Local Lyrics from Jack Pine and the Fire

The sun is fallin’ but the road stands firm

And I never know what’s comin’ round the next turn

These feet have taught me everything I’ve known

And these wheels keep turnin’ over every stone

My ma and pa were always good to me

But I thought that I had other places to see

It ain’t like gypsies came and stole me awayf

But It’s been a while since I’d (had?) a place to stay


I got a mind [I got a mind]

To go back home


All these restless nights begin to take their toll

And I can feel my wheels begin to slow their roll

All this runnin’ ‘round ain’t gonna make me whole

Maybe I should stand my ground and finally find my role

I got no regrets, I’m on a winning streak

But a man is not a man but for the life he seeks

The road will never end and I know that for a fact

But maybe I should find a place to leave, leave my bags unpacked


I got a mind [I got a mind]

To go back home


I’d walk a mile in almost anyone’s shoes

Yeah, I get around and I have paid my dues

They say you judge a man by the company he keeps

Well I say don’t go judgin’ til you’ve heard him speak


I got a mind [I got a mind]

To go back home


Local lyrics by Catriona Sturton.

S&G Fries, you light up my eyes

You melt my heart like the cheese on my poutine

Yeah, you must be one of the cutest guys

That I (that I) have ever seen


Baby why don’t we go to the Produce Depot

Let’s talk a walk on Carling Avenue

There’s a little shack that’s got me coming back

Like I keep coming back to you


Like S&G Fries, honey you light up my eyes

You melt my heart like the cheese on my poutine

Yeah, you must be one of the cutest guys

That I (that I) have ever seen


Can I compare you to a summer’s day?

Can I compare you to a work of art?

Well maybe not but….you’re hotter than my fries and gravy

And baby that’s how you’ve got my hear


Like S&G Fries, honey you light up my eyes

You melt my heart like the cheese on my poutine

Yeah, you must be one of the cutest guys

That I (that I) have ever seen


Lyrics by Scary Bear Soundtrack.

I look it up on Google maps

I want to take a peek

at this country no one’s ever seen

the famous hermit regime.

the barbed wires of the DMZ

are the closest I’ve ever been

to envisioning a unity

since the Wall came down in Berlin


and if their leader’s ever overthrown

I’m gonna drop everything

I’m gonna run to the streets and dance

I’m gonna cry and shout and sing


I’ve got a family I’d like to meet

if they’re still alive

my halmuni left at seventeen

and now she’s eighty-five

I wanna hear them sing arirang

I wanna climb Kumkang’s peaks

reach the city of Pyongyang

dance with them in the streets


and if their leader’s ever overthrown

I’m gonna drop everything

I’mm gonna run to the streets and dance

I’m gonna cry and shout and sing


gotta fly by in an airplane

drop radios and leaflets

saying hope will come one day

so we’ll send magazines to North Koreans

whatever they may need

revolutions and skinny jeans

the fight to be free


and if their leader’s ever overthrown

I’m gonna drop everything

I’m gonna run to the streets and dance

I’m gonna cry and shout and sing

Look Alive

Local lyrics by Fevers


Lay your tired body down

Take your fondest memories

Wrap them up in cellophane

Some day they will breathe again



Spend your evenings with your friends

Strike your favourite pose again

You smiled at the photograph

And the photograph smiled back


You really gotta perk up

Look alive this should be fun

Now you only gotta shut off

All the words that can’t be sung

Just take everything you think you know

From your head, and your heart

And throw it all away

Just take everything you know

Let it go

And then go

Just drop everything you know


For more Fevers, check out their new album No Room For Light

She Fell (In 1914)

Local lyrics by Loon Choir.


She fell, it was a Sunday

In nineteen-fourteen

Her house, it was in shambles

And they’re killing all her animals


Get out, I mean it

This is no place for you

Get out, I mean it

This is no place for you


Just like tattoos of bruises

Make the saint a soldier (a soldier)

Just like cigarette ashes fall

They fall to the water


Get out, I mean it

This is no place for you

Get out, I mean it

This is no place for you

For more Loon Choir, see their Facebook page.

