Safely Home Pacific Western

Jeff Latosik’s forthcoming collection, Safely Home Pacific Western, will be published in Spring 2015 by the Icehouse imprint of...


Plot points that lit some childhoods like pier mount lighting:
the rogue, hirsute, endlessly American cop on a tryst
holding morality discharged in one hand;
that and everything I thought I was done with,
credits rolled, kaput, but nothing is done with.

I think: William Herschel, who sent his eye up like a cannonball
into the Pleiades, which was once called the Nebra,
and it banged around there until Uranus, gas giant,
which was first just called George, stepped out
and tipped its cowboy hat of meteors and dust.

Well, there are some things you just can’t run away from.
Where are we in the long line of demotions?
Ptolemy’s stars, sugar spatter on paper,
first loves who ferment in us, and the low, foaming
stout of no one’s thought swilling, unswimmable, deep in the head…

So I close my eyes and board my own tour bus;
there’s traffic there too and sometimes congestion.
With its track lighting and fully reclinable seats,
I sit back on my Safely Home Pacific Western
as its Crown corporation takes share in my head,

and I don’t know what lane I merge into but I do,
and I can go to the Pleiades and look up and see them,
swing back through the Milky Way of five years —
that was harbouring secret addictions to astrology;
that was nights in damp bars with bass that hurt;

slow dancing at weddings leading to more weddings;
learning it’s possible to be thoroughly haunted
by the lone fact that hippopotamus milk is pink.
That was a think piece in Scientific American:
a particle inside your body is not, strictly speaking, inside.

And us, lost, in First Canadian Place, half Parthenon
half hospital wing, with no one in sight. Woodward and Evans,
somewhere unmarked, once tweaked a glass globe
and carbon filament to make an incandescent bulb.
But nitrogen escaped. Edison bought the rights.

That was clearing a toll booth where a barrier arm lifts
and escarpment is just a duvet you throw over someone
who’s sleeping longer and later than they said,
and Pleiades of dust swirl, like people tumbling somewhere
you lose your head band, like astronauts, but not,

in an asteroid belt of the things not that we just lost
but never felt departing. How did all that become so distant
in me? Just know that I only meant to turn left,
signalled, and suddenly was above a whole continent
in a drive so far and high I almost caught sight of the earth.


Class Anxiety at the Farmers’ Market
Or: You expect me to pay two dollars for a tomato?


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