Fiction   Essays   Poetry  The Ten On Baseball Chapbooks In Memory

Carl Leggo

Trembling Aspens

the forest presses heavy
on the light, full of hope
for names

shadows everywhere,
a dark counterpoint
in the light spaces
of air fire earth water

drawing silence
like the sun calls the sea

light and shadow are
the letters of the alphabet
rendering spaces visible
so we can see

even as language dissolves
revolves solves involves resolves
meaning deferred deferentially
in difference

still clutching the wild
chaotic world in my words

trembling aspens whistle
in the breeze like light rain

Lost in Costco

lost in the consumers’ cornucopia, stuff I didn’t even know
I needed till I was seduced with a Siren’s sensual sting

lost when I tell Lana I am just going to check out the Mars bars,
soon mesmerized by HDTV’s, I-Pod nano’s, PDA’s

lost in the possibility of a Muskoka Electric Fireplace or
a Kodak Easyshare V603 6.1 MP Digital Camera (for only $259.00)

lost in the cavernous warehouse without a thread but still no fear
because I can always buy a GPS system and find my way out

lost in savouring samples of food like Oliver Twist lining up
for more, learning about concoctions I will never eat again

lost with the crowd in urgent preparations for an apocalypse
or holocaust or tsunami or earthquake, the end of the world

lost in sextets and octets of Prego sauce and Mr. Noodles,
everything supersized, promises of bargains and dumps

lost in the romance of the hot tub near the exit,
wondering if I can strap it to the roof of the Honda Civic

lost in Thanksgiving, Halloween and Christmas, all in August,
Norman Rockwell’s world steeped in memories of past and etc.


I'm sitting in the lounge of the Regal Oriental Hotel
with a view of Hong Kong like a fireplace full of embers
after flying all day across the international date line
(left Vancouver yesterday to arrive today, lost a day
somewhere over the Pacific, and like most losses, will
likely forget to look for it on the way back) and Cherry
begins to sing, and you asked me how often I have fallen
in love, and I said, Once, I am always falling, and I didn't
want to sound facetious, flippant, frivolous, flatulent,
flirtatious (f-words everywhere, the poet's curse pokes
me like a hoe), since all I really wanted was to explain
how falling in love is like breathing, knowing lightly I am
alive, and Cherry says, What would you like me to play?
and I think, Cherry, play me, but of course I don't say that,
since I don't want to sound like a lecherous buffoon
or a lascivious bassoon with a base note like a drunk crazed
barroom bore with no more sense than a lottery machine
where the cherries never line up, and I recall the cherry on top
of the sundae I ate in Disneyland in July, sitting on Main Street,
bought with Tigger dollars in the Gibson Girl Ice Cream Parlor,
waiting for a parade while the cherry sank through cream
and ice cream and I didn't have the heart to eat the cherry
like a dollop of congealed blood and hope, the stem still intact,
and Twin Peaks' Sherilyn Fenn's Audrey Horne once tied
a cherry stem in a reef knot with her tongue and teeth, and
that's how Cherry makes me feel, and I say in my best Bogart
impersonation, Play Yesterday, and Cherry's songbook is thicker
than Gray's Anatomy like all the songs in the world have been
gathered in one place, and I know all of them or none of them,
and Cherry sings, and I drink a glass of red wine, and Cherry's hair
is no longer Filipino black, but auburn, like hers, now faraway,
and I probably first fell in love with her hair, the way it flowed
like a river in autumn, full of fallen leaves, a red brick road
to another world, red ribbons tied in the air to show me the way
back, but when I turn, heart like a butane flame in a block of ice,
I can't see her, but know she is there, no erasure, only écriture,
scratches in a palimpsest that holds close all origins and traces
without end, sure only our story possesses me still since Cherry
in the lounge of the Regal Oriental Hotel in Kowloon City reminds
me of her, as if everything I write now propels me forward to a place
I left long ago, never left, can't return, can't remember, won't forget

©2007 by Carl Leggo

Carl Leggo is a professor at the University of British Columbia, where he teaches courses in writing. He is the author of four books: Growing Up Perpendicular on the Side of a Hill, View from My Mother’s House, Teaching to Wonder: Responding to Poetry in the Secondary Classroom, and Come-By-Chance. For more information see his Web site.

  Home Contributors Past Issues Search   Links  Guidelines About Us

Subscribe to the Slow Trains newsletter