Whereas this cluster of shoppers withdraw hope from dangling pronouns
And whereas this bridge that conjoins resists the run on the sentence
And whereas this designated placemat is tight lipped on migratory commas
And whereas this market erected in midstream feeds on the veins of creeks
And whereas this not for sale makeshift canoe replicates the idea of passage
And whereas this reverse of water conflates the drainage of seductive fillings
And whereas this island stands as trademark to the bouyancy of socialite codes
Let the rhetoric flip its blissed nominalson the farthest reaches of its distemper
Let chains of recurrence picket allthe wickets on the chagrined boardwalk
Let fruit (o raspberries) in basketrycollapse into circuits of belonging
Let no wreckage patent the pillageor haunt the glowing in the village (“A Walk on Granville Island”)
Governor-General's Award-winning poet Roy Miki's fifth trade poetry collection, Mannequin Rising (Vancouver BC: New Star Books, 2011), exists as an exploration of public spaces and personal responses and responsibilities, specifically referencing most-often-beheaded store mannequins placed in mall windows as an avatar for large-scale consumerism.
Including full-colour photo-collages by the author, the collection is, at its core, built around three lengthy sections of sequences, starting with “Scoping (also pronounced 'Shopping') in Kits” to “A Walk on Granville Island” and “Viral Travels to Tokyo,” surrounded by shorter pieces that hold the manuscript in place as a whole.
So much of Vancouver poet and editor Miki's work in this collection is held in his immediate, walking the streets of Vancouver neighbourhoods, or ongoing travels to the country of his ancestors, providing subtle touches and a light touch across a landscape of commodity that has become all-too-commonplace.
Do you believe that all thesewaters have not been charted?
These instruments on the dockare tracking devices
They barely hold togetherunder intense scrutiny
Once upon a time one couldsay there was an all purposesupermarket in this solidaritythat could not have been
For instance here in the crookof a water colour scenarioa dissolve of say brown and/or blue with a smidgen of greyin the hand me down clouds spoilthe mandarin oranges pyramidicallypoised to capture our fancy this
i wonder about the starlings thatcongregate around the passengerswho dole out food substances freelywith an elan usually associated withthose with gifted bodies and minds (“A Walk on Granville Island”)
The third of the longer-sequence sections, “Viral Travels to Tokyo,” exists as a kind of “utanikki,” or poetic travel journal, a form consisting of a mixture of poetry and prose explored as well by Canadian poets Fred Wah, Roy Kiyooka and bpNichol. Rife with small moments, a light touch and insight, Miki's poems evoke a kind of breathless-zen movement. What might be left of us, his poems inquire, if everything we have and we are is for sale? Written in couplets ghazal or even haiku-like in their brevity, Miki's poems require the strictest of quiet attention.
turbulence zonesin on Tokyo's light
winding down clocktime it's already tomorrow
before today is donethe recuperation queries
who is that masked gaijin?
it follows that nothingis irretrievalbe in the descent
Where is the hot seat located? Where does the wand seek to land? What if the thermal vane spins out of whack? The clipboards hanging on the inspectors are blank and look more decorative than rowdy. One seat over, K sees they've been tied over their shoulders, as if improvised, with some plastic rope with frayed edges. Hedge against the tide, so we suppose. What's with the goggles in the fractured light? We wear our metabolic suits in neutral colours for the duration.