You try to draw it out,
But nobody cares.
You point first to a cloud,
Then a bird and they wonder
Why your finger is outstretched.
You just want the moment
To know its worth, craving
Singing and colours
And the patterns
Of light or shadows over everything.
You are simple, really,
The kind of person who
Has only ever desired one
Easy, difficult task.
You cannot die before
The others, you think,
As who will write
Their elegies then.
You must keep going
Forever, though few
Turn towards you
As you made this pact
With the river, or a flower
You met in childhood, or
The night’s unsayable constellations.
“Dreams from the highway of night/
the insect engine arching over water/
Upon asphalt, the salt of the evening’s words/
I have never been lonelier/
Loved by absence/adoring the dead/
in the new May warmth/ all the caution signs
Along the pilgrimage of sorrows/blooming. ”
Always, your family lived by water,
each summer spent their days on a smallish
sloop, beer & sandwiches in the hold,
on the deck, layers of inflatable dinghies
ready to become ideas of paradise, pumped up, pitched
into the cold Elysium of Okanagan Lake.
A picture of you at 15 in the boat’s plastic seat:
ball cap, white Marvel shirt, a grin of such innocence,
as if, wholly, you were innocent, smiling like a child
first learns to walk, hesitance spreading to ecstasy,
no knowledge that you were in midlife already,
that in less than 15 years you would be dead, the day
was so bright; everything held the sun.
[for Chris Matzigkeit, 1981-2010]
“sick of being decent, he craves another/crash. What reaches him except disaster?”
No longer young but incapable of looking old
The face sashays between a manic nubile pose
& morning’s shadows, subtle wrinkles
Striking at the edges of things, in certain lights,
Hard, yet the child still leans out the eyes’ raw
Sills, collects rusty flotsam, story tells,
Yearns for some rupture it can’t act out now,
A Jack Danielled animalism or even, the blind
Endorsement of muses, racing to them in Turkey
Or Deux Montagnes – what was that capacity
To feel little but the moment’s wild hurtling
Towards words? She cleans a lot now, wants her
Coffee rampant but days otherwise sedate, making is what burns
& the longing for what (somehow) remains.