Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Notes for a Sad Phoenician

You are the question to all my answers. I was an
echo without prior sound until you, silently, wrote,
“I am counting on my fingers to remember you.” If
only you had got my name right.
— Robert Kroetsch, Excerpts from the Real World

We were constructing our house on the moon. I was pricing out building materials. You were eyeing the neighbours. I handed you blueberry-flavoured chocolates, one small step in front of another.

I can see myself in airplanes, missing your touch. One city does not become another. I construct dreams out of trees on your tropical island, a paradise.

Periodic fits of ecstasy exhaust me. Compel.

Your black jacket with purple linen. I remember you taking it off, revealing bare shoulders. Don’t ask where you left it. I was trapped, staring at your skin.

You are beautiful as sky. It was thirty below, but you still stepped outside to mail me a letter. Your sweet-smelling blue.

Is this all Greek to me. A word meaning purple, your red and my blue. What runs in our veins, striking Cuniform.

My right hand rests on your belly. The snow erases sky, the tops of buildings, trees. We never went back for the crab in the Chinese restaurant, focused on take-out. The meal we took hours to begin.

The poem finally reveals itself. Your bare feet on the floor. I could not hear anything, for all the commotion.

There is salt, there is brine on your shoulders.

The body, it’s said, does not remember pain. It has an incomplete memory. I am sore up against the stretch of your lone prairie.

We were talking to architects. Architects on the surface of the moon.

Stone-deaf, Ma Bell couldn’t hear you. There is nothing left in the downtown snow. The rain couldn’t fall if it tried.

It’s not, Luke Doucet once sang, the liquor I miss. I was outside your window, dreaming you back into Carthage.

We are not where we said. At night, York and Ryerson beckon. We signify answers. At the cold of my desk, I write out your alphabet, one chiselled letter at a time.

Out of raw materials, I compile sadness. Once completed, I am hoping to banish it deep in the archives. There are rooms in this house even I’m not aware of.

I am dying, Egypt. We begin with a space on the page.

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