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Spotlight #11 : Sarah Burgoyne

Curated by Canadian writer, editor and publisher rob mclennan.


Here is the closed room, behind the chrysanthemums, the dead little room and its mat of astroturf, the whole sky is luminous (in the room), and the great obstacle is what has already taken place.


In the four eyes
that look at me,
two accept water.

To the pavement,
I let go what I put up.

What happens
when I just agree. At times,
in public spaces.

Now you see me
and my particular life.
I know the particular reasons
that left me.


i took

the way the snake lights up at night
wood grain under resin

the two lights above the exit
and the gold roof after that

the way the words coil at night
moment of doubt

and unfamous
foam on your lip just there
get it

whatever you say
it is an unpleasant emotion

and likely
and have you made your confederation yet?
and was it the sand?


what rules the world
is a current medium
of exchange
the intervening substance
it lives and is cultured

i also took
the point at
or around
the centre of a period of time
being at
an equal distance
from the extremities
of two other things
one’s family and relations

it’s not a problem
i am sometimes the dolphin
on that necklace
you gave me

its thin silver chain
and its hanging

in tennis
is a score of zero
which is nothing
especially as the score
in certain games

and the main thing is we begin
she said with clothing
before we clean beneath the sink

maybe i thought it out

maybe then this is
just a version

the number six woke me up

from a feeling
at the likelihood
of something
unwelcome happening

what you tell love
is strange and tuesday
i was nearly lost

it’s a form of athletics
a person’s standard of play
or wild mammals or birds
hunted for food


who will i write to as an alien
and snow out on the street

if i am not ready in time
but meant it

i walk the busy street
to the busy line
but the sign i pass
is interesting

and the tiger
tiger scrawled in the sill
of the tram

tiger tiger
we both knew the song
so the day stuck

the sign is primary yellow
its letters are outlines

modern like the mural
we made
of sundaes
and cigarettes

beside the yam recipe all along


on the sixth, i saw several great haircuts.
i bought a silver shirt, a pink shirt, and a polka dot.
i took a bath and did not wash my hair.
i listened to italian and saw someone read in italian.
i heard german and spanish.
i humoured.
i made pleasant.
i felt the pain of the past week and i doubted.
i bought a book signed to harold.
i evaded a question.
i sprung.
i saw a silver watch face.
i showed off a cover.
i said i had a nice time.
i answered a question.
i thought about aliens.
i read about sketches of demons or aliens.
i thought about the Western imagination, which is severe.
i thought about how the Western imagination considers aliens (as demons).
i unpacked stone from a plastic bag.
i filled my mouth with coloured sugar.
i thought about a child.
i was terse.
i was overwhelmed by words and poor eyesight.
i thought about asking when distracted by the body.
i thought about the body and its distractions.
i dropped the spoon and lid but not the content.
i thought it’s a long one and will be long. being here now and alone here.


to pay a man for my safety
today i had to
turn around

a stencil of your daydream
i bought it for dreaming

there is so much to say
of your goddess venue
my misunderstanding is
the organization
of the wound’s ingredients

you can watch the full thaw

can’t offer anymore
to the misery of being a body
in the misery of being anything but a body

and the balance
and forcing
i am
to remember what day it was.

the flowers died
in the morning
i woke to discomfort

having wanted my case separate
my encasing untouched

and the retaliation of all that

and what did you think you would find there?
and what do you want?

the powerful imaginary won’t leave me
and new birds are coming
and i’ve reached the corrugation

you’ve been impressed by the gimmicks
and i hold them to my heart

you’ve been let down
and i hold it in my palm

you’ve been gone
and i hold it to my eye

you’ve been in the long line
and made aware

i will take you back to my ship

the two owls with their backs turned
are made of tiny seashells
the cat’s shiny shoulders
are the pink which is the light against pink


i eat sullenly
i drink just a bit of coffee
the flowers sicken
and there is shame here
and disappointment
that simplicity is only a beach

i will take you back to my ship
it breathes

Sarah Burgoyne lives and writes in Montreal. Her recent collection Saint Twin (Mansfield Press) was nominated for the A.M. Klein Prize in Poetry.



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