Vancouver, British Columbia

30 May 2007

Five Poems from T R ( ) C E

1 smoke
2 fire   
3 air
4 water
5 earth

About Collette Gagnon



1 smoke

shadings failings
           dark willow drawings

november’s equilibriums
           shed fire into the harbour

through wine dark glass
           descending into weather

a radio pianos
           nostalgic variations

                      I hear your face, a mystery

                      the sea inside itself
                      creaks vertically

                      stalls the getaway car

                      a useless frantic
                      chipping chipping

                      glass raised to impostor, facing


           glances in the rear view mirror
suspended in a minor key



2 fire

                                                                                        who didn’t know
                                                                               who needed to be right
                                                                                   who dreamed awake
                                                                               whose cities never sleep
                                                                                   whose names erased
                                                                        who blunder the small thing







           – a sky etched with branches
is blown open wide

that sad, exquisite tornado
           slowly winding down
                      —’s tongue-tied


                      who race along the ground in the dark
                      to fly on foot
                      who help each other

                                            now and again

                                                       one of us lifts off




3 water

we barely notice weather
the elements line up
tap out against            a window
                                a curtain wall
                                a crystal logic
scrying eyes
          fixing  fixing
                    trying to straighten water

lost lagoons flush through
          bottled towers

scenes slicked out of a magazine
          city-crusted mountain . . .furbelowed shores . . .
          . . . parasol prinked . . . trail cloud chiffonades

along atop a wall
          light breezes carry light
                    milk of august . . . cloud canoes . . .
                    . . .  willow-eyed . . . postcard views

a light creased road drives through
          on the way to the lake along lovers lane . . .
          . . .  footprints . . . trespass  plush






4 air

wastes of time
           blow in over the colony

fly up you hunger artists
           wing out over bored palaces

cut rings around mid-heaven
           radical trajectories
                      for duck-billed decoys

spin the wind-crabbed fallout
           for vertigo eyes

radio sad planets
           your counterfeit pianos
                      a lot of wine and jamming

flutes to a moon
           skimming the meniscus

oracular parachutes
           dropped through holy skies

go blank go mad go missing
           your mountain and your purpose

up into the watt~hour
                      time’s out of mind



5 earth

walls of windows
mirror weather
breaking sparrows’ wings
bird’s eye view
fallacy of reclamation
bloodstink in the dumpster
gossip overhead crow jinks
chase the handless man with stump for
down a chute of alleys to the park
Lost Lagoon, bitter green
mallards cut across
brought the camera, what’s to see—
wild iris plucked ‘n’ tucked in hair
—nothing but dust and leaves!
the redwing’s plaint
the rushes’ green arpeggios
breeze enough to play the shades close to idyll
save for that petulant foot-dragging
raising the fine gravel—
blackberry chimes
round a bend
under ravelled willows
swan asleep with down-filled eyes
weathered benches slouch around the lake
—more swamp this year than lake—
dogs strain into their chokes
on the scent of skunk lily
frog’s single croak
moon ascends to scull a greasy sky
June without heat
voices hurry home
when we get there. . .  we can change our lives



Collette GagnonPresently working in the public service, holds an MFA in painting from Yale and is a graduate of The Writers Studio at Simon Fraser University. Her work has appeared in emerge 2003.