Artie Gold & George Bowering
They're both in the room. He, he's slow
or dull-witted. She does
most of the talking. I guess her to be in her early sixties; she is
telling me of a time she bought two lovely milk-glass table-
pieces. She's doing all of the talking, seems to hover near the
door. The room is filled with small lacquered tables, doilies,
silver ashtrays too small for cigarettes; the curtains are from
the thirties, horrible things really drawn tight, yet light enters
diffused about the blotches of almost shapeless flowers and
green pears woven into the cloth. The chairs are highbacked
Duncan Phyfes neatly arranged geometrically about a table of
stained medium wood, cherry maybe. Four thin people might
slip between table and chairs, ghost-dining. He mumbles,
"cranberry glass"; I take no notice; he leaves, I guess, because
he feels unnecessary. She motions to another room, a bed,
magnificent poster. satin overcloth, no windows anywhere,
smaller room we are inside. She sits by the drawn sheet pillow.
I am standing, mention yes, there's no cameo glass anymore,
hardly see Lalique in stores. She rises; I shuffle, look about,
see some smaller pieces of glass on corner bracket shelves;
she bends a bit at the back, straightens, bids me be seated,
which seems innocent (I know it's not). Hand bends across
my arm, touches lightly; she isn't talking any longer. I am
seated. She is seated beside or by my side hand limp brushes
my forearm I am excited as hell I can hear old man heavy
breathing outside door.
Every time I went over to Mary Brown's
place, where he
lived, Artie would show me stuff he collected. I was a
collector, too, of books, sport magazines, frog figurines,
James Dean stuff. But Artie, a decade younger than I,
was a lot more sophisticated. He had a lot of collections,
and I kind of think that he decided not to become an in-
patient at the Montreal Chest Clinic because he did not
want to give up his rocks, his precious stones, his ancient
cocaine tins, his Laliques, his Sendaks, his Frank O'Haras.
As to the woman sitting beside him on the four-poster
bed, did you think this is a dream account? I am not so
sure. After quite a while that possibility entered my mind;
but it didn't necessarily stay there.
published in Ottawa by above/ground press
as part of above/ground press’ thirtieth anniversary
a/g subscribers receive a complimentary copy
In Spring of 2023 NeWest Press published George Bowering’s anthology of English language poets from Wyatt to Avison, with one-page essays on each of the poets, Good Morning Poems.
Montreal poet Artie Gold (1947-2007) published numerous books throughout the 1970s. His selected poems, The Beautiful Chemical Waltz (1992), appeared with an introduction by George Bowering. Talonbooks published The Collected Books of Artie Gold in 2010.
This is George Bowering’s seventh above/ground press title, after STANZAS #12 (“BLONDES ON BIKES: 1-20,” April 1997), A, You’re Adorable (as “Ellen Field,” October, 1998; reissued October 2004), Tocking Heads (ALBERTA SERIES #2, October, 2007), That Toddlin’ Town / Baby, don’ ya wanna go? (2016), Hotels (2021) and the collaborative Ruby Wounds, with Artie Gold (2022).
Artie Gold’s above/ground press chapbook, THE HOTEL VICTORIA POEMS, appeared in 2003.
An Artie Gold/George Bowering bundle is currently available as part of the above/ground press 30th anniversary fundraiser.
To order, send cheques (add $1 for postage; in US, add $2; outside North America, add $5) to: rob mclennan, 2423 Alta Vista Drive, Ottawa ON K1H 7M9. E-transfer or PayPal at rob_mclennan (at) hotmail.com or the PayPal button at www.robmclennan.blogspot.com