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Featured Poems

Battered Civilization

A sock particle was detected in the supercollider. Can I make time out of bacteria? Trade genomes for another year of elephants? A parody of my pernicious scheme unravels but the scheme itself is silk. Which is more pervasive, night mist or provincialism? The hidden world of buzz-saws shakes me from sleep. I was trying to hold my own. I don’t like canned salmon, except the crunchy bones. Above the city walls float medieval pennants. Listen to Neil Young, you’ll get it. Into deepening blackness lit by a branch of forsythia I stride forward, edges inflamed, and inch sideways out of my body. Later I am all pause, all hesitation. A foot on carpet, a foot on cold stone floor. Of my earlier existence all that remains is a grey felt hat. I release my internal structure. It rises to the top and floats. Did I mention my undocumented status? My recharged emotional state? The big green fractal or tree, bent and streaming in the hurricane-force wind. Whose corpus callosum is shrunk by the wanton application of neurotoxins? Something trails behind my tall narrow yellow shoulders, rolls in with the motorcycle. I unpack the bangbox first, catalyzing the situation in the baggage room. Strains of old Beatles’ tunes, doves moaning in the gridlocked attic. I’ve an earlier century in mind, a time when cotton bags were varnished for carrying water.

Originally published in The Malahat Review, Autumn 2013; also in The Best Canadian Poetry Anthology, 2014.