the Garden (june/gnomic
less alone there, a garden is, in short, an open link bent on forming
more, ever outward, a line between humans and other species, falling
open. . . .
made a scarecrow out of an old sweatshirt
Tyrrell Museum written on it.
some old Wrangler jeans.
lace-up Sorel workbooks.
sweat-stained ballcap from the Ottawa Folk Festival.
pair of ragged canvas gloves from Home Depot.
it’s me, I think
time I enter the garden.
prefer gnomic to cryptic.
garden gnomes are supposed to
happily in the garden at night.
we could use some help.
like a gnome molded out of resin, as they are these days
a miniature form of Mackenzie King.
a fedora and not the pointy hat
usually come with.
could help with the vegetables
the last time around.
don’t care about your identity
just care about what you do.
far, the scarecrow has kept nothing out.
garden gnomes, which I stole from the embassy
inukshuks, which I stole from the river
little donkey, which I stole from Kingsmere,
of the statuary, in all of the gardens
they have all been stolen
for the emperor of gnomes, who remains
a Cairo madhouse, according to
don’t have to worry about their originary selves
they don’t have to worry about ownership.
just work here.
is a home-made sundial in the yard
it’s true, its shadow follows me around all morning
the light follows me around
that useless thing just gets in the way.
Christmas Sarah gave me a lightweight gardener’s belt
Lee Valley I suspect.
made of non-degradeable synthetic fabric with big
grommets and green trim.
has one large pocket for seeds
three smaller mesh pockets for shears and string
whatever else a gardener might need to carry
the place where the codes are scattered.
tried it on right away. I strode around the house
I was planning something.
I took all my clothes off.
first day of the new year
dull and grey. Fog hangs on the black branches.
in taters, more like it.
gnomes are sleeping underground.
the luvisol, in saline or calcareous material
they murdered their daughters?
no, the daughters are running the show.
you, after a party like that?
toad lived under a plank beside the garbage can.
rarely came out, and when he did he hated the gnomes
their political correctness.
would pass slowly over the garden
note, with some jaundice, the major changes.
was convinced that whatever starts out in language
up as pure bureaucracy, and the gnomes
just there to give the bureaucracy
more human face.
gnomes, he said, have endless paper
neither the toad or the gnomes
been able to abandon the garden.
the cruelest month
it keeps coming back.
substitutes a series of degraded words
the formal languages.
of those abstracted gardens
their strap-on romances.
has radishes, a lot
waited til May
try the new gardener’s belt.
the field, I mean.
the belt and some garden boots.
moonlight, and the garden gnomes
you’ll just have to take this word for it.
a Canadian poet living in Ottawa. His most recent books are The
Luskville Reductions (Brick)
and Disappointment Island (Chaudiere). Recent
chapbooks include Site Conditions (Apt
9), Sweetheart of Mine (BookThug)
and other units of the In the Garden sequence
from Laurel ReedBooks, above/ground press and others. His
online work can be found at Dusie, elimae, ottawater, experiment-o and
others, and recent print work can be seen in Event, The Malahat
Review, Arc and