Thursday, 19 March 2009

Laughing, crying, living, dying: two poems

from the conference Sense and Sustainability, U de Montréal, March 2009.

The Art of Walking - by Michael Mirolla. Published in Penumbra, Vol. 15 (2005).

The roadkill rises, eyes rimmed in red.
The racoons, the rabbits, the rats. And you.
We dwell on the edge of somewhere. Like angels perhaps
flirting between possibilities. Like angels maybe
licking each other’s wounds.
A gaunt cow stands knee deep
in a sub-divided field. Stares out in the fervent hope
of slaughterhouse. That quick clean cut to the jugular.
Here, the signs come fast and furious.
Oops! You’ve just missed Camelot.
An exclusive enclave. For the millionaire. In each of us.
Sheep manure for sale. By appointment only.
Call Art.
The highway leans hard into the wind, its dull roar
like a grinding machine for the future. It spits out
detached housing
evergreen rugs.
One-legged flamingos stalking the elusive fast-food wrapper.
Cars snapping at the heels of brittle corn stalks.
The highway leans hard into the wind. Behind it,
civilization’s stubborn convoy.
Impressions of faces against taut plastic.
Crucifixes around the necks of mourning doves.
In the distance,
The hills continue to ovulate.
The trees strain against their leashes.
The windmills ride off half-cocked.
The snakes, the skunks, the squirrels are rising. And you.
We live on the edge of nowhere.
In a quiet cul de sac.
We reside on the edge of nowhere.
In a quiet cul de sac.
The sign at the end of the street:
Roadkill ahead.

Michael Mirolla is a Montreal-Toronto corridor poet novelist, and playwright. He has published two novels, Berlin and The Boarder, collected short stories, The Formal Logic of Emotion (an Italian translation is forthcoming) and Hothouse Loves & Other Tales, and poetry, Light And Time; bilingual English-Italian poems Interstellar Distances/Distanze Interstellari are forthcoming. His short story, “A Theory of Discontinuous Existence,” was selected for The Journey Prize Anthology; another short story, “The Sand Flea,” won first prize in the Arkansas College Media Association Convention and was nominated for the Pushcart Prize. His short fiction and poetry has been published in numerous journals in Canada, the U.S. and Britain, including several anthologies such as Event’s Peace & War Anthology, Telling Differences: New English Fiction from Quebec, Tesseracts 2: Canadian Science Fiction, the Collection of Italian-Canadian Fiction, and New Wave of Speculative Fiction Book 1.

A Funeral Song for Magda July 3, 1922 - February 16, 2005
- by Ilona Martonfi

On a bitter February day

a light snow falling,
mother is the blue sky.
Bare catalpa tree:
seed pods rattle in the wind
in my blind sister’s backyard.

Mother is the water
washing her daughters’ hair.
Laughing and crying,
in my blind sister’s kitchen.

Mother is the body I carry,
twelve white roses and baby’s breath.

Silver grey hearse.
Cars and lorries pull over:
a small-town tradition.
Cornstalks and funeral flags.

Mother is the railway crossing:
a cemetery on the right.
Six pallbearers and requiem choir.
Purple glass bead rosary.
A Hail Mary full of grace,
in my blind sister’s voice.

Mother is the empty room
we didn’t enter for ten days,
in my blind sister’s house.

This poem by Ilona Martonfi first appeared in Vallum Spirit 5:2, (2007), forthcoming in poetry book, Blue Poppy, (Montreal : Coracle Press, 2009). Her publications include a Coracle Press chapbook, Visiting the Ridge (2004), poems in Fiddlehead, Vallum, Carte Blanche, Carve, Bibliosofia (Italy), Accenti, Arcade, Headlight Anthology, Soliloquies, Helios, Montreal Serai, Fire With Water, Poets Against The War, Fruits Of The Branch: A Montreal Branch CAA Anthology, and Sun Through the Blinds: Haiku Today. Finalist in 2007 Quebec Writing Competition. Published story, “My Daughter, Marisa,” in CBC Story Anthology III, In Other Words: New English Writing from Quebec (Véhicule Press, 2008). Poet, editor, creative writing teacher. Founder, producer/host of The Yellow Door and Visual Arts Centre Poetry and Prose Readings. Co-founder, producer/host of the annual "Lovers & Others".

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