Four poems for battleaxe
This cartography of tissue, bone, was never
to eclipse landscape. Victorian swagger, allocated;
to tame the gardens, menageries,
heathens. Tarzan, swings. If all you see
is someday yours, what
have you? A heart-
shaped box. This generosity of garbage, strewn.
Abandoned shipping containers. My love
An era of floaters: Garfield telephones
on dialing ashore. Anthropocene: the human epoch,
staggered syntax, centred. This question
of lyric amplification.
If any dead writer might take you into
their confidence. Re-tread. Read. To live in the past
is to infer a lack of risk.
Anne Carson: Genre is basically
of occasion. Goodbye, Norma Jean. What
might it cost
to put this house in order?
Blockchain. Lost again.
Four poems for Timber
This act of vanishing: felled, in
foul swoops. Once part of the Territory
of Nebraska, aboriginal lands carved later
six new states. Neither solid
An altitude. The rain falls. Silt
Please. This phrase is withered, tired.
At times, I tell my daughters stories of my
They pick and choose, absorbing
what, I could not know. A powdered trace
of who I’ve been, and am,
against their bones. A well
and undrawn facts
in parabolic orbit.
Where are you, mountains. Miners heft
and hollow, historic hustle
Elegiac time: contrary to nostalgia,
of permanent facts. Fountain Formation
this endless, impermanent view.
Mork and Mindy: the music shop
rarely saw enough on-screen customers
The buffalo. They followed, henceforth. One
Four poems for Ottawa Arts Review
A sunrise, overlay.
The oldest door in Ottawa.
Light orange, pink; curls
the locks, compress
the grammar stone. Capacious
parents, stroller. Tourist,
if you will.
The morning ringlets,
a clear momentum.
These sandstone coffers,
We would not
market death, the many bones
this framework lays upon. Why
would they. Speak it, point
to unmarked graves, a grace of curves
against these candied tulips.
List, this limestone swell, girdled north
by the river. Grand,
in their estimation.
The past is language, sheets
of fiction. Whitewash. Even
the anecdote might scare you.
of a practical joke.
Repurposed. Statues glean,
a biographical life. This wall of whispers,
politics, nope. A sequence
of promotional links.
Where Algonquin stood, and
Mohawk, staring down
the northern shoulder
of the Ottawa Valley. Laurentian foothills
interprovincial bridges, government
office complex; churches, hotels, this
cauldron boil. A portrait
landscape. Breathing in,
and in. I studied
the outcrop, for
an unknown amount of time.
Born in Ottawa, Canada’s glorious capital city, rob mclennan currently lives in Ottawa, where he is home full-time with the two wee girls he shares with Christine McNair. The author of more than thirty trade books of poetry, fiction and non-fiction, his most recent poetry titles include A halt, which is empty (Mansfield Press, 2019) and Life sentence, (Spuyten Duyvil, 2019), with a further poetry title, the book of smaller, forthcoming from University of Calgary Press. In spring 2020, he won ‘best pandemic beard’ from Coach House Books via Twitter, of which he is extremely proud (and mentions constantly). He spent the 2007-8 academic year in Edmonton as writer-in-residence at the University of Alberta, and regularly posts reviews, essays, interviews and other notices at robmclennan.blogspot.com