Photo by Kevin Schmidt, courtesy Catriona Jeffries Gallery, Vancouver.
A Sign in the Northwest Passage, 2010.
A series of poems, entitled "Arctic Graffiti," about untangled seal guts and elusive hares in the Arctic tundra.
Two strangers emerging from the Arctic ice. Into the cozy horn of smoke-plumed slums. The older one shouldering the camera asks, How do you do what you do? Some days I can barely lift the phone to my face for a story. My arms quake, voice shakes. See that lone figure gaining on us like Death out of the setting, noonday sun? across this shortcut of the frozen bay? That’s Rex the Inuit sculptor. He carves outside in the wind so granite flecks will flurry away from his lungs. I interviewed him yesterday, and now he walks right past me without saying a word! Maybe I should have bought a walrus tusk off him. Stumbling like a revenant or an alcoholic up the driven, alabaster shore. Past the grounded schooner that used to ferry his kids to school. I really don’t know how you can spend your life in a room speaking to nobody. If only I could live without paychecks, pensions, health insurance and remove myself from the world and write something about myself, for myself—that would take some real courage. But that’s something I’ll never do. Two strangers emerging from the Arctic ice. The stupid one asks, Why can’t you? This is the third of three poems. Read the first one.