May 25-31, 2009: Ken Head and Richard L. Provencher

week of May 25-31, 2009: 

Ken Head and Richard L Provencher

click here for submission guidelines

Ken Head

Bio (auto)

Ken is presently based in Cambridge, England, although for many years he lived and worked in South-East Asia His poems appear regularly in a wide variety of both print and online publications and a number have been anthologized, most recently in the 2009 edition of Anomalous Appetites, an illustrated, large-format, two-hundred page compendium of speculative writing edited by New Zealand poet John Irvine and available online from In 2008, he published a chapbook entitled Long Shadows, which is available to read online or download from Snakeskin and was included in Poetry Super Highway’s 2009 free-for-all In 2008 also, he was invited by Exeter Phoenix Arts and Media Centre in England to contribute a poem previously published online by Poets Against War to the visitor material for an exhibition of the work of the Iranian-born artist Akram Rahmanzadeh Anyone interested in hearing Ken read his own work will find him among the poets recorded online at Poetcasting and at Non-Euclidean Café His first full-length collection, Listening For Light, is to be published this summer by Poetry Monthly Press.

The following work is Copyright © 2009, and owned by Ken Head and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Tea Ceremony: Hangzhou

for Shiao Wei

After twenty years, my mislaid past
falls unexpected from a book The photo of you says it all: still lovely,
self-possessed and elegantly young.

Upmarket Comes Expensive

French-kissing over their cappuccinos
outside the corner café, two pierced,
tattooed and shaven-headed girls intent
on one another don’t notice the dog
rub mangy flanks hard against a piss-stained,
concrete wall to ease the itch, then shake off
pain and trot across to sniff their boot soles
one by one from underneath the table
Three floors above, labourers shovelling
broken brick and plaster into a long,
blue chute dangling like plastic intestine
down the front of a gutted tenement
stop to have a laugh, enjoy the show, spit
out the dirty taste of dust and decay
My children were all born in this bedroom,
there were no maternity hospitals
then, and it was here I nursed my husband
till he died We laid him out on our bed
the best we could while the men went looking
for a doctor who’d come in the middle
of the night I don’t know what I’d have done
without such good neighbours That’s how it was
in those days, we stuck together because
we had to It would be easier for me
now, though, to go into a home No more
stairs to manage,  no shopping to carry,
kinder to my legs But I won’t A bit
more pain’s not going to hurt at my age.


Your turn’s coming, you can see it ahead,
at the other end of the line of cars
stalled by the barrier in driving rain
while troops in hooded capes the same drab green
as the bush slosh through potholes of rust-red
laterite run-off and point their guns
at the driver next in line for the slow
once-over, the cold-eyed document check
Peering in through your rolled-down windows,
they silence the world with question marks:
will they let you go? Back-seat passengers
stay silent You’re waved towards barbed-wire
fencing, a red-and-white-checked metal gate,
heavy machine-guns mounted on tripods
under cover in the backs of jeeps A soldier ticks his clipboard, signals you

on, grins as you pull obediently
away and the gate drops back into place
No one puts his foot down, you drive slowly,
line astern, like undertakers, mindful
of frailty and watchful of the road The saturated green landscape melts by
outside, leaves you hungry for tarmac, white
lines, the false security of road signs.

Richard L Provencher

Bio (auto)

I was born and raised in Rouyn-Noranda, northern Quebec, where hunting and fishing abounds My father once said, “You spend so much time in the woods, be careful you don’t turn into a tree.” My love of the woods and contemporary issues form the basis of my writing Lately I find myself focusing on poetry To me, writing poetry is a global adventure in a land without borders Working with Aboriginals, low-income housing and foster parenting developed areas of understanding, crucial to my writing I have short stories in print and online as well as poems in international literary magazines such as Sky Forest, Hudson View, Short Story Library, Ottawa Arts Review, Dublin Quarterly and Other Voices My wife, Esther and I, live in Truro, Nova Scotia She, along with prayers from family and friends helped me immensely since my stroke in 1999 During this period we co-authored three novels now available from: In addition we placed many stories we wrote for our children on several websites

The following work is Copyright © 2009, and owned by Richard L Provencher and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

The Wind is a Peanut

I want to make the
wind wobble

to watch it squirm
from where
I sit

whistling and whoosing
sounds resonating
I want to capture
its essence
to feel the magic

against my face
warm at times
each season

competing for my
I want to chew into
the meat
like a mouthful

of peanuts

scent teasing from

the wind I call

Subscribe to our weekly Newsletter: