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Home » Events » Archive » Barry reading from "Disturbing the Buddha" at Harbourfront  
Barry reading from "Disturbing the Buddha" at Harbourfront
Wed May 25, 2016 / 7:30pm - 10:00pm

Mark Your Calendars!
Wednesday, May 25, 2016 - 7:30PM
Author appearance: IFOA Weekly
Lakeside Terrace
235 Queens Quay West
Toronto Toronto M5J 2G8
Cost: FREE
Join us in celebrating Brick Books’ 40th Anniversary with Barry Dempster, Naomi Guttman, Monty Reid, Nico Rogers, Sue Sinclair, Carolyn Smart and Dean Steadman.

Two Poems from Barry's New Poetry Book

"Disturbing the Buddha"


No more white asparagus or Boursin cheese
now that cash is huddling, Dow Jones
dropping like a gored matador. Cheap
Canadian beer. The latest Lucinda
downloaded illegally. Bills shrivel
in my pocket like kleenex fingered so long
it’s turned to lint. There goes Italy next summer.
Amazing how much squeezes down the drain
with a little pressure – grapes, crusts, gristle.
No more takeout three times a week,
no more Friday nights. Soon I’ll have to
sell myself in Value Village.

I used to be worth a fortune, dashed hope
exclaims. My father still leaving me
his cache of anxieties, signing them over
one by one. The whole history of the dead
is wallowing in interest never paid – our lives
and nothing less: pickpocket crows
and mean peacocks, diamonds
wriggling from gold restraints, champagne
watered down with melting ice.

On the way back from the loan shark’s,
I stop at a wheat field where sooty clouds
hang like a charcoal drawing of tragedy.
I can almost touch their weight, their sag.
That pressure again, the entire sky
on the verge of a crash. I lean against
a scratchy bale, inhale the scent
of what one day could be bread, a bit
of butter the next field over, dragging
its udder through three-leaf clovers.

WHITE PANSY, 1927 – Georgia O’Keeffe

It’s like those photos of the dead,
disengaged in some essential way,
but beautiful, an innerness
so intent the wall glows. The spot
where soul once came and went, the only
real colour, yolk-gold, though mauve-black
bruises mar the pinched fringe. The rest white,
glacial cheeks and chin. Why didn’t
she place it in a vase? Memory
alone doesn’t keep
anything alive. All that’s left
is the levitating smell of oil,
the shush of a hog’s hair brush.
A flower long-gone, petals crisp
and cold, puckered at the core
like lips sewn shut.

                                  What is art?
A gasp.
Life staring you down
with its bone face.


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