Julian Jason Haladyn

7 Kilometers

a petting that literally
pulls the skin back from his eyes

the dog looks like a cartoon
black fur extended

so rough are the hands
my grandfather tells me of

working in the mines
7 kilometers to walk

from the barracks to the mine
and 7 kilometers back

like selling fish for his father
the distance is the same

to bring the fish to all the houses
he had to walk 7 kilometers

dogs roaming the ghetto streets
caught and locked away

treated like a bunch of matter
material to be disposed of

like Jewish people
off the streets of Krakow

my grandfather tells me of
his experiences during the war

working in the black coal mines
skin stained

no one had a name
just the number

his worn skin stained black
he walked

7 kilometers there
and 7 back again

Intaglio Landscape 19 x 68 (given)

for Marcel Duchamp
the grain is lifted like intaglio prints of serene landscapes
loose armatures resting quietly
against several unused copper utensils
engraved with scenes of sexual acts performed in nature

and so we all must prepare for bed
washing up
leaving the final edits for tomorrow
so many lights to turn off

the fire is unusually illuminating this evening
castings made of certain newspaper balls
twigs allowed to rest quietly
against engraving plates of copper

tables hold the hands of two amateur astronomers
Pluto is no longer a planet
birds confidently caught in the orbit of this solar system
like two peepholes drilled in a wooden door

Go to the Front

Grandpa’s pajamas are too big for his body
rolled up around his ankles and sleeves

                our walk through the hospital
                quiet with little sense of direction

lots of woman in this place
he points out three times as we sit by the front door

                I ask him if he wants to live in London
                his answer is to a different question

we returned to the fifth floor on the elevator
his room right by the administrative desk

                he told me two stories three time
                the first time was my fault he says

I used two rocks to help me get up
he had fallen in the backyard some weeks ago

                my arms no could lift
                he adds in the second two versions

it had rained the day before he had fallen
I was on mine bum and it was wet

                as I prepared to leave
                he snuck in two more tellings of the story

when I got up and told him I had to leave
he got up and was about to walk me out

                am I at home
                he says to me when I tell him to stay in his room

no grandpa you are in the hospital
he does not respond right away

                I want to go to the front
                he tries to walk through the nurses station

you must stay in your room
he insists that it is warm and wants to sit out front

                on the porch in the front of his house
                you must stay in your room grandpa

Intaglio Landscape 8 x 0.06 (missing swarm)

After Sylvia Plath
The bees have got so far

                crossing the image border
                beyond the black and white and copper

                to a life beyond paper
                to a life beyond the demarcations of maps

                colourful and simplistic
                as long as you colour within the lines

                newspaper articles with missing letters
                invisible sounds that fall off the page

                making it difficult to understand
                the sporadic nuances of language

                etched into the world
                from which our experience is pulled

                paper from the plate
                ink pulled out of crevices

                and this is why
the bees argue

Waiting for Friends

There are no moments quite like these
friends coming to visit, they are late
the time seems stuck
I try not to anticipate, but I do

                considering the circumstances
                the graveyard is closed —
                a car pulls up, but it is not our friends
                — I must postpone my visit to her grave

our dachshund seems to know
barking at every little noise
he anticipates something, not knowing what
and I look out the window each time

                the flowers my mother left
                and an empty space, for my grandfather
                it is a double plot I am constantly reminded

there it is again
car drives by, dog barks, I look
the event is becoming a ritual
it’s been thirty-seven minutes

                her whole family was killed in the war
                my grandmother’s that is
                she left her village
                when she came back they were all dead

certainly they would have called
unless they forgot about the visit
or a terrible accident
they probably just forgot

                she lived through the war
                and never spoke of her family
                in fact never really spoke of the war

the house is remarkably clean
as it always is when people come to visit
Miriam cleans and arranges everything
I try my best to help

                I remember when my grandmother was sick
                she would not go to the doctor
                I went to stay with her in Toronto
                we sat quietly together

I am sitting here quietly
trying not to look out the window
the floor has the shine of well polished stone

                I skipped several days of classes in high school
                but she would not go
                we had coffee together everyday
                sometimes with sweets

people walk by carrying odd things
a yellow plastic chair for children
two broken wooden flowerboxes
a plastic bag filled with something blue

                that reminds me of my grandparents house
                filled with so many odd things
                I was told that much of it was brought from Poland
                and my father insists this is true

a ripped screen for a window
a new red tricycle, which I don’t know why they carry
two large Napoleon statues fully painted

                I loved to explore through that house
                looking inside the innumerable cupboards
                and spaces and crawlspaces

time passing slowly
remembering the odd things in relation to —
well I am not sure, I am just waiting

                the cancer spread through her body
                by the time she went to the hospital —
                I think they are here, wait
                it is not them

we prepared way too much food
if our friends do not come
it will be like so many family gatherings
when my grandmother would make enough food for an army

                the first time I visited her in the hospital
                she looked so sick and small in the bed
                it was the first time she was really nice to my mother

Miriam is talking on the phone
I wonder if it is to our friends
it has been well over an hour now

                we did not stay much more than an hour
                grandma spoke very little
                my mother gave her a pair of slippers
                I drew a picture of her in bed

four people and a dog walk by
the floor, smooth as polished stone
Miriam is talking to her mother
I could only make out the words “and she called them back”

                the second time everyone visited her in the hospital
                I stayed home
                she died within the week
                the call came in the middle of the night

I think I should call them
see if they are still coming
cars continue to catch my interest

                that reminds me of when I was in Nice
                on a side street, there is a small shop
                it had halva in the window

I bought a lot of halva for their visit
Miriam doesn’t like it but it appeals to me
it reminds me of my grandmother

                when I mentioned halva to my father
                he told me that it was my grandmothers favorite
                so much made sense to me at that moment –
                wait, I think they are here

Julian Jason Haladyn is a Canadian artist and writer. His poems have appeared in, among others, apt, Ditch, Elimae, Istanbul Literature Review, Identity Theory, Laika Poetry Review, Otoliths, and The Southernmost Review, as well as the collection Nuit Blanche: Poetry for Late Nights (Toronto: Royal Sarcophagus Society Press, 2007). His poetry book 17/13 was published by Blue Medium in 2007 and his chapbook Convulsive Hotel Dreams was published by Trainwreck Press in 2008. In addition, Julian has published collaborative critical articles and reviews with Miriam Jordan in Parachute, Broken Pencil, C Magazine, On Site Review, and a chapter in Stanley Kubrick: Essays on His Films and Legacy (McFarland and Company 2007).

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