NeWest Press

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Response of Weeds, The

A Misplacement of Black Poetry on the Prairies
edition:Paperback
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Excerpt

Grown in Alberta
In Michigan
they will point to a spot
on the palm of their right
hand
when you ask
where are you from?
For Michiganders
the hand is the simulacrum
for substitute belonging.
First came the hand
then the map
then the hand again
The map's handsome substitute.
But first-first came the cold
and then the mitten:
the map's handsome substitute.
On the Canadian prairies
the cold is your constant contender
the cold is always first-first.
Once I dreamed of an empty grain elevator
sheathed in brittle ice.
I wanted to get inside
but each time I chipped
at its door, I felt an enervating
pang in the hollow of my abdomen.
I wanted to get outside
but each time I chipped at its door, I saw a glinting
mirrored surface magnifying my actions.
Everything went cold
my breath
undusted diamonds suspended before me.
A landscape was hinted in its spaces.
I would have placed my hand up against it,
the curl of my fingers
settling along the foothills,
but at times like these you can't help thinking about
those prototype fools in stories
baring the substitute cold to their tongues,
the very wording of my verisimilitude belonging.
And, Canada, you would not believe
how often a Michigander
never asked me
where are you from?

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Excerpt

Unreal to real
to the back of
wrong from the start
unknow this depart
Vancouver twilight
trainwave train shadow
shunt clunk shadeland shadfly shamble-shanks
rubbishy gulch-track gleam to river sidle
warehouse after depot after shed after chute
after silo after crane after . . .
I, shade in this
train tag. SKLMSH!
I, grain hopper lumber rack
rumbling boxcar
imported Shakespeare.
KAROOOM!!! Gotcha Poet
point in a grid, bit in a byte
boo in a boonie.
Buy low. Sky blue. Who's it? Not you
lift the latch crosspatch
of Prufrock's Xanadu
Xanada Canadu.
Wheel your red barrow
in Blake's cathedral
bpNichol St. Rains St. Ruggles.
Bible omen
schoolery brewing
howitzer idiots
normal ruling.
Rockabye, lost tonight
rockabye, wheely
clackity skulls rattle our masks
when the train hops.

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