Sunday Poems

Most of us don’t see poetry every day in Edmonton. If you’re the sort of person who rides the bus you’ll see poems replace advertisements sometimes, but otherwise, they don’t form a part of the landscape.

In the movie RoboCop, there are shots we see from the perspective of the titular character as he scans his environment looking for wrong-doers. Little boxes are drawn around objects in his field of view and text shows up underneath, labelling it, assessing it. I feel like that’s a little bit like how someone who thinks in poetry sees the world. (I really like that movie, ok?)

Every Sunday I’ll be helping put a little more poetry in our local atmosphere by sharing a short poem I’ve written. Today was a rainy day. I recommend sitting down with a cup of tea, beer, wine, or water and enjoying a moment of contemplation.


Colours

I’ve never been able
to see colour
quite right.

Those circles of dots
tell me I’m not
colourblind,

But if a room sees
greenish blue I see
blueish green.

A postcard from a friend
describes red leaves
in Ontario.

I left my office
and looked in my backyard:
yellow leaves.

Some of them
look like crumpled
napkins.

At this time of year
the river is widened
by curtains of leaves.

No ice yet, but
the river has put on its vegetal sweater
in anticipation.

Half of the big bridge
is closed to foot traffic:
they’re installing suicide barriers.

The last time they closed it
was to put up coloured lights,
sixty thousand bulbs.

When you’re on the bridge
the lights are green or blue,
slowly moving between them.

The patriotic colour
appears sometimes as well;
this red lingers the longest.

At night, this make the valley below
look like a David Lynch movie;
I don’t walk underneath anymore.

On the bridge itself
girders conspire with the red
to make you afraid of the Alien.

I started noticing the colour palates
of films when I first went on antidepressants.
I saw colours like I’d never seen them before.

Flowers popped, grabbed me
and shook me by the shoulders,
I understood them.

But I couldn’t hold a conversation
and when I woke up in the morning
and my first thought was nothing.

Don’t quit antidepressants
cold turkey
like I did nine months later,

which precipitated
the last time
I wanted to kill myself.

I stood in my kitchen
on the checkerboard floor
and I watched my body fall into ice.

Oscillating between crying
and feeling nothingness
because I was made of rubber.

I knew that quitting antidepressants
without an adequate tapering period
was a very bad idea

and is strongly associated
with an elevated risk
for suicide.

I held onto this rope
of knowledge
and made it through.

Stainless steel mesh
and high tension wire
fences on the bridge.

For all of us
who feel desperate from time to time.
certainly, a cage is safer.

I will reply to that postcard
and describe the yellow leaves
in Edmonton.


This post was originally written on September 20, 2015 for Latitude 53, while I was their Writer in Residence.