I thought this day would never come
after yesterday came apart in my hands
but today wishes come before dreams
and my desire is out of all proportion.
Wishes come to my house tomorrow
but greens come from the back and
come what may, meaning is based
on difference. It’s too ambitious to
maintain the illusion of identity,
which is to say why claims to truth
require exclusion. My dishevelled
leaving of the place I’m done with,
then to a new shifting scene bears on
whose meaning, does me no harm and
I can get along without the river.
* * *
The river to which I belong and
all the small, disabling acts for
which I have no name became
the misery in my bones. I am
the blood brother from the river
up the coast, the cousin once
removed, the trash in the truck,
the descendent begrimed in
the raff and rags of language.
I am the brother who licks
the meal of the marginal land.
One of these days you will say
goodbye and travel north and
leave behind your nana of the
home you share and take a
part of myself with you. I am
my own master. Nurtured in
the same water as the river
I was given to live with, I take
with me my hand wound with
string and with roots and a
twist of my father’s hair bound
together and made inseparable.
* * *
I didn’t grow up here so I’ve got
a different story about where I live.
Others like me live up and down
the street, but if you live here,
you better have a truck. Walking
makes me a bum but I repeat myself.
I live where the narrative of place
isn’t choosiness, but differentia,
and I never think about working
here. Taxpayers don’t appreciate
my poetry but there’s no game
this fun in PG. I don’t have a debt
to a boy poet gang so I can be
where I don’t belong. I write in
free places with my magic marker,
borrow some ink and write
my name on the sides of books.
Some think it’s chicken scratch
but I’m getting my name up.
There’s a shortage of space now
so I write on moving surfaces
without leaving a nick or a drip.
Writing’s been good to me.
* * *
Today it’s snowing hard but
to say my vocabulary did that
to me is to simplistically say
the weather is about meaning.
Today the former means the
latter, which allows for, and
then limits affinity. Up north
I learned content isn’t pervasive
so I’m making translations into
something to be understood.
It’s too bad it’s snowing today
but always the confusing stories,
the rituals that mean there’s no
way of ever being able to apply
the misguided common judgments
of tradition to a page of poetry.
Truth can’t be made explicit.
The Blackwater is still remote—
its too far away for scrutiny.
Knowing about the Blackwater
belongs to the age but belongs
to yesterday too and writing is
belief in progress, a discernment
other than the poem’s limitations.
* * *
Like causes, consequences run in families as
independent replications prior to publication,
with a possibility of transmission from
those who don’t play a role in disorders.
I’m not a sensation seeker but even so
I soaked up an acute exposure to critics.
Expected to pair, I’ve always been leaning
to false positives, knowing I’m of a different
generation, and prone to a loss of tolerance.
In addition to being poor, I smoked and
used animal subjects. Findings can be
measured in my body where emotions lie.
Today I’m a reliable indicator who avoids
strong smells coming from words. These
are some of the things I watch around home.
I’m for simple design and I don’t take part
in tests the old guard considers meaningful,
You could call it a preexisting aversion to
retired English teachers. When a building
is remodeled, I walk away from the effects.
* * *
And then, when Johanson showed
the embeddedness of affectation,
and wrote about the down to earth
customs of the unideal, I remembered
the farm economy is to harrow and hoe
with humanism, to keep learning,
and mix and refine. I have not been
of relevance to the hyper-functioning
model but I know about the grooves
that relate to complication and the
models of literary patterns. These
outlines are not of the studied regions
of the Skeena, but the Nass, where
transient pathways evolve in reverse
from disturbance prototypes. This
poem is not of relevance to either the
assimilation model, or the specifics
of the local. The eventual outcome of
the making of the father’s founding
georama about forms is, finally,
an occasion for departure, bringing
on reconfigurations, linking news.
* * *
Houses care nothing for bears
but bears disappear and fade
away to hiding places where
I imagine they pass out. Moving
and breathing, bears are only
found in the present. Contemptuous
of nothing, bears dump on stairs,
insulting home owners, who
ordinarily think nothing of bears.
But bears awaken and get to live
again and it’s always when they
see the light. It’s best to think twice
about bears. Bears leave the scene
and bears leave a trace, and bears
are cautious but they never hop
when mad. Bears are big wheels
but not bad influences. Any day,
any time now, as expected, and
as may be, bears can be counted on.
* * *
Not everything is tied to beliefs.
The farfetched poems of lofty diction
are mostly made from the self importance
of the cocksure, whose inevitable theories
are too ambitious and chosen as a kind
of denial of instability. I wonder about
immanent influence, if that might be
a secret language whispering how
the world would be if poetry might
overcome the impulses of the critic’s
desire for domination, Claiming a
relationship to the fixed place, and
misled by the literature of coherence,
the western stories of status pass
for knowledge and are witless and
wrong. The truth is, contradiction
is inevitable. Without fiction, the claims
that cohere to the old body are not
a love story, but a fiction of old rules.
Meaning is based on difference but
on the other hand, la da ga da,
claims to truth require exclusion.
* * *
What always happens
is beliefs are not true
but friendship figures
in the old arguments for coherence
and when friendship is undone
and we make use of our friends,
our concern for what is said
is not what ought to be
in this bleak, bleak world
where I’m divided along the lines
of the thing loved
and the twilight hour—
an image that is not shared between friends
and is not even out of the present
and does not impel us to conversation
given the future of
what it means to cross each other out
and make a living.
* * *
Use is what is done
when custom is in the air.
Praxis is the proper thing.
The reality is, place is
any pleasant get-together
and reality is a gathering
policed by men.
I’ve always thought
the centre of gravity is somewhere else,
and I often talk out-of-turn
but I’m just an insurance man
apparently called on to occupy
the displacement of attention,
piecing phrases together,
from background dirt.
* * *
And in the end the dogs
followed, grouping into
lines, an endless belt of
drones chasing buzz.
Perceptions are a precursor
to barking and the hounds
of hierarchy, some with
hangovers, run the scale.
But dogging is the problem
and barking is a nuisance.
The true, essential nature
of poetry is still inscrutable,
and dogs have much to do,
but not with meaning.