Ph Conclusions

Poetry by Joe LaBine

Ph Conclusions 1

Phil, I hope you appreciate my clean car. I’ve been asked to pick you up at the Walkerville train station at 4pm because you’re the new writer in residence. Woopity doo!

I nearly got into an accident because of you. Still, you might appreciate the three steps to cleaning my Cavalier:

Step 1 has me bagging all the garbage on the floor of the back seat, sheets of paper, dirty cups; sweeping out the crumbs and grit in the grooves of the front passenger seat, wrappers in the cup holders, and throwing it all in the Canterbury dumpster fifteen minutes before I have to come get you.

Step 2 involves bagging all the remaining ‘stuff’ (A Guide to Composition Pedagogy, Townes Van Zandt, to-go cups, an umbrella, three Asics running shoes, Hudson Bay blankets, Stef’s chapstick)[1] & placing these in the trunk. Twelve minutes—doubtless, you’ve already arrived.

Step 3, and I’m breezing down Riverside.[2] I come this close to careening my car into a maroon 4-door because I was wiping dust off of the dash with the sleeve of my shirt while I drove.[3]


At the station, you’ve emailed me but I failed to give you a phone number. I recognize you, but you don’t know what I look like. You don’t know that you could have been stranded here for hours—waiting. Your bags feel heavy with books.


Ph Conclusions 2

Phil, your face is everywhere. It stares back at me when I sit at my desk; it watches my back as I walk through the hall.

When I enter my cubicle, black-and-white-newsprint-you (32 X 11) greets me every morning now.

It’s the second coming, the triumphant poetic return of poster-you, Windsor’s Sphinx.

In Interview:

I got asked to interview you by the Department Head.[4]

I order a double shot espresso and you order a large black coffee. I order a pumpkin cranberry muffin after I see you order a pumpkin cranberry muffin—I pay.

Back at the table we eat with our hands which is no civilized way to start an interview, but-

You’re going to sit there while I lay out the six books you deny writing in “Becoming a Poet,” You said you wouldn’t write another book for 10 years. Lyre.

I also have the four issues of the Windsor Review; your published poems in them. And I also know that Wayman was Windsor writer in residence while you were an undergrad.

What do you say to that? Conundrum. Tongue Twister.

What I don’t expect you to say is that A Writer’s Guide to Restaurants is basically a chapbook.[5]

Or that the cover of Homes, your Black Moss Press book, has a “sucky little picture” of you on its cover.

Then I produce a photocopy of “Indians” by you sometime in 1973, or 1974. I place it on the stack of books sitting on our table.

I believe it is the only short story you ever published. I have Xeroxed it from an old copy of Generation Magazine. I hand it over.

“Indians” is a wimpy two page story.[6] I can see now that you don’t appreciate me dredging up all your early work, and that it’s “better left forgotten.” My girlfriend does not condone my idolatry of your poetry, and wants you to write more stories.[7]

But the early work reaches me because I am a crappy poet.[8]

You tell me that while you were an undergrad you won an Essex County Short Story Contest. Alistair MacLeod was the judge. You thought your story wasn’t very good. It earned cash, but was “never published.”

Phil, my embarrassment hardly seems worth my awful cranberry muffin.

But then you say the most profound thing you’re ever going to say to me.

In Killdeer, in trying to subvert legend & avoid self-canonization, by maintaining and growing your own humility, harvesting beautiful sequences, and by shucking the bardic self-aggrandizing habits—all the stupid[9] things poets do—you create legend.

[1]  I actually put the chapstick & the pens from my door into the to-go cup.

1a Phil says, “Never put Townes Van Zandt in the trunk!”

[2] Breezing—

[3] I found the Armor All wipes I’d been looking for under my seat about three days later.

