poem of failure

after Phyllis Webb

this is a poem of disgust.
a plague of insecurities, & inflation figures.
i am tired of listening to solutions that cause more problems than they
actually solve.
this is not an essay on figures, facts.
i have a drink & then i have another drink.
i read the newspaper.
in russia, a school, a gun to the childs head.
what actually does a poem do.
i remain unconvinced of anything.
winston churchill is not george w. bush.
my neighbour washes her windows, as i sit & watch cartoons.
even colour has the moral grey.
this is an essay on paul martin.
in two days i will be in toronto.
what does it matter?
her stalker gone but not forgot.
scars are the bodys way of remembering.
w/ some things, time gives no relief.
questions, of how to exist in the world.
of how to exist.
days take blood & else, a sliver as we sleep.
what do you do to pass the time: newspapers, television, novels, film.
torn from the headlines, even comic books write airplanes striking buildings.
this is not a poem or an essay on desire.
how her tank-top educates.
what i have still to learn.
my daughters cat, a random treat when i arrive.
the front door broke.
enough to keep out, & sometimes in.
i dont remember anything.
the stars are never fixed; are constantly in motion.
darkness & light pull over the city like distant shades.
my body remembers dancing.
my apartment is artifact & the writing desk.
a copy of wilsons bowl.
this poem neither a grammar of beginnings nor endings; of bones nor the
skin i would write on.
as domestic as i know.
blood pricks red from my finger.
where has the cat gone?
what we used to do when we were younger.
then, what the trail knows.
half-naked children, shot as they turned to flee.
there is no reason or explanation.
i am a man of the world, he declares, just not that one.
through horror & regret.
empty platitudes, pleading.
this should not be.
another poem, useless as a thing.
wont cure cancer, solve world hunger, a dress out of curtains.
its curtains, they say, for you.
for us.
the last thing we would expect from anything.
crumble like buildings, old & incomplete.
a metaphor slipped in sand.
heart is the dinner plate, empty by nightfall.
now, where there is only dark.
the politics of taking out.

~ rob mclennan

rob mclennan lives in Ottawa, even though he was born there. The author of over a dozen titles, including poetry, fiction and non-fiction, he is the editor/publisher of above/ground press, Chaudiere Books, ottawater, Poetics.ca (with Stephen Brockwell) and numerous anthologies and single-author titles for various publishers across Canada. He is currently spending the 2007-8 academic year in Edmonton as writer-in-residence at the University of Alberta. He often posts reviews, essays and interviews at www.robmclennan.blogspot.com

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