from The Lockdown Elegies – Poems by Monty Reid

from The Lockdown Elegies

I love the sound of leaf blowers
in the morning, and wood chippers
before noon.

I like the gas-powered weed-eaters
better than the electric ones
because you can hear them

and jackhammers any time of day.

And nailguns, and circular saws
ripping through 2x4s. And cement mixers
big or little.

Poets all over the suburbs
with powertools.

*       (for Mary-Ellen Herbert)
Your new bistro-style kitchen
filled up quickly with fake news
from what I gather

all black and white tiles
and the expresso machine
hissing with its gossip.

I missed you for a while
after you declared we
couldn’t be friends any longer

but not all that much.
And now you’re gone.
I hear the house has been sold

and the kitchen re-done again
in softer tones
and that damn machine put away.

It got worse, the second time around.
No one expected it to end
and all that twitchy energy was gone.

After the third time, fatigue replaced it.
Fatigue and distrust and impatience

and after all that, another wave
left only the desire to repeat

ad infinitum, your one life.

Life could begin again in a bowl of saltwater
left over from the last wave

or maybe in the substrate beneath my garden
which I know to be

teeming with smaller and increasingly neurotic
life-forms the further down you get.

No matter how good you are, life begins
underneath everything else.

There might be some joy.
in thinking we’re all in this together

but we’re not.

Or consolation?

They take your dust, and don’t give it back

I want you to find the dead.

in every grave and burial ground
in every heart, in every poem
wherever they have been forgotten.
You don’t need to love them
that will be for somebody else.

You have the easy job.

Someone else will cry.

When desire comes back
it will be a surprise.

What should have happened
in the past
will reappear as the future.

Just ghosts.

And you will want it
that way.

Monty Reid is an Ottawa poet. His books include The Luskville Reductions (Brick), Garden (Chaudiere), and The Alternate Guide (rdc) and his most recent chapbook is Seam (above/ground). He is the Director of VerseFest, Ottawa’s international poetry festival. Twitter: @montyreid

Art: the time & the place by Robert Frede Kenter (c) 2022. Twitter: @frede_kenter

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