anarchaeology of lichen

Reclining Figure in Marsh Landscape 1967

Willem de Kooning, Reclining Figure in Marsh Landscape, 1967


(anarchaeology of lichen)

by Liz Howard

In the towns I wear a sash monogrammed “Jacque Cartier”
and paddle through the desiccation of mute origin

if I wasn’t such a bâtarde I’d swell dissident
and beaded aquatic, take to water

tender stairwell of mares
limbic foals all misskwa nibowin
red death of my arms and horses and horses

lichen for the stomachs of caribou you track me in this herd
the city now a dénouement of the assimilative purge

symbiome:  what it took for you to enter
history, a slackened joy

John Clare and I and 37 Claires well versed in literature
each have a simulation of a raven in the crooks of our arms

tepid swallows
be your own antecedent
where possible

or a coda to my bibliography of silence, a fur-lined oneirophrenia
ascetically-charged moral pastures and thought-systems of rivers

but not for lack of wolves
or inside of wolves or besides the point of wolves
also teleology

what cache of stone flaunts umbilical sinew and lesser hides?
in a whalebone summer I’ll hum, ‘que sera, sera’ on the tundra

just below this earthen burial urn is your
mammalian warmth place a hand
to tend it             the
velveteen recognition
slides down
the artifact
of calcified desire

where memento and trajectory vistas assemble subthalamic
or post-coital alluvium—all dressy—take the small bend of it

for memory/stamen/intoxicate

no sister flower could ever recover this

—selfsame pleasure.



Liz Howard is a poet from northern Ontario, currently based in Toronto. Her work has appeared in Misunderstandings Magazine and online at Matrix Magazine as part of the New Feminisms Supplemental. In 2009 she was shortlisted for the LitPop Award for poetry. She is the recipient of a Toronto Arts Council grant for poetry. Skullambient, her first chapbook, is forthcoming from Ferno House Press. On May 7th and 8th, 2014 she will be in Princeton along with fellow Canadian poets, Mat Laporte, Erin Robinsong and Aisha Sasha John, for A Rhythm Party, a reading series and workshop exploring the intersection of hospitality and poetics. The poem (anarchaeology of lichen) will be includded in Skullambient and can be found online at Ditch Poetry.