A? Cristoforo Colombo (II)

When you got begat,
yo mama shit herself.

Ya confused Love
with gold-lust.

Ya came to corrupt Beauty
with mirrors.

Equally inhumane and baroque—
like a Renaissance torturer—

seesawed you over th’Atlantic
from a stinking port of bad wine

and unwashed wenches—
to play champion scorpion,

tin-plate swordsman,
cunt-catchin cap’n—

and show an anthropological handsomeness
as you won the fame of monsters,

their untranslatable Evil.
Noting yer greasy, bloody surgery

rinsed by mountains of canary wine,
how you crafted an empire

outta Inca and Aztec massacres,
one must feel gold-plated Bitterness.

Your statues ought to be annoying ruins.

[Enfield (Nova Scotia) & Ottawa (Ontario) 26 septembre mmxi]

Questions and Answers

How/where do you find inspiration today?

I find inspiration in everything that I experience or perceive. Consciousness itself is composed, ultimately, of language: We
can’t think without it, and impulse is no way to build a civilization. So, I eavesdrop on conversations, try to describe indescribable feelings, examine ingredients’ labels, look for the surprising, succinct phrase in everything, and stay open to imitation and mimicry as a means of instigating something original. These are my exercises…

Do you use any resources that a young poet would find useful (e.g., books, films, art, websites, etc)?

I use every resource possible, plus the stimulus of everyday breathing, everyday noticing: A winter tree–all birds
and no leaves (or “leaved with birds”); the latest news of political scandal, bedroom shenanigans, and boardroom
fraud (or political shenanigans, bedroom fraud, and boardroomscandal); the classical works of literature (The Iliad) and the
ephemeral (The National Enquirer); plus movie viewing, gallery going, museum seeing, Internet surfing; and, also, the great fillip of travel….  Indeed, “À Cristoforo Colombo (II)” was written in Halifax airport (YHZ) and finished in Ottawa (YOW).

This poem “A? Cristoforo Colombo (II)” originally appeared in Recursive Time. Spec. issue of Canadian Literature 222 (Autumn 2014): 12.

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