christophe colomb

the smell of wet cedar,

in the alley that sundown orange

that left the east green,

storms rising and blowing through

 

and the rain coming down,

the old copper roof of st. cecile

singing

 

we fight about specific actions,

about the definitions of words

 

and secret counting undoes the ha rd-won

kindness for a moment, but it burns out

in the fire of spring

leaping up our backs

 

leaves explode out off the trees

starting just out front, the birch

pops out its full foliage,

then the next, all the way down christophe

colomb to the river to the ocean

 

there are moments of heavy weight, and confusion,

and there are moments of inescapable joy

 

like atlas

Aloud the words seem heavier.

When spoken, a concept gets wrung out:

 

A grade, sequence, pillar, full court press,

any noun or expression is a piece of sky

 

Cut out and hung in a window. To speak

is to capture, and a word is a basin for

 

Pure light, but before the word there is

freedom and after there is peace, again

 

The garden with blue stone path and

again the unfolding of light from the

 

Distance and the holiness of being anything

at all. Then there’s words on the page, though,

 

Words bordered somehow, a new-birthed thing

wholly immovable, stricken in place by

 

A medusa, but thankful, like Atlas was.

 

in the event of fire

in the event of fire,

please commit my ashes

to the river,

 

so i can run down out

back to the ocean and

i could start again.

 

the little brown and faded

blue houses on either bank

could smile as the water

 

took me past, they would know

what it’s about, of course,

having seen so many

 

humans pass within their walls.

the trees, too, would understand perfectly,

and bow a bit in satisfaction.

 

the real treat would be getting there,

the end, the complete delta

and meeting-place,

 

and there you would be, all the

family and thoughts and deep

moon-ridden dreams,

 

waiting there, at the edge of the ocean,
and looking forward to

the trip.

 


These poems are selection from the Yearbooks project, copies available on request at facebook.com/daniel.h.nadeau

“In the event of fire” is currently a single on Ghostly Hounds’ eponymous debut album.

Follow Daniel on Twitter: @danhnad

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