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—
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?
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.