It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like It Does Every Damn Day Here

 
jm.png
 

JM FRANCHETEAU 

 

Welp, another in the long line
of mall children has shaken the glass
ball containing a miniature of this city,
there is postcard snow and accidents.
I go to one knee on the greased street,
my teeth bared in the wild beard
that garbs my face like the bramble
round a rich man’s asshole
and his mansion gone to fuck-off seed:
no gate for tykes, no feeder
for the birds, the bright flesh
of berries ripening over thorns.

My bloody leg and my breath
to your ears, tiny gods of weather,
when this winter’s done
you will be old and spent
but I will be the same.
This is my obscene gesture
muffled by mittens,
my babushka-spat curse
tinkling like crystal as it shatters.
I will chase you and your Santa
like a raving spring animal,
I will wear his beard
round my loins as a pelt.

On my daily walk,
I pass the life-sized noggin
of Charles de Gaulle, giant
of a foreign history, skin
penny-green, slack-lipped
and empty-eyed, looking
like a convict posted on a spike
in a public square, yet this
is meant to be his monument.
I could raise him from the mount,
boot the heavy bearing into
traffic and break my foot,
but these streets are lousy
with the metal skulls
of francophones marking
ways of saints,
and some are much bigger.

You may’ve heard
we have an electric cross
on top of a hill
to mark a man who died
so we could live cleanly,
but how many drunks
have perished stumbling
toward that light?
We stomp them into drywood,
warm ourselves in the blaze.
It seems to mean a lot more
to people who don’t live here:
in Montreal,
every street is a damn hill,
every two streets crosses.
On one is the bed
where I wake up wet,
with no window to check
if the weather’s changed.

/

JM Francheteau’s poetry can be found in Rattle, Grain, Arc and The Puritan, plus the chapbook Heart & Mouth & Deed & Life (2018, Anstruther). @franchetoast