"I am 3/4ths Canadian, and one 4th New Englander - I had ancestors on both sides in the Revolutionary war." - Elizabeth Bishop

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Rose-Coloured Glasses

Offered the choice I ask for you to choose:
you boggle (“Is my tessitura showing?”),
then proffer me the shorter of the two.
An awkward kiss. I never can remember
which cheek one ought to turn or just how many
times one's lips slip – right to left to right?

I lift it to the light. Striations, bubbles,
some stippled streaks of dots and dashes... scratches
left behind by vehement Old-Fashioneds?
Manhattans left behind on fascist liners
the cheapest way to Europe in the thirties?
A Brocken bow’s adiabatic site?

Where have I seen them? Yes, I know! – the panes
of wavy glass her lace-hung parlour window
opens to the CAUTION sign outside
the house she grew up in, across from where
the Esso station stood once, oily, homely, –
it’s Wilsons Gas Stops now, of course, at night

as noisy as the spot it’s filled was filthy.
The Harleys belch their little mushroom clouds
as kids race up and squeal their tires and giggle
in G# voices, chains and leather jackets.

One young man dismounts, his fresh-lit Marl-
boro cigarette (imported) drips pink light

on handlebars through still-cupped palm and fingers.

The rain commences, making water music
out of sync with kettle hiss and whistle
drawing me from the window to the kitchen.
I take the almanac from where it hangs
fastened by a steam-damp length of white –

– No. That isn’t string. It’s more like twine.
One end is frazzled where a scrap of paper
dangles still: a smudge of inch-worm green
almost occludes the couple words remaining.
“Rented... . Or maybe “Scented... bank”?
But bank of what? Of roses? No. Too trite –

Anyhow, her house (the first of three)
is yet to come. I’m heading there next week
to decompress and maybe to compose
some sort of thank-you note to you, dear Suzie,
not just for bringing me the armadillo
carved from soapstone, or the nifty slight-

ly scratched - but reeking all the more of meaning! -
drinking glass you got in Ouro Preto –
No. Most of all for you. Your глаз. Your глас.
– The Russian ‘glaçes’ can mean both ‘eye’ and ‘voice’. –
Two glasses. One for S. One - MCB.
Three merging ‘looks’. Three plovers taking flight.

6-8-10 February, 11 June 2011


No comments:

Post a Comment