PORTRAIT OF THE POET AS TARGET
I’m reading A.M. Klein’s
The Rocking Chair – rescued from
the basement bargain-bin of a now
bankrupt used book store –
just to kill a little time
while waiting for my wife and kids
on a bench by the loading area at IKEA
in the heart of old town St. Laurent
on Cavendish just off Highway 40.
These days St. Laurent,
like IKEA, is a bungled
of spiny calcifications,
a scrambled maze
designed to lose you good.
In Klein’s day, it was all landscape,
leafy enough to conceal the bodies
of the entire Montreal Group.
In the book’s last poem, Klein bemoans,
in the mid-century modernism of ‘48,
the poet’s long-past expiry date –
his déclassé craft
archaic like the fletcher’s.
Nearby, a man and his teenage son
are hollering doggerel at each other,
shaking fists at their Civic’s
open trunk, backs turned
on the utility cart which,
with its heavy lopsided load
of long cardboard boxes, is rolling
into the road, where an approaching
SUV swerves, mounts
the curb, sideswipes my bench,
sends me flying, arms thrown up,
Klein launched into the fathomless
blue sky like a clay pigeon.
Glenn Hayes’s poetry has appeared previously in Vallum as well as in many other magazines and journals, including The Antigonish Review, Arc, CV2, Dalhousie Review, Descant, Event, The Fiddlehead, Freefall, Grain, The Malahat Review, The New Quarterly, Qwerty Prairie Fire, The Whitewall Review, and The Windsor Review. He was born in Sarnia, Ontario in 1948 and currently lives in Newmarket, Ontario.