In my hometown, it was like January,
like January in Oaxaca, in Fortin
de las Flores, like Fortin
in the mid-forties, like the 40s
in December, like December
on the river, a forest of willows
half in, half out of water,
like the river in the picture,
like the picture above your bureau,
like your bureau filled to overflowing
with feathers every colour of the spectrum
feathers blown through vowels,
through curtains of bougainvillea, going
on forever, forever as it formerly was,
in the lustre of a loved one’s luggage,
baggage to carry lightly or solemnly
toss-off into the Bay of Fundy.
Thank you for four golden mice
who never wake me up at night,
for the pocket-size surveillance device,
for books which tell me nothing’s unakin.
In January it was like my hometown
in the 1940s in the middle of December,
December a cool glass of water at noon
in the summer, a clinking of cowbells
to signal it’s evening. I was seven
four, eight, eleven, still unborn,
brother to my younger sister,
sister to my mother, father like a twin,
twins like vapour trails on clear nights
in October.You were my shadow
I dared not step into.You stood by
my shoulder, champion, angel, faithful
companion I dare not look in the eye.
What was it like for you?
Were you about to step into your skin,
like water poured from a pitcher,
like an ant into amber, like molten gold?
Was the gold like someone’s fortune
or folly, folly a moving picture you’d get
into for a quarter, when a quarter meant
more than a dollar, a dollar a bit
of a future you’d be expected to furnish,
I’d be with you to finish,
of a finish wearing the date of your birth,
polished with everyone’s hopes,
polished with everyone’s dreams
lost in a basket of keepsakes.
- 108: DEDICATIONwith L Patterson & L Garcia-Dolnik 107: LIMINALwith B Li 106: OPENwith C SLowe & J Langdon 105: NO THEME 11with E Grills & E Stewart 104: KINwith E Shiosaki 103: AMBLEwith E Gomez and S Gory 102: GAMEwith R Green and J Maxwell 101: NO THEME 10with J Kinsella and J Leanne 100: BROWNFACE with W S Dunn 99: SINGAPOREwith J Ip and A Pang 97 & 98: PROPAGANDAwith M Breeze and S Groth 96: NO THEME IXwith M Gill and J Thayil 95: EARTHwith M Takolander 94: BAYTwith Z Hashem Beck 93: PEACHwith L Van, G Mouratidis, L Toong 92: NO THEME VIIIwith C Gaskin 91: MONSTERwith N Curnow 90: AFRICAN DIASPORAwith S Umar 89: DOMESTICwith N Harkin 88: TRANSQUEERwith S Barnes and Q Eades 87: DIFFICULTwith O Schwartz & H Isemonger 86: NO THEME VIIwith L Gorton 85: PHILIPPINESwith Mookie L and S Lua 84: SUBURBIAwith L Brown and N O'Reilly 83: MATHEMATICSwith F Hile 82: LANDwith J Stuart and J Gibian 81: NEW CARIBBEANwith V Lucien 80: NO THEME VIwith J Beveridge 57.1: EKPHRASTICwith C Atherton and P Hetherington 57: CONFESSIONwith K Glastonbury 56: EXPLODE with D Disney 55.1: DALIT / INDIGENOUSwith M Chakraborty and K MacCarter 55: FUTURE MACHINES with Bella Li 54: NO THEME V with F Wright and O Sakr 53.0: THE END with P Brown 52.0: TOIL with C Jenkins 51.1: UMAMI with L Davies and Lifted Brow 51.0: TRANSTASMAN with B Cassidy 50.0: NO THEME IV with J Tranter 49.1: A BRITISH / IRISH with M Hall and S Seita 49.0: OBSOLETE with T Ryan 48.1: CANADA with K MacCarter and S Rhodes 48.0: CONSTRAINT with C Wakeling 47.0: COLLABORATION with L Armand and H Lambert 46.1: MELBOURNE with M Farrell 46.0: NO THEME III with F Plunkett 45.0: SILENCE with J Owen 44.0: GONDWANALAND with D Motion 43.1: PUMPKIN with K MacCarter 43.0: MASQUE with A Vickery 42.0: NO THEME II with G Ryan 41.1: RATBAGGERY with D Hose 41.0: TRANSPACIFIC with J Rowe and M Nardone 40.1: INDONESIA with K MacCarter 40.0: INTERLOCUTOR with L Hart 39.1: GIBBERBIRD with S Gory 39.0: JACKPOT! with S Wagan Watson 38.0: SYDNEY with A Lorange 37.1: NEBRASKA with S Whalen 37.0: NO THEME! with A Wearne 36.0: ELECTRONICA with J Jones