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Poetry Breakfast

Beginning March 20th, 2016 Poetry Breakfast will once again serve a little poetic nourishment every morning. Start your day with our new expanded menu. Poems, of course, are our specialty. But we will also be serving a fuller menu that includes poetry related creative non-fiction such as letters to and from poets, essays on poetry, and anything else that might feed a poet and poetry lover’s soul.

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Tricia McCallum

The Jackknife – A Poem by Tricia McCallum

The Jackknife

Up the rungs of the diving ladder one more time,
gripping the cold, unforgiving steel
with my shriveled bare toes, nine steps to the top,
reaching, it seemed,
to the sky.

Still in his work clothes, my father stands watching
from behind the chain-link fence surrounding the pool.
I knew he was coming,
I’d practiced all day for this.

I tiptoe along the rough pebbly surface
of the board and stand shivering at the very edge;
sneak a quick glance at the water so far below
speckled eerily now with fluorescent lights,
preparing to make this one count.

It’s time.
Great lungfuls of air taken in,
the familiar flutter in my chest
as I bend my knees deeply, leaping upward
high as I can go,
then even higher, the board shuddering behind me,
trying to remember all his pointers at once:

Don’t look at the water: it’s not going anywhere,
dividing myself neatly in half,
toes touched lightly to fingers,
the uncanny feeling of suspension in mid-air,
forcing my body straight again:
Ramrod straight, now,
You’re an arrow shot at the water, then
down so fast, the world thundering past my ears,
slicing the surface crisply,
sculling quickly up,
the entire time thinking
of all that I did wrong.

On the way home I sit in gloom beside him.
He never sees my best ones, I think,
close to tears, too tired to resist.
You never see my best ones,
I say out loud without thinking.
He pulls the car over, stares at my face,
hot now with embarrassment, and reaches for the towel
to rub my long hair dry.

Lassie, he says gently,
cupping my chin in his hand.
To me, they are all your best ones.
It is all he says, and everything
a little girl needs to hear.
 

From Nothing Gold Can Stay: A Mother and Father Remembered ( 2011).

https://www.amazon.com/Nothing-Gold-Can-Stay/triciamccallum

 

About the Poet:
Tricia McCallum, a Glasgow-born Canadian, is an award-winning writer and poet and frequent Huffington Post Blogger. She is the author of two books of poetry: The Music of Leaving (Demeter Press, 2014) and Nothing Gold Can Stay: A Mother and Father Remembered in 2011. McCallum also publishes fiction. Her short story “Clutter” won a Toronto Star award for fiction writing. But her unrivalled passion is poetry and is particularly proud to have twice won the member-voted poetry competition at goodreads.com. Her poems are about commonplace things, McCallum says, but she adds that they are not necessarily simple. “The abstract never drew me,” McCallum explains. “I don’t think in those terms. The day-to-day world and all its supposed mundane detail provides me more than I need. “To me it’s not mundane. To me it’s magic.” Read more of Tricia’s work at:
www.triciamccallum.com
www.huffingtonpost/triciamccallum

 

Photo by

 

Poetry Breakfast accepts submissions of poetry and poetry related creative non-fiction year-round.  See our Submission Guidelines page for details on submitting your work.

Start your morning with a nourishing poem.  Follow us on  Twitter, Facebook, and Tumblr,  and enjoy a new poem every morning straight to your feed.

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The Island Dog – A Poem by Tricia McCallum

The Island Dog

He is everyone’s;
Yet he is no one’s.
Vacationers arrive, discover him,
Dote on him for two weeks,
then disappear.

He is their holiday project
A story they’ll tell over dinner at home.
Some allow him in, to sleep at the foot of their beds,
to guard their front door,
Some even toy with the idea of a rescue,
Could we, should we? Shots? Papers?
Questions asked,
with the exuberance of the relaxed and the happy,
but as the time to leave draws near,
Reality encroaches, the idea stalls.

A new band takes their place,
The island dog waits,
Knowing it will take only one,
One, to give him a name that won’t change,
One, to call it out in the dark
should he wander too far.
One, to call to him
and him alone:
Come home.

