By Joel Robert Ferguson
“cold as a coin…”
Alice Oswald, Memorial
What the scholarship covers: snow on old brick,
working winter’s quarters. Folks sleep on
cathedral steps, screw in abandoned storefronts,
produce and/or perish in a world-class city.
The burg gives way to a berg of glass spears,
affordable housing gives way
to emptied, closed off spaces,
the unbearable whiteness of dog parks.
Bunkmates work under the table in the cafe
that collects rent on bunks.
Blackout curtains ease the times.
Pay attention but carry on like you aren’t.
You don’t pay for the coffee
but the privilege of sitting. Barracks
socialism gives way to barracks feudalism
with the wacky zip of a cartoon rubber band.
Digital nomads prefigure
digital fugitives. Disrupting forces
cannibalized. When the virus hits I don’t
stick around to see who does.
Joel Robert Ferguson is a poet of working-class settler origins. Raised in the Nova Scotian village of Bible Hill, he now lives in Winnipeg, Treaty One Territory. His debut collection, The Lost Cafeteria (Signature Editions, 2020), was nominated for the Gerald Lampert Memorial Award.