Pale Blue Cover

In the middle of the night Matt would fly to Vancouver so he could take a walk on the sea wall the next day, then go home.

Wouldnt tell anyone, no telephone call, just run a scene through his peculiar Ontario head, no snow on that beach.

No one can imagine Matt teaching religion at McMaster, Matt eyeing math in a Bay Street shop window.

Here’s the man expecting every book to be the breakthrough to best seller Toronto, Spanish doctors couldn’t even do it.

English patients could do it, Spanish doctors, get out of town. Spanish girls, you can forget it.

Matt was planning to write a hundred novels, line them up like matched jewelry, strike a shovel into the heart of bony Canada.

Mix a metaphor, wrestle a fish in a northern river, propel prose like nobody’s business, business had nothing to do with it.

In the middle of the day Cohen was a wry anglo saxon typing on a rocky farm, two thousand words before supper.

Remain wry, people like me catch you lost in thought down there at the other end of the table, face turned to the corner with imagination in it.

We remind ourselves of this undreamable sephardic rock agriculturalist, shovel bouncing off some kind of precambrian anapest.

He really thought he could get across Canada, get over the twentieth century, pick the whole country up and turn it over.

No one will ever know what he was thinking on the red-eye, patriot satyr grin on his lip.

George Bowering, “Pale Blue Cover” from Changing on the Fly. Reprinted by permission of the author.

Source: Changing on the Fly (Polestar Book Publishers / Raincoast Books, 2004).