[4] C**** asked me in part because I am obsessed with you and in part because I know more about you than anyone in the Department (especially her)—I know Tom Wayman you, the Bronwen Wallace years, Flat Singles Press, Eighteen Poems, work poems, all the lies you tell in Killdeer, Bobcaygeon Please, I could go on…

4a Phil says, “Oh just use her actual name. Lovely woman.”

[5] I paid $25 for my copy from one of the dealers Juniper books uses online.

5a Phil says, “You got ripped off!”

[6] I disagree with you. I think your short story writing from the mid-70s is terse, poignant, & under-rated.

6a Phil says, “Quit sucking up!”

[7] I tell her all your poems are stories. But she just doesn’t…capitulate.

7a Phil says, “Not going to happen, Stef. The intention is never prose.”

[8] For now, maybe.

8a Phil says, “Join the club, Bub! The long, slow club…”

[9] Interviewing a poet, going home, and writing a poem about it.

9a Phil says, “Let’s see the poem. Is this it?”

Cheese Class

Food writing by Alexandra Emanuelli.

The class was simply called Cheese. Our professor was a funny little Italian man who would enunciate the most peculiar words, and then repeat them for emphasis. For example, “This milk comes from a very special breed of cow, this cow is known as the bro-own c-oooo-w, BR-ow-N COW!” He had these little cylindrical glasses, a balding head, a compensatory mustache, and a penchant for buckling and unbuckling his pants throughout the lecture. The class before ours had done impressions of him in the courtyard, much to our amusement, and now, much to our dismay, it made class difficult to sit through seriously.

He was animated, intimidating, excited, and intense. Slamming the desk with passion and rage, he could be disgusted that a student had noted “rendered butter” instead of “fermented”. Worse still was just to call it butter – “Butter? Not good enough!” he would bellow.

He had two camps of students in the class: those who despised his finger snapping, desk slapping, not knowing any of our names, and instead, calling us by articles of clothing (You – in the red sunglasses), and those who loved him. I found him so much more entertaining than the usual reserved and professional type that stood in front of us. But I also was terrified, not so much of him, but of the cheese. Because cheese is complex, complex like wine and olive oil and coffee and chocolate. Cheese can have more than seven scent and flavour categories. A cheese might taste of mushrooms, humus, animal sweat, meat broth, yoghurt, fresh cream, fermented hay, finishing with notes of coffee and chocolate – and that cheese isn’t even all that interesting. Some cheeses have notes of lilac, acacia honey, rendered butter, lemon, boiled potatoes, canned asparagus, and hazelnuts. This all sounded more like a meal than a single unit. It sounded more like a Willy Wonka new age invention than a thousand year old tradition.

One day, Mr. Cheese spotted me and called me up to the front of the class. Let me preface this by pointing out that in our class we had some really brilliant tasters, people who would regularly call out things that weren’t even listed on the “Items you should be smelling” sheet – getting a “Complimenti!”  I reluctantly made my way up to the front. He handed me a piece of cheese and demanded, “Break the cheese!”

It was a golden hunk of pecorino romano. The cheese didn’t so much break as end up in a mess of shards sticking to my sweating palm. In my mouth, it seemed to be of two minds. At first, it melted and coated my mouth velveteen in a salty sweet fat.  Next, it crunched and shattered, like a toffee. In taste, the cheese was faintly sweet, nutty, and toasted. There was caramel, acacia honey, some toasted hazelnuts, boiled potato, boiled butter, but more of a reference to these flavours, rather than the direct taste of them.  I’m sure my professor could give a few more adjectives, but I’m just learning.  I give it a go, and he smiles, encouraging me forward. Maybe cheese isn’t so scary after all.

Announcing Local Lyrics Month

Calling all musicians!

For the month of October, Jam Jar Words will be featuring lyrics from local Ottawa artists. It’s part of our continuing quest to promote literature in all its forms, conventional or otherwise. We want to see what our local musicians can do when the music falls away, when all that’s left is text. It’s an experiment, and we think the results will be pretty interesting.

