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Help Sandy Produce Her 1st Poetry Book & Album

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Hi, I'm Sandy Bell and recently made some big life changes - moving to Canada's east coast, leaving my friends and job of 20 years (supporting creative music artists and managing Arraymusic). Now, I'm finally able to focus, wholeheartedly, on completing a book of poems I began writing as a young wife and mother starting out in my career. And I couldn't be more excited to embrace my new creative life.

I started writing poetry when I was studying Journalism at Ryerson in Toronto and never really stopped. My first published poem in Poetry Canada Review won Best New Voice Award. This collection of works, while grounded in wondering and a sense of wonder, charts many different life phases, from marrying to having an amazing son to separating to navigating life's challenges and learning along the way, to losing my only child, the light of my life, an unspeakable grief which writing about helped me survive.

I'm looking for some support in this period of low income to help me complete my lifetime of creative endeavour, my poetry book and album.

You can read some poems excerpted from my book in progress, below.

My first album features 10 of my original songs and will be called Break Of Day: Songs For Colin. The album was produced by award-winning musician and producer Andrew Collins (5 JUNO nominations/7 Canadian Folk Music Awards) and features many prominent talented Toronto musicians, including:

Sandy Bell: lead vocals
Kristin Cavoukian: back-up vocals
Max Heineman: back-up vocals
Andrew Collins: mandolin/cello
Champagne James Robertson: electric guitar/acoustic guitar
Paul Matthew: upright bass
John Showman: fiddle/violin
Blair MacKay: drums
Burke Carroll: pedal steel
Richard Henderson: lap steel guitar

Recorded and mastered, I am now in the final stages of production, copyrighting, and determining distribution.

You can sample two songs from Break of Day on Soundcloud.

Please be sure to provide your name, email address, and mailing address along with your donation so I can thank you for your support with a hand-written thank you.

Many many thanks for your kind consideration and / or donation.




Cubist skies scatter

short light wavelengths until

you are in my eyes, love


I am fleeing from myself

into us.

This hunger to unite

opens each mouth

to the pain of 

an empty sky.

He arrives

and so we join

while the sky

forms breasts:

female breasts, rain breasts.

Air aereolas

the kind a pregnant woman gets

turn blacker

as the

blackened trees

sway in

choreographed disarray.

That day

he asked me to live with him

in his fear,

to utterly encompass

my love for the explicit world

in vows our bodies would repeat,

familiar as Summer to strawberries

that wear their need on their skin —

exterior wombs 

turned inside out 

like our love.


torrential rain

unleashes its gaul.

The fiddleheads

unfurl and drink.

All the mouths


to the pain

of an emptying sky.

All is need 

and air,  


and him.

After the assault

the sun asphyxiates

our garden,

so hot.

Hen and Chicks 



Baby’s breath frets

a fine tremulous snow

across our postage stamp

of earth.

Vines are vampires —

they always steal the show

though we train them to grow

out and away    

from the other customers of light.

Little girl on lawn 

twirls, enraptured

in the downpour;

mouth wide 

she tastes 

acid rain

and the bearable light.

We merge

with the weeping sky.



do we recognize

there is a seeing

in our skin —

sacred pinpoints of light 

the mouth locates

as if it is

a heat-seeking device 

made to procure sex;

the way he moves in the dark

along me     

as if

I am encoded in his lips.

Blind grandpa Arbuthnot

saw everything with his hands —

vegetables larger than anyone’s,

nearly prehistoric,

they sat in rows

pretty and straight

scored by the invisible rulers

of his third eye.

Blind grandpa Arbuthnot

saw that eyes

are an afterthought

before the fact of trees

which every child knows

are witnesses

to pre-history,

are pre-animal,

just as every poet knows

people are walking trees —

our legs are trunks

that learned to move.

This is why 

we wander 

far from our roots 

seeking salt & water

in daily want

of a sodium-chloride fix,


retinal forests strain 

through crimes of 

simple complicities

and familial specificities —

that tamp and quash

with meanness and neglect —

to behold


their own thermoluminescence,


fire burning on water —

in love     

as in death

we revert to pure light —

entrances us

or bends us

to our knees, 

as Villiers bent

The Scientist before The Darkness.

I understand

he is engraved 

in crevices of my lens —

branded there as if

I am an insignia

of him —

Mondrian’s Grey Tree.

To see him

is to recognize   

instantly my self!

As an ear is 

infant of the wind,

an elephantine adaptation

that transposes air

into a familial voice

so are eyes

instruments which detect

opportunities and threats.

They arrive in

movements aloft,

alien and full

of strange intents —

Who there? Friend?

Or foe?


of the sun

on a quest to burn

on and on

and on and on,

hunger’s imperative

to find fuel

to burn on
and on and on.

Therefore let us touch!

urgencies we cannot see

but our fingertips


I am invented in his fingertips!


He brings me fish 

and Azorean oranges

leftover from

Portuguese wedding banquets,


and arch ceremonies

that make us human

like all rituals.

