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Jacket 18 — August 2002   |   # 18  Contents   |   Homepage   |  Catalog   |

Chris Chambers

Three poems

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up north alone I slip into the lake —
later I will strip, drape my trunks over the deck
and the sun will dry them in four minutes:
the lake and I know

in Olympian gold light I go to town,
park in the teacher’s lot at the vacant county high
warm up for some time on a cinderless oval
run a mile in four minutes

drive back to the lake tasting blood leaving
a track of shoeprints in dust a mile long
to disappear in two gusts of a breeze:
my legs and I know

up north alone: a dream leaving make believe trip—
leaving the yardstick city as dream’s leaves—
I am a tree that falls in the woods:
ask the lake

Elements of Daydreams

the buds, the keys, the leaves
those leaves, the colours, bare trees

Can’t be wistful about money.
Wistful’s got, you know, wist.

Plenty other things to go wistful on.
Take that G_____ works the desk—

makes you wistful. Faraway
train in the night make you.

Sun hits your neck when you have some
free time turn you wistful.

Shadow of a low plane arcing through
Eglinton Park. Trysts that you keep

on a map in your brain, places you save
in your savoury memory. Mansions

you fashion from stars from the sky
you can reach them from bed through September

night air. Open windows, all the rooms
in the world, I guess space can make you wistful.

Botany in time in season after season
in scrutiny fields of dandelion fluff—

it’s a fact: sniffing can also make
you wistful.

           The tender of wistful
is daydreams.

           Of dreams in the night
the tender is metaphor.

All this is precious little to do with money.
Wistful is space and free time: on occasion

misspelt “wasteful.” Some folks just plain
don’t get it. Some do. Some

           take the time to pause,
to stop resisting wistful.


“Show me your heart—
let me rip your ribs apart.

Show me it, show it!
Let not pride be the blood’s conduit.

In the night, on your side, when you sigh
should I not wonder why?

Perhaps I will show first—”
then she unzipped her purse

and out flew a small bird, delicate, green
it hovered above us—terrified, seen

then returned to its nest.
“Now I’ll show you the rest.”

I quivered and winced in my place.
“It’s lovely,” I said, saving face.

“I slander your beauty with meanness,
and somehow there’s more — we progress—”

lay my hand on her breast, closed the light, went to bed.
“Perhaps you will show me tomorrow,” she said.

Photo of Chris Chambers

Chris Chambers has written two books: Wild Mouse (with Derek McCormack) a book of carnival poems, stories and photos; and Lake Where No One Swims, a debut collection of 31 poems, from which two of these poems were taken. The third, Patience, is new work. The books were published in Canada by Pedlar Press. Chambers lives in Toronto. He loves hockey and bicycles and Elizabeth Bishop.

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