Three Poems by Gerry McGrath

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Gallery Space by Zachary Knoles

By Numbers

Rain dashed the window
and flushed away the view,
such as it was – clothesline,
ditch, riverine road,
the neighbour’s house and stable,
a sorry ewe.

Field, ditch, snow-heavy canopy,
ice-laced reach of water and
buoyant cloud-rich sky
were promised in traceries of line
and a gnat-count of numbers.
(Every man a Rembrandt!
The box boasted.)

Half-drunk on oils, I painted past
the season I was in, but came back
long enough for supper,
quick work with a spoon.


Dilettante

Buy just enough paint for one canvas,
its surface not to exceed a certain size.

Dine out on one poem
of sufficient wit to cause dessert
to melt just a bit.

Stay with the story you’ve already told
even though by now it’s growing old
and taken to the polish you’ve applied
at parties until the hostess nearly died.

Make sketches of what you intend to do,
but don’t do them. Less is more,
so less of your stuff means more of you.

When taking French, two dozen words will do
to flavour speech and mint an aperçu.


Canadian Content

Our broadcast regulator
warns our porn channels
are insufficiently Canadian.
We’re failing short
of thirty-five percent, our hard target.
The nation is not being served.
So, forget the lack of speaking parts –
we need more Canadian
lumber in the yard.
Too much truck with imported arts
will bring us to our knees.
We’ll not sow our seed at pleasure’s ports,
we’ll slip and lose our grasp
of the nation.
Is not the beaver ours after all?
Why should the Yanks and Swedes
swap in their pelt for ours?
Damn infamy, this assault upon
our shores, quotas violated,
flesh culture compromised.
Jobs, of course – gainful employment
is desired for our own
homegrown blue crew.
Why should they have to
go abroad for work when eight-point-five
hours a day of broadcast time
are theirs to fill?
Not that we’d notice in the end
the provenance of pubis or of penis,
or from what side of the 49th parallel
our fellow was fellated.
In the absence of flags,
there’s no saying how
we tell one birthday-suited citizen from another.
This is where our guardians come in.
Firmed up with fact and figures,
they’ll see us safely grown
as a country not entirely silted under
by foreign loam.


Jerry McGrath is a painter and poet has written art criticism for Vanguard, C Magazine and Parachute. His short stories have been published in the Antigonish Review. Another post by Jerry McGrath.

Zachary Knoles is an artist and visual designer living in the San Francisco Bay Area. He studied art at San Jose State University, where he earned a BFA in Animation/Illustration, and he currently works as a UI artist in the video game industry. You can see more of his work at his website, artofzacharyknoles.com.