from BARDO

The stars are in our belly; the Milky Way our umbilicus.

Is it a consolation that the stuff of which we’re made

is star-stuff too?

– That wherever you go you can never fully disappear –

dispersal only: carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen.

Tree, rain, coal, glow-worm, horse, gnat, rock.

Roselle Angwin

Saturday, 27 February 2016

prose poems from guest contributors: 12 Gerald McEachern

Gerald McEachern's prose poems have been the subject of some emailed conversations between us back and forth between the UK and Canada. They raise various points that I'd like to speak of in a final closing post when my month of prose poems comes to an end next week.

Gerald takes a risk in his repetition of the word 'white'; I notice the slightly mesmerising effect this has on a reader.

I'm enjoying a quality in these pieces that somehow couldn't be English, though I don't quite know why I say that other than the poet's obvious familiarity with living with snow (and it's not just the spelling of 'plow'). Hope you enjoy this too; as always, comments welcome.


The morning is a flat white white,
dull white sky over matte white snow.
The woman who was once a girl
poses for a profile in a smooth white
jumpsuit unzipped to her stomach
exposing fat flat tits and cleavage.
I glance at the photo on my phone,
thinking I knew her mother at that age.
The snow is fresh on the drive to
town where the new government is
holed up, scheming, in the white hotel.

Back home I fire up the old plow truck
and drive it up and down the drive,
pushing curls of snow, and scraping
thin layers of dirty gravel as the blade
sparks loudly across the ground.
By now the clouds are gone and the
sun is shining, melting and widening
the holes in the snow where the edge
has exposed the cold brown earth.
The snow had fallen everywhere, thick
and soft and white, the day before.


He stands naked in the dark room. Moonlight
lights up a set of squares on the wooden floor.

He dreams. He’s giving a political talk. It’s dark.
There’s a big crowd, faceless people sitting at
round tables. He may or may not be speaking.
To his left his friend Norman appears under a
soft spotlight and introduces the entertainment.
His political speech isn’t over. He broods. But
Norman knows and smiles. Dim pools of light
open on three enormous drums, each with two
drummers, each holding a stick as big as a log,
Norman grooving as timber hits stretched skin,
sound radiating out in quiet, thundering waves.

His daughter yells: the puppy is peeing on the
floor. He opens his eyes. Grey light. It snowed
last night. He goes downstairs to make coffee.

Mortality frightens us, he thinks, remembering
the effect his white beard has on interviewers
who secretly want that sharp young coworker
standing beside them. But it’s not the mortality
that frightens them, he realizes. It’s the losing.
He anticipates plowing the snow. And shaving.


© Gerald McEachern

Along with poetry, Gerald also writes op-ed columns, fiction and advertising copy. His career extends over several decades, his work beginning in visual art and design and leading ultimately to writing. Career projects range from doing the design blueprints for a four-person submarine to developing an advocacy campaign that led to a university gaining a medical school campus.

He writes poetry much as he practiced photography for a decade, for personal exploration. The place that interests him most is the intersection of animation and mortality. Gerald lives on the east coast of Canada beside the sea with his wife and their five children.



  1. Thank you for sharing these poems - it has made my Sunday morning a brighter place

  2. Hello anon - that's a lovely comment. Thank you. I'll tell Gerald.

    Please come back when I've 'tied up' this whole process; probably on Tuesday.


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