November 26, 2006

Poem’s Fear of Travel

The history’s there, layered
in arrivals, stonework, a global subject writing
ignorance as mastery and caught
in the traffic between difference.

He is mistaken, a mistranslation.
Random buses and a bad compass.

But this awareness is a release,
a pull-tab on a life-vest tossed at
36 000 ft into the library of
not knowing. Water shimmers below.

The foray takes many
litres of fuel, emissions a trail
over Greenland, the line
and imperial tracing of mobility
a second modernity, two
sunrises a doleful symbol, and
Poem lands, thankful for coffee.

The retrospect is writing—“I
should not have gone.” The earth convulses,
reinvents itself as quantum physics, a psychic
thrust of its own. Unowned. Not the coffee but
the coffee bean and
the dirt it is.

Development: the stuttered, halting end
to a fantastical harmony that never existed.

Please ensure your serving trays are
in an upright position and fasten
your poetics securely around your waist.

Poem with No Credit

for rob mclennan

Before he begins, Poem
observes the scene—who
has been here before
& why not again/still.

Long coat tasting the soup &
side salad bar slouch w/ poetry
up his sleeve, Poem
comes to town to read.

He’s single, fast
w/ a come back, heckles
the other poet’s reading, strokes
his moustache to better
see the audience.

The improbable harlequin w/
no place for capital, the plane
car bus a text testing
the air a desk.

This time, he strolls onstage
more assured, a vagrant
who knows his place—the words
a rhythm of longing
for the old days, poets
w/ poets’ grace or flair, the madness
hovering like the next stanza—

He knows them, the old guard
floats over his shoulder,
a subtext between the uneven
breaks in thought/breath and

then he begins, an homage
and Poem’s poem carries
us here—home.