Montreal Poems


Saint Joseph’s Oratory
On top of Saint Joseph’s Oratory
in Montreal
the big neon cross
can be seen from afar.
Ten kilometers away
you still notice it easily.

With such a vision,
and with your gaze raised
slightly upwards towards the sky
and in the right direction,
you get
an idea of the scope
of your faith

Just outside Saint Joseph’s Oratory
you can meet a small Filipino man.
In German he says
is often found
where you
didn’t expect it
to occur.

Even God has emigrated,
you know.

Inside Saint Joseph’s Oratory
one can for a moment
take the escalators
up in the heavens.

But most people
take the escalators
down again.


From metro station Berri-Uqam
one can travel
in all directions.

Late one afternoon at this station,
when I found myself in the middle
of a cross road,
I heard a man sing a song with the refrain:
” You ain’t seen nothing yet.”

I found my wallet
and tipped him a dollar as thanks
for the sudden self-knowledge.


When I sit in my room,
and I am a little bored,
it may happen that I just for fun
compare the poets
W.H. Auden and John Ashbery.

Auden, for example, wrote in his poem
Funeral Blues:
“He was my North, my South
my East and West.”

While Ashbery wrote in his poem:
Worsening Situation:
“East or West
North or South
It is ever a stranger
Who walks beside me.”

Learning French

At some point
I will begin to tell
the truth about myself.
“…plus je me hanté a connois,
plus ma difformié m’etsonne,
moins, je m’entens one moy, ”
says Montaigne in an essay.

I wonder if
I should send this quote
around to my friends
while I assure them,
I’m still
intrinsically the same.
What more can I say?
“Que scais-je?”

Letter to Mother from Montreal
(or a tribute to Thom Gunn)

Dear mother,
I really do not know
what it was, but
when we finally
got into her Suzuki
I felt much harder
(much harder in my poetry!)

We drove straight up
And I must admit,
I exceeded the speed of light
and afterwards I felt
ugly as a troll.

Dear mother,
I do not know,
what it is with these women?
Down the street at the local depanneur
there is a lovely girl behind the counter.
All the time she slides smoothly
into the nude dimension.
(I am now a troll again?)

Dear mother,
I met a girl
from Sao Paulo,
and she said
she had “Tantos desejos.”
Do girls really think as much
about sex as boys?
(They must feel terrible!)

Dear mother, down at
Club Saint Germain
I danced for a long time
with a girl to the naked rhythm.

But afterwards I could not
find the hard poetry again.
I was terrified,
I might not
be a troll anyway,
so dear mother,
Now I’ve started
praying to God.

My backyard on Av Girouard

I turn my gaze
away from my backyard,
and I let myself
be fully submerged in myself;
Every single part of me
turns into a coherent whole;
past and future
is integrated into the present,
and from all directions,
I observe the universe
in its infinity:
Reality is created
while I think it.
From the boundaries of
my awareness
(Which are the true limits of reality)
I disintegrate;
the present dissolves,
past and future
has never existed;
from the whole,
which everything is part of,
I let myself be aware of
each infinitely divisible part,
and when I have reached this point,
I understand my own nothingness.

I look towards my backyard:
Everything is as it is,
and I see only what I see.


When I stand in front of Place Villa-Marie
and look up along
the forty-seven-storey, cruciform tower,
I concentrate on the vanishing point.

The vertical lines
lead me right into nothingness.

But in turn, the view from there
must also be the most magnificent?

The wisdom of a literature guy

When I read Umberto Eco’s
theoretical work Opera Aperta
about the openness
the lack of an ultimate definition
the incessant movements,
the impossible retention
and the multifaceted expression
of a piece of art;
He is very close to describing
not just art,
but reality

C’est ma vie 

She said she
had once won
a Miss Golden competition.
She had thought,
that she wanted be a model,
but no one had shown any interest.
Then she got a job at McDonalds,
which was miserably paid.
Now she is working in
House of Love (Club Saint-Germain)
and in her spare time
she writes on an MA thesis
about  Jane Austen.
When I started
telling her about my life,
she began to
laugh unrestrained. I asked her:
What could be so funny.
“Nothing,” she said.

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