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Genni Gunn, 2007
Reprinted by permission. All Rights Reserved

 

wEstSCAPES

 

 

To live on the edge of a continent is to understand

the finite property of things delicious anxiety

 

fear of falling optional suicide measures B jump

into cold bluewater submerge float out to sea

 

Inland Toronto, continuity is unsettling the rush

the thick of people things a constant distraction

 

no oceans to dream beyond no balancing

on perilous cliffs no hypothesis of death Faces

 

stare out of windows envisioning perhaps a mountaintop

the slow smooth glide through air the soundless parting

 

of waves Here where a continent rises

and falls the possibilities for disaster are endless:

 

an earthquake east and west fault lines or a tsunami

monster quenching its thirst in English Bay

 

swallowing the West End whole or a torrent of rain

steeping the mountainside in mud a steady flow to the sea

 

To balance on the outer edge is to accept paradox

equilibrium a faint horizon between impulse and rationale

 

We erect amulets: THIS IS A NUCLEAR-FREE ZONE

in the shadow of US destroyers which slice intermittent

 

the depths of the harbour point to the words hold up

banners bob on small lifeboats in the path of steel

 

no more effective than one small man in China

waving his shopping bags to stop an army

 

To live on the edge of a continent is to have both

a clarity of vision and an unshaken belief in myth:

 

how in semi-darkness totems stalk us carved eagles fly

frogs swim the water of the eye and bear claws

 

scratch tremors in the spine or how the downtown

city face is a thin mantle crust beneath which

 

arteries pulse with spice and opium cards knife

blades plunging into the centre of the earth

 

or how we ski in morning light and swim in afternoon

the impulse for the edge is a magnetic field

 

insul/isolation and we create a story: this is the last

chance for utopia, a new frontier

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