Poetry Archives Bio

A Bookstore in British Columbia

July 7, 2004

With apologies to Allen Ginsberg.

What thoughts I have of you tonight, Allen Ginsberg, for I walked down the main street under wet trees with a headache self-conscious looking at Granville Room.

In my dull fatigue, my shopping for images complete, I went into the soft light of Chapters, dreaming of your long lines!

What postcards and what champagne glasses! Whole families shopping at night! Sci-Fi full of lone men! Wives in the art books, children in their sections!—and you, Salvador Dalí, what were you doing by the new moderns?

I saw you, Allen Ginsberg, childless, lonely old grubber, drinking your Grande Latte downstairs and eyeing the Davie boys.

I heard you asking questions of each: Who killed good taste? What price porno? Are you still my Angel?

I wandered up and down the glossy shelves of dust jackets following you, and followed in my imagination by the store shelver.

We strode down the open corridors together in our solitary fancy tasting Beat poems, possessing every possible artform and never passing the cashier.

Where are we going, Allen Ginsberg? The doors close in an hour. Which way does your beard point tonight?

(I touch your book and dream of our odyssey in the bookstore and feel absurd.)

Will we walk all night through Saturday streets? The neon adds light to light, dark apartment windows, we'll both be lonely.

Will we stroll dreaming of the lost Americas of love past red sedans by the curb, home to our silent voyage?

Ah, dear father, greybeard, lonely old courage-teacher, what world did you have when NDP quit funding their ferry and you got out on Vancouver Island and stood watching the boat disappear in the blue waters of Georgia Strait?