Some poets claim they can transcend time.

–Too Bad, Robert Kroetsch


On Tuesday it was you dressed in Shakespearian ruff & tights, sliding on your knees to deliver the lines. The floor shone warm like a basketball court & we all liked each other. At four a.m. I awoke angry. Who knows what would have happened? Champagne in the janitor’s closet? “Wendy” from the horn section? We might’ve walked out into snow through this city raining calendulas all for you.

Sunday it was Chicago & Dagfinn von Bretzel, again. I held his arm crooked tenderly in mine, guided him to a bathroom in the Ukrainian Village. A dirty martini tossed in his eye & he pinky swore. From the jukebox, “I Put a Spell on You” played over & over like a movie in someone else’s childhood. Zimne Piwo jittered pink. Cars towed while we spun on our stools.

Once, hiking to Bruma, a man tried to sell me hand-carved clocks: scrolled & curlicued, scalloped  & triskeled. He led me to a shadowed room where they hung, a ticking field of suns. That night, I hauled them up the sleep volcano, forded Indonesian lakes of variegated hues. I spied the Phoenician cross-legged on each shore. Who am I kidding?  That’s a honky-state lie.  That’s me trying to out-dazzle you.

What I really mean is: I don’t care what they mean. It’s the poly-syndeton I crave, the rock arranged in the stream. A pastiche any day. It’s hide & seek with ghosts of living or not, here we come. It’s midnight gorp on the Buffalo River of sleep. What floats the sewer doubling as crawdaddy creek in June. Wampum in that fella’s pocket clacking all the way to Saskatoon. That’s the way we roll.







Photo by Kaja Kozlowska on Flickr