How can we attend to what we have not noticed? It took a week or ten days for the strangeness of the silence that surrounded us as we walked in the forest to become audible, to realize that it was not what we were hearing but what we were not hearing that was what was important. The realization didn’t come all at once. Continue reading The Silence of the Songbirds
These are the things I want to remember this Remembrance Day: everything that is alive that impresses itself on my senses, not the celebratory stories of European wars and muscular bravery, the pomp and pride that says “Look what we did; this land is our land; war is sacrifice is glory.” What terrible stewards and guests we colonials have been and go on being; even when we think we’re at peace we wage war on other beings, wrecking and murdering, fissuring the earth and all of its resources in the name of conquest, ownership, profit and, ironically, “survival”–a survival that is ever more clearly on its way to choking us all. Our noisy honking drowns out the very voices to which we need to listen. Truly I do not want to study war anymore, neither on this day nor any other; its racket, its glorious tales of the seizure of territories, is not where we most need to hone what Toni Morrison, in Beloved, called our “rememories,” or remembrance of memories right now. Continue reading “All land is sacred:” Another kind of remembrance
It has been twenty-five years since my friend Bill Readings died in an iced-up airplane that plummeted to earth in an Indiana soybean field. Twenty-five years since a phone call that Halloween night cancelled dinner plans, and turned our Montreal party into mourning. Twenty-five years since the world changed. Continue reading Running out into the rain: Remembering Bill Readings (1960-1994)
Faintly the peepers shimmer. Ice has just melted in the hollows and now fog shrouds us as if hiding the tenderness of shoots and leaves and newly laid eggs from the outside world. Continue reading Now fog shrouds us
As winter recedes we find bones along the beach. The dog gnaws some of them, but not the coyote skull with its long canines and nasal passages packed with a delicate fretwork of turbinates. Continue reading The quick and the dead
We have to climb to see the sunshine. At 40,000 feet, the clouds seem like a vast snow-blasted landscape–blue shadows of the distance like linking pools of half-frozen water. It is a landscape without trees, just the long arc of the atmosphere curving away in the distance. The sun is bright and hot–it seems as if it has been days since I’ve felt its heat and blare, the sting of so much light in my eyes. Continue reading Who will watch you while you sleep?
Winter blows in.
Geese gather in the yard in advance of the ice, eating what remains of the grass. Continue reading Winter blows in
One final note. As I am finishing this text, I open my copy of Breton’s L’Amour fou, a(nother) book in his trilogy of novels dedicated to the unfolding of unexpected encounters and coincidences. A ticket falls out on which is printed the following command: “Please read carefully.” I do. Or rather, I read that line several times, since I don’t have my reading glasses with me, and what follows it is printed in type so painfully small that it devolves into wavering black squiggles, a drawing perhaps, another block of excised text. Definitely not words. Continue reading Rereading or Practicing Surrealism? Method: short poems from novels
Pintails warble into the quiet air; then the sound of a rifle and its recoil. Hunting season again. I dress my doe-coloured dog in a rouge coat, pull on my gloves. Continue reading Kindred blood of all that breathes
Insomniac, I wake, open the envelope of the day and shove another act inside as if the day were expandable, made of pleats, an extraordinary accordion capable of melody every time I squeeze, not some exhausted drone, a whine or tumble of falling keys, of rain-soaked shoes, of numb-finger stitches, belated appointments and warmed-over meals, the bones of my spine dully aching, rain dashing at … Continue reading Fall Semester Sonnet