I don’t eat the head.

He eats the eyes!

Brains, guts,

the whole sordid mess,

spills into his mouth

offending my white gentility.

Four generations

of fine Pimentel men

sacrificed to photography,

to make themselves captured,

immune to change

and interred by their need

to obstruct their brides

in their blush.

I adore his clothes

because they hang in our closet.

This simple mundane fact

transforms everything

into something glorious.

Lately I’ve wondered:

has his mouth usurped

my ability to see 

through the darkness

a body holds?

Has his darkroom

usurped him?

Each purchase on film

replaces some urge

he might have felt  

to choose peace,

to surrender

to tranquility,

to make

a sweet life.


he makes us weak

craving me entirety,

maneuvering like his camera

to capture and control

how the light falls

into his lens,

to own me precisely.

There is an exorcism

in the way

a family reconstitutes itself.

I wish I could hold him —

as if my arms

were a lost womb

to make him new,

to fix him.

I wish

I could belong to belonging

the way

land annexed from Nature

belongs to its house,

and erase

his lifetime

of recriminations

and regrets.


his incessant

blame game

makes him

a love terrorist

slipping past

whatever guards

I had remaining

to enact 

our mutual destruction.

As the snake knows Earth

I know his back!

The way the room ceases!

Venus throats then    


Orchids on the Bruce Peninsula 


stretching delicate necks

become efflorescence!

His plates of spine

strain towards mine,

push into me

securing his illusion

love is secured


So much


depends on



I wish

I could whisper

some Mayan myth in your ear

that would erase all this pain, or

the grey oak’s indomitable hunger

could convince you

of the need

for continuing celebration

in the face of

our coral reef’s dim blood,

our dolphins’ hospital emergency,

the 300-mile-long hole

afloat in the Atlantic


devouring everything

with nothing

10 miles deep.

Instead, you cross our X

collecting your papers,

contracts, negatives

all blowing around,

bound up with

the frail pink discards

of our cheery tree

completing itself.
You're hotwired

to the end of the frantic century!

Several burning bushes

are no longer golden

like our lives.    

This poem blows 

from shore to simplified shore

erasing itself.

How I have tried not to foresee this!
Today your friend went mad.

Emptied your life of its order

already emptied of faith

and I, your lover

in love with

the constancy of change,

cannot even save

us from our own worst impulses,

static feedback loops

that instruct you 

to occupy and control.
How can I hope to communicate 


even a smile

or some other repose

I would give you?

Air sticks

in our throats.

We wash it down with



while a thousand urgent messages


through us,   

into us.
I promise the sun will rise tomorrow!

The sound dereliction makes.


On this, the occasion for joy,

your voice is annihilated

in Buffalo without us,

caught in live wires

intersecting February.

When our roof breaks open

and flies    away

we wonder:

Was there ever anything but

this precisely desperate blue?

Were we ever acutely joined  

at hips of understanding?

One last cirrus streak


turns gothic


then floats

to the west.

You stand under

the month’s schizophrenia

which freezes then melts,

unable to reject pain


revel in it -

you always preferred machinations

over approximations of


I am walking out of

your Zeiss icon lens -

how you have polarized our love,

making you responsible for your socks!

I will lie

on this requiem-drenched lawn



the stinging torrent 

of your anger

your absence

and then

I will open my mouth  

and the raindrops

will kill me.

But I'll rise up

and catalogue the bullets

in a file of fire!

But first we will ponder:

Were our flaws so incompatible?

Or were we merely

the tragi-comedic result

of one man

and one woman

in a room?!

Small black clouds ascend.

Winter has never seemed so



To remember

is to confess.

Cohen was always your favourite poet

because he sings for the enslaved

and bleeds  

in nearly every poem.

I whispered this in his ear once

as Rebecca glowered on

from a corner somewhere,


and territorial.

I remember

sitting in the middle

of a wigwam

constructed makeshift

from sticks and ferns

looking out,


the forest

through exaltation.

Walking home

on my foot path

I stopped

and professed

to all the trees:

We will always be here!

This will always be!

as if to convince

an alchemy of stasis

in the face of 

changing clouds.

That day you walked out of

our silly fight

onto this page

and confessed:

I am afraid 

if I forget

what I have been,


I will cease to exist,

fearful love

I knew you as

the grand gesture,

a firey dusk

and solar kiss

that burns

before it turns


and blacker



alone in my fear,

I remember

that I was loved.


against your lips,

in your lips,

the St. Lawrence River

in your blood,

the ships are in our blood,

you told me:

Nothing is lost.

Everything is retained.

I remember sitting

in a classroom

spinning pencil fossils

into a tornado

that was

my breath.


Last night

we saw a black pearl

suspended in the umbra of 

our cast body —

a gasp

with veins and

Bach variations

unextinguishable —

an arc of light


an arc of darkness


pure deep shadow


an apex

of astonishment.

Our eyes

flew into this moon

defying that which

grounds us.


Sandra Bell
Shelburne, NS

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