In the Lobby

In the latitude of the oil sands,
Syncrude proverbs on the Internet are pronounced
                  Like unfunded infrastructure,
Red ale served cold in the bar and grill.

Into the Clearwater valley
                  Clamber caterpillar fauna,
                  Monster tires caked in bitumen;
And in situ lounges spill meaningless music
Over reception carpets bordered by
                  The car rental booth—
Mannered mayors from throughout the province
Hedging a sharp meanness that ambles among
                  Predictions of success—
                  Drilling down
                  Into the Canadian west
                  Like hot water entering
                  The pores puncturing our skin.

Questions and Answers

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

I rely extensively on music, literature, film, art, the landscape, and travel.

For an aspiring writer, what would have been helpful/motivating to hear from a published poet?

Judicious encouragement.

What inspired or motivated you to write this poem? How does/doesn’t the poem reflect this inspiration or motivation?

The poem was drafted in Fort McMurray when I was there, as a municipal chief administrative officer, at a conference dealing with industrial oil and gas development, for elected and appointed municipal officials.



This poem “In the Lobby” originally appeared in Recursive Time. Spec. issue of Canadian Literature 222 (Autumn 2014): 95.

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