The Dazzling Oppression of the Real #10: poetess M. Jay Smith

Jude Dillon presents: M. Jay Smith

M. Jay Smith is a Toronto-based writer and poet originally from Edmonton, Alberta. Her work has appeared in newspapers, magazines, and literary journals throughout the continent. Although she quit formal academic investigations into experimental poetry and aesthetic theory with the birth of her daughter in 2005, she continues to pursue these avenues of enquiry in her creative writing. She is presently preparing a book of poems that investigates the poetic intersections of feminism and the Albertan landscape.

edmontonia (excerpts in the key of e)


flat lands

wordless flat lands


in these fields

of wheat.

our egos


by the sky.

our sky-scape-

rs are grain


it’s a literary


this carapace of place.


the combine ate

my homework.

the Indians spoke

all over my

tabula rasa.

the prairie took

my surrealism



we make homogenization’s bright

antidote, smearing language

over the lay of the land. this

terrain is home, verbosely.

see shepherdess’s lively stock.

a river spilling tongues

through an emerald valley. it is

scenic, our pastoral mode.

our poetry’s map devours the land,

meticulously. we etch

our mentality half-way

to the midnight sun.

we hold paper in our

triumphant fists. the prairies

make populists

of us all.


we have reveries

of tall buildings:

the city

of superlative functions &

sky scrapers. in a dream-

marbled blue sky,

super heroes buzz about

big concrete


it’s epic


an urban skyline

is testament


concrete thinking. thick

thought-residue stands up


to the tyranny of time,

& towers

something triumphant






as for me & my house,

these flimsy

prairie structures

decompose faster

than the bodies can flee

the building

          (read: the architecture of


reclaimed: i can

list generations of

house: sod house, log

cabin, shitty leaky bungalow

on a drained mckernan lake, condo

overlooking the river valley.

alberta’s architectural


of the twenty-oughts is

burning down old edifices

for insurance.

          boom / bust:

money is a faster current

than history.

we build up

impermanence like

nature morte.



if language

is human & story

is society, then

the aspen parkland is





the epicentre of

impermanence    (the subject holding

the moment, the here-and-now between

the teeth)                       stands in

          this vast




          like tinnitus.


• elocutionary acts


or a seashell put to the ear,

the missive from the eastern centre:


the country is so quiet; the hinter-

lands have such clean air; you can feel

the lungs clearing out and the mind

laxly rests on wordless things.




dead leaf.

: nature morte


noble savages

of us all.


 on creationism: seven poems for gabi

1:39 am 

28 september 2009

g: mom, what are you doing out there?

m: i couldn’t sleep; i’m trying to work.

g: i’m going back to sleep because i need to go to school

 tomorrow & i don’t want to feel tired.

(she is 4 years old today, or will

be in about fourteen hours and five


a vision is our land-scape bespeckled with shining

words, supernatural words, ammolite-words, chromatically-shifting

words, green grass running water words, glistening

words; words in the valley & words on the plains; words on the

shining stripes of re-cycled glass highway signs, on

our way out of town:

language is

iridescent & every-

where. & where i touch my pro-

lific lips,

it is creationism, the vehicle for

all terrains of prairie.

         (( compare,

how some still clench secret desires,

w/ bibles belted tight in the resonant

territories of

secondary hwys.

consider the hermeneutics of

this effluence, whizzing out

from range-road enclaves,

hiding beneath barn

roofs crumbling.  how           oblivion

slips out in

straw-talk accents.        no silk

in      that sow’s ear.

         // in the pocket // beneath the bales // in-

side the mechanisms of tract

or //

         eschatologies that whisper:

make me ladders of

straw, help me


today, i will not name such attendant

hatred, how it emerges into the world fully

formed, sprung from the torturous head

ache                     or the thigh torn

open           how it evolves or does

not, with or without     dinosaurs; today is a

bliss-thick   thing; today is    

the secret out       pouring from

not those god               dessly fearsome sorts, but

the anti-colonial glory of sending

things out, giving life a          way.

the radical radicle,                           yeh !


          crouch juice-

swollen cunt to dirt; o’er a bed of

boughs, a gesticulation

like gest-


                   the first exodus



         / wild /er




& in between the

self & the lush


the milky secretions

vulcanize as language, the shingles

are slipping down &

coated in this

white stickiness for

rebounding words. i fall back onto a

bed of false unicorn.    used tradition-

ally to prevent miscarriage.    not

actually native to alberta. but i

believe in false unicorns. &

belief means                 plenty b/c

& in the end, i am not

lounging in the pastoral

bouquet. i am not waiting for

the effect to be felt, deep in the

inside glove of

life, in the absence of full

nectaries. i bounce    back.

ah, the beautiful repercussions of

my florid life.

we  grow hives on our tongues; we buzz merrily

merrily on our way. the object clots

between the dots. it grows

too big for the mouth; we nod our apexes to the

world. mild discomfort. pressure. stretch-

ing. an epistolary moment emerges:

                                               dear home,

the libraries in toronto put clarice lispector

beside borges  & garcia marquez on the windowsill. now look

how we can sing in vast voices! there is such a torrent

on our tongues!   listen:                  & four years a-

go i split apart          where cleaves of flesh     are meant to

separate & i squeezed a white-slick thing out;

words lick memory to the peristalsis

of pain & wonder & now

the kid has decided  to get up w/ me.

she is practising her letters in her own note-

book, she writes messages

she says she makes up her

self:            e        FOMW /

         HIEG   GTTtxtT


divination is this,

holding trembling offerings, wordy

things scrawled to the sense of upwards,

to the bigger cerulean

blue sky, looking through the hole-


Published by lenavanelslander

Lena Vanelslander swam many waters. History, Comparative Culture Analysis, Languages, Mythology, Literature, Poetry, too many to sum up. After a life of tribulations the turning point came in her mid twenties: she started to write actively poetry in English. Her melancholic and darkminded nature colour her poems to an individual signature in both time and space. Poems got published in the Stray Branch, Savage Manners, the Delinquent and The Sylvan Echo. Her first chapbook ‘Ma Chanson de Rien du Tout’ has been released in September this year. Her first book of poetry, written with Marilyn Campiz, Quills of Fire, will appear in November 2009. Currently she edits writers' profiles for and

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