The Hard Heart

And yet the poem stands pollute
as it stumbles to the dark heart
of a fleet of tin canoes. Brilliant
sugar maples a landscape of wide-
eyed portraiture. Propellers vent
family farms into tight design. Private
sawdust bottlenecks each landfill
that soaks up hope. I trip out
in the snow to fold myself in tropes.
Permanence the sting of a past
roped back from execution.
Everyone wants to forget, no one
wants to man the guillotine. It’s
far too hard to drop the blade
with your head in the stocks.

Instead, the poem adopts the public
face of free speech kitsch. Trees
exactly three metres apart but
freer. Not to the opening bay
doors, which, at best, cry survival,
which grind harm into who are
you to question my lines of flight,
but to you, tuned to the click
track of iconoclasm in times of
crisis, the clouds moving just fast
enough to notice don’t propose
anything but code strings of made
edification. Camaraderie in
competition. Others don’t beat
the heart of creative genius as
a game where a growing hole
tames neighbourhoods through
clearance, pop matter into
a material vacuum. Even in the
future, I will need air to live.

Reacting poorly, I make waste.
My percussive brainwaves make
noise from lead in the garden.
Punch your card, buy your ticket
to another world-shattering
artwork drawn from industrial cut
flood design to designer flooding
pooled finely in the garden suites
water runs to. The stylish circulations
that make the gallery will make a
mean Instagram post. And, O, if
a rising tide lifts all boats, a canon
lifts a poem that floats. Its lines light
like inflatable rafts. Its facts rotate
into codes skipped from the shore.
Its rosy scent evinces theatre goers.
Responsive, my poem explodes,
its spandex mimics knockout
horizon, pan over the cool privilege
of reproduction, eyes on crosswalk
lines, couplings widen to the width
of the container. Each time my
stride is broken it makes me feel
more nationalistic (and how
the same setups get punchlined up
on that dim stage!), but one of these
days there won’t be a horizon, utopian
or otherwise, without an admission
that venture and risk will need
dismantling. August is the cruelest
month in the heat and the vacuum
left in an extended retreat into
the couple form. Men are the most
difficult when they want boundless
extractable love. Relation just a
cost-benefit analysis of who to
bracket off. And me, clogged with
the pastoral, a falsely tuneful cool
played in prairie minor, spooling
memory of rainbow trout from
the Battle River as an event set
blocks from St. George station.

What can the poem do about this
4% rent hike across the province?
A tired question when property
pools up pulp any way it can. Maybe
monetization might help? Maybe
set up an etsy that slides work
into dreamscapes? Clocks run 24
hours so why leave any outside
wall unmuralled. The radiant city
tendrils walkability scores through
the gentle handholding of two-story
walkups. Prizes come on a summer
breeze, though its fall now and there’s
an election soon. Candidates promise
more rentals to say nothing about
rents. Maybe poetry can help. All I
would need to write is an invoice.

In the end, entrepreneurship is socially
ungraceful. And what maverick airway
puppets aristocracy? There are hats
that merit wears at court and hates
that mutely own their compost. I
comport the poem through the pasture,
past front faced orders to deport, head
down. All this endless democracy,
little spoon to electrons in a compact
global market. Little ticker lights blink
their affect as the poem divines
a receding daydream in the altered
horizons of constitutional legitimacy.
My tongue slides hivewise to siphon
the event’s soundtrack, brim tipped
honey assembling sticky in that poem.
The poem’s mass snaps that cheque
for the bank, its deposit stirs little
antennas into meeting. I wash news
print from my tongue, its tune a sickly
sweet pigeon hole automated vent
jeweled virtual. Billionaire disruptors
meteor forward. Event continuity,
not exception. White sand streets.

as published in Dang Me (above/ground press, 2020)