Friday, October 23, 2015

Jane Munro: Excerpts from "Old Man Vacanas" (Blue Sonoma, Brick Books, 2014)



The old man
to whom I’m married
hits the sack again
after breakfast.

A black bear
out in the rain
on Blueberry Flats.

Is it too wet
to hibernate? The muddy creek

By lunch, he’s up.
The sky’s no lighter – candles
with our tea.

Tell me, can a soul
fatten up for winter?



The old man who picks up the phone
does not get your message.

Call again.
Please call again.

The cats leave squirrel guts
on the Tibetan rug.
Augury I cannot read.

You’ve got to talk with me.

I scrape glistening coils
into a dust pan,
spit on drops of blood and spray ammonia.
The blood spreads into the white wool.

I am so sick of purring beasts.

Don’t tempt me, old man.
Today I have four arms
and weapons in each hand.



If you want to know the way
out here,
I’ll tell you.

Drive and drive.
The road goes up and down, to and fro.

If you want to come visit,
I’ll invite you.

My old man won’t know
the difference
between you and billy-be-damned.

He’s been wearing out old thoughts—
holes now in plenty.
Fewer in his drawers.
And he’s not keen on new ones.

We lay the bricks of conversation.
Block one. Block two.
Small. Tidy.
Start again.
Solid. Reassuring.
Four windowless walls.

Roar up the drive. Spit gravel. Blow your horn.

I am gnawing through myself.



My old man
oh, my old man, oh my
old man

is lean
as a wooden spoon
stirring batter
that folds
around it the way
at his waist
a softness drapes.

He sleeps on his back,
straight as a broom.
He sleeps on his side,
curled like a cat.
He sleeps with the heater going
and a T-shirt on.
My old man likes
to catch some zzzzzzzs.



The old man
takes his choppers out
when chicken sticks to them.

He parks them in a glass
of blue fizz.

DNA from fossil bones
tells us we’re siblings to Neanderthals—

and the small arrangements
we make? Language, travel, art? Props

in a little, local, theatre of light.

Blue Sonoma  (Brick, 2014. 45 – 55)

Jane Munro's sixth and newest collection, Blue Sonoma (Brick Books, 2014), was awarded the 2015 Griffin Poetry Prize. Her previous books include Active Pass (Pedlar Press, 2010), Point No Point (McClelland & Stewart, 2006) and Grief Notes & Animal Dreams (Brick Books, 1995). Her work has received the Bliss Carman Poetry Award, the Macmillan Prize for Poetry, been nominated for the Pat Lowther Award, and is included in The Best Canadian Poetry 2013. Munro is a member of the collaborative poetry group Yoko's Dogs whose first book, Whisk, was published by Pedlar Press in 2013. She lives in Vancouver.      .... about Jane Munro    ....  about Yoko's Dogs    

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