Idi Tse-Tung

Rob Winger’s first book, Muybridge’s Horse, was a Globe and Mail best book,...


He has never seen the sea, never mountains.
He has never turned a wheel, riveted a hull,
pulled a trigger, trained a telescope.
He has never held an oboe.

He has never entered vaginas or mineshafts,
never worn lipstick or wigs.
He has never crushed a skull or a grasshopper,
never weaved a burlap sack for kittens.

Across the beehive, more workers.
He’s never talked to them.
Across the pitch, there are armies in the valley.

Across the homespun rice paddy
or Burmese jungle-clearings,
shining blades from Europe.
He’s never met their makers.

Their Pepsi-bottle mothers couldn’t help.
Their fathers were spunk leftover
then abandoned in spittoons.
Every last sibling was a folded lawnchair.

He has never held a passport,
never scaled an armistice,
never watched a port catch fire.

The tea in the cup, the oracle hissing,
the mouldy matchmaker stinking up the lintel:
he has never plucked a basket from the Nile,
then wiped it clean with reeds.

If there are fissures in the windshield,
they spread each winter.
Wet paint on the benches, the guardrails gone,
the last plate clean and ready for the next.

The final word
of every film
is almost always fine.

Nothing’s ever started with a single, simple tick.