Three Poems

matt robinson

 

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spring

the streets tonite are
crystalline; white, and

this cold: harder and
more violent than

second-day-of-spring
march should be. mom is

making funeral
arrangements, (but not

to plan ahead). i've
come to realize

people die weather
or not; whether or

not it's rain, sun, or
snow. they go. they go.

___

drifting

from the living room and your worn patch of couch,
          sodium spoils the innocence of snow
                    as the plow rumbles by our street
                    lamp. as flakes fall all of this is sullied—a
          yellow suburban annunciation.

and now as my mug, my egg-shaped mug
          your sister gave me, grows emptier
                    (and colder) in my hand, i drink this coffee and
                    think of tea, of coronation street silences;
          i remember the afternoons.

so in the yellowgrey of early morning, in the winter-furnace hum,
          i observe the state of water as it dies
                    in piles along the street, and in this light
                    try to convince myself that the chemistry of
          memory is permanent.

minutes pass. snow falls, my shoulders ache in anticipation.
          something in me below the clavicle seems to say it's better
                    to let storms blow, let walks disappear.
                    that sometimes it's better if we wait it out, if we
          don't recall graves.

___

snow; a fear of dying

The plan is the body.
The plan is the body.
The plan is the body.
—Robert Creeley, "The Plan Is the Body"

                                                  the plan is the body—
is in the physicality of all this as i glance out
the window. and there, the november light is
in its solid form—frozen, pieced and chopped—
falling from the trees like tickertape. announcing
victories and deaths; conclusions of all sorts. and
the wind outside is moderately strong: it can be
heard, and it can be seen in the nervous postures
of birch and spruce. and this snow, it is
a smart suggestion, really, of what

                                                  the plan is. the body
knows that familiar swirling toward a destination, down.
and i am certain there was something like it swirling
in my mother's blood, in my grandfather's veins—something
snow-pale and rare, and not quite right; some thing
that seemed to come and go, but was truly weather constant.
and that blood certainty is mine—an arterial legacy, a
flowing probability of days, weeks and years. it is a cool
flow, this icy thickening that racks and scrapes and slows
me from the inside; it is hidden proof of

                                                  the plan. is the body
that much a diagram, a window-framed picture, a
second-hand mapping or charting? on days like these
it would seem to be, so now i am obsessed with nature—
with its understated tallies: blood's snow and its piling
virus-frantic. i am concerned with ideas of pressures and
systems, with the way seasons bleed into each other
like colours, and the fact that drifts melt to newly grown
green; that even here we always return, however
briefly, to crumbling earth and fields, and stones.

 

 
 

___

These poems are reprinted from A Ruckus of Awkward Stacking (Insomniac Press: Toronto, 2000).

___

matt robinson, a native of Halifax, NS (wet snow, rain: that sort of thing) now living in Fredericton, NB (right in the middle of the snow belt: snow into May sometimes, take this year, for instance), is a doctoral student at UNB. His first collection, A Ruckus of Awkward Stacking (Insomniac, 2000), was short-listed for the Gerald Lampert Memorial and ReLit Poetry Awards. His writing has appeared on radio and television, in anthologies, and in numerous Canadian, American, British, and Australian publications. robinson is on the editorial board of The Fiddlehead and Kaleidoscope, and grew up playing ice hockey in cold rinks and on frozen ponds down the street. A Residence Don at UNB's McLeod House, he introduces students from around the world to the wonders of snow football on mid-December Sunday afternoons. how we play at it: a list, his second collection, is forthcoming from ECW Press this Fall.