Welcome to Pig Squash Press! You have arrived at the cyber-home, alter ego, publishing imprint and creative conduit connecting meKim Goldbergto the rest of the planet (and possibly beyond).

My latest books are:

UndetectableUndetectable, a lyrical journey through illness, wellness, Hepatitis C and virus as metaphor. I lived with Hepatitis C for 45 years before being cured in 2015 with the breakthrough new drug Harvoni. I wrote Undetectable in the Japanese literary style of haibun – a travel diary paired with haiku – as I wandered the streets and forests of Nanaimo, BC, during my 84 days of treatment, meditating on all things undetectable.

RED ZONE, a graffiti-strewn poem diary of homelessness in Nanaimo, BC, where I live. More than 300 people live and sleep on the streets of Nanaimo. RED ZONE has been taught in university literature courses. Reviewers have compared it to the writings of Allen Ginsberg, Marge Piercy, and John Steinbeck.

Ride Backwards on Dragon: a poet’s journey through Liuhebafafinalist for Canada’s Gerald Lampert Memorial Award. A collection of 66 linked poems following the 66-move sequence of the ancient martial art of Liuhebafa on a mythic quest for internal alchemy and immortality. Visit my Liuhebafagirl blog for deets.

So make yourself comfy, have a boo at my blog postings about upcoming literary happenings and other current events, leave a comment, walk your dog, order a book or two, follow me on Twitter @KimPigSquash, like me on Facebook.

May the metaphors be with you!

Kim Goldberg

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Ghost Fishing: An Eco-Justice Poetry Anthology

I just received my contributor copy of the Ghost Fishing: An Eco-Justice Poetry Anthology. WOWZERS! What a collection! I am so honoured to be included with my poem “Spawn” in this 460-page anthology edited by Melissa Tuckey, co-founder of Split This Rock.

Contributors are from around the world, as shown on contributor map below, and include Naomi Shihab Nye, Yusef Komunyakaa, Martín Espada, Simon J Ortiz, Sam Hamill, Dorianne Laux, Joy Harjo, Wang Ping, and many more.

Ghost Fishing is available from University of Georgia Press. Or from Amazon.

From the Introduction by Melissa Tuckey:

Eco-justice poetry is poetry born of deep cultural attachment to the land and poetry born of crisis. Aligned with environmental justice activism and thought, eco-justice poetry defines environment as “the place we work, live, play, and worship.” This is a shift from romantic notions of nature as a pristine wilderness outside of ourselves, toward recognizing the environment as home: a source of life, health, and livelihood. It is poetry at the intersection of  culture, social justice, and the environment.



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Nanaimo Tent City – Day 1

A tent city of homeless individuals sprung up on the lawn of Nanaimo City Hall this morning. The action is in response to the city’s lack of progress on homelessness and the opioid crises locally. Six tents were standing in front of City Hall this afternoon.

Last month, City Council voted to reject $7 million from the province for supportive housing at a Chase River location. This decision fueled the launch of today’s Tent City.

And recently, central Vancouver Island medical health officer Dr. Paul Hasselback blasted Nanaimo City Council for creating “an obstacle to substance use treatment” in a city with an overdose death rate that is 50 per cent higher than the rest of the province.

For many months, Nanaimo City Council and city administration have been seen to be in a state of disarray, unable to move forward on urgent needs of the community because of infighting among council members and poor personnel decisions.
~Kim Goldberg

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Arrival (a triolet)

I am delighted to have my triolet “Arrival” published in the January 2018 issue of the Literary Review of Canada. The poetry theme for the January issue was ” Reflections on Canada’s 150th” — a topic that, for many poets, is rich (or fraught) with ambivalence and contradiction.

The poem itself is a triolet, a French form dating back to the 1300s, according to the form poetry mavens Kate Braid and Sandy Shreve, editors of the landmark anthology In Fine Form: The Canadian Handbook of Form Poetry.

The triolet is a form consisting of eight lines in a single octet. And five of those lines are refrain (i.e., they appear more than once). The big challenge with a poem that is so short and has so much repetition is to keep it interesting. One way to do that is by making slight variations on the lines that repeat, which is what I have done here.

