The Canadian Art Database



Victor Coleman

Parking Lots for Greg Curnoe

The Coach House Press 1985
[ 1,231 words ]

Why is Robert Desnos sleeping?

Any man who'll not accept the present terms is radical —

No adjustment is needed — too personal — the reason
         for an open fly — Calamity reigns in that area

Then there's laughter — the exchange of the unexchangeable
         glow all over us — as when I come in her mouth
         and millions of tiny tapioca boil white in their clarity -
         translucent joy and jelly babies — divers strangers
         swallowed in one or two gulps

With hot dogs and hot rods and chewing gum wrappers
         crumpled and torn with blackballs and
         Jonnie Hand Warmers — Big Little Books
         with Dick Tracy or Plastic Man divesting the image
         with the villain's broken mirror — defeated
         by the sharp-edged reflection of himself

I traded comics with a 9-year-old girl down the street
         she had huge overbite buckteeth and holey underwear
         which I saw when she kissed me in the closet
         pressing her smelly 9-year-old body against me
         teeth pushing hard against tender boy's lips

Each one of these doors leads to the present — No engagement
         is needed — the present is yesterday's memory
         sliding in the mud of sad travels and dreams
         climbing cat's cradles in webs of imagination —
         here today and gone tomorrow
         No adjustment is needed

In either case I'm joyous as jubilant dew drops from my beard
         on a hill up which we climb in the shade of a tree
         heaved up over the road — Little lamb who made thee?
         No adjunct is needled — junipers and fat red cedars
         in front of my view of the world

Not Kumush . an old man's old man
         trapped inside his wandering adolescence
         sowing his magic from a bag of old bones over the land
         so that men might arise from them in tribes —
         the alleyways and streets of his wanderings
         through the serpents' houses to perpetrate
         an image of himself . no reflection . a joke
         No need for readjustment

         in books and old documents —
         art and other well-worn dildoes
         inventing this man in your innocence
         NO! to your please . Need rots —
         walking, walking . Oh, parochial

Give me the song of the stout-hearted sucking in swoosh
         of the tea head, followed by fifteen contemplative minutes
         better than talk about art and degenerate dollars —
         this is my first barter . Yes!
         I will buy your violence . take off that redress

Move toward an image . a vision . of heaven
         The Earth . Colour
         the atmosphere ochre if it pleases you



My 4-year-old son spends an hour in the morning
         arranging his small pile of books to resemble
         a printer's ink-coloured silent flat sea —
         for his set of toy vehicles he wanted
         in the middle of the living room a parking lot

Robinson Jeffers entombed in an idea . Dead
         anyway . no more than Ed Ruscha's portraits
         of square feet in thousands reduced to the page size —
         delicate and intricate . Lifeless

I am not complaining . I am not complaining .
         The waning of the harvest moon is
         not a poem . it is a waning
         a perfect picture of imbalance in the pause
         between this world and the last

I don't have to talk to people anymore!
         One-syllable words form standing trains
         waiting in the station for people to get on
         or off

What you see . what you paint
         is paint . a colour no sea enters
         No discourse of object and fact
         disinterested artifacts . The mind
         does not live up to any of its promises

The gesture of plains in the paintings of Georges Bracque —
         locations moving in the air . in earth .
         paint projected on the present sense . ability
         the tension between us: attention

Finding two in one . three in two . into
         decisions we make about magic numbers
         dividing us into their anti-numerical
         over-symbolic surfaces towards real qualities —
         not significant detail . everything's mass .
         secret political prisoners locked in each cell

The body of work is no more ill at ease than the work
         of the body . Ask the drugs about their pertinence
         Gather your rosebuds where you may
         but sniff of the air and listen to the sounds
         of worlds colliding in the garden

This is no scene from a movie . this is no
         small town, big city, rural route environ
         the body is all we need to break initial water
         until what holds us is a tide
         freed from its chamber

Trees and intractable mountains
         through which no middle-class American children dance
         they're too busy sleeping and playing
         engaging in human relationships

This has gone much further than I ever intended —
         I'm the man whose pockets are ever full of silver
         enough to insure the austerity of the spirit
         like a hacker's amazing ability to articulate
         the same three phrases from the corner of his mouth —
         Moebius running the same line

These lakes were given to us . Drink me


What are the Rolling Stones talking about in their music?
         The future? The torture? The ardure
         of living in Britain? I doubt it.
         Amphetamine dreams of resurgence
         in blood undermined by Hershey and Nestle
         those beautiful birds of oblivion

How can a man be a vision in worlds turning slowly
         asbestos and plastic and bullet-proof alloys
         defensive infernal metals . license plates here read:
         19 BEAUTIFUL 68

The navel's knot . not centre of the earth
         not our intention . She comes in colours
         everywhere she combs her hair
. The Real .
         she's like a rainbow . explanation
         of the music of the spheres is not a simile

The plenary abstract . the word 'colours'
         with its optional dipthong
         impotent in the present context: darkness
         I have no reason to believe in what you do
         My belief is unchangeable fact

I have taken the liberty of removing your name
         from a long list of great artistic promises
         and have readjusted the order in my mind
         to include all the sempiternal gods who walk around
         in our genes like twisted guests . evergreens
         don't have them, won't
         we inject false light into the blood

I have taken the liberty of advocating the use of drugs
         in the afterlife . the halflight
         off-white, spurious and uneventful . addictive
         as anything . heavenly popsicles
         to sooth the heat of dying . through truth
         a disease that suffers our doubts
         where collage is so available

Surrealism has nothing to do with it
         Dada is Father . a rhythm . I asked
         for a sandwich . they gave me delight in a cup
         A song has nothing to do with it either
         Sing, anyway . Be surreal. Don't go mad in the face
         of their constant boredom before so much wonder
         as long as you've got something in your hands
         besides their currency . empty pockets .
         use them, please, on others

Art's a caress . careless and fickle as words
         lying each day for a bit more space
         compass pointing always in the same direction
         attracted to the mercury in my eyes
         coins replace slowly the fine bones
         with long brittle members and incapable
         digital fingers and toes

Don't count on them! A comparison:
         a line of grey paint /
         the horizon changing

* * *

The Coach House Press 1985

Text: © Victor Coleman. All rights reserved.

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