Sunday, September 22, 2019

“poem” broadside #348 : “Four poems for Word on the Street” by rob mclennan


A Sunday morning at Harbourfront Centre
in September. An atmosphere

at a glance: these fruit

the size of demons. Book bins, booths
and gift bags. Costumed, Clifford

the Big Red Dog reduced
to Clifford

the Man-Sized Dog. Out of this wildness,
an urban discourse, burghal;

abundant, and strangely benevolent.


Canadian casual, based
on systematic practice: authors, authors,

publicists, booksellers. The inquisition
of our limits.

Our northern backdrop: sailboats breeze,
and airplanes alternately lower, rise

from man-made islands, stenciled across
a bickering of contrails.


Harbourfront Centre: an organization
three days older

than my eldest daughter. Now,
these literary market stalls, steeped

on decades

of deliberate fill. The foot
of Lower Simcoe

extending three or four blocks
from original shoreline, lands

that long housed

industrial patter, planning, port.
Today, the printed word

on paper: a human object as obscure
as shadow play, or silver stain

on medieval glass.


You are the universe, pretending

to be a great lake   ; a calm

of blizzard blue, cerulean,

across this glacial basin.

Four poems for Word on the Street
by rob mclennan
above/ground press broadside #348

Born in Ottawa, Canada’s glorious capital city, rob mclennan currently lives in Ottawa, where he is home full-time with the two wee girls he shares with Christine McNair. The author of more than thirty trade books of poetry, fiction and non-fiction, his most recent poetry titles include A halt, which is empty (Mansfield Press, 2019) and Life sentence, (Spuyten Duyvil, 2019). An editor and publisher, he runs above/ground press, seventeen seconds: a journal of poetry and poetics (, Touch the Donkey ( and the Ottawa poetry pdf annual ottawater ( He is “Interviews Editor” at Queen Mob’s Teahouse, editor of my (small press) writing day, and an editor/managing editor of many gendered mothers. He egularly posts reviews, essays, interviews and other notices at

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