Out at Trout Lake the kids are splayed in the umbra of the sun
feeding gold fish with plankton. There’s a glut
as it happens, along the coast so the fish are smallish
and demented. But the parrots have been welcomed
into the noses, ears, armpits, hearts of the children
where they never hasten to repeat
the dirty words they teach them. Nobody hears
their curses but me and so I say them softly back to myself—
Fuckhead, Shitballs, Gaylord.
The sun is a soothsayer with a parched tongue
with lips the colour of iron. Under the Tattletree
I try to glean my thoughts from myself
wondering with all these children at my feet
where the peace went. What it wants to say
to the rank-and-file creatures out for a stroll, of the tamed pigeons breeding
above me in the dovecote. So remote is the island
of myself from my self, even the circuitous circus
of the heart has found in the grass bits
slumber to shut itself up.
Questions and Answers
What inspired “Midsummer”?
A hellatious first year of my second daughter’s life. She was often ill and so I didn’t sleep much. I spent many days at Trout Lake behind my house with my two girls and a foggy head. Whatever it was, it took me a while to find the language I wanted.
What poetic techniques did you use in “Midsummer”?
I don’t remember. But as a rule, diction is important to me. I collect words and phrases. There has to be a balance between diction that zings and diction that mimicks the way people talk. Sometimes that’s the same thing, sometimes not. The lines are really enjambed at the beginning: the syntax of the sentences spills from one line to the other and this has the effect of mimicking the playful oddities of the speaker and subject.