Sunday Poems XXIII

It’s been a strange transition from working my residency—supplemented with part time work and freelancing—to working full time at a day job and writing and editing at the very fringes of the day. I’ve not been getting enough sleep. I’m drinking too much coffee. I’m not eating enough. But I’m not very worried about money anymore, a huge burden lifted. Money is a fantastic self-perpetuating entity, because the more you try not to be swept up in its values, the more it occupies your mind as you strategize how to circumvent its power. I much prefer not to think about it, but that involves having enough of it in the first place. Unconscious participation perpetuates a lack of consciousness.

I try to resist the automatic financialization of daily life as much as I can, but ultimately for the working class especially, money acts more or less as a stand-in for time. I could buy something (expensive), or I could do it yourself (as cheap as free!). This dichotomy ignores the ways that our social connections can provide for us, however.

Modern capitalisation depends on us ignoring its strivings to replace the role of community in our lives. It sells an illusion of independence, a narrative of self-reliance through our ability to never ask for something. We can buy it. The only social relations we care about are those with the people we pay to serve us. Our transactions as patrons in restaurants or shops allow us each to feel like we are royalty for moments, with the world existing to serve us.

To form a relationship with another person, and to form a bond of trust by deciding to help each other with cooking or mending, with art or a massage is in itself a form of protest. We wave the banners of the revolution at our dinner tables, and at our poetry readings, with a shared smile, with any expression of compassion. We can see the apocalypse coming, but we do not have to wait for it to be through to start rebuilding. Bricks can be laid today.

Sundays are a nice day to get to know your body again. We wake up in our bedclothes in bed under blankets—they’ve gotten twisted around us in the night. A pillow’s been knocked on the floor. Somehow the pillow looks like a small, fat animal. We take the morning off from the internet and spend a lot of time drinking tea. Did you know that you can make a tea from coffee leaves? I mean to try this sometime soon. I’ll check in when I’ve done so. Below is a poem. As always, if you enjoyed it, share it with a friend. I’m here to talk if you need in. Have a great week, everyone.


the colour red and the colour blue

Taking a bus down the avenue;
water bottle filled with water
and a few drops of ginseng extract.

Legs made of wood.

Ashamed and electric.

Kissing in public,
a small object falling to the floor
but not breaking.

I realized
that I had become
invisible.

A gang of movements, a trouble-starter,
the kindling for lovers.

Stepping out the door for a cigarette
a piece of nicotine gum wedged against the cheek.

We are the green sky;
we are the movements over the forests;
we are the hopes of specialized glassware.

A computer screen,
a reality
becomes
only a name.

Sometimes we shudder while smiling—
the breeze on an unseasonable day.

We paint with our eyes closed.

For the most part
you are afraid
of seeing a lover
underfoot.

It’s ok. we stare through the internet at each other
and I feel my knees on the floor
I feel the smoothness of my cheeks.

“You have used a new razor again, haven’t you?”

Artifacts from the distance playing with the image.

“This sort of blossom is once a year”
you say to me, sadly.

We admire the may day trees.

We take apart your computer keyboard
and we wipe each of the keys
with isopropyl alcohol
and you wonder aloud
“when did I get this bottle?”

Moving a cursor around the screen.

Too many stimulants in the last few days,
the dryness of the eyes,
the setting of the flesh of the lips.

“Look, can you see?”

Our bodies are like a slow concrete.

We trace our names and the date
in the foundations
hoping to stick there.

But it takes so long to set.

The painter returns and blends the colours more
this canvas will take weeks to dry.

The neighbours owned a farm
and one of the neighbours
lost their hand
in a milling accident.

The soul is hardening in me.

Another:

Staring with sunken cheeks at the screen.

The way I hold my face,
slight tension
at the corners of my mouth
when troubled
is changing my face.

It hardens.


Originally published March 13, 2016.

Theodore Fox is a poet living on Treaty Six land in Canada.
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