The Rusty Toque | Issue 11 | Poetry | November 30, 2016
TORONTO SOUTH DETENTION CENTRE
Two big screens, rubberized and bolted to the floor, little audiences prefigured, facing in, then only windows – not here. The sky is somewhere sandblasted, California coral, mall coloured, then wall, slice of triple-paned glass, then a little barred hallway like a kill
chute that winds with plastic. Protected in grey screens, the blank of a room will be there. Horrifying when it will be boring, but on, on, on, red, green, green, red flicking scanners,
the walk-through and our ticket stubs. Before we get bags, pour our pockets into them,
we have to thumb over touch screens. A boot is tucked into the man whose pant legs are only one or two steps away from photos. Until we’re not allowed to take photos anymore, let’s take the line. Let’s take a photo of the prison, of the front in ourselves, of the big
floppy dog and the working strollers. Babies, so many babies and gates: a line filled.
Before the weekend tours, on the one day they say they’re giving, a prison is a lineup is a prison is a poem.
THREE EXCERPTS FROM "COMMON PLACE"
We have a longing – it is not dead,
but it is very quiet.
A Cadillac passes, and a melancholy
man shouts things at our sheened body.
We still covet, keep
night for running in circles.
Young boys in flip flops dancing in the dust
kick wildly to bring up clouds.
In the alley, I bent down
and touched the tip
of my tongue
to pollen on the pavement
and took an account
Imagine a hole in the middle of your occupations.
Mine shows a pile of bleach-blown linens
shot through with supernovas.
I don’t feel sorry and can’t feel particularly apologetic
but I wish an accident of silence
would leave a crack down the side of this time.
Cups eject into pieces off the shelves,
and great, weird flocks pass in formation
over the oily water and bone-like Styrofoam.
I collect sand-caked lighters like shells
and arrange them in a spectrum by colour.
The wedding party prepares,
the tent goes up, and capital
continues – this morning
I read about a woman hollowing
out a bagel to consume the shell
stuffed with a lite whiteness
and mass-smoked flesh.
I think of gusto,
sand in the crotch of your pants,
in the folds of your skin.
The tour bus passes.
I pledge to eat the crumb-cake
national project at the ceremony,
but scrape off the lavender icing
I try to will on rain.
SARAH PINDER is the author of Cutting Room and the forthcoming long poem Common Place (Coach House Books). Her writing has been shortlisted for the Expozine Small Press Awards, and included in magazines like Geist, Arc and Poetry is Dead. She lives in Toronto. Find her on Twitter and Instagram as @compasspoints