war memorial.

clockas much as i try not to react to things like this, personally, especially in writing, i have to say that it isn’t easy for me, personally, (i mean very personally & little else right now) to see the war memorial blocked off with caution/crime scene tape.

i had places in hamilton, before i left, unique & special places that even after they stopped being unique and special i would still return to when i wanted to write, or be alone. city hall, the rooftop of jackson square, gore park, TH&B, victoria park, and beneath the bridges of the QEW. and i had them in dundas too: the carnegie gallery rooftop, of course, the driving park, grove cemetery, the rope swing (sounds so adorable now, and small-townish), the creek.

i feel this connection right now to hamilton that i don’t want to feel but it’s glaringly there: the wreaths & flowers piling at the armoury on james street, the tributes from friends who knew him personally, the hamilton websites & news i follow now talking about my city, my war memorial, my streets. i love feeling connected to my hometown for its places and its people, but i don’t right now.

in ottawa i’ve been lucky enough to pick new places just for myself, that are unique & special, where i can write or be alone. the canal, obviously, the bank street bridge, the underpass, confederation park, never parliament (boring!), the war memorial. these places are more than just places to be alone to think or write: they’re mixed up for me in my memories, the days, nights, walks, conversations, coffees, kisses, confessions, lies, truths, friendships, drunken stumbles home that make up my actually personal life.

also, and this is even more personal, but my birthday being on remembrance day has allowed me (since being in ottawa) to take the day off & visit the war museum, the memorial, and spend some time, reflect on it personally, reflect on it not-personally. so seeing it blocked off is strange. i wish this didn’t sound so selfish, it’s just hard for me to not connect personally to things; it doesn’t mean i’m ignoring the rest of it.

“the nice thing about the war
memorial is that
there are no voices, you
can’t hear a word”

(august 2011)

memorial

earliest.

they built the wall slowly: one foot
at a time, leaving space around frames
for windows
and doors,
spaces to enter, or leave;

walls built of stone, meeting
at corners, spaces to one
day grow dust –

and what is your home
if not for your dust –

we all have our earliest
moments.

walls built, eventually climbing,
climbing until shuttered by rafters,
by shingles and snow.

now it is later; the trees in the yard
have matured and the house
won’t hold heat

and still there is warmth in the earliest
walls: first corners and stones, those
which eventually sink, every year,

inch by inch back to the earth

alexi.

after the slaughter there was no
motion. we stayed
clothed in bed for a very long
time. you greased
my eyelids for comfort
and blindness, you told me

you dreamed for three nights:
fictional lavender in washington
state; i’d dreamt of the heir
to a throne

i gifted you glasses for wine,
still held by their cellophane skin

while my son was unborn i called
him ‘alexi’, a namesake

the fields don’t exist in that
state, i had said, too smothered by
forest, by rock

cross street.

napowrimo #29

like shadows of photographs
still developing, or an
ultrasound, we
wait, we

pick apart
scrapped pieces of
ourselves, much
like our dinner, and

designate: a
part is mine, a part is yours

[the second in a row, and i guess a part of some kind of series i started without knowing it, about home, and places that meant something but are now just something i remember.]

smother.

napowrimo #4

I.

we are face to face in the
elevator. weird, because no one
stands face to face in an elevator.

in another you held
my son, kissing his face, i
was kissing your face. now we
can’t speak. the words are
unholy, and besides,
they’re not there.

II.

sheer fabrics do more than let in the
light. we hang curtains, i pick
patterns for bed skirts,
you pay at the
register.

III.

you press every button
to keep me. the fabrics,
you say, can smother us too.