 

From The Music of Leaving (Demeter Press, 2014)

https://www.amazon.com/Music-Leaving-Tricia-McCallum

 

 

About the Poet:
Tricia McCallum, a Glasgow-born Canadian, is an award-winning writer and poet and frequent Huffington Post Blogger. She is the author of two books of poetry: The Music of Leaving (Demeter Press, 2014) and Nothing Gold Can Stay: A Mother and Father Remembered in 2011. McCallum also publishes fiction. Her short story “Clutter” won a Toronto Star award for fiction writing. But her unrivalled passion is poetry and is particularly proud to have twice won the member-voted poetry competition at goodreads.com. Her poems are about commonplace things, McCallum says, but she adds that they are not necessarily simple. “The abstract never drew me,” McCallum explains. “I don’t think in those terms. The day-to-day world and all its supposed mundane detail provides me more than I need. “To me it’s not mundane. To me it’s magic.” Read more of Tricia’s work at:
www.triciamccallum.com
www.huffingtonpost/triciamccallum

 

Photo by

 

Poetry Breakfast accepts submissions of poetry and poetry related creative non-fiction year-round.  See our Submission Guidelines page for details on submitting your work.

Start your morning with a nourishing poem.  Follow us on  Twitter, Facebook, and Tumblr,  and enjoy a new poem every morning straight to your feed.

At Rest – A Poem by Tricia McCallum

At Rest

He can be found at the cemetery most afternoons
for as long as he can stand the heat, or the cold.
By the hour he sits there
on a small iron bench in sight of her grave.
It is inscribed in memory of another,
yet it seems meant just for him.

On the rare days we share the bench
I am always the first to grow restless,
to suggest home.
For me it is an ominous place,
unkind.

I talk to her, he says warily,
searching my face for signs of judgment,
worry.
Talk away, I tell him;
take comfort where you can.

Together they had forged a life
in a country not their own,
bathed their babies, taken joy.
She was the only one who knew him
when he was young.

From Nothing Gold Can Stay: A Mother and Father Remembered ( 2011).

https://www.amazon.com/Nothing-Gold-Can-Stay/triciamccallum

 

About the Poet:
Tricia McCallum, a Glasgow-born Canadian, is an award-winning writer and poet and frequent Huffington Post Blogger. She is the author of two books of poetry: The Music of Leaving (Demeter Press, 2014) and Nothing Gold Can Stay: A Mother and Father Remembered in 2011. McCallum also publishes fiction. Her short story “Clutter” won a Toronto Star award for fiction writing. But her unrivalled passion is poetry and is particularly proud to have twice won the member-voted poetry competition at goodreads.com. Her poems are about commonplace things, McCallum says, but she adds that they are not necessarily simple. “The abstract never drew me,” McCallum explains. “I don’t think in those terms. The day-to-day world and all its supposed mundane detail provides me more than I need. “To me it’s not mundane. To me it’s magic.” Read more of Tricia’s work at:
www.triciamccallum.com
www.huffingtonpost/triciamccallum

 

Photo by Matias Cruz.

 

Poetry Breakfast accepts submissions of poetry and poetry related creative non-fiction year-round.  See our Submission Guidelines page for details on submitting your work.

Start your morning with a nourishing poem.  Follow us on  Twitter, Facebook, and  Tumblr,  and enjoy a new poem every morning straight to your feed.

Castoffs and Parallax – Two Poems by Tricia McCallum

Castoffs

I didn’t say half of what I wanted
That day we met for the last time
Complaining about the weather
and working too hard
giving you countless opening for reassuring words
which never came

You didn’t say half of what you should
Not noticing I had cut my hair
Remember the time you begged me not to?
Instead you seemed concerned with the lousy service
and asked about that blue shirt of yours
Could I please try and find it, you said.
It was one your favorites.

I said things I never meant to
That my life was better now
Less complicated
wanting you to shake me
and tell me I was lying.

But you had plans, you said,
And worried about getting a cab
Away from there
and me.

By the way, I found your blue shirt
I even put it on now and again
It was one of your favorites.

 

 

Parallax

My memory has been good to you since you left.
It’s taken you and buffed your sharp edges,
polished up your one-liners,
edited your conversations for wit and sensitivity.
It’s rationalized your selfishness and rather quick temper,
forgotten how you hated sharing a single bed,
inconvenience in general.
It even injects feeling into your empty phrases.
You’d love my memory of you.

So I wouldn’t advise you to come back.
You could never compete
with this memory of mine.
Even your eyes aren’t that blue.

