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Published December 18, 2018

reflections in a gallery

by Bob MacKenzie
daguerreotype of an unroofed foundling
abandoned to the dangers of the streets,
peering from a dank space between buildings,
the dusk-light stippled like an engraving.            
hand on his top-hat a man scurries past,
looks away as bitter wind grabs at the child,
fails to see this child pull worn rags tighter,
believes everything is copacetic.
little has changed since this photo was made,
as wealth absquatulated city cores
in bombastic fear of the downtrodden,
yet this fear begets only greater fear.
while the rich hold down or remove the poor,
how can there be any end to this bunk?

black rain

by Bob MacKenzie

though there’s no way to confirm
they say this storm began
on the other side of the world
perhaps in Fukushima or Israel
spread rapidly
wrapping everything
everywhere in darkness

a squirrel has died
above the ceiling tiles
in the hallway
outside my office

there are hundreds
huge black flies  

for so long
the storm has not abated
I’ve lost track of the days
spent under these
black clouds of ash
and the heavy rain
they bring with them

the streets
have become rivers
only the most courageous
and the foolish
venture out  

from the window
in my office
I see the bodies
in the streets
whenever the fire
rains from the sky

Some say it’s a sign from some god
predicted by ancient prophets
punishment for all the evils
of mankind
others say it’s our own fault
abusing the natural order
with our science

it all sounds the same to me

all I know is
for more days than I can calculate
I’ve not left this campus
crawling like a rat
through the tunnels
to other buildings
then back to my office
with what food and supplies
I can scrounge

there are others too
students and professors
and university staff
wandering the tunnels

I do my best to avoid them
in their eyes
there’s a desperation
I believe will become

best to play it safe

Both of these poems were originally published in
somewhere still in wind the
tree is bending
(Silver Bow Publishing, 2018).

Bob MacKenzie’s poetry has been published across North America and as
far away as Australia and India in publications that include The Literary
Review of Canada, The Dalhousie Review, Windsor Review, and Ball State
University Forum.  Bob has published thirteen volumes of poetry and prose-
fiction and his work has been featured in numerous anthologies.  He has
received a number of awards for his writing as well as an Ontario Arts
Council grant for literature and a Canada Council Grant for performance.
With the performance ensemble Poem de Terre, Bob has performed much
of his poetry spoken and sung live with original music and has released six

Poetry by Bob MacKenzie
(Kingston, Ontario, Canada)

reflections in a gallery
black rain
Poetry by Bob MacKenzie - Ottawa Poetry Magazine
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