same frozen winter night as the furnace breaks down and you will check the time every 20 anguished minutes — shivering and praying
that she’s dead in a ditch because it beats the alternative — until 4 a.m. when she will spill through the front door insisting she owes you no explanation for where she’s been (nowhere) or who she’s been with (no one). later she will say she got so tired
she just fell asleep on the couch of a generous friend. this friend will have no name,
and will hang up whenever you answer the phone.

she will stop using your shared kitchen appliances and start eating out all the time.
she will stop borrowing your sweaters and demand that you return her tennis racquet.
her suddenly immaculate bathroom will be declared off-limits to you once and for all.
she will stop changing clothes in front of you.
she will no longer watch TV in her underwear.

she will let you sleep with her one more last time.

she will be careless with your books, neglect your cats,
spill coffee on your best dress shirt.
all because she is trying to make you hate her.
she believes it is easier that way.

she will suggest you start seeing other people
and suddenly it will be ridiculously obvious that for her, that ship has already sailed.
she will encourage you to make new friends, get out more, party!
but god help you if you want to go out dancing in the same place as her.

she will stop leaving you post-it notes all over the apartment.
she will stop asking “how was your day, honey?”
… she will stop calling you honey.

she will stop bringing you bagels & lattes on sunday mornings.
she will start listening to music she used to despise.
she will bring home new age CDs labeled relaxation for lovers and water harmony
and karmic lust and tell you to keep your zen-challenged mitts off them.

she will break your favourite mug.
she will break the zipper on your supposedly indestructible MEC parka.
she will break all the rules of civilized leaving…

she will break your heart.