Cluster Flux (Downloadable PDF)
by D.S. Stymeist
Cluster Flux, D.S. Stymeist’s tender and visionary second collection, is an explosion of transmissions. Transmission of bodies through geographical space, across boundaries, across time, across material states. Transmission of ideas and modes of awareness. Transmission of emotions, expressions, sensations.
At the center of the transmissions, anchoring the book, is an incantatory long poem: “Mass Transfer.” This poem is a shotgun blast, a wake-up call: “The plank and ping of it bangs into your soles, / travels the leg, runs up spine, / shakes chest and chassis.”
D.S. Stymeist’s Cluster Flux moves from a whisper to a piano played fortissimo, with all the windows open. It’s a revelation.
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Soft Cover with flaps
D.S. Stymeist’s debut collection, The Bone Weir, was published by Frontenac House Press in 2016 and was a finalist for the Canadian Author’s Association Award for Poetry. Alongside fending off Crohn’s disease, he teaches creative writing at Carleton University. He grew up as a non-indigenous member of a mixed heritage family on O-Pipon-Na-Piwin Cree Nation; these formative experiences continue to guide and shape his identity. As former president of VERSe Ottawa, he helped organize VERSeFest, Ottawa’s international poetry festival.
Obsessed with cattle’s bony shape,
she’d drive the boundary lines
until she’d found a herd of stock.
She’d lure cows to the electric fence,
give them sugar. Sketch their haunches
and raw backsides. Her tablet filled
with details of slack dugs, cloven hooves,
hairy out-turned ears. At times,
she’d remember me, lanky teen
in chill wind. She’d pull me to her,
warm my body against
her breasts. Her wild horses
won acclaim. Etched with cave-art
vitality, ancient kinship. Yet
with every praise, her face furrowed,
as if these hosannas
might keep her from her cows.