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Poetry Friday: "West End, Halifax" by Brian Bartlett

The Watchmaker's Table, Brian Bartlett We love to travel, but sometimes we can't get away as far as we like. So, for today's Poetry Friday, we'll take a quick haiku-heavy jaunt via Brian Bartlett to "West End, Halifax" (from his collection The Watchmaker's Table).

Reached via social media, Brian had this to say about the work behind his poem:

This haiku montage is one of three in The Watchmaker's Table. Stitching haiku together to create long poems (which I've compared to collages or mosaics) became so much a part of my writing a dozen or so years ago that I went on to publish a whole book of seven more montages, Potato Blossom Road (Ekstasis Editions, 2013). That book also includes an essay, "Haikuing," which details my reflections on this popular but often misunderstood, misrepresented mode of writing—which I've also experienced as a way of thinking, seeing and hearing.

West End, Halifax

In this moist corner 
    of a used-book store
a lone mushroom sprouts

                                                                        Two giant zucchini
                                                                            by a grinning girl’s ears –
                                                                        green parenthesis

He holds high his rolled-up
    Yoga mat, fending off
a crow diving close

                                                                        The blackout lasts
                                                                            one second – the neighbourhood 
                                                                        blinks – glimpse of Zilch

Where Dublin St. meets
    London St., a soaked atlas
falls apart in grass

                                                                        Behemoth tree-trimmer spits
                                                                             limbs into its gut –
                                                                        noisiest eater around

Garbage night, one hopeful
     sound in the dark – 
bottle-scavengers’ bag clink

                                                                        From under ice
                                                                             in a mid-winter thaw
                                                                        a worm crawls, earth’s colour

A sort of grace –
     a falling icicle strikes
his foot, not his eye

                                                                            a locked bicycle’s shrunken
                                                                          to its red reflector

A maple wingseed
     stays stuck to a skate blade
crisscrossing a rink

                                                                        Two bootprints frozen
                                                                             in sidewalk ice, one pointing
                                                                        down the street, one up

Through twelve months
     a scarecrow on a porch gives
each season the same scowl

                                                                      Oh for X-rays to show
                                                                            all the trees roots holding
                                                                        these streets together

Brian Bartlett Poem Poetry Friday

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