Tag Archives: Apocalypse

No apocalypse, but a day of winters, a day of springs

I’m all tapped out of apocalyptic poems. Besides, today is not THE END—like any other day, it’s full of infinite endings and beginnings, of infinite winters and springs.

So in lieu of the mother-of-all-end-times-poems, I’m posting a sonnet for winter and a sonnet for spring, the flip sides of every moment of existence. Blessings and peace.

Repeat. Flesh
of snow, pocks
in tarnished snow.
Snow of lust.
Snow of cash.
Blathering omega’s
travesty of dust.
Snow breaking
vows of poverty
but not silence.
Snow of theft.
Sparrows buried
in snow.

Spring’s blind surge awakens rambling epics. Evidence
gushes First things jockey for position. Feet sink
into mud, and revelation looms at the cost of sleep. Even
a car sounds different. The exotic bark of a dog shatters
Orion, spilling sand from a stunned hourglass.
Thereafter, molecules relax and history tries again:
A garlanded mother emerges playing a kithara
as her darlings weave a pedastal, the better to adore
the quixotic colorist: proof that sensory deprivation
binds minions to a redundant diety. Lids can’t filter
catastrophic light. Sap’s flight quickens, guiding
moments trickling toward a slack horizon. And again:
over the years weep scullions at their skinned rabbits.
Peddlers of risk lean into showers of delinquent buds.


Camille Martin

Nancy of Wisconsin and the Zetas of Nibiru

According to one Nancy of Wisconsin, who for years has been channeling the Zeta ETs through a brain implant, tomorrow Planet Nibiru will make boom-boom with Earth, paving the way for our drooling Zeta overlords to turn the solar system into their own private Monopoly board. Maybe Nancy forgot to take her meds. But just in case, stay home in your pjs, make a pitcher of martinis and the highest cholesterol snacks you can muster, and lean back in your Adirondack for the most spectacular fireworks display of your short life. Nancy will be waiting for you on the other side.

Y’all have a nice doomsday!


Camille Martin

“A deserted city. We’ll have to imagine it’s in a movie.”

On the eve of December 21, my penultimate end-of-the-world poem, this one from Looms:

A deserted city. We’ll have to imagine
it’s in a movie. Beneath a listless dome, walls
crumble into backlit dust. Flames on a hillside swarm,
tattered auburn fishes in the autumn wind. Glints of dying
light fall on unmoored mountains whose thoughts of home
come to nothing. Everywhere, flocks of matter dip pale snouts
into inky ponds. We’ll have to imagine someone watching
that movie. No one left to forget irrelevant seeds. Some left off
praying to the mother of a tarnished idol presiding over a flock
of angels, breath attended by golden lice. Others
paused long enough to view dusk’s leisurely descent
over the white noise of crashing surf. All found something
to swear by before it was too late. Photogenic dullards jazzed
in the waning light. A ship’s captain jingled his coins
before staving in the ship. Embers in a hearth
illuminated fish bones on plates.


Sonnets and Looms are available from the following vendors:

Small Press Distribution
Book City in Toronto
Apollinaire’s Bookshoppe
Shearsman Books.


Camille Martin

“Glib spice announces the news . . .”: More Pre-Mayan-Apocalypse Fiddling

from Sonnets

Glib spice announces the news bleeding
in the monochromatic distance. The short-term
memory of distance flees in fear. Enemies
fall, money flees. Falling gloom dazzles just
as history taught it to. Not the history of stars
made of tumbleweed nor the annals of a dust mote
singing rich disaster. Masoch was never so rich,
or so it seems to each geological layer. No
notebook records a pocket of posies between thick
layers of ash. It just is, caught in a small pocket
of time. “Time to return to star,” announces
tumbleweed on the news. The news shrinks
to a speck of pollen on a posy’s anther
in a pocket caught between thick layers of ash.

