from a storm window
What gardens, these?
What Victorian mansions?
Past a memory
of Saint Paul dying
in John Doull’s Bookstore
What City is this what street river square?
A seagull gorges on a starfish
beside the casino funhouse
arching its mouth
its neck full
idiotic laughter drifts
Lo, the Citadel a skull,
a ship carrying us
away from dreams
us Lebanese falafel vendors
us strung-out mothers
where once were landmines
hearing the steady heart-
beat of the good Town Clock
east side of our hill
Golgotha of the Maritimes
at the City’s highest point
Then came all the troglodyte tribes of Supernova Scotia
to festoon’d Festus, digressive descendent
o’ George Dunk (videlicet, Lord Halifax,
sponsor to Edward Cornwallis,
— spake they,
“Behold, O Festus,
we are thy bone & thy flesh!”
“Nay!” saith Festus mallslayer.
“My bone & flesh are memory.”
The populous howled:
“In this apogee of the age of Festus
have we taken refuge in you,
our captain, as streams of water
gushed from the sun & moon,
as Park Lane married a streetlight,
fertilizing the void with kinescopic sight,
as inconceivable tattoos unfolded
in the sky over Bayer’s Lake. Now,
again, lead us across this fog of memory!
Protect us & help us & feed us!
Where have the cows gone, our cattle
that once grazed on Citadel Hill?”
made this answer —
Zealots, I am as scared as you, blown
by the wind of the poem
to the backside of a river,
on the night
of a new constellation
— so familiar
but I don’t know what it means.
you set out on my journey, a caveat:
your heart is an amulet you carry
through the forest of memory.
Hold the amulet to your naked chest
or the trees will show themselves to be devils
& the owls on their branches
will speak your dossier to them.
Do not trade your amulet for gold
or love or hamburgers. Close your eyes —
see how it glitters?