Tuesday Poem: What I'm Planning - by Susan Musgrave

I got off the plane in my jailhouse
clothes, kicked back, and before
I knew it I was shooting coke
at the Cambie Hotel wearing
long sleeves on an 80-degree day
to cover my tracks.  My son, he stayed
in California with his dad.

The hardest thing I ever did?  Coming here,
not knowing anyone, having to leave
my kid. I'll get him back though, as soon
as I go to Detox and get my life straightened out.
That's what I'm planning to do.  Get dressed.
Kick back.  Get  my life back.

'What I'm Planning'
by Susan Musgrave
from Origami Dove, published by McClelland & Stewart 2011

This poem is from a sequence called Heroines, the life stories of six women, heroin-addicted prostitutes, from Vancouver's eastside.  It was commissioned as a 'script' for a documentary film and won a number of awards, both national and international.  Susan says that the difficult thing 'was to find a voice in which to speak of these women's lives, from the inside out'.

Origami Dove is Susan's 14th collection of poetry and one of her best.  She spares no-one - and particularly not herself.  It's written out of the historical record of a life lived right to the edge.

I met Susan on my recent trip to Haida Gwaii, where she lives in Masset at the northernmost tip of the north island. There are some very interesting poets in British Columbia.

The Tuesday Poets are an international group, originating in New Zealand, who try to publish a poem every Tuesday and take it in turns to edit the main website. Today it's my turn and I'm featuring the Canadian poet Susan Musgrave - a poem called Spring  - an extract from the Sangan River Meditations - so please click over and have a read and take a look at what the other Tuesday Poets are posting. You won't be disappointed!


  1. Tough. Gritty. Uncomfortable. I will go in search of more.
    Thank you, Kathleen.


Post a Comment

Popular Posts