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rob mclennan

from variations: plunder verse
(book 3 of the other side of the mouth)

George Bowering’s “Do Sink,” variation one

my mother, knowing pain,

the vehicle will pull up

& long gone down
to wait, get whisked away


her picture now the reverse
of currency

as old as heaven, deferred,
a romance under starlight

misspelled in memory,
cruel face of roadside

suffering for one, actual,
in other arms

and whatever that is out

George Bowering’s “Do Sink,” variation two

i ought to forget his destiny,
a black pen with ginger

the measure of the year a lovely maiden,
dropped from these small hills

a self i behold, my eyes are old,
piled high heaven, fame was deferred

with our failing breath, a high romance
in the night sky windshield

i think that i may never live,
harvesting misspelled letters

my resemblances grow longer looking
so rudely, like music, quick golden shapes

i remember the end of metal; ground

George Bowering’s “Do Sink,” variation three

my mother, knowing colour
the cost of a thinking man

coiled on warm destiny

prepared hopelessly, writes
to grow old beyond dull, this pond

piled high

for fame, love, we must edit
our romance

dear to keep, a line
we walk

driving clouds confuse

latitudes, no matter the season,
less exciting out of literature

George Bowering’s “Do Sink,” variation four

wait for a bus, his destiny
nine lifetimes a black sedan

over flimsy prairie roads

ground like wheat, dirt
piled into heaps

inside the windshield

drive, he said,
beside a dark road emerging

this black sedan, the route
of harvesting, who likely


could have expected

all trace of geography,
converted into the road

racing by, the earth
whispering night breeze

for the story being told
in roadsides bright dirge

George Bowering’s “Do Sink,” variation five

drive, he said

with melodious strings
beside a dark road

the thrush could have spoken,
in available light

at the wheel worth harvesting,
or so one says

a grandmother

too dear to keep in line,
the magic hand of ground,

latitudes, the season, dying
is less exciting

those nearby leaves,
racing by

George Bowering’s “Do Sink,” variation six

I forget my pen,
cats on the warm hood

yet deferred, a wider
firmament of breath

with melodious chuckle,
beside available light

your roadside thistles
scribed hopeless and lost

past dies, the night sky shapes
that thought, between the still

while we cast whatever world
into the dark, when suns rise

and song and pain to nothingness

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