Monday, January 20, 2020

new from above/ground press: Certain Humans, by Ian McCulloch

Certain Humans
Ian McCulloch


When I remember us, it is always in parameters of disaster.
A constant of tumult and pandemonium
like those bedlam days out west
when a spring storm spun the horizon
to red dust and driven snow.
Hundreds of power poles snapped off
and in the morning ice lay on everything
like a consecration bled out of the screaming wind.
Even the houses looked stunned
the light blown out from under
their certain roofs and the dispassionate heat
sucked from their arrogant walls.
For three days we huddled in the kitchen
around a battery-powered radio like refugees.
Clinging to staticky music and listening to stories
of catastrophe and survival.

We were always this way, thrown together
by circumstance and dubious rumour.
Intimate against whatever maelstrom
heaved its blunt fury our way,
like fistfuls of gravel pelting our sorry heads.
We shuddered close under a dark and improvident power,
the world going cold in every direction.
Hunkering down under something
we had no choice but to call love,
embarrassed when the sky cleared
and sunlight fell to catch us in the act.

published in Ottawa by above/ground press
January 2020
a/g subscribers receive a complimentary copy

Ian McCulloch
(April 18, 1957 – September 23, 2019) was born in Comox, B.C. and raised in Northern Ontario. He was the author of three books of poetry: The Moon of Hunger (Penumbra, 1982), The Efficiency of Killers (Penumbra, 1988) and Parables and Rain (Penumbra, 1993), and a chapbook, Balsam To Ease All Pains (Alburnum Press, 1998). He was also the author of the novel Childforever (Mercury, 1996). A founding member of Northern Ontario’s longest-running reading series, “The Conspiracy of 3,” he read twice at Toronto’s prestigious Harbourfront series. More recently two of his poems were included in the anthology Tamaracks: Canadian Poetry for the 21st Century (LUMMOX Press, 2018). His writing was deeply influenced by family and his indigenous heritage. Ian was the father of three and lived with his wife and dog in Redbridge, Ontario.

This is McCulloch’s second above/ground press chapbook, after A Box of Light (2019).

To order, send cheques (add $1 for postage; in US, add $2; outside North America, add $5) to: rob mclennan, 2423 Alta Vista Drive, Ottawa ON K1H 7M9. E-transfer or PayPal at at rob_mclennan (at) or the PayPal button at

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