Saturday, December 8, 2018

“poem” broadside #346 : “Riposte” by Colin Morton

Right here in the middle of the street,
the passenger door slamming shut on his gun hand
as the car sped away.
Right here on the white solid line,
blood pooling around the base of his skull.

Here, years ago, beneath the new interchange,
waiting at the parkway’s one red light.
With a pistol brought in by diplomatic bag,
rushed out of the country hours later.
Right here face down in the November slush.

Here on the strip while leaving a bistro.
In a scuffle at this tavern door.
In a downtown crosswalk with a crossbow.
With a nine-inch blade across the bar.
The city remembers its private scars.

For others there’s a plaque – one on the mall
where an MP took a bullet in the head.
Another at the jail where someone swung for it.
A stone laid for workers killed on the job.
Statues for those in uniform.

Monuments uncounted, all to the dead.
Heroes’ highways, walks of fame, listed houses
reassure that some are kept in mind.
Even poets have their garden and their path,
echoes nearly lost in corridors of the dead.

Right here, right now, we persist, we speak.
While we can, we have our day.
And in a lab beside the rushing river
someone’s plotting to kill you, death.
We’ve seen the impossible happen before.

Riposte, by Colin Morton
produced in part as a handout during the sixth Arc Poetry Walk, curated and hosted by rob mclennan, walking around the Byward Market, December 8, 2018
above/ground press broadside #346

Twice winner of the Archibald Lampman Award for poetry, Ottawa poet Colin Morton has published more than ten books, ranging from visual and sound poetry (Printed Matter; Two Decades) to historical narratives (The Merzbook: Kurt Schwitters Poems; The Hundred Cuts: Sitting Bull and the Major). His other work includes a novel, an animated film, and many reviews and essays. He has collaborated with poets, artists, and musicians in the poetry performance group First Draft and with film-maker Ed Ackerman in the award-winning animated poetry film Primiti Too Taa.

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