by Erin Noteboom:
Listen: I am going to tell you something.
You will not repeat it. You will be lucky
even to survive. When I speak,
your heart will catch like a match. When I speak
your pulse turn to a tide. When I speak your ears
will hold all human words, like a wood full of birds,
they cry lonely, lonely. When you hear, your back
will arch like the sky. You will call like the thunder:
bones, come together. Bones, take your order.
Be still. Your words are husk
for breath. They cannot make
the stones bleed water, or set the sun
ablaze past colour. I am the word
that made the clay curl up in fingers.
How can you answer? Be still
and I will make an oak of you. Be still
and I will put a bolt through you
and turn your lungs to hands
Do not be frightened.
You have wanted — wings. An end
to death. (Remember, I have walked
as pulse and skin. I know
what you long for.) Be still
and I will turn your ribs to wings,
your breastbone to the keel
of a bird: a deep cord
to anchor silence. Come, open
your mouth. Let me put my book
on your tongue: a stone, a word, a wafer.
Become salt. Savour.
Erin’s launch party for her new book Seal up the Thunder was held this past Sunday (Palm Sunday) and it was a remarkable success. Thirty people showed up to the Waterloo Public Library to hear Erin speak and read from the just-delivered books. Everybody was most supportive and the good folks at Words Worth Books made out like bandits, selling 20 copies of Thunder, plus some copies of Ghost Maps and six copies of Erin’s chapbook, Kitchen. A very successful night.
Also a representative from the Acorn-Plantos People’s Poetry Award to present Erin with her medallion and cheque. Afterward, we feasted on treats and then a number of us went home and feasted still more on nachos and dip. I’d like to thank everybody for coming out and making it such a successful event. The amount of support Erin’s received has been heartwarming.
Our next event is tomorrow (Tuesday) at the Art Bar above Victory Cafe at 581 Markham Street in Mervish Village. Any Toronto area readers reading this are invited to come out. The food won’t be free, but fun will be had.
And because a number of people couldn’t be in attendance, I promised photographs, and here they are (thanks to my father’s digital camera)
Erin (right) and Noelle (left, from Wolsak and Wynn, Erin’s publishers) chat before the start of the reading.
The snack table, featuring treats, juice and coffee. The Art Bar will offer beer, but it won’t be free.
Noelle invites Erin to the podium.
Erin reads. Audience enraptured.
Jeff comes up to present Erin with the Acorn-Plantos Award.
Possibly the only poetry award with an actual medallion involved.
At home, Erin wearing her award, while talking with guests.