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Tanya Evanson

Tanya Evanson is an Antiguan-Canadian writer and performer from Tio'tia:ke/Montreal. She is a graduate of Concordia University Creative Writing and program director of Banff Centre Spoken Word. Evanson has released four audio recordings including ZENSHIP (2016) and recent spoken word performances include Suoni per il Popolo, Ubud Writers and Readers Festival, Tasmanian Poetry Festival, Edinburgh Book Festival and Glastonbury Festival. Her second book of poetry Nouveau Griot is forthcoming from Frontenac House, and recent publications include WSQ (Feminist Press), 40 Years of Room Magazine (Caitlin Press), Resist Much / Obey Little (Dispatches Edition) and Where the Night are Twice as Long (Goose Lane). Evanson is a past recipient of the Golden Beret Award and was Poet of Honour at the 2013 Canadian Festival of Spoken Word. She moonlights as a whirling dervish.

(This page does not reproduce the layout of the print version of these poems.)

Matter vs. Matter

These hands are ragged from pushing dirt this way and that and now my lover’s left me on a medium note. The brown skin of Earth burrows beneath these fingernails. Everything burns. Mushrooms eat wood shit soil. If only we were such mature organic matter. These are the final laughters of our kind. Human breath alone can detonate honeybees. Our impure air annoys. When bees come near, we blow on them. Empty white smoke. A matter of aggression. The wrong end of a romantic autumn foraging for apples and pears, wild sage, blackberry, rosehip those sweet hard bulbs of vitamin verve, crabapples and cocksure asparagus. All of it going to seed. A late human harvest. Slim pickings. Not enough for the tough winter ahead when even our closest allies may not share. When that curd never did clot. When everything got eaten up in the end. Tolerance the last grape to be had. Even the water was unsure of itself conjuring undertow. Damn tissue soaked through again. No matter. Dry. Repeat. Dry. Repeat.

Moving and Not Moving

This condition is an exit without exit. An aid to the most beautiful no. The reverence of abandonment. The truth and its opposite. The whole earth carried forward by the upward shitting of worms. All raw materials returned to their sources immediately thank you. A lack of co-surrender. The single cell divided. Equilibrium swung. Disillusionment departed. A calm chaos over all. Peace inside the heart attack. Cars moving and not moving. Actions undone. Backward speech. Eclipse. Anechoic chambers. No words to equal the silence between us and the no-such-thing-as-silence comes and the poem is writ. There’s always a surge towards the end right before you know you’re going to die. You increase activity because you know it will be your last. Cooking, cleaning, drinking, soiling yourself, vomiting all over the house. These are the knowing hours. Deepest sorrow. A coming into silence. A sad on arrival. A love story and simultaneous wake for it. We move towards destruction. Road leads the way to itself.

Finishing Salt

This is our end of season in the food forest. Bitter apple. Fairytale fungus. Spores so dry they fly and impregnate everything nearby but us. These are the pivotal places. Leaves drop loud. Everything burns. Autumn sugars in on itself. Concentrated sun. Jam on trees. A deep Gulf Island cum. Spring is scented for courtship. Summers want wet. Winters lie in wait, yearning. We make deep criminal love from far away. Inside. The Cabin. The Heart. Soft. Because we know this will be our last flame gone out as if we were not Lovers recovered as fire to smoke into air breath into body absorbed into blood energy of muscles pushed to exhaustion as if we had not just begun inside Nature. These are the cutting times. The fear of amputation. Fall. The slow wood fire. Galiano Island never ends. Even ash holds evidence in wind of our first Aegean meeting. Fresh tomato, olive oil, broken bread and Turkish tea beneath the Bozcaada sycamore. These are small cremations now. Slow. With intent. A forced dying. You approach from the east and I the west. We walk the path raw. Our very own Silk Road toward separation.


From Bothism
by Tanya Evanson
© 2017 Tanya Evanson
Published by Ekstasis Editions