publishing poetry chapbooks

Monday's Poem

Photo by Peter Haase

(m)Öthêr Tøñgué Presš
Invoking the Moon

© Mona Fertig

Signs of the Times

At the top of the trail, two cardboard handwritten signs
rest on a blue nylon tent rolled tight under the cedars.

They are both torn from the same box.
Words scrawled by the tent's keeper—

"use at will but don't lite a fire"

And the other sign bears the words of the by-law officer—

"absolutely no camping i will remove your tent tomorrow"

Weeks have passed since I first read those signs.
The campfire pit is wet charcoal, cold offerings,

one open sardine tin filled with rainwater, a yellow nylon rope
a tin cup, and melted tea lights rest lightly on a bed of brown pine needles.

The tent is large, still folded & wrapped with rope,
big enough to sleep 4 or 6 people and a dog.

It lies on the damp forest floor waiting for habitation,
waiting to serve its purpose, become Shelter-in-a-park where overnight

camping is no longer allowed, only disc golf,
which has destroyed more underbrush than any camper.

Young homeless people, looking for jobs or utopia,
lie in dirty sleeping bags by the parking lot, under the covered

picnic table, circled by broken beer bottles and slanting rain.
They sleep the sleep of the dispossessed as I pass.

Mona Fertig opened the legendary Literary Storefront (Canada's first literary center) in Gastown in 1978. She has published many books/chapbooks of poetry and read from Vancouver to Newfoundland, New York to San Francisco. In 1990 she moved to Salt Spring Island with her husband and their two children. Since then she has been the owner/operator/ designer with her husband Peter (a letterpress printer/electrician) of (m)Öthêr Tøñgué Presš, a private literary press on Salt Spring Island. She was the BC/Yukon Rep for the Writers' Union of Canada & is a part-time bookseller at Volume Two Books. She has completed her first novel, and her new book Invoking the Moon: Selected Poems 1975–1989, will be published by Black Moss Press this fall (2006). "Signs of the Times" is from a new manuscript-in-progress titled Beneath the Surface, socio-political-mythical-personal poems about what's happening beneath the surface of Salt Spring Island.