Note: Construction is well-advanced on massive new buildings for CSIS (Canadian Security Intelligence Service), and on the much larger facility (176,500 sq m) for CSEC (Communications Security Establishment Canada). My less intelligent home is nearby.
I don’t know why I haven’t been invited to the new facility,
just across Blair Road, the one they have built to house this country’s
expanded intelligence services, but I haven’t been
and I’m hurt.
I don’t know any of the smart people
but so many of them arrive every morning that I can’t make a left turn onto Blair anymore. At night the air vibrates with all the transmissions that smart people have encrypted and are bringing back to intelligibilty. I can feel them
passing through me, even here, outside the wire.
I don’t know any of them personally, the smart people I mean,
but I could have told them about the Chinese hackers. I could have told them about the activity on the Arctic seabed. I could have forewarned them about the growing threat to Canadian nationals in what’s left of the Sudan. I
I don’t know much, but I could have told them about that.
If they asked.
I don’t know how long the roads can hold up.
No one expected this kind of traffic, the continuing roll of trucks
full of materials needed for the construction of intelligence, steel
and precast concrete mostly. But no, that’s exactly what the smart people
expected. Intelligence, once it’s built,
always acts like it wasn’t.
I don’t know why I can’t get in.
Cars line up for hours just to see the light. When I stand on the road
beyond the perimeter, I light up with its glow, which is what happens when secrets get excited by adequate wavelengths and the attentions
of smart people.
I don’t know what the intelligence was before it was, you know,
intelligence. The endless whistle of data, so much grease
in the atmospheres. Definitely
not words, the way they want to settle in to their inner sanctum
that gets debugged every morning. Before that.
Sometimes I quiver with the messages.
A moon smiles through the chainlink fence.
The wands and cogs don`t just happen.
You think the air is empty
but the air is full.
I don’t know what gets unloaded in the dark.
No one can make do with only what they have. The big trucks
Arrive all night and the the ground trembles slightly.
The empire is tilting and still, no other life is available.
They sent me here to watch.
So I’m watching.
Monty Reid is an Ottawa poet. His recent publications include the chapbooks Garden - December Unit (Corrupt Press), Contributor's Notes (Gaspereau) and Site Conditions (Apt 9), and his most recent trade publications are The Luskville Reductions (Brick) and Disappointment Island (Chaudiere). He is currently Managing Editor of Arc Poetry Magazine and one of the coordinators of VerseFest, Ottawa's international poetry festival.