 

 

About the Poet:
Tricia McCallum, a Glasgow-born Canadian, is an award-winning writer and poet and frequent Huffington Post Blogger. She is the author of two books of poetry: The Music of Leaving (Demeter Press, 2014) and Nothing Gold Can Stay: A Mother and Father Remembered in 2011. McCallum also publishes fiction. Her short story “Clutter” won a Toronto Star award for fiction writing. But her unrivalled passion is poetry and is particularly proud to have twice won the member-voted poetry competition at goodreads.com. Her poems are about commonplace things, McCallum says, but she adds that they are not necessarily simple. “The abstract never drew me,” McCallum explains. “I don’t think in those terms. The day-to-day world and all its supposed mundane detail provides me more than I need. “To me it’s not mundane. To me it’s magic.” Read more of Tricia’s work at:
www.triciamccallum.com
www.huffingtonpost/triciamccallum

 

Poetry Breakfast accepts submissions of poetry and poetry related creative non-fiction year-round.  See our Submission Guidelines page for details on submitting your work.

Photo by Ron Porter.

How Things Happen – A Poem by Tricia McCallum

How Things Happen

And you had no idea
They were coming.
The neighbor who turns ugly about your
Dog.
The girl you had your eye on all those months at night school
And you hear she got engaged to the dullard two rows
Over.
The audit the year you got
Sloppy.
The partner you thought had your back
Who contradicts you over a triviality among
Friends.
The doctor’s news when only that day
You’d ran five miles and met your wife for
Cappuccino.
The toddler not perfectly buckled
Up.
The gift of white designer jeans
Confirming he has not the faintest idea who you
Are.
The cop at the door
When things were going so
Well.

 

About the Poet:
Tricia McCallum, a Glasgow-born Canadian, is an award-winning writer and poet and frequent Huffington Post Blogger. She is the author of two books of poetry: The Music of Leaving (Demeter Press, 2014) and Nothing Gold Can Stay: A Mother and Father Remembered in 2011. McCallum also publishes fiction. Her short story “Clutter” won a Toronto Star award for fiction writing. But her unrivalled passion is poetry and is particularly proud to have twice won the member-voted poetry competition at goodreads.com. Her poems are about commonplace things, McCallum says, but she adds that they are not necessarily simple. “The abstract never drew me,” McCallum explains. “I don’t think in those terms. The day-to-day world and all its supposed mundane detail provides me more than I need. “To me it’s not mundane. To me it’s magic.” Read more of Tricia’s work at:
www.triciamccallum.com
www.huffingtonpost/triciamccallum

 

 

Poetry Breakfast accepts submissions of poetry and poetry related creative non-fiction year-round.  See our Submission Guidelines page for details on submitting your work.

Photo by Unsplash.

 

Funeral Sandwiches by Tricia McCallum

Funeral Sandwiches

It comes down to the ceremony now, the detail.
Pressing your shirt with the cutaway collar, not too much starch,
the way you liked it.
I sent the shoes that were a bit small,
but they were so fine-looking and you would approve.
At the last minute I remembered your favourite photo of all of us
for tucking into your suit jacket pocket.

Now to prepare the food for the mourners,
sandwiches to begin.
Made differently today,
the correct word is painstakingly.
The butter must be spread
to each and every corner of the bread,
sliced precisely
from freshly-baked loaves.

Heap both sides of the bread lavishly with spreads,
no scrimping.
No celery, you hated it.
Remove the crusts:
Sacrilege in these parts.

Assemble them ever so gently
before making the final cuts
into perfect quarters.
Clean the knife after each one.
Display them proudly
on my most treasured serving pieces.
And cloth napkins.
Only cloth.

All is ready.
Invite them in.
Let me get it right
this once.

 

About the Poet:
Tricia McCallum, a Glasgow-born Canadian, is an award-winning writer and poet and frequent Huffington Post Blogger. She is the author of two books of poetry: The Music of Leaving (Demeter Press, 2014) and Nothing Gold Can Stay: A Mother and Father Remembered in 2011. McCallum also publishes fiction. Her short story “Clutter” won a Toronto Star award for fiction writing. But her unrivalled passion is poetry and is particularly proud to have twice won the member-voted poetry competition at goodreads.com. Her poems are about commonplace things, McCallum says, but she adds that they are not necessarily simple. “The abstract never drew me,” McCallum explains. “I don’t think in those terms. The day-to-day world and all its supposed mundane detail provides me more than I need. “To me it’s not mundane. To me it’s magic.” Read more of Tricia’s work at:
www.triciamccallum.com
www.huffingtonpost/triciamccallum

 

Poetry Breakfast accepts submissions of poetry and poetry related creative non-fiction year-round.  See our Submission Guidelines page for details on submitting your work.

Photo by Milada Vigerova

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