Dalhousie poets: identity and location

Poems on our surroundings and who we are

Canadian winter  

Art by Sara Pelaez on Blush.

The carpet of my one bedroom  

Squirms in its pixelated glory.  

It is dirty because the vacuum is broken  

And I am young.  

And the third or fourth best-ranking views in this city  

Are from buildings open to the public in the daytime hours.  

This is nice to know  

But we can’t smoke out here,   

Which will just have to do.  

Today’s winter is still and sunny  

Like an old painting.  

It’s worn round the edges.  

Later when the fairies break their wings in the sharp breeze  

It may snow just a little   

Especially around your house.  

And I’m beginning to realize  

That I don’t know how to sit around strangers  

Where to stick my fingers or tongue  

Whether to make hard or soft or a kind of lingering eye contact.  

Do they look at my skin first?  

Or the length of my hair?  

What do they think of  

Without meaning to?  

And what do you do  

When the rooms you look to escape to  

Are also frozen?  

Hotel golden   

We drive  

through this new world  

with skies that follow  

then spin in circles all around us and   

strangers we will only know   

through eyes.  

How lovely though  

to know   

we will be here for a while.  

Home is prettier from inside the dirty bus,  

like a drive through some gallery of art.   

I make mental notes of diners I must check out,  

parks I must walk through,  

write in.  

I will forget this tomorrow  

But right now, it is important.  

It baffles me how easy it is to leave this town  

Any town  

never here  

never here.  

You should go to school here.  

They paint like you do!  

You’d make easy friends,  

people who finally understood you.  

It’s small, uncomplicated.   

It would settle easy in your midnight drink.  

And the bus was dark then,  

when it made me think   

of the time we travelled and  

the back of your  

crystal earring pierced my neck,  

as you fell asleep  

and I left you lying there,  

on my too-small shoulder  

for a time  

weeping onto my own sleepy cheek  

(for just the sheer pain of it),  

not saying a word,  

because I liked you,  

a lot.  

So, when the physical pain of it  

would return in a few years   

at least I’d be prepared.  

And in this sleepy town, it’s impossible to get work done.  

All we do is think of our next meals  

and lie around on our stomachs  

in this golden,  

badly decorated hotel room.  

I think my friends and I are beautiful  

in a strange way  

I think we could suit a rainy sky,  

A train, slipping away  

A dirt road, unending.  

And I don’t miss you on  

this night.  

You are dangling from a thread  

and to be near you,  

I must dangle too.  

We are precariously over the edge now,  

comfortable always  

in the uncertainty of it all.  

And it’s pretty,   

I think, how  

we are home   

nowhere.  

Dalhousie poets is a rotating column in the Gazette’s Art & Lifestyle section featuring poetry by students on various subjects. Interested in submitting your verse? Email arts@dalgazette.com.  

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