About Richard: Originally from Ottawa, Richard-Yves Sitoski came to his senses and moved to Owen Sound in 2010. Since his arrival he has performed frequently throughout Grey County as a spoken word artist. He holds an M.A. in Classical Studies from Queen’s University and is the author of one collection of poems, brownfields (Ginger Press, 2014), and numerous scattered fragments. His fiction and poetry have appeared in Grimm Magazine, The Maynard, Eclectica Magazine and blue skies poetry. He is, along with Owen Sound’s current Poets Laureate, Rob Rolfe and Larry Jensen, a member of the Métissage collective. He is also Arts Editor of the Thornbury Paper.  In his spare time he writes songs and dreams of Guatemala.


Aid Convoy Bombed in Advance of International Peace Day, 

September 19-21, 2016

poets write of human aspirations
slants of late summer light hitting
the leaves just so and meditative
silences filled with the sound
of personal epiphany all the while
out there others are caught
in the sound of something else
not the sound of people asking
obvious questions and giving
obvious answers but in the silence
before the questions are asked
and the silence once the answers
are given in other words in sounds
only the dead have ever heard
& from this sidewalk where the worst
thing that can happen is a flat tire
and the vegetation is a green tending
toward the brown and free of all
connotations of spring comfortable
urban houses block the plumes
of smoke rising from the burned out
Syrian trucks leaving me to mumble
to myself inarticulate and seeking
epiphany just to write some obvious
lines about the oblivious dead &
if church bells filling the morning
with reassurance can teach
me anything it's that poems written
on scraps of blasted surgical scrubs
half buried in sand and the slag
from a charred ambulance where
fig and date trees used to sway
providing the living with a honey-
scented locus for contemplation
will never be read by those who
will only know epiphany
by asking and answering
their own obvious questions

Blood Recollection

it's not healthy to be inspired
by first love
it's a bad habit in youth
& begs dishonesty in age
yet there you have it
Algonquin Park
up to our knees in a pond
legs whiter than foam cups &
just as intrusive
we had just done it beneath
the poplars clumsily ending mere
minutes before the MNR truck rolled in
and when it came time to
leave the water you jumped
you'd never had a leech on you
much less found your calves sprouting
vampiric black buds &
with nothing to burn them off
you nearly panicked as I plucked
each from its Mercedes-logo grip
but see
I know I've remembered this wrong
we had sex after swimming
you didn't panic
and I wasn't your first love
& the truth comes back as
I'm making dinner and cut
myself while chopping onions &
the memory wells and drips where
I nicked my finger
becoming a lake so broad
it has a tide

Poem for My Son

the moon creates the evening
the unique stillness
of a darkened house
the room-filling quiet of a street
once the screens are off

Chinese poets wrote of sundered
couples romantic leagues apart
united in its light

no need to belabour
it looks down upon our works
at a safe remove as we
sleep on ways
to ruin ourselves

forests brutalized
the ground picked at like
a bleeding sore
water turned to molecules
with foot-long names
and everywhere bankers
extending credit

& all the while I want
so badly to give you
the only real currency
the one which has the weight
of a gull feather lost
in a tussle for a crayfish

and though you joke of
bears outside your window
while you sleep
how long can they visit you
imparting wisdom
when they themselves
don't know what's coming?

if I could I'd find your bear
and give him the sorry news
we blew it
sure as capital causes cancer

but I can't shield you
or prevent you from learning
all this on your own
only soften the pain of landing
by inspiring you
with a few cubic inches
of pure air atop the Escarpment

gazing at birds from above & with
the fields near Kemble spread
before you and giving
you the feeling of having
your own set of wings

it won't stop the death squads
the diamond mines
put a moratorium on
building in Dubhai
bring back to life the passenger pigeon
or do a lick to halt
the sick momentum of the planet

but it may be enough to prove
that's not all there is
you don't have to buy it
there's still a modicum
of authenticity left in the world &
you can find it if
you keep your wits

& though learning from
example is the world's hardest
thing it's a challenge
I'm up for if it kills me
because while this night
the distance between us
is as great as the moon's
from the sea

nothing can stop me
from stretching an arm 200,000 miles
to grab the water
and draw it closer
if only by a foot