Two by Colin Morton




Where Were You When?

When I was just fourteen
and played on the team first string
I was horny as hornets and JFK
was my ideal (I can admit it now)
but hey ? "He was my brother"
who fell that autumn during playoffs
put graveyards not goalposts on the front page,
and though I wandered out hotter than ever after
I half-knew I'd get no satisfaction on those icy streets
a half-step short of the sad end of love.

Now in DC decades later I visit
not Arlington but the wall, sunken tombstone
of space age innocence, brothers and sisters
who lay down for the echo of a memory of a lie
for the hero who is always too human to rule
for the peace these pilgrims carry away in their tears
for what balm they may deliver.


All That Is Solid

The founder whose bronze head rolls in the street
said it best: All that is solid
melts into air

All that looked solid once

like the wall round his contradiction
since gone under the ball
and brought home in pieces

curiosities
set up in family rooms
as if to remind us

We work the streets for all we're worth
forgetful we were other once
will be again

till one day we look up
and a new flag
waves from the pole

First everything goes soft
then fluid
a sign to flag and return to

as if ...

We're caught mouthing words
we once thought foreign
accessing the fax
at the corner store

My machine talks to your machine
and logs off with the information
in progressive decay

Tomorrow when the shadows
on the screen have shifted
and the error message reads
General system failure

we won't believe it
any more than the shoppers now
locked out of State No 1

Millenium will come and go
while we reset our watches

Everyman's football
the founder's head
rolls in the dust

but he wasn't the one
who betrayed us
to these boulevards of rubble

where old landmarks
dissolve in the rain


Colin Morton's books of poetry include The Merzbook: Kurt Schwitters Poems, How to Be Born Again and the forthcoming Coastlines of the Archipelago. He has also published a novel, Oceans Apart, and co-produced the animated sound poetry film Primiti Too Taa. http://www.cyberus.ca/~cmorton





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