Passion: Poetry Mystery

Sometime between the hours of 5 and 7am, I finally fell asleep after a long, uncharacteristic night of intense writing. At 8pm, I had felt an incredible torpor that pinned me where I lay, but afterward it relaxed and it seemed as though I was dreaming awake. It felt very new to me: writing, everything.

So I was surprised when I finally opened the front door to check the mail just prior to 3pm today to find this.

passion poetry ottawaIt is a battered copy of Passion: Poetry Volume II, a young Ottawa-based lit journal stuffed under one leg of my stoop’s chair as if to both pin it in place and to stabilize the chair for sitting.

My roommates swear it wasn’t there in the morning. Between 10:30am when I woke up, and 3pm when I stepped out the door I heard no one knock. But someone put it there, perhaps even sat awhile in the chair to take in the view of the empty schoolyard across the street.

I examined the magazine more closely for clues.

passion poetry ii closeThe magazine is crinkled and dirty; I thought at first that it might’ve been lightly burned, but it looks more like it has been dropped in a muddy puddle and let dry in the cold air. The weight of the chair leg has bored a hole right through the cover that continues on in gradually smaller holes through several pages, like Xenomorph blood through decks.

"Now it is more accurate: // where my eyes were, / every - / thing appears"

“Now it is more accurate: // where my eyes were, / every – / thing appears”

This suggests that the book was placed under the chair while it was still wet. I should have noted whether the paper tore as I lifted the chair to retrieve it, or if was split open with the metal leg of the chair as the person who left it fixed it there with slightly more violence than was strictly necessary.

There is unintelligible scribbling on the lower right-hand corner.

passion poetry scribblesOther than that, the book is empty of obvious messages. I know only three contributors to the magazine, as well as, in passing, its editor. My best and only guess was Dalton Derkson, former Punk Prince of Ottawa Poetry and Hurtin’ Crüe Press impressario. In the past I have discovered little things from him in my mailbox, the way a cat leaves headless mice on its human bud’s doorstep.

A younger, still sleazy Dirty Derkson.

A yearbook-lookin’, still sleazy Dirty Derkson.

Only, Dalton moved to Toronto and, what’s more, says he didn’t do it. So that leaves me at square one.

I realized I hadn’t heard anything about Passion: Poetry in a while, though that’s not unusual for indie zines, so I decided to visit their website where, back in September, they’d run a small contest. Only now it seems that their website has been pulled down and the Facebook page has disappeared. Mention of it has also been removed from its editors’ personal profiles. It happened recently enough that the magazine’s page still shows up in Google’s search results. Here is the cached result:

As far as mysteries go, the one about what happened to Passion seems a minor one, and easily solved since I can just ask the people I know point blank what’s going on with it. The mystery of who left the zine there and why will ultimately resolve itself too I am sure. But while I am here right now in the middle of not knowing, and still riding the wave that follows getting some good work done, it can hardly help but sparkle with significance. Do I even want to know the what and why here?

JM’s JaM: Wire – Strange

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