Alexander Best

Along the street could round any corner walk
smack into me,
the poem.
Or I realize I passed it blocks ago; I picture the spot & smile
—how could I have been so stupid ?—& I turn back.
Other times we fall into step, the poem & me, so elegant, then
lose each other at a crowd-choked intersection—no, worse…
on an open jag of road.

More often, though, I must make the poem.
I start out on foot, finish on foot. I take different routes weekly,
do differently the same routes daily.
Where I’m going is irrelevant
—somewhere practical, prosaic, nothing to do with the poem—
My feet will still make the poem.

Remarkably rich are the roundings of corners…I include the
piss-off of toe-stubbings, for a
little hard boil of stone & iron on the face of a sidewalk is
just the thing.

Lanes & the curious rears of buildings there, also railroad weeds
vagabonded into fire&frost cracks, far from their origins,
living the place for themselves,
I throng them as they think me,
inscribe the way’s length & breadth with
meandering, diligent, sloppy, accurate,
sometimes swift-swinging-&-sure steps.
In the butting backways feet make headway,
flow & shadow are found.
Cast-iron storm grates, burnished manhole covers
(giant square-hole-peppered coins, embedded)
sift & sluice the gem-words in a verse.
Adequate numbers of these exist along Queen Street West, but
such handsome grids & sewer lids are vanished,
beyond my stomping ground.

How do people in other parts of the city make the poem?

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