Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Two Poems, by rob mclennan


Five poems for The Pi Review

1.

Hypothetical: the distance
a poem may travel. Margins spill, a flock

of miniature birds
or ants.

One speaks to the long journey
and the short flight, the position

of the sacred. How far
and at what pace.

To include everyone, one must leave behind
this entire world.


2.

One speaks of positives, options; a way
back home. A pandemic

of misspelled options.

Picture the lily. Filament, labyrinth, treacle. Vines
parry, jostle, pick apart

the bonds. A brick wall, groans
against the pleasure

of a single seed.


3.

I can tell you
anything.


4.

When we say forever, we do not mean
without end. We have been here,

but at one point, we
were somewhere else. The limitations

of a single myth. I am airplane,

starling, patterned
clipper. The sedentary rudiments

of layered rubble.


5.

Picture the house. These hands
are spilling. Rise up, gather. A concordance

of flowers, stone, abandoned clothes, his
errant speculations. I am not

your noun, your verb, your
action word. It is

impossible to write. My father’s texts

have reached their end.




Four poems for Spacecraftprojects

1.

In the beginning was the imagination, the classic enemy
of boredom. A lavish absence

of artificial light.

Can I see stars? Do I know English? Stories, away
from the semantic charge.

A revelation, visually
in place, in space. A fixed act, sequence

of discarded scraps.

Imagine: once we looked up, without
the thought of force.


2.

To determine we are horizontal
in the language. Perceiving only dots

across horizon-line. They say to realize
is to unearth. Is ours a measure

to reach beyond

for improvement or ruin? Warm hands, pulling hot
and cold dead planets

down to where we drown.

If this a means. A means
of access.


3.

Shadow shapes itself, provides
a deeper shadow. If one aligns, perhaps,

a different order: Saturn, Mercury, Ganymede. Fly me
to the moon. Firmly focused

on infinity. Mark the first word, and the first
in space. These foreign bodies, exile. Formed

by rhythm, language. Changed,

for the viewing.  No matter what we do,
obsessions rise, and coat

the surface of this inquiry.


4.

To shift a little distance. The children flutter,
decorate their bedroom door with scraps of paper,

carving stars and planets, birthday hearts,

writing out their names. All I want to do

is work.






Born in Ottawa, Canada’s glorious capital city, rob mclennan currently lives in Ottawa, where he is home full-time with the two wee girls he shares with Christine McNair. The author of more than thirty trade books of poetry, fiction and non-fiction, he won the John Newlove Poetry Award in 2010, the Council for the Arts in Ottawa Mid-Career Award in 2014, and was longlisted for the CBC Poetry Prize in 2012 and 2017. In March, 2016, he was inducted into the VERSe Ottawa Hall of Honour. His most recent poetry titles include A halt, which is empty (Mansfield Press, 2019) and Life sentence, (Spuyten Duyvil, 2019), with a further poetry title, the book of smaller, forthcoming from University of Calgary Press. An editor and publisher, he runs above/ground press, periodicities: a journal of poetry and poetics and Touch the Donkey. He is editor of my (small press) writing day, and an editor/managing editor of many gendered mothers. He spent the 2007-8 academic year in Edmonton as writer-in-residence at the University of Alberta.


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