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The Kindness Colder Than the Elements

THE KINDNESS COLDER

THAN THE ELEMENTS

MINGLING VOICES

Series editor: Manijeh Mannani

Give us wholeness, for we are broken.

But who are we asking, and why do we ask?

— PHYLLIS WEBB

National in scope, Mingling Voices draws on the work of both new and established poets, novelists, and writers of short stories. The series especially, but not exclusively, aims to promote authors who challenge traditions and cultural stereotypes. It is designed to reach a wide variety of readers, both generalists and specialists. Mingling Voices is also open to literary works that delineate the immigrant experience in Canada.

SERIES TITLES

Poems for a Small Park
E.D. Blodgett

Dreamwork
Jonathan Locke Hart

Windfall Apples: Tanka and Kyoka
Richard Stevenson

The dust of just beginning
Don Kerr

Roy & Me: This Is Not a Memoir
Maurice Yacowar

Zeus and the Giant Iced Tea
Leopold McGinnis

Praha
E.D. Blodgett

Musing
Jonathan Locke Hart

Dustship Glory
Andreas Schroeder

The Kindness Colder Than the Elements
Charles Noble

poems

CHARLES NOBLE

The Kindness Colder

Than the Elements

AU Press logo

To the memory of Robert Kroetsch, who knew how to hang in uncertainty, but who, in another opposite than from this Keatsian negative, was so positive.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

I would like to thank Walter Hildebrandt for his ongoing exchange of ideas and his encouragement. And Pamela MacFarland Holway for her exquisite and intelligent editorial eye. I thank Natalie Olsen for her book design — her careful reading and keen sense for the right cover art. I thank Megan Hall for coordinating the various ports that myself and the others here are and for then steering the book into open waters.

I would once again like to thank Marlene Lacey for her advice and troubleshooting re my unruly computer while the manuscript was in preparation. Finally, I would like to thank the two external readers engaged by AU Press for obviously taking the writing seriously and for their insightful comments.

… the thin alternatives of a utilitarianism
of wants or a contractualism of rights.
In this reduction, any active conception
of citizenship vanishes. We are left with
the roles of mere consumers or litigants.

PERRY ANDERSON, The New Old World (p. 120)

ornament

… the dominant imperative in the world
today is "Live without an Idea."

ALAIN BADIOU, The Communist Hypothesis (p. 231)

Part I

… whereas it is the harshest and most glaring ofcontradictions when the form determinations of the syllogism, which are Notions, are treated as notionless material.

G.W.F. HEGEL, Science of Logic
(Humanities Paperback Library edition, p. 684)

… the logical proposition or syllogism — suddenly proves to be the very vehicle for Life itself and the beating heart of the Notion or Begriff, the final stage of the Hegelian thought process. (Hegel’s revival and transmogrification of the millennially mummified scholastic version of Aristotle’s logic, his transformation of these dead forms back into genuine philosophical conceptuality, was of course his most intellectually original and audacious philosophical act.)

FREDRIC JAMESON, The Hegel Variations (p. 39)

Cars are big zoomers
My car only goes 140
Therefore I get out and take a look
At the thing turn around
Digest its own overhead

Just like the Herald
Up a head
Till the boats all rise.

ornament

The future is a sell-out
The way we think now

A vacuum of sorts
Into which mean things
Will rush

Take my sins
Some will go straight up
In smoke

Some will coincide
With this future
As omission

Therefore the only solution
Is a set of super omissions

The under-men
In remissionary positions

These castrations
Already cheating
My simple intentions.

ornament

The pièce de résistance
Is around the corner
I mean over the hill, weak
And agèd that is

Therefore my dessert
Wants its extra
s sent back to the kitchen.

ornament

Cars are big zoomers
My car likes the garage

The garage doesn’t like
The house
Us boys like the garage too
All the implements in the end

But mostly because the castle
Has so much to lose

We sit on the cheap nylon lawn chairs
And smell the Martian tires

Just as Detroit there
In its cockade and cackle
Asks the cooper
So skeuomorphic
So adjective above
For a hoopless barrel.

ornament

The Blues are a much-loved genre
I pitched my tent
In centre field

Therefore a pre-autographed ball
Slipped out

Rolled over
And followed up the foul line

To the fence
Where the used-to-be-lime
Has drawn the line.

ornament

Costs are astronomical
I have the Keynes
To the Kingdom

Therefore I’m not kidding
When I say
This seat is reserved

Come back younger
Than your twin
And it’ll still be
Reserved

(Ernest Mandel says
K’s “
Après-nous-le-Déluge”-expansive-
But-cutting-it-short
“In the long run we’re all dead”
Gives it away).

ornament

The sun is not cold
So I lose the gloves
But my hands start to ache

Some kids
Would have no feelings
One way or another
About this ache
If they had it
And they usually do

Therefore the centipede crashes
But the gold bug vacuums up.

ornament

The South Sea Bubble
Or speculative genome
As we know it
Divines the genome
The cars traffic the stars
Or tether way around

Therefore “monkeys for sale,
If you’re the type.”

ornament

I am not the king
Who dots the rational state’s
i

It could be The Bay, an airport
Or Isaac Asimov in Eaton’s
Or simply the not simple
Noise from nowhere

Therefore I am
The big little
I
Touching my toes in the bathroom
In the cheer leaders’ wind

The out there procreation bowl
Touches down

It’s full or was
Of we pee peewees.

ornament

All the aches in their loins
Don’t add up
So my heart
Aches for them

Just as you were grooving
On the tongue’s
Perfectly empty
Cow cups

Therefore “l love you”
Is as good
As having a team
To root for

Sweat quantums up
To sweater
Therefore the spirit
Of the place
Gets traded
In the long draft
Between sips.

ornament

Elmer Fudd hat
Big moose gun
Pretty fucking obvious

Therefore Hitler
Into the shredder

Soup’s on
I mean
Soupçon

Not so obvious
In fact, oysters aside
Down right
You-only-think-of-it-
Later

Timeless
In the original sense of
Shirtless, say.

ornament

My shoulders have left most of their cartilage
In the gym and some granaries

Therefore body-building now
Becomes a few bricks
Short of a load

Each creak
Of the joints
I step into the new

Let’s face it
I get old
But not the old hat.

ornament

Things are closing in on me
I’m not going mad
I’m just in a crowded bar

Therefore why am I here
Said the comedian
Forgetting his pathetic path

The point being
You can turn it all
Back on itself

Then pocket
The rest.

ornament

He called me dude
“Sorry dude”
As he accidentally bumped me

The list goes on
And I’m a little listless

Therefore, knowing this
Dude business
I’ve not been “bumped”

As I was out of line
Already

Rather I’ve been raised
By the kids

By the modernist’s “sub-mass”
Just as the elite goes out.

ornament

The Fido movie
Fetching fidelity
In the service trucks
Outside of circulation
B

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