AND NOW

…for something completely different.

I don’t normally work in this fashion, but I’m beginning a phase of doing things that I don’t normally do (yes, be afraid, be very afraid).

My last honours class in English happens to be a creative writing class. We are all working in our own genre specific areas; the class is heavily theory laden, which is fine, part workshop, and partly based on exercises which we have to hand in for a final portfolio. Our opening exercise consisted of writing a letter to one of the authors on our list (we were required to make up a reading list specific to our genre and style of writing) reminiscent of Susan Sontag’s “A Letter to Borges”.

Here is my letter that I wrote yesterday(apologies for the double line spacing, as I can’t figure out how to remove it–please feel free to make any comments you may have as it is still new and raw):

Unsent letter to Sylvia Legris

 

 

I never worried much about the fish.

Like language, fish were foreign

to a younger me

 

 

unfamiliar as the prairie fields that addressed

an émigré while travelling

by train. The departure

beginning from the past.

 

 

Reading you, I’m looking out

that window. Remembering a migration

of dogs. I followed

 

 

impossibly. Do you

like my hat?

 

 

Yes. Yes.

 

 

Imagine a bed big enough

to sleep everyone.

 

 

Even at the age of four I believed

it was possible

 

 

believed there were beds

with room enough for all. A moon

roosted in the bedroom window.

 

 

And later they drove

cars to a celebration

in the biggest tree on the flat, migraine

                                of a white page.

 

 

And how is it

I didn’t understand dogs

don’t climb trees

 

 

until the other day when I read

to my nephews, their eyes fixed—

paper on pause, each child

eagerly waiting the next flip

of fingers.

 

 

Or how reading a book in the sun-

fingered limbs of shadow’s past

is akin to the awareness

                                of pain. The fissure—

 

 

your squall clouding my brain, the swell

of my own nerves, thinned and tightening.

 

 

Repetition is the mother

of all movement. I am that

child again.

 

 

There are memory-tornadoes looped

in the words I read.

                                Looping.

 

 

You said the word is embouchure.

Our blood pulsing from the heart

to each peripheral region. You said

limbic. You said swim. You said

 

 

words that were in my mouth, formed

by my mouth. An immigration.

 

 

What you said landed on me, a spring

rain escaping the staggered sky

 

 

or a sudden snow layering sheets on

to shape one big bed.

 

 

 

 

Quote and references from Go Dog Go—by P.D. Eastman