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|Published October 29, 2015
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Poetry by Carter Vance
Reprise in Blue
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Reprise in Blue
The victims of history speak not
to their plight, they speak not
through arrows and gunshots,
through shirt factory fires,
through schoolhouse stands and
rural church steeple bombings.
They do not speak, for they are
gone: no labour law reform, no signed bill
of housing redress, no so-called progress
shall make them whole.
No signal can cut through the
white noise cloth down draping
post-to-post in passage rites,
warnings unheeded by the number-crunching clan,
except in their moments of unearned regret.
Except in their mirrored lenses making
new liberal order of darker voids,
starring deep not long into the cold maw
depths of the thing, but to some
construction of tabulated script, some
monument made in ignorance of due
cost on plains of gold where greater
men than they shall ever hope to be
starved for lack of compass to guide
to berry bush and water spring.
They stare not into grim meaning of
coin collections, nor into spindled red
lines on FHA maps, nor into the
thin ice-water stew they ladle-heap
upon the cups and plates of sickly figures.
They stare not; they cannot face the victims,
the bombings, the fires, the bullets, the arrows,
they cannot face the calm wake of them
all the more.
They cannot stare too deep to history's gaze,
it is too disorderly.
Still, voices emerge from riot smoke,
casting arms and rising as a last
held note of Coltrane, of Shorter, held
in blue midnight shade of strung
They go unheeded as ever, but
It makes nothing the better,
but has some conscience
Children's backpacks flood the city centre as Friday's
makeshift parade begins in pinwheel swirl the same
I'm sure it always has, but do not know.
Pondered by the stone arches, Cheshire waterways,
smiling sundown clouds above Ferris revolving
lights, peak air breath drawn from Inverness down,
how I could have been the pinwheel spinning sharp.
I could have grown up here,
and cheered for Celtic over Rangers,
and learned to wince at tourist camera clicks,
and ate kebabs with wooden fish-and-chip forks,
and walked the Royal Mile to school and back home.
But I grew up amongst the maple keys falling,
and slipped down the ice-slick hills in Winter,
and scoffed at the American accents of summer beach travelers,
and picked strawberries in August at the farm five miles out
and rapped on suburban fences with replanted oak branches.
My publication history is limited to the student newspaper at my former
university (The Fulcrum at the University of Ottawa), and a few online
journals (The Penny Dreadful and The Baird's Tale). I was also a
participant in Arc Magazine's Writer-In-Residence writing guidance program
for poetry in the summer of 2014. I also received an Honourable Mention
from CV2's Young Buck Poetry Awards in 2015.