It’s also a way to help promote our thriving local music scene. Over the past years, our musical exports have grown enormously. Ottawa is quickly becoming known as a hotbed of musical talent. Whether it’s rappers, folk artists, or opera singers, this city produces some of the finest musicians in the world.

So, to our fine musicians we say send us your lyrics! All local artists are welcome! We want you to be recognized for the exceptional lyricist that you are.

For more information, check out our submit page.

And to our readers: prepare for a flood of awesome local lyrics come October.

Bywords: Publishing Local Poetry since 1990

Bywords has long been a place for local writers to get noticed. It began in 1990 as a monthly magazine, growing out of the halls of the English Department at the University of Ottawa. Since that time, the publication has evolved, adapting to the changing print market. It moved from a free monthly publication, to a paid quarterly. Finally, in January of this year, Bywords ceased production of their quarterly and moved to a web-only publication system.

Amanda Earl, Managing Editor of Bywords.ca cited several reasons for the cessation of the print version of the magazine. Among them were a decrease in revenue from the sales and the closing of many of Ottawa’s local independent book stores.

Earl sees the move as a good thing, pointing out that it gives the Bywords team more time to focus on the improvement and maintenance of the website. She points out that the end of the Quarterly has given them the time to do other things, like focus on the Bywords website.

“We didn’t have a large subscriber base for the BQJ [Bywords Quarterly Journal] and sales had diminished while we have a large number of visitors to the site, so in the end I see it as a win,” said Earl.

Earl was instrumental in the beginnings of the website Bywords.ca in 2001. At the time, she was studying creative writing at the University of Ottawa under Seymour Mayne, and she and a number of other students and Bywords editors decided to start a website for the then print publication.

“At that point I was a complete neophyte when it came to poetry and the small press world,” she said. “I was excited about the opportunity and was fortunate that my husband is a techno god.”

Next to the monthly literature publication, one of the website’s main draws is its event calendar, which can claim to be the most complete calendar of literary events in Ottawa. On it, you’ll find information about open mics, writers’ circles, readings, poetry slams and other regular and not-so-regular events. Earl sees this calendar as one of the website’s primary contributions to the local community.

“I hope that no person who lives in the National Capital Region will ever be able to say they missed a literary event because they didn’t know about it,” she said. And with a calendar as complete as this, it’s hard to imagine that anyone could.

The sheer volume of events on the Bywords calendar speaks to the vibrancy of the local literature scene. There is something listed for nearly every night of every month.

Bywords.ca publishes a monthly selection of poems and reviews on the 15th of every month. The poems are subject to scrutiny by eleven volunteer readers, a representative sample of the Ottawa literary community.

“The range of tastes and experiences of the group means that there is no one editorial aesthetic dictating what we publish but rather a myriad of styles,” said Earl. This allows Bywords to remain faithful to Ottawa’s diverse literary landscape.

Every published poem is eligible for the John Newlove Poetry award and the chance to publish a chapbook of their own poetry through Bywords. The deadline for submission is the 15th of every month.

Follow Bywords on Facebook or Twitter @Bywordsdotca.


by Catina Noble

I want to let go and be in the dark

from all the footprints that travel

throughout my days with

constant nagging and promises

I could not fill during my lifetime


When the fog comes, it is worse

than in the dark and I

wonder why the clear days

taunt me like salvation

they know, I cannot possibly touch


Underground, here in the dark

it feels like drops of poison are

kissing my skin softly and

I welcome them any day over

the fog that makes me chase it


Chase it, knowing it cannot be caught

but only do it because I have

no control over my body

and its will to carry

forth to have words of explanation


To let everyone know that I

asked for them every day

and was continually denied

as if my life held no importance,

I turn each piece of paper.


Knowing this is all I can do,

it provides relief from thoughts of

ugly moments that denied me

the happiness and peace

within that I shall forever seek.