West Coast Noir

for Richard Naster     c. 1983



Vancouver, used bookstores,
an art-house cinema or two nearby
and the cheap diners.
Rainy winters the crime.

Some facts emerged, in situ.
When I arrived, my room was empty save
for a few shadows
that moved, as I arrived.

It seemed all right, to live
with a change of clothing and a typewriter,
blackening pages
and failing to, when young.

At the Railway Club, where the toy
electric train scooted the long louche bar,
outnumbered, we drank
to the White Goddess. With her,

I questioned if dream was dream.
In her boudoir I crapped in a pot that turned
into a birdcage.
The parrot appeared ok,

and flew off, like art,
wayward, denuded of its schemes. Those days
spent gathering
evidence, at the scene!

This poem “West Coast Noir” originally appeared in Pandemics Spec. issue of Canadian Literature 245 (2021): 89.

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