The rhyme scheme for a triolet is: ABaAaAB (capital letters indicate refrains/repeated lines). So in the above poem, lines 1, 4 and 7 are supposed to be identical, as are lines 2 and 8. You can see the slight variations made to shift/create the overall meaning.





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The King of the Kookaburras feared seven words
so he dug seven holes in the earth. He knew he wasn’t crazy—
his angst was science-based. The interment of bad
language was both duty and entitlement. One night
while the kingdom’s vulnerable earlobes slumbered upon
moonlit waves of chromatic diversity, the King
of the Kookaburras summoned his seven transgender
aides to bring the seven profane words to the clearing
in the forest with the upturned earth. Each word lay slightly
curled in its cardboard coffin awaiting an evidence-based
green burial to be witnessed by the King (who fancied
himself an environmentalist). The King videotaped
the solemn proceeding on his golden fetus cam
which he won at the interstate carnival of desert limes
last year. Henceforth, the official language
was a little lighter, a little safer, a little more surreal.

~Kim Goldberg

Statement: Around the same time that the Trump administration forbade the Centers for Disease Control from using seven words, I was researching the myth of King Midas’s donkey ears. King Midas’s barber was the only one who knew about the King’s ears, and he was sworn to secrecy. But the barber could not keep the secret so he went out to a meadow, dug a hole in the ground, whispered the story into it, then filled in the hole. This didn’t work out too well for King Midas since reeds grew in the meadow and began whispering the secret the barber had buried. But I couldn’t help but be enchanted by the notion of concealing words by burying them in the ground. Is it any more fantastical than current politics in the oval office?

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The crunch of Christmas morning snow
punctuates my stroll along the river’s edge, its lazy
sprawl toward harbour, all the mysteries
of the estuary adrift upon dark arms—rotted
log, crumpled maple leaves, a wild duck’s
perfect wing cleaved from any reason.     I see
a cougar’s paw print sunken in the snow
but I keep going
past noisy squall of gulls
past bald eagles coursing above
past the kiss on my mother’s forehead
an hour ago at her nursing home
past the tiny vole gnawing at my heart
past eyes as blue
as the kingfisher see-sawing
downstream until I reach the point
where the river ends and the other thing

~Kim Goldberg

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The Keys of the Piano

The Keys of the Piano
Kim Goldberg

The keys of the piano at the annual
extinction concert were built from bones
of vanished species—each pallid slab
a different absence in the ravelling
weft. And the people wept

as the unholy keen rose
from the cliffside amphitheatre slicing
the summer sky above the sea, clashing
chords formulated by features of
mineral density rather than
scalar math, battling the crash
of wave, the wail of gull, a thunder of
harmonics too ecstatic or demonic
to withstand. It began with a rat

back in 2016. The mosaic-
tailed rat endemic to Bramble Cay
in the Great Barrier Reef: declared the first
mammalian casualty of climate change.
And the people blinked

but recovered. Just a rat
on a small coral island barely above
sea level. Who can understand the genius
of a mind that sees music and immortality
in a cadaver? As a grad student, she flew

to Papua New Guinea and hired a boat
to collect a satchel of remains that became
the first key in the first piano in the first
annual extinction concert all those years
ago. Tonight beside the sea

spray of salt upon her aging cheek
co-mingling with greying hair, ancient
reverberations, tonal beats on an evolutionary
scale, pale skeletons defying time, space
the slow descent of civilization.

* * *

“The Keys of the Piano” first appeared in the international climate poetry anthology A Change in Climate, released December 11, 2017.  The book is available for purchase via Amazon UK.

Print edition: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1973376547
Kindle edition: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Change-Climate-Sam-Illingworth-ebook/dp/B0784S5SMG/

For this anthology, poems on climate change were submitted from around the world, and 20 were chosen for the book. All profits from this book will be used to support the Environmental Justice Foundation, who investigate and expose environmental and human rights abuses through film and photography. By purchasing this book, you are helping to support their Climate Campaign, which is centred on fighting for the rights of climate refugees.

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For years
I shut my bedroom
window to sleep so the percussion
of the city did not fetter my
not penetrate my dreamy
slump with rev of
engine, shouted
goodbyes, dumpster lid
banging shut

with more days done
than coming, I throw the window
wide so the noisy slurry
does not
pass me by

* * *

~Kim Goldberg

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