Saturday, April 16, 2011

The Uneasy Traveler

I burrow into the basement wall
at school and wait for the atom
bombs to fall (the siren doesn’t sound)

tear gas drifts along an August breeze
down the main street in Grand Bend
(Billy isn’t released from jail and the dance
ends early Sunday morning) — I’m not
certain if love is free or just incautious
and unconsidered but it is 1969 and a man
walks across the face of the moon

I walk downtown to the record shop
ready to purchase the latest vinyl from
Britain and the greater sound outside
of the North American sound machine

From one point on Ocho Rios sidewalk
there seems to be an infinite number
of directions in which to turn and begin
walking with a destination in mind

When the second tower is struck by a plane
I think of nothing but war and my mother’s
stories return from the grave of 1945

the New Orleans before Katrina shines
and I write poetry for alligators and friends
listen to jazz in a midnight bar christened
with horns and woodwinds

there’s a crisis at Heathrow when I board
a flight to Oslo and my fellow travellers
in Munich are the detritus of national security
along with two camera bodies and three lenses

in Canada the G8 leaders are safe in Toronto
though police cars burn and buildings
are vandalized while the only one standing
on guard for me is the sniper photographer
and surveillance camera of impotent response

last October I was in Egypt in Cairo and saw
the pyramids before the explosion of popular

expectation when dictatorship wasn’t enough

just as it was in Nazi Germany and just as
it is in Cuba and just as it’s becoming to be
in Canada — in Canada — in Canada


Peter Garner said...

I like this a lot, Helm. And I share the sentiment at the end.

Judy Clem said...

I like it