Taking My Blood: Collector’s Edition


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Marty Gervais

ISBN 0-9733952-3-0
Chapbook edition of 20

Taking My Blood was written while Gervais spent seventeen days in Hotel Dieu Hospital in Windsor, after he suffered from a debilitating attack of Crohn’s disease. After a week of intensive treatment for pain, he began writing poems about life on Seven North. Written in a gritty narrative style, the work combines the intimate language of solitude and reflection with unexpected bursts of humour.

Cover stock is St. Armand Ontario Flax canal paper. End papers are Japanese ogura lace, made of manila hemp. Main text laser printed on 60lb Neenah columns paper in classic natural white. Center pictorial foldout printed on Neenah crest. Photographs laser printed on transparency film. Removable, signed original photographs by Marty Gervais in envelope. Letterpress cover labels hand-set and printed on Manton Bros. platen press. Double cover uses syringe as hinge pin in modified piano hinge binding. Books hand sewn with linen thread. Limited collector’s edition of 20 numbered copies, signed by the author.

Only a few left!

Book Excerpt:

Watching Her Hands

The morning my mother died
I lingered outside
the hospital room
Spied the women
tear down the sheets,
pack up things from the closet
and toss away old newspapers
from the night stand —
chat about going down for coffee
about hospital cutbacks
a bully at school
bothering a younger son
This morning on Seven North
they strip down the bed next
to me, put away tin bedpans
and plastic bleeding dishes
drag in an IV pole
hang a fresh clipboard
at the end of the bed
ready for the next
This morning the bed
on the other side of the curtain
is readied by Luciana,
and Albanian woman who
emigrated here eight years ago
leaving her family behind
She hasn’t seen them since
She’s here now to make
a living, to make this bed
I watch Luciana’s hands
flutter the sheets
in the low morning light —
a tumult of shapeless white
tumbling softly above a plasticized
mattress on Seven North
I watch her hands
tuck and flatten, then finally
skim across the smooth plane
of the bed, and only then
am I reminded of the deftness
of my mother rolling out
lumpy dough of an apple pie
on the sideboard near
the back screen door
to keep the summer flies at bay
and how I used to study
that one final gesture of hers
as her fingertips caressed
the flat dusty surface
of the dough before lifting
it with one hand
— fingers now spread
like spokes — suspended
for an instant before gently
placing it over
the white diced apples
already browning
from the kitchen air

Additional information

Weight 453.6 g
Dimensions 12.7 x 19.05 x 1.5 cm


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