Unseasonably warm. It never lasts. A thread I’ve been exploring in my poems in the last six months have been meditations about the place we live. At the beginning of December, I read alongside seven other writers-in-residence at a fundraiser event for YouthWrite. After the readings, we all lined up on stools on the stage to answer questions about writing from the audience. One of the questions which caused the most fervent disagreement was someone asking whether or not we have an obligation to write about our surroundings. My reflexive (and trite) response is that no, writers don’t have an obligation to write about anything. My simultaneous relflex (and the more interesting answer) is that I think they should.
Edmonton is a place which often feels like it’s in the middle of nowhere, with strong attempts at culture building ultimately left to struggle due to the geographic difficulties of cultural exchange with the outside. When cities in science fiction stories are covered with a bubble, I am reminded of home. Art contributes to the narratives people have to live their lives by. If a person is only exposed to art about other places, does home ever feel like home? Our city would be helped with a little more art that is not necessarily preoccupied with snow and urban sprawl, but acknowledges it as a part of our fabric.
Sundays are a good day for a morning bath. Sometimes it is good to get up very early in the day, before the sun, and sit in in the bath, with a book, with candles. I think that nighttime activities and morning activities are mostly interchangeable. Try learning something new about yourself by changing your routine. To some extent, we are what we do. When was the last time you had a cup of tea in the bath? Below are some poems. I hope they are helpful to you. Read them to a friend if you’d like. Poetry is communication. It is strengthened by its journey. As always, if you need to chat, I’m here.
We have cheekbones
which fit together
like a tree branch
into the socket
we’ve ripped it from
to make a walking stick
when all of the paths have been turned to ice.
What is the environmental impact of being in love?
We remove the river.
We tug on each other’s neckties.
sit around like fallen leaves.
We open our mouths for many things.
We unlock our bikes.
We look through each other.
There’s always someone on the other side.
We are careful,
we are serious,
we could wait all day.
We took the day off work for this.
We could look good forever.
I like to run my fingers along a brick wall.
It’s just clay.
Salt mines don’t require heat
but they do require digging up the earth
We’re reading the salt association’s website
to each other to settle this argument.
We argue over aliens.
This post was originally written on January 31, 2016 for Latitude 53, while I was their Writer in Residence.