The Ends of Civilization

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It is a slash year. The crews saw west
grimacing the border. By Oregon/BC, the Vermont/
Quebec gap chews sapling. How many thousand miles
or kilometres back did we last crack
“Coast Guard Moses got it made.”

It is the election year, the one we learned
the atomic weight of words, figured how many
could carry a razor. The Earth’s longest border
its largest, most harmless scar.
Every six years, no one speaks of

the crew threading coast, from Maine/Nova Scotia
camp-stove and credit card fully-fueled.
From just high enough, ants chisel away forest.
A crawling sensation. Handmade imperfection. Law.

***

For National Novel Writing Month, I’m writing a poem a day. They may wind up with a overarching narrative, they may not. I’m receiving daily prompts from my partner, and new poems should be published the day after they are written. The prompt for today’s poem was the Slash, the 20-foot-wide gap in the treeline demarcating the Canada-US border.

Photo Source: Vermont Seven Days

Tim Hortons are safe space

 

It’s been dusk for days. Cancelling moods.

Both of us back-pedaling and spacing.

 

Tim’s? Sure. Eye contact shitty. Lineless,

we abrupt small-talk, indulge disproportionately. Here?

 

Here: One-sided TMI to a jangle of anecdotal gossip

and gossipy anecdotes, then finally the meat:

 

the crash of the candy machine, the no-reply email,

the time to watch more day games, and the dead pet.

 

Strangers innocuous as variations on the jelly donut.

The absence of sugar packets focuses the heart.

Spring 2016

With my friends Justin Million writing a poem-a-day this month for Synapse and jesslyn delia gagno caught up via her own site, I can’t resist getting in the game. Here are three poems and expect another a day for the rest of April, the coolest month, which as you already knew is National Poetry Month in Canada and the States.

Spring 2016

Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice will disappoint
but I will still see it in theatres. Also, I shall keep rooting
for the ruin of certain childhood friends (not tragedy, per se
but darker comedies, the sort to reveal, yes, they’ve swum
a long way to a shallow end). When this leave is through
I’ll be sad and summer’s daycare days and well-lit nights
will cast home in a starker hue. The big studios,
they barely bother with billboards—every eight hours
I check for spoilers and clues, am sometimes rewarded
with a trailer and a little new footage. But, nonetheless
I’m sure X-Men: Apocalypse will disappoint
and Captain America: Civil War’ll be OK;
I’m unsure what else is coming.
My son meanwhile claws my shoulder.
I’m his Father (colon) Ever Hopeful The Future Tame
and he’s my Boy (colon) To Be Determined, Subject to Change.

 

Cheap

As fast as possible along Seven
recalling the shops and lakes
and certain long turns that curl
the mind’s wicked lip
that lisps: “This could be it,”
but mostly the mind burps
the tenths of cents
I could have.

 

Perfection

It’s too late to achieve perfection
—I have made love to my wife
& earlier took my son swimming.

Flint

(A Canadian Poem)

Mr. Davis taught American History Through Film;
an eleventh grade elective. Towards years’ end he screened
Roger & Me, gonzo-documentarian Michael Moore’s love-song
for his hometown of Flint, Michigan, victim of the nineteen-eighties.
After Apocalypse Now, I was ready to hate Americans some more.

There is an out-of-place, third act scene
where Moore meets a woman who stuck with Flint
and took to raising rabbits to survive. Matter-of-factly
she flips the skin off one while explaining the new regulations
for rabbit-keeping the state has introduced. Mr. Davis hit pause.

“Look at this,” in his baritone. “Watch this.” He rewound too far
and we had to re-watch some other scene first, and while I’m waiting
I’m thinking, why the fuck is he making us watch this again?
What the fuck’s his problem? I can’t un-see this shit.