from the Circle K
A mirage among
the sleeping suburb.
The back wall
on a green screen.
Back out to
the parking lot
Source: The author, 2023
Convenient Corner was first published in Echolocation, vol. 20, March 2023. Convenient Corner was inspired by the Circle K on Thorold Stone Road, Niagara Falls, Ontario.
Cole McInerney is a poet from Niagara Falls, Ontario. He studied English at Toronto Metropolitan University. Currently, he is a MFA student at the University of South Carolina, studying poetry. His poems have been published in several print and online publications, including Feral Poetry, White Wall Review, The Bookends Review, and Echolocation Magazine.
Tonight (May 18) at 7pm I’ll be doing the online presentation “The Niagara Way of Death: Depictions of Death & Near Death in the Poetry of Niagara Falls” at the Niagara Poetry Guild meeting. Please join us through the link at Meetup
Death is a pervasive topic in the poetry written about Niagara Falls. In the poetry of the 19th century, the Falls themselves were seen as a metaphor for death – the approach to death, the brink between life & death, the fall into purgatory, the ascension to heaven & the covenant between the human and the divine. See how the poetry of previous times as well as today reflect those metaphors, and how the 18 categories of death at Niagara Falls is treated in the poetry of the last 250 years.
Originally presented at the Lundy’s Lane Historical Society, Andrew Porteus will be sharing with us “The Niagara Way of Death: Depictions of Death and Near-Death Experiences at Niagara Falls” a 45 minute slide presentation.
Written during a recent visit to Niagara Falls, Canada
Men tell of the spell of the Rockies,
The glamour of the seven seas —
Here in my own native home-land
A wonder dwells greater than these.
When cherry boughs glow
And soft breezes blow,
Niagara, I love you, I do —
When silvery moonlight,
Strikes your shoulders white,
Niagara, I love you, it’s true —
Fair queen of the wild
I’ve loved since a child
God speaks in the thunder of you —
When in your wild hair
God’s rainbow you wear —
Niagara, I love you, I do.
Source: Tom Lloyd Finlayson. Songs of Niagara Frontier and Other Poems; Autographed by the Author. St. Thomas, Sutherland Press, Limited. n.d.
Judging from the locations mentioned in the poems in this pamphlet it seems that Finlayson spent his childhood in Fort Erie, Ontario.
The last few days my wife, Louise and I have been in San Antonio, Texas, for the 53th annual Popular Culture Association / American Culture Association 53rd annual conference. I was presenting “The Niagara Way of Death: Depictions of Death and Near-Death in the Poetry of Niagara Falls,” a more academic, but briefer version of a presentation that I had done at the Lundy’s Lane Historial Society meeting earlier in the week. The panel that I was on, “Poetry Studies & Creative Poetry IV: Forgetting What the Fox Says: Nature in Pop Culture” included presentations by Li Zhuang, Marlon Fick, and Gwen Hart. and the whole poetry stream of the PCA conference (8 sessions over 2 days) had been organized by Professor Katie Manning. It was a good combination of creative poetry and more theoretical presentations. One of the interesting discussions that followed was about overcoming imposter syndrome, the feeling that despite skills, talents, and accomplishments people have an internalized feeling of being a fraud. That feeling is what prompted me to get my MA degree in Popular Culture after I retired, to give solid academic credentials to the work that I have been doing for decades with the Niagara Falls Poetry Project. The stream ended with dinner at the Iron Cactus Mexican Grill, on the San Antonio RiverWalk.
Louise and I had never been to San Antonio before, so after the PCA sessions finished, we took the opportunity to explore the surroundings somewhat. The most notable feature was the RiverWalk, designed in the 1920s to control the flooding that happened on the river that snakes through San Antonio. The river is controlled by a series of sluice gates that can divert flood water from the area, keeping the water level stable even after torrential rains, which we did experience on the first two days of the conference. The RiverWalk is lined by bars, restaurants, shops, and some cultural attractions, including the Briscoe Western Art Museum which features great paintings, statues, and artifacts of Texan culture, one of the highlights of our visit there. San Antonio was founded on the backs of 5 Spanish missions, including the Alamo. We took a tour of the 4 outlying missions in the rain one day, which included a stop at an aqueduct crossing the San Antonio River, notable because I say a yellow-crowned night-heron, a lifetime sighting for me. The next day the rain had stopped, the temperature was higher, and we took a guided tour of the Alamo, including the collection that Phil Collins, who has been fascinated by the Alamo since he was a young boy, had donated.
Unfortunately, our time had to come to an end, so after a boat tour on the RiverWalk and a visit to the Mexican market, we headed to the airport.
Having experienced creative success as a poet, Scott is now focusing his creativity on screenwriting. Scott believes firmly in the statement: “How vain it is to sit down to write when you have not stood up to live.” ― Henry David Thoreau
Scott has stood up to live in the following ways:
Raised all over the USA due to his father’s service in the US Navy: Washington, Hawaii, Connecticut, Virginia, California, Idaho, and Utah.
Spent 2 years in South Africa at the end of apartheid, 1985-1987.
13 years service in the US Army, including Airborne Special Forces. Stationed at Ft. Leonard Wood, Missouri, Ft. Benning, Georgia, and Ft. Bragg, North Carolina.
Earned a BA in English Literature, 1993 from Weber State University.
Worked as a technology project manager for 20 years.
Completed Ironman triathlon and Boston Marathon both in 2009.
Presented poetry and related papers at several academic conferences including: The National Undergraduate Literature Conference, Weber State University, Intersections, University of California, Irvine, and Renovations, University of Nevada, Reno.
Survived a near-fatal accident in 2010 and sustained and lives with a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI).
Written more sonnets than Shakespeare and now working on writing more screenplays than Shakespeare’s plays.