[…]


George Stanley

from Vancouver, Book One

                             4

If I were a man – if this were my city – like – I just heard yesterday someone on the
radio, the AM station, 1130, I found out about on the Talking Yellow Pages, they have a
little ad for it that comes on before the weather – Lock Your Radio – the station I turn on
to hear if there’ve been any accidents – the announcer said ‘Capilaino,’ like Denny Boyd
says old Vancouverites pronounce it –

                    *

Nick’s driving
                        along Venables
& I look at the sun
                             this late September
afternoon, daylight saving
                                        still ‘hangs’
high in the sky

                    *

This is being written just after noon on September 22, 1999 – probably the last day of this
gentle, warm late summer that followed a cold, rainy August.  I’m perched on a welded
steel stool leaning on the steel counter of a pomo coffee shop which I guess is called
Trees Organic Coffee Co. (at least that’s what it says on my coffee cup – dark Sumatra
coffee – the image – the image of the map – of Indonesia – from the Globe & Mail & the
BBC on-line – in mind) – east side of Granville just north of Pender – this soft bright
sunlight off the young maples on the Mall – light & shadow sharply delineated on the
pavement – to right, Sinclair Centre – the old Post Office – where the 1938
demonstration / police riot still goes on, black-coated arm upraised coming down on the
men running away escaping down the short flight of steps at the entrance on Hastings St.,
now Plaza Escada – dress shop – so are we (tuna sandwiches) now at lunch time seated
at round tables with red & yellow chessboards on them & painted scalloped edges in two
shades of green, behind a low ornamental steel railing – & people walking the Mall, two
men stopping to talk between the potted plants, one wearing a madras jacket, hand on hip
to indicate mid-morning ennui – bicycles, buses…  I really don’t know what I’m doing –
this is not the world.  It’s just my take.  My lucky take.  My sunny day September take.

Allen Ginsberg said he once dropped acid & went up on a mountain in Wyoming to sit &
experience in sympathy all the suffering in the world.

                    *

Bright light, sharp outlines
                                        of September

                    *

The boys & girls
                            at dawn
Their dawn
                      Wipe out
childhood.
                  They aren’t even young yet.

                    *

Take refuge in a long poem.

Avert
              inspiration.

                    *

Write carelessly.

                    *

On the 210 – tempted now to add a little local colour – as it lags behind the 4 – now
passes – signs on fence – on Powell St. – Subway – &
          Vancouver Today.com –
          virtually all you need to know

& now turns north on Nanaimo – once imagined living here – near here – near the PNE –
all this too thoughtful – write carelessly, head down, feeling furrow of brow, weight of
glasses – peripherally – sunlit street & cars, shadows, going by – head up into no thought,
even though all this district – no place to go – the irremediable – gulf – not between
being & nothingness

                                        Angela Bowering
                                        in Kerrisdale,
                                        a town

Here is no conflict, no choice – the breeze – the Ironworkers Memorial – a colour I used
to call Prussian blue – Bridge – the inlet – trees, boats, the forested mountain – bluer
mountains behind – just here

                                        Angela on her last afternoon

                                        spent her last afternoon
                                        with the Finnish genealogists
                                        exchanging information

to be there – by being stop the slide – regretful towards, always a not-ness, a not there –
by consciousness, participating in the illusion, that doesn’t just run one way – entropy –
but has many mansions, some furnished, some just waiting – for Angela, by insisting
on disbelief – to grin.  This is not not, this is where not is exposed, laid open to view
& shown to contain

precise distinctions – almost the 0 & 1 from which 2 arises – in defiance of pristine
order – hors d’oeuvres, instead – start over

                    *

The pleasure of getting on the 7
in the chill morning
                              & something must follow
something non-reciprocal
stuck stuck stuck stuck stuck
all the while the sun – this is still
September (last day) – & the long
shadows before 9 a.m. – is this all –

sometimes the mind
                              is just aware of its
dumbness – the skull – the unnerving
pathos (unjustified, yes, I’ll always
scream –

                  is that all, just
location, location, location – a grid,
the special sciences
dutiful, perfunctory – & yet a pleasure
not to have any ‘meaning’ interfere,
long, drawn-out, even before it’s thought.
                                                                Let’s be clear
(blank) there’s nothing to say here
(quick bump of the tires over the train tracks & now
emerging from beneath the overpass,

& back to reading Paterson
on the Granville bridge

                    *

She wore a red hat.  Flat-brimmed.
She wore a flat-brimmed red hat.
It was at Sharon’s place, on West 18th.
It was New Year’s Eve.  Michael Ondaatje was there.
She wore a flat-brimmed red hat & she grinned.

She grinned with delight.  With the delight
of disbelief, as if her disbelief had cleared
the air.  Like a hailstorm, sweet sun
to follow.

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