Saturday, April 08, 2006

ghost drive

al purdy,

I want you to know

I am saying the names –

here they come,

like r o l l i n g


in the blasted out canyon

big and heavy, down

the mountain side

filling the river

I am choking on dust and ashcroft

-- singing, with breathy lilt lillooet


the sky is a projector:

clouds move over the treetop

green-screen at a slow crawl

sand and deadwood slide with a desire

to swim.

i’m driving again while

two girls are kissing

in the back

of my mind

the sky grows appropriately pink


sun sinks over sandy coloured hills

she says,

there is a particular feeling of loneliness

in places you can still buy a gold pan

in places that are no place

and then i start thinking about missing people

that left the cities, carried out

and are now here—

in this no place

women and children, mostly

i see them walking over the sage

walking out of the sage

and the river

out of cut blocks,


an abandoned shed

(the women are holding the children’s hands)

and they wave.


the evening is blue mint,

warm only at the edges now

the window whistles

while she sleeps at my elbow

we are

100 miles from mile zero

on the caribou wagon road there

are horses struggling,

the wheels creek under the jens brothers

and the two handled saw they brought along

the clocking of hooves

horses grunt into the dark

as the older jens mumbles

soft timber through his red beard

the younger brother sleeps upright, rocking--

there are coins in his fingers --

sawdust in his hair


headlights cut the canyon like butter

and the shadows of big horn sheep

scurry at every bend

in the black

we talk about going to alaska

and women poets

and my mother’s rhubarb pie

chinatown in barkerville

a chinese gardener moves over the frozen ground,

between the tai hu limestone,

bamboo and magnolia,

with a trowel and orchid seeds,

no light

he’s dreaming of that payline --

the one that has reached out from the rock

and wound its spidery gold legs around his heart

his family line is gone:

they stopped his wife at the border

and put a restaurant in his house

tomorrow he will crouch in the river

for two hundred years


hixon remembers

andy and bertha colebank

burning underbrush,

soot and cinder stained hands

she’s in the root celler

on mitchelle road

andy swallows hard and wipes his brow

there he is:

on the sagging stoop he built

his coarse pants smell of rotting pine,

his head in his hands

soot and cinder stained

maybe we should go to alaska

she rolls her head away from me

the chocolate wrapper crinkles in her hand

and the air smells of sweets and gasoline


At 3:32 PM, Blogger Rob Budde said...

glasgow's on a roll!! i like the way the poem travels. . . (boarder or border, course or coarse?)(sorry, the teach is in . . . ) do you know purdy's cariboo horses poem?

At 6:21 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 6:37 PM, Blogger Heather Glasgow said...

thanks rob! is there a teacher in the house? i need one.


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