In the last picture she smailedshe is naked. In return he sent a copyof the Kama Sutra, pencillingon the first blank page, “Here is the mapof that city we can never travel inbecause our bodies together composein avenues and apartments, its flocksand bright puddles. As these streets,I hope, we will meet againsoon.” Once he went to the airportwith money for a ticket, preparedto cross the ocean and surprise heris her home, and he wonders ifshe also dreams of a terminalwithout passengers, schedules,or planes, one holding nothing morethan suitcases, satchels, shoulder-strappedbackpacks crammed tightin anticipation of all the landsimagined but never departed for.It is in this waiting we do not lift off fromwhere the last we see of love is the photoof a pose we'll never again enframein our own naked poses, the lifewe'll never grow quiet with, not in timefor the next uniting flash. (from “Desire, A Lyric Pornographologue of Autoerotic Haunts”)
Even with publications in journals across the country, there was something about former Saskatchewan poet (currently in Toronto) Daniel Scott Tysdal's first poetry collection, Predicting the Next Big Advertising Breakthrough Using a Potentially Dangerous Method (Regina SK: Coteau Books, 2006) that came out of nowhere, receiving both the ReLit Award and the Anne Szumigalski Poetry Award. Not only out of nowhere, his first collection was a wild collage of poems, prose, visual poems and image, an eclectic and electric mix, even more unusual for the fact that it came out of Coteau, known for years for publishing poetry collections predominantly constructed out of (comparatively) relatively straight lyric narrative. Since then, Tysdal has released The Mourner's Book of Albums (Toronto ON: Tightrope Books, 2010), a collection that exists as a novel of sorts, or a scrapbook of the disappeared, mixing poem with prose with theory, writing poem-as-artifact, or even, art installation. Starting with a kidnapped boy, Tysdal's collection moves its way through the G20 riots in Toronto, the war in Afghanistan, and his best friend's suicide, moving through a book of loss, of losing, and what's already lost, before coming back to what remains, and what gets found. A rich, vibrant collection, so tight you could bounce a quarter off it, The Mourner's Book of Albums is impossible to compare, a mix of different forms and structures, managing mutability, confusion and play, all while master craftsman Tysdal keeps the book a complete and comprehensive unit.
A week before this book went to press, I spoketo Dahlia's mom. I told her about the poems.She asked me to include a story I'd never heard.As a child, Dahlia nurtured obituaries in placeof pets. She fabricated death notices for birdsand beasts she never in the first place possessedto lose. She invented a sophisticated cockatielwho chirped her name when it was timeto rise for school, a border collie who saved herfrom slipping through cracked sheetsof frozen water. As a favour to circling vultures,and to expose the promiscuity of skins in their decay,she pretended her imaginary dead petsremained carcasses unburied at the edgeof the garden rather than buried bones,the breadth of the backyard's burgeoning lifepierced with a stillness so singular it defiedwhat the siding and shingles asserted to bethe nascent relation of divided hides.If lightning were to have struck her fantastical pileof remains, she had known that none of the pawsand fins and wings decomposing into this drearychimera would have twitched awake, but in one obita newt taken too soon to the pile startled the skywhen parrying thunder slithered from its slender throat. (from “Desire, A Lyric Pornographologue of Autoerotic Haunts”)