Triple Luminosities

by Susan McCaslin

Persephone Texts Home

Persephone texts home

Swept into Hades’ Hummer, she feels her hairdo take a tumble.
Voodoo conjures up an ice palace of perpetual frost
where uncle Helios, sun god, never dips.

Swing low, vile chariot!

Hades’ sideburns gray before her eyes.
Tapping her Blackberry
she hears no signals penetrating cyberspace.

The ground sinks and swells,
tar sands slide under his wheels.
No time for lilies and sweet boys.

Too fast, too fierce, the down-turning hours,
where tossed like a sheaf of torn grain
she ramps up screams for her mother.

Locked in a black box she falls exhausted.
Starved for colour and light, she dreams that first night
of changing her name from Black One to Magenta.


Demeter Complains of the Siphoning Off of Her Essence



Chariots grid-locked everywhere:
cars as they call them now,

rows and rows on freeways,
teeth gnashing, horns bellowing.

Rather than opening my garners
to the poor, they divert my corn crop

to the production of “alternative fuels,”
ethanol to drive their trucks and SUV’s.

Manuela can’t sell tortillas anymore
because the price of corn has doubled.

The world they call “developing”
devolves, while they scarf my essence like a drug.

Corn production feeds mills,
not the hungry.

I found this on the world web:
“Filling the 25 gallon tank of a truck

with pure ethanol takes over
450 pounds of corn, enough calories

to feed a person for a year.”
And the nitrogen fertilizers

poured on those cornfields
create nitrates in the Mississippi

that run down to the “dead zone”
of the Gulf of Mexico

killing thousands of marine species.
Why is it no one seems to be saying,

stop, whoa, woe!


On Approaching the Nefertiti in the Neues Museum, Berlin



No postcard rivals the delicacy
              of her brows                   arcing past Sirius

contoured chin        
                                                  ibis neck

linen lines pressed under eyes
              elegance thrown             on world’s throne

Museum guard signs:                     no cameras allowed
              I fumble to thrust mine in a bag

see it tumble to the marble floor
              lens cockeyed in its case

(hundreds of crafted shots irretrievable?)
                                                  All those dark stabs at seeing

               hot memory holds what it holds:

chiselled face from deep time  
                                                 quietly gazing out

and in    


Susan McCaslin

Susan McCaslin is a Canadian poet who has published thirteen volumes of poetry, including The Disarmed Heart (The St. Thomas Poetry Series, 2014), and Demeter Goes Skydiving (University of Alberta Press, 2011), a volume short-listed for the BC Book Prize and first-place winner of the Alberta Book Publishing Award. Susan has recently published an autobiography, Into the Mystic: My Years with Olga (Inanna Publications, 2014), about her relationship with the Canadian mystic Olga Park (1891-1985). In 2012, she initiated the Han Shan Poetry Project as part of a successful campaign to save a local rainforest outside Fort Langley in the Fraser Valley. Susan, who completed her Ph.D. in English at UBC in 1984, is Faculty Emerita of Douglas College in New Westminster, B.C. Susan has a new volume of poetry forthcoming from Quattro Books (Toronto, Oct. 2016) titled Painter, Poet, Mountain: After Cézanne.
Susan McCaslin

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