2012 - 2

Sonnets and Looms are available here:

Small Press Distribution
Book City in Toronto
Apollinaire’s Bookshoppe
Shearsman Books
The Book Depository


Camille Martin

Fiddling While Earth Burns: Poems for the End of Time

          I’m obsessed with The End, with the smorgasbord of choices for Armageddon that Neil deGrasse Tyson cheerfully ticks off: asteroid, caldera eruption, mega-tsunami, black hole. Not surprisingly, some of my poems have an apocalyptic theme.
          So in honour of the rapidly-approaching December 21, 2012—of the dreaded cataclysm that Mayan astronomers predicted (unless they just got tired of chiselling)—I’ll be posting poems to while away the countdown to the terrestrial torch. The first poem is below.
          And what would 2012 prophesies be without a little shameless commercialism? I’m selling poetry, not opulent underground condos, but then, to paraphrase William Carlos Williams, survivalists die miserably on doomsday for lack of what is found in poems.
          The clock is ticking, but you can still get a copy of Sonnets and Looms from the following vendors: Small Press Distribution, Book City in Toronto, Amazon.ca, and Shearsman Books.
          Help keep my kitchen, where I’m hunkering down with proper Canadian garrison mentality, stocked with beans and rice during these anti-climactic end times.

from Sonnets:

From a helicopter at night, an aerial
view of a city. In the dark, gigantic
iron statues loom with an ominous
aura of permanence. The people
who live in the city obsess
about the possibility of doomsday
erupting among their soaring
buildings and effigies. Of the end
they’ve made a fetish, chatting
about it at cocktail parties as if
it were the latest vogue. They believe
that it could happen at any moment,
so they no longer bother
to make their beds in the morning.


Camille Martin


Fell Swoop’s Apocalyptic Scoop

Just in time to prepare mentally (or to go mental) for the end of time, I pulled from the mailbox two single-author issues of Fell Swoop: The All-Bohemian Revue:

      Chris Toll’s Life on Earth
      Rupert Wondolowski’s Mattress in an Alley, Raft upon the Sea

Here are poems to entertain and enlighten during breaks from your last-ditch efforts to dig a luxury backyard bunker.
          You’ll also find poems (such as the ones below) encoded with apocalyptic prophesies and escape hatches, a sort of missing manual to the Mayan calendar. And if you close your eyes and recite the poems three times backwards, a wormhole will open up. You’ll know what to do.

Chris Toll's Life on Earth

Chris Toll’s Life on Earth

This Is How We Make a Broken Heart

Approximately 13.7 billion years ago,
an antimatter scientist
dropped an antimatter test tube.
In the summer of 1966,
Bob Dylan steered his motorcycle
into a curve.
Beneath a lilac bush,
the FBI sniper took aim.
Behind the tinted glass of a limousine,
the imposter memorized the lyrics
filed in a loose-leaf binder.
My poem comes from far away
and it’s going far away—
I’m just in the middle
like a lonesome TV station
with no employees.
The Angel of Death
has a black leather trench coat
draped around her shoulders.
She steps out of an elevator
and pulls her suitcase behind her.
An accordion folder full of legal briefs
balances on top of the suitcase.
Her black wool sport coat
lies across the accordion folder.
The sport coat falls off and hits the floor.
Side effects include unusual dreams.
When I stand up from my dead body,
my face is a howl of stars.


Some Late Night Thoughts of Mortality While Staring Glassy-Eyed at Karen Black

Look at you all chased by shin
high tribal fetish with razor sharp
spears!   That little fucker wouldn’t
give up!   Or bug-eyed and winsome
courageously daffy really
among a family of rich eccentrics.
The Ping Pong kept them human,
tables were everywhere in the ’70s
and the silenced Poundian father
gave them gravity.

Dithering alone to Tammy Wynette
without realizing you’re alone.
It really truly does often all
come down to trapped
in a truck stop restroom,
either puking and pregnant,
or puking and deserted
staring at what’s left
in a smeared reflection
passing for a mirror.

If you only knew
what was coming—
the global crash
the toxic air
the hurricanes
and floods,
you would grab
a few of those handy
rolls in the john
and construct what
is known as a shirker’s nest
and wait out a few nights.

