By / © Neil Flowers
Neil Flowers was born in Montreal. He has lived in Ottawa, Toronto, Vancouver, Vancouver Island, Saltspring Island, Albuquerque, Italy, and Mexico. He was a member of the legendary modern/contemporary poetry seminar given by the Canadian poet Robert Hogg at Carleton University, Ottawa. Currently, Neil travels back and forth between various places in Canada and Los Angeles, where he works as an editor, script doctor, and screenplay reader for production companies. He has also worked as an actor, director, and writer for radio, theatre, and film. An ancestor, Robert Flowers, a British soldier, helped found the town of New Carlisle in the Gaspé at the end of the eighteenth century. The following poems are from his forthcoming book POLYPHONIC LYRE.
MAKES YOU WONDER
roll up to the light
Exposition and Vermont
look to my left
Right beside me
The Realist Trip
It is a small room, simply furnished, eggshell walls, azure trim.
A small arched bay, a window through which late sun
slides across oak flooring; polished nail heads glisten.
A spruce dresser, dark knots swirl in blonde grain;
the bed wrapped in a lilac print, mauve and greens
casually arranged on the walnut frame.
A view of the harbour: steel sea, scarlet buoys,
cumulus mass tall in a cobalt sky;
tugs’ screws churn torquing to stern and bow,
K-cranes glide load lumber in ships that ride high
red lead primer exposed. Full and empty.
Coming and going. Tides and trade.
Houses on the distant side, their glass shifts in the wind,
mirror covert signals to this far shore.
Pinned to the wall, a map of mountains and valleys,
rivers and roads. Some complex trip there traced in blue
that makes a broken seraph, muscles strident,
wings tatters from combat, and a spike-nosed beast,
jubilant, who renders that angel like a Goya nightmare.
when you axed the head
off that chicken
for my teachers
Tall blonde in one-piece exceptionally
clingy knit dress, sage in colour, that ends a little
above mid-thigh, long legs available to the breezes,
beautiful, knows it, dresses to exhibit the what that
she’s got, approaches on the sidewalk, me in silvered
sun glasses, eyes invisible, she becomes even
more self-conscious, figuring the male gaze as I figure
how she turns this way that approves of herself in the mirror
after her bath, fidgets with her dress as we pass,
and I have to turn to look as she tugs at the hem
this side, that side, succeeding by half a centimeter
to pull it down and make the twin-globe outline of
her bum sublime
Just wanted to get back into the feel of writing a poem
that place where sun pours through the north window
where you let go of everything to let whatever it is
come through, but more than that, just being alive
this moment, even if it doesn’t quite make sense
or maybe none at all if that’s the way it looks,
knowing that the way it looks ranks somewhere
amongst infinite number. That’s
one sentence. Another might not
mean at all in a poem,
in prose, fine, having things orderly but
in poetry, conceptual semantics
may be moved to different planes.
For instance, let us take the vowel o apart and bounce it
off that blue wall there
[For this coming last stanza, the reader may engage in
throat singing, yelling, whispering, mouth singing,
scatting at various pitches from bass to falsetto, swooping
legato or hopping around staccato, moving the body like
Anna Lucia Richter or Little Richard, whatever he or she
might like or manage, score to be decided en route, so to
speak, the following notation to be considered, mutatis
mutandis, as suggestion only, hence improvisation
to be the sine qua non of the effort and so though we
somewhat half-heartedly recommend the one vowel,
should the spirit so move please dive into a, e, i, o, u, & y.
May add consonants as accidentals/needed.]