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Sep 21st
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The Poems of Troy Jollimore

ae_JollimoreREGRET
I’d like to take back my not saying to youthose things that, out of politeness, or caution,

I kept to myself. And, if I may—

though this might perhaps stretch the rules—I’d like

to take back your not saying some of the things

that you never said, like “I love you” and “Won’t you

come home with me,” or telling me, which

you in fact never did, perhaps in the newly refurbished café at the Vancouver Art

Gallery as fresh drops of the downpour from which

we’d sought shelter glinted in your hair like jewels,

or windshields of cars as seen from a plane

that has just taken off or is just coming in

for a landing, when the sun is at just the right angle,

that try as you might, you could not imagine

a life without me. The passionate spark

that would have flared up in your eye as you said this—

if you had said this—I dream of it often.

I won’t take those back, those dreams, though I would,

if I could, take back your not kissing me, openly,

extravagantly, not caring who saw,

or those looks of anonymous animal longing

you’d throw everyone else in the room. I’d like

to retract my retracting, just before I grabbed you,

my grabbing you on the steps of the New York

Public Library (our failure to visit

which I would also like to recall)

and shouting for all to hear, “You, you

and only you!” Yes, I’d like to take back

my not frightening the pigeons that day with my wild

protestations of uncontrolled love, my not scaring

them off into orbit, frantic and mad,

even as I now sit alone, frantic and mad,

racing to unread the book of our love

before you can finish unwriting it.

LOBSTERS
tend to cluster in prime numbers, sub-

oceanic bundles of bug consciousness

submerged in waking slumber, plunged in pits

of murk-black water. They have coalesced


out of the pitch and grime and salt suspended

within that atmospheric gloom. Their skin

is colorless below. But when exposed

to air, they start to radiate bright green,


then, soon, a siren red that wails: I’m dead.

The meat inside, though, is as white as teeth,

or the hard-boiled egg that comes to mind

when one cracks that crisp shell and digs beneath.


Caress the toothy claw-edge of its pincer

and you will know the single, simple thought

that populates its mind. The lobster trap is elegance

itself: one moving part: the thing that’s caught.

Tom Thomson Indoors
The installation man didn’t understand:
“You want your doorbell on the inside, sir?”
Well, yes – didn’t he grasp it? Only fair
that prior to intruding on’t, he give
the world some sort of warning. (Not that world
had shown the converse courtesy to him . . .)

Now stands he in his foyer, on the verge
of entering the outside – how will it be,
how changed since last time? – sounding patiently
and regular as Kant – every twelve seconds –
that calm announcing bell. Will someone come
and let him out? At some point. Understand:
all good things come to those who wait. And then,
wait just a bit more, and they go again.

ON LOCATION
Even in the midst of my dream I found myself in a field of wildflowers.
Even in the midst of those flowers I stood alone, like an antenna, like a lighthouse in
the ocean.

Even in the midst of that light I felt, deep in my chest, a scared animal’s craving for
darkness.
Even in the midst of that darkness I could hear the cicadas’ song.

Even in the midst of song I remembered that I had been born in a bowl of silence.
Even in the midst of silence the words of my language swarmed around me like flies.

Even in the midst of that swarm I could hear the director shouting Action!
Even in the midst of all that action I managed to take your hand.

Even in the midst of that swarm, that song, that silence, I found the resolve to kiss
you.
Even in the midst of that kiss I knew you and I would end up on the cutting room
floor.

WANT
Who’s to say I’m a poet? I fear I want
too much: to live a life like a song
that’s picked up by others’ lips when I find it
has passed from my own. A wandering kiss
my spirit will live in. Your house, even when it
is empty, yet speaks in a faltering voice,
like waves on the lakeshore we both know. My heart
grows younger with time, its slow, serene stammer
like waves on the lakeshore. We both know my heart
is empty, yet speaks in a faltering voice:
My spirit will live in your house even when it
has passed from my own, a wandering kiss
that’s picked up by others’ lips when I find it
too much to live. A life like a song?
Who’s to say? I’m a poet. I fear. I want.

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