If you think those hairs
on your chicken leg
were gross just wait
until Ronald Reagan
is upheld as a hero.

Camille Martin

Robert Zend: Dreams Report the Bankruptcy of Words

Robert Zend (1929-1985)
Daymares: Selected Fictions on Dreams and Time
Vancouver: Cacanadadada Press, 1991

          About a year ago, a frend who used to live next door to Robert Zend gave me a copy of Daymares. Already having a stack of unread books at my bedside, I put it on my shelf for another day. Recently, I came across his name and retrieved the book from the tail-end of my short story collection. Now I can hardly put it down.
          Zend’s stories continually involute expectations about identity, time, and the distinction between reality and illusion. Shape-shifting characters, dreams within dreams, anachronisms, and paradoxes keep the reader adrift in a fantastical realm whose often dark irrationality explores mysteries of humanity: uncharted cognitive depths, the burdens of history, and the continuities between self and other.
          Daymares is a genre-blending work containing mostly short stories but also poetry and concrete poetry (“typescapes”). Some of the stories offer twists on religious mythology, including “The End of the World,” a comical revision of the Apocalypse in which the narrator scoffs, “Mankind, shmankind!” and boffs his neighbour’s wife as the four horsemen gallop toward the annihilation of the earth into smithereens—sort of. Others, such as “A Dream About the Centre,” explore the vastness of human cognition in the blink of a waking dream. One of the most moving stories, “My Baby Brother,” confounds time and identity in exploring issues of Holocaust death, survival, and the continuity of life.
          This Hungarian-Canadian writer will appeal to anyone with a penchant for Jorge Luis Borges’ mind-bending labyrinths, paradoxes, and dreamscapes. But Zend is an original swimming in a similar stream of fantasy and dream, navigated with keen intellect and feeling for the human condition. Borges wrote to Zend: “You consider me one of your masters, yet you were my pupil even before reading my work.”
          After relishing Daymares, I eagerly sought other works by Zend and ordered From Zero to One, a collection of his poems. Click here for Glenn Gould’s tribute to Zend on the back jacket.
          Below I’m reproducing an excerpt from Zend’s introduction to the book as well as two poems and two typescapes.

from “Introduction to an unpublished manuscript entitled
Selected Dreams”

          Although the Sun declared it a false doctrine, we still secretly accept the creed of Darkness, which teaches us that the land of dreams is common for everybody: it is not three-billion individually enclosed lands, but one. It obeys not three-billion personal laws, but one. It is a common land where we all meet each other, and these meetings will be unremembered during the linear Sun-time, by the vertically erected individuals who intermingle on the curved, collective male-plane. We all believe—though we know it isn’t true—that the land into which we submerge (while our horizontal bodies rest, tossing and turning about) is real, as real, if not more, than that from which we sank down. Originally, we were all the sons and daughters of Darkness: that was our prenatal land, the Atlantis-womb before the ejaculating rays of the aroused Sun-lord fertilized it, generating us who grow and pop out into the light. We never lose our nostalgia for the cool, dank, soily shadow-shapes of the womb.
          This is the world of dreams from which, at the very beginning of our personal lives it was so hard to be torn away. This is where we spent most of our early time, sleeping. Gradually, as the duration of our sojourns in that world decreased, our time in the clear, collective, articulate world correspondingly increased. The sword of merciful death finally liberates us forever, from the task of wasting even short hours in this male-reality, so that we can return completely to virgin mother-existence. Death allows us back to the land of time-spacelessness; to the tiny centre point of our individual self which strangely coincides with the three-billion other human centre-points, with those of the dead ones, with those of our more ancient ancestors: swimming, crawling and flying creatures, rooting-stretching plants and perhaps even with the centre-points of other alien-living-units, of agitatedly swirling atoms and majestically rotating galaxies.
          The real difficulty, for both the individual and the race, is not to learn the language of Darkness, but rather to learn the language of the Sun. Only the minuscule peak of our iceberg-soul uses Sun-speech. Its bulky expanse hidden under the surface still speaks the ancient language of Darkness: we consist mainly of dreams and only negligibly of wakefulness. By collective agreement between the Sun-ruled ego-peaks, which engage themselves in labyrinthine sociopolitical mythologies, this original language is marked with the stamp of insanity. This “insanity” lurking in all of us, even at high-noon, never stops giving whispered suggestions to our seemingly sane, wakeful structures. That is why we periodically grow sick of them and, through bloody revolutions, try to change them back to the original Utopia which had existed in the Atlantean womb-past, and not, as is erroneously hypothesized, in the Sun-like, glowing erection-future. All these attempts are, of course, futile. It is impossible to convert rocks into clouds, father into mother, iron into fantasy. We don’t have to learn to speak the language of dreams because we never forget to speak it: we practise it a third of every day; we all come from it, persons as well as species. It is our real mother tongue: translations into it are impossible. Everything else: literature, communication, institutions, law, family, society, love, cities, technology, religion, art and science, is already a translation from it—and unsuccessful translations at that: like ruins disintegrating in an alien environment.
          You can dream of a lion which is as harmless and cute as an Easter Bunny, or of a motionless pillar, which is as menacing as a rapist. You can dream of lovemaking as unpleasant as slavery, or of bland, grey flower-pots as warm and sensuous as rosy-hued flesh. Translating them with Sun-lit words gives rise to impenetrable jungles of misunderstanding in which sameness means difference; nearness, distance; flux, solidity; consecutiveness, simultaneity and repetition, comparison. This language knows no word, its events do not provoke emotions, its objects do not lend themselves to symbolization. On the contrary, it informs us of the bankruptcy of words: its emotions provoke events and its abstract objects are expressions of solid symbols.

