Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Easy Fix - Blair Trewartha (Palimpsest Press)

Today's book of poetry:
Easy Fix.  Blair Trewartha.  Palimpsest Press.  Windsor, Ontario.  2014.

Easy Fix reads like a video of a major league baseball batting champion at batting practice.

Ka-Pow!  Another one out of the park.

Time Lapse of a City

Across the city someone wraps
a lit apartment around their shoulders,
reads a book until
the last word is sleep.

A doctor grips the steering wheel,
pulls a scalpel front beneath the seat
and prays for the next red light,
a sudden traffic jam.

An engineer spreads his wings
and jumps. Telemarketers still
dial their Mothers' numbers
at the start of every shift.

Somewhere a man forgets
his address at Starbucks
and sits for hours, body
pressed up to the window
until he's baptized.

Somewhere loud music hits
and the city becomes a flock of pigeons,
cooing. An entire world
with its ducks
in a row. Feathers brushing
against feathers for warmth.


I had the pleasure of reading and writing about Trewarthas' chapbook Porcupine Burning from the impeccable Baseline Press.  You can see that here:


That was a chapbook that raised expectations.  Easy Fix exceeds all expectations.

As usual, I trundled off to bed last night with a pile of poetry to read.  First poem I read - I started swearing in kind of a hushed awe, one of those muttered "Oh what the f**k"s.  I know, I'm vulgar at bedtime.  The second poem had me exclaim, rather loudly, "Damn it!"

By now I was interrupting my wife's quiet reading.  She was deep into Malcolm Gladwell's David and Goliath.  She knows I only swear at the very worst poetry - or the very best.  She could tell from my muttering that I had stumbled onto gold.

The Darkest Day of the Year

For a split second, the snow
is a glacial overhang,
a frozen levy ready to melt
the moment I step indoors.

I picture myself swinging
from a web of hydro wires
in a snowsuit: crashing
through windows and slapping

husbands, kissing their wives.
Lighting my blowtorch
in their bedrooms to bring spring.
Everyone cheering for the man on fire.


Trewartha doesn't adorn his poetry with baubles, he is a straight ahead, straight-out no-holds-barred assassin of good poetry.  I loved this book and threatened to dismiss any intern who didn't.  I'm a tyrant.

It all happens so seamlessly, effortlessly, and with such little fuss but the resulting poems hit like beautiful sledgehammers.

Procedures for Escape

The train hovers along the track
between Oshawa and Belleville
and I sit in seat 14
in the aisle across from the emergency window
with a little red hammer
in a small gray box--
the one which every kid, including me
would give up their seat
just to smash

The attendant explains the procedures of escape
to the family of five sitting ahead of me
She's a cute brunette with high cheekbones
and low lips and probably close to my age
and she asks me if in the event of an emergency
would I be willing to climb out the window with her first
and help her assist all the woman and children off the train

I tell her yes, and stare back out the window
at the blurred trees and old telephone wires
listening to the sounds the train wheels make
across the rails
which always sound a bit like thunder
or a steel mill in a full work-day swing
and I imagine the two of us, hand in hand
leaping out the shattered window
looking like two children jumping off a small cliff
into blue water on a sun-blind afternoon
using our fear of heights
as a meager excuse to hold hands

I look back at the tiny red hammer
in the little gray box
displayed like a javelin
and repeat her question over again in my head
thinking, yes I'm willing to do that
you're just the first person
to have asked


If I were giving out any prizes today Trewartha would be the first in line.  This is poetry you want to see more of.

Excellent, simply excellent.

Blair Trewartha

Blair Trewartha is a Toronto-based poet whose work has appeared in Carousel, Prism, CV2, Event, Existere, and Qwerty. His first full length collection, Easy Fix is published this fall with Palimpsest Press. He has published 2 chapbooks, Break In, (Cactus Press in 2010) and Porcupine Burning (Baseline Press 2012). Formerly co-host of the Toronto reading series, The Vagabond Trust, and a co-editor of Misunderstandings Magazine, he currently lives in Sudbury.

"Released from the myth of historical telos, these poems dare to articulate the idiosyncratic tics and mercurial oscillations of our present moment."
     Chris Hutchison

"Trewartha's poems are encounters with both recklessness and stoicism...steeped in the urban and rural histories of a poet aware of the gamble of love, and the lucid dreams.
     Nyla Matuk


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