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Morning walk in a kamloops suburb

Morning walk in the suburb of Kamloops at six a. m.
A documentry poem, Canadian style.

Stepping out the door
the rare smell of rain in this semi-desert
makes me look at the sky.
A cool, wet tongue licks my cheeks.
My whole body should feel just as refreshed.

 

Alas, I am civilized.
The torn clouds, low and heavy,
hide well the yonder blue above, but I know it is there,
and here and there a palm-size of it proves my sanity,
just as the lighter,
diffused orb in the clouds
betrays the distant Sun.
It is May 28th, 2011.

Judging from their torn, raggedy clothes hanging from the sky
the gods must be poor.

Their touch of sadness
reflects in pavement puddles
betraying just a drizzle of rain.
One by one the tiny droplets land
nary a splash nor sound,
but stand still and you’ll hear faintly
as each drip drops.

No sympathy for the gods here:
had they been working,
they could be living among us,
buy property for credit,
move into houses made of wood chips
glued into boards and stapled together,
decked with prefab windows
with a little sealed argon and just enough tint
not to let in
the natural rays of the Sun.

I have no eyes for them now and no ears
for the hiss of the clanging railway cars
just released from the rumbling engine,
waiting to be filled from the huge smelly storage tanks
at the nearby gasoline depot.
This is a middle working class neighbourhood,
where tired men sleep through such noises
and are used to the smell.
(The refinery the tanks replaced was sold to China,
down to each rusting bolt;
now Edmonton’s distant refineries silently fill the piplelines
that used to carry the crude,
but at night
a wailing hiss is heard as one by one,
the pressure is released from thirty-seven tanks.
The release mingles with the release from the pulp mill,
but worry not: the air thins it all out.
We are being poisoned by pollution in such small,
such insignificant increments,
it does not matter at all.
At any given time
the pollution in the air is
considered safe for our consumption,
and never enough for litigation. No worries though.
Cancer researchers have been making progress for decades.
And we know there is justice
for sometimes the wind
carries it all back to Edmonton,
and maybe even to Ottawa.)

But this Saturday is a special morning with special air
washed clean by the rain,
laden with the last scents
of the fading lilacs.
Yet I long for the scent of the ponderosa pines –
now gone.

Oh the sagebrush beckon on the hillsides,
thriving on the ash of the burnt pines as does the grass,
even lending the brown hills
a sheen of green.
A small sign on a lawn
warns of pesticide used.
An earthworm, escaping the lawn,
Has crawled half way across the road.
The urbanized birds no longer rise early,
And I hope it will make it across.

Turning the last corner
I come full circle back to my orchard lot,
whose aged trees, some of which I planted myself,
dying as all living tings must,
at last make me feel at home.

 

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