Day and Night (1983)

The Dream-Cycle

Nothing dreams Something
  but Something is mostly Void

    Void dreams Matter
      but Matter is mostly Vacuum

        Vacuum dreams a Universe
          but the Universe is mostly Ether

            Ether dreams Galaxies
              but a Galaxy is mostly Space

                Space dreams Solar Systems
                  but a Solar system is mostly Sky

                    Sky dreams Celestial Bodies
                        but a Celestial Body is mostly Hollow

                          Hollowness dreams Beings
                            but a Being is mostly Empty

                              Emptiness dreams Consciousness
                                but Consciousness is mostly Sleep

                                  Sleep dreams Wakefulness
                                    but Wakefulness is mostly Irrational

                                      Irrationality dreams Knowledge
                                        but Knowledge is mostly Chaos

                                          Chaos dreams Existence
                                            but Existence is mostly Nothing

Nothing dreams Everything
before it is ready to awake


Awakening from Dreams (1983)

After I Die

After I die
Time will be Space
and I will move back and forth in it
    every step a generation
    and I will watch
    the child I was
    the Man I was—
        After I die
        “I” will be “he”

After I die
Now will be Then
and I will remember all who lived
    Napoleon and Socrates
    and Columbus and Leonardo
    and Moses and Gilgamesh
    and all the nameless ones
    will be like days in a long life—
        After I die
        “I” will be “they”

After I die
Here will be There
and I will expand or shrink at will
    the soul of atoms and their particles
    of suns and their planets
    of galaxies and their solar systems
    of universes and their galaxies
    will be my soul and they will rotate in me—
        After I die
        “I” will be “it”

After I die
If will be When
and I will fill all holes with existence
    making things that were not made
    living lives that were unlived
    growing histories that could have happened
    creating worlds that had been aborted
    realizing possibilities that never were—
        After I die
        “I” will be “god”

After I die
I will be nothing
and I am just dreaming about the impossible
projecting a tunnel under the prison wall
    but tomorrow: to go
    tomorrow: to talk
    tomorrow: to work
    tomorrow: to play
    tomorrow: to cope
    tomorrow: to survive—
        After I die “yes” will be “no”
        and everything will become so easy

Wednesday, September 20, 1973

Photo credit: Aniko Zend

Camille Martin