rob mclennan

Life, Sentence

Registering it. What if and how. Is it deathful? Who’s in charge?
                               Margaret Christakos, from Tumultétudes: The Chips & Ties Study


Broadened, backbeat. Skeleton of all concerns, conditions. Heart a full-length beach. My father is seventy years old. My father is seventy-one. Radiation. I am reminded of. Of. The bus swerves, fearful instance. Erasing scriptures, scrap. A dream might stay in place.
                The body on a beach chair (unlikely). Tractor, pulling rows. More likely. Probable. Are creatures of attraction. One word against the exact same word.
                Three months for roughness, pushing summer. What behavior.
                Factory line. Draws, masculine to feminine. A little sleep. Some blood-work. Radiation. Destroys to aim the bad cells but pounds good also. Undiscerning. Friendly fire. Cartography, in knots.
                My father is a paper airplane, sent.


Discomfort, scene. Gestural, a (permanent) tan. Dispositions. Margins, stony silence.
                Devoured meaning. Cross-cut. Stratified. Distant, near. What labour, in some countries. What, means work. These messages of death, impending. Is not. Extraction. What potential, burns. Hospital, the coloured sheets, a bleach. Subject flows in two directions.
                Stone is not a step. Singular, a panel. Overnight, the breath of him. The breath. Ground down to be exactly, same. Unchanged.
                A sign is not an exit. If this is how we see ourselves. Will be here a long time. Switched gears, dissolving into. Already outlived his father, two uncles.
                Third uncle, eighty-one. The record, aimed. If when.


Comma, sentence. Not a full stop. Pause, translated. A shadow, gesture. Within a curve, the body. Fabric. Genealogy, locks. These landformed camps, these territories.
                For example. Waking, walking. Memory, at home. Nervous as a spark. Any house will turn, in. Skin, a patch of leaves. Or name the living, dead. Erasure. Seventy-one.
                When might, the surgeon. Critical perceptions, neutralized. Holding pattern, these coloured sheets. Constitute positions, probable. We rest in space. Write, and then describe them, well. Exit roughness, sign.
                Hunger, held, a lifelong project. Backseat, beat. One word long. This unknown, opaque distance. Is this where end, began. Begins.


Mother walked, a walker. Down to zero. Speed. Flavoured fractured lens. A vested, measure. What means, means. Labour, stone. Impossible, a silence.
                Differential. Testaments, of incline. Wasted.
                Hand, white hand of rain. Biopsy, cures. Have yet to centre. What was not, detailed. Amend, deleted. Current. Disputed streams. Railing, spillway, creek. A sated, broadband. Record, disposition.
                Vows, to carry on. Horticulled, he plants. Tears down. Water. Where the verb tense, slowed. Rack and honey, weeds. Consecrated. Contrast, and, in opposition. Palm, a lake. Are nothing like the garble. Sun.


Colon, semi-colon. Stop. Just stop. A sentence, shortened. This long sentence, long. Perilous, condensed. Where you have gone. The river’s slowness, lake. The slowness of these phrases. A most satisfying taste.
                Such fearful, held. The scalpel flick. We know you.
                Ring of fire. calculated, ends. Trembling like the riding mower, tractor, creek. Biopsy. Baseball game in shreds. Astrological, analogous. What could you result.

Born in Ottawa, Canada’s glorious capital city, rob mclennan currently lives in Ottawa. The author of more than twenty trade books of poetry, fiction and non-fiction, he won the John Newlove Poetry Award in 2010, and was longlisted for the CBC Poetry Prize in 2012. His most recent titles are the poetry collections Songs for little sleep, (Obvious Epiphanies, 2012) and grief notes: (BlazeVOX [books], 2012), and a second novel, missing persons (2009). The Uncertainty Principle: stories, is scheduled to appear in spring 2014. An editor and publisher, he runs above/ground press, Chaudiere Books, The Garneau Review, the Ottawa poetry pdf annual ottawater, and seventeen seconds: a journal of poetry and poetics. He spent the 2007-8 academic year in Edmonton as writer-in-residence at the University of Alberta, and regularly posts reviews, essays, interviews and other notices at robmclennan.blogspot.com.
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