Douglas Barbour and Sheila E. Murphy

Continuations LXVII

where ever more handwashing signals less
than usual mind gamesmanship
how far from the open palm
the dirty water falls       fail
each next excuse       drop the towel
covered eyes       or curtained power turned off

triptych reifies the fallen
use of covers       curtaining
light we have       assumed is open
while not far from here       alms
do not matter       washing
occurs offhand

behind a curtained off ice oafish
offal slips of tongue and pen
poisoning letters falling
into dis
ease       respect       turb
(ul)ence       turn of
another screw-up       up-end it

to loaf allows all manner
of glint to
splurge in turned ways
the fiche that passes
undermining via tribulation
as endpoint

hand-me-downed to a mere dot
con       in formation   out
source       commotion
non-com       pliant
plaint       template honor
thrust aside at top (see under)

overtime       occupational
therapy       plies for trade
symptoms of rust honed
over decades       cads asunder
still       in motion
con template       toura loura

loo       to cross       a pile of
man      your      lost past caught up
in       stance       too closed
mouth       controvert via    com
munications       munitions       ex
plain       plode       (all a)     pose

anterior remarkable munitions
maim implosive chits
he answered the ex
pli   cit invitation with alacrity
south of indulgence and incontrovertible
romance tried to hurry back

ground up or dead   weight
of expect   (n)ations   ration
alized      de-realization tend
dancing to the end of
the real   reeling   music spherical
low noted tumbledown explanatory

endings leave trace phenomena
lead time rounded corners as
cyclical constructs flattened
to irrational wait time
as if only
notes repaired to tumblers     temblors

tectonic deformation   s   entenced to
how long o load      how wrong
headed      for one more disaster
truss fault      lines of de
mark      ration      mal
ediction misdirection      hard abyme

dentifrice okay yet
altogether faulted endpoints
overland      reveal
intensity in face
of c      ash      a cache of heads
dis      taste      r      n    ever    due

to mend audacity    rend additional
folk    follied or foiled    fool
ed once twice and cache
on the barrel       tread lightly
carrying biggest stick
in the mud       died

loofa scratched across the mud
ruins a healing surface
rendering addition
twice numb       now focused on the impasse
radical    ex
cavation       in a city once real/ized

on a hill unburnt    where now smoke
renders caesarean clouds
sectioning the open skies
fundament walls    neighbours
shunned    firing on
the mountain sheers a way away

braces    brackets    foundation
formed of th / ought
bored into mountain
to smoke out          caesura
if hidden sky means
only a section of a cloud

split    lighten(ing)ed up    the sound
of surprise    misprision    un
read smoke signals nought
knots knitting thinking tanking
slipsliding cloud formations
blown off the felled horizon line

found prize      re ver(s)ing gravity’s
clankety      loud low      smoke
lit to hellish fever
rink blouse and
lineage that signals sinking

feelings   trapped in felt
stuffed   stiffed   a loss
of memorized empathy
s   not iced   or instrumental
in storing in
formation lost   legion   airy (0s)

allopathic lockstep stores
legacy systems from memo
rand a      gloss of stuff
y      safe text trapped
in unfeeling forms
of safe optical      instruments

in  corporated institutionals blinkered
a walk a way    a loss of balance
d insight    out of sit
uational    e feckless
anti-grav    all    a float
a flout    of the law of

split freckles the other
wise smooth sur  face
gravitas raw tainted
troves of blocked
assurance      clout
filled      thick build(ings)

thought t(h)ugging a vertical over
diminishing re  turned down
re already unbalanced
hope  hopped up   a drug
ged giddy red tide
all push and shove

lids pop open
turn over on the rug
optic (what) nerve
slid into firelight tones vertical
to fal(se) balance
lush mead(ow)   getaways from ought

to     tow ardent wavelets a long way
stationed to defend a logic
all drowned    scattered
across sands too full
bones of machines   bodies
yanked from gone wars

ay say to the lullist
fending off of nothing
and full ones
chap the bodies without name
and recourse (and) sand hurts in waves
whole stationed beings g/one

wracked folk  s  own   up to
bodies downed   thrown up
in blasted sandswipe
everything clean again
scratch again st   ink stained
ratchets up rhetoric   blown

round now lean gain
stows racket w
here every    thing
‘s frowned holding pat
tern as the body
adds to bodies   now disowned

Artists’ Statement

Doug Barbour and Sheila Murphy have performed segments of Continuations at festivals in Edmonton, AB just after the 2006 and 2012 publications of the first and second volumes of their collaboration. Each of these volumes contains 25 sections, each consisting of multiple pages of work.

Creating this work involves discovering the new writer who is a combination of the two of us. We seek to do that writer justice when we are with other people who in turn read and/or hear the piece, and imagine with us what we hope is the surprise of the new voice.

Our process, both innovative and rewarding, is one that benefits from the well-established frame begun in November, 2000. We are freed by the very construct of a disciplined, yet relaxed, set of procedures. Six lines, followed by six lines, followed by six lines, forming roughly 20-stanza sections each. One of us suggests an end point, then begins the next one. We use Roman numerals in our numbering.

Douglas Barbour is a poet, critic, and Professor Emeritus of English at the University of Alberta. He has published many books of criticism and poetry, including Fragmenting Body etc. (NeWest Press/SALT 2000), Breath Takes (Wolsak & Wynn 2002), Continuations, Continuations 2 with Sheila E. Murphy (University of Alberta Press 2006/2012) and Recording Dates (Rubicon Press 2012). He was inaugurated into the City of Edmonton Cultural Hall of Fame in 2003. He writes a review blog on SF&F and contemporary poetry at Electic Ruckus.
Sheila E. Murphy’s most recent poetry publications include a visual poetry collaboration with K.S. Ernst from Xerolage Publications (2013) titled 2 Juries + 2 Storeys = 4 Stories Toujours. Murphy has published widely. Sheila Murphy (Wikipedia). A prolific poet, Murphy also serves as a partner in a consulting firm, Executive Advisement, LLC. Her home is in Phoenix, Arizona.
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About Posit Editor

Susan Lewis ( is the Editor-in-chief and founder of Posit ( and the author of ten books and chapbooks, including Zoom (winner of the Washington Prize), Heisenberg's Salon, This Visit, and State of the Union. Her poetry has appeared in anthologies such as Walkers in the City (Rain Taxi), They Said (Black Lawrence Press), and Resist Much, Obey Little (Dispatches/Spuyten Duyvil), as well as in journals such as Agni, Boston Review, The Brooklyn Rail, Conjunctions online, Diode, Interim, New American Writing, and VOLT.