Some local variations on Water Music

Towards each face the sleeping rivers return.
For three nights and two days the ebb and flow playground
along Elbow and Bow succeeded our guesses. Oh-oh,
someone forgot to open the floodgates
in Sunnyside. Mudwaters churn around teddy bear and baby grand
feet alike. Followed by
another river, of sump pumpers, squeegeers, vans with sumo sized
appetites. They disgorge sandwiches, mineral water, volunteers.
Such indiscriminate flux, I forgot about my private
space for a while. I was in Calgary, the Saddledome
suddenly hosting a non-event. More rain in the
forecast, a dream-scaffold for the
rivers that stay and replenish attitude,
working bees to an eager child.

Without power for four days no running water the two friends sleep with their dentures in.
Towels soak around the fridge, its top half starting to smell what the mind is wanting to part
with almost erupts in the pitch dark when eighty years’ worth amounts to a sharp scolding.
Melted ice mixed with rocks to hold down the drifting wit, sirens downtown wake her up
savouring ginger tea candies while the black geranium, the insomniac hoya, gets a douse
of toilet water and the tongue sleepwalks as it detaches from its roof, the prospects now
of surveillance, rescued from the flood, of stepping into the civic arms of Nenshi, are good.

Some pipe laxative, five cars heavy on Bonnybrook bridge, was saved.
Calgary zookeepers, swimming with hippos, close a gate so the weir
won’t kiss their brown ovens goodbye.
Imagine a tickling safari
tigers floating through the Weaselhead, the
pulse of every uprooted now you see it now you don’t
In my dialect: sui deem
then to simply stand still ankle deep in it
an otherwise unremarked pleasure.

an artist’s kiln underwater
archived fiche the first
pipe organ earlier
puddle of spun metals
gleam in Katie Ohe’s eye
that kind of earnest
not in the beginning
was the separation
but as a matter of starting somewhere
do we find ourselves at the growling
come hell or high water
window thinking of grass
sighing then the
blue fills it complete they’re gone

~ Weyman Chan

Weyman Chan’s first book, Before a Blue Sky Moon, won the 2002 Writers Guild of Alberta Stephansson Poetry Award; his second book, Noise From the Laundry, was a finalist for the 2008 Governor General’s Award for Poetry. His third book, Hypoderm, was published by Talonbooks in Spring, 2010.

Read more of Weyman Chan’s poetry: here

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