i am the river. my ripples shift shaping glyphs. can you read me? the iroquois did – by the glint the sun shot over my liquid lips. poets whose words flood undammed from mad minds, whose thoughts slither through ink, listen to my syllabic splash. awash in memory, turbulent as industry, i thrust to sea. i will take you with me.
viewed from atop pont jacques cartier, my liquid sinews churn and twist. from pont champlain, i ripple indian red, flame-brown, rust-burned, corroded corrugated iron. from the vieux port at midnight, i flex forth and froth black as angélique‘s ashes.
from la ronde‘s ferris wheel peak, i am sapphire fire. wind-whipped, i am rush hour’s ire. i am the immigrant spirit that fights and never flags, flares and never expires. when fireworks explode, tropic flowers, their colors streak graffiti on my canvas.
for winos reclining on rock shores, i am broken glass gleaming turquoise, crimson, white, a billion shattered bottles, shattered rainbows, glimmering dream-shards. from habitat ‘67‘s million-dollar views i am silver, a torrent of coins flushed from the casino’s slot machines. from patriotes square in winter, my lawless recoil recalls la revolution tranquille.
i have carried hewn canoes, taut-skinned kayaks, steel cargo ships. iron anchors have broken my face and cracked my stone spine. i have never bent, never tired. i sped the fugitive slave. i floated the suicide. i flowed, impassive, over gangsters’ weighted body-bags.
indifferent as your pulse, i muscle past the isle. my face is change, is jazz, is guile. musicians heard me, then distilled my speech into stride, bop, boogie. dancers in st-henri whirled and laughed as moonlight slip-stepped along my fluid flesh.
i am the river. my lisp fuses english, french, iroquois, kreyol. your grammar is a quick dip, a watery wisp of the babel that cabals in my thrall to the sea.
wi & dem
tuesday night, montreal, sablo kafe, st. zotique corner st dominique. for the voyeurs.
inside: ice liquefies in amber rum
outside: a white-haired white
couple’s white breath
frosts the glass
fire distills the future