Nightwalking Between Centuries by Colin Morton

Somewhere between ends and beginnings
alert to the scuff of a shoe in the shadows
a block away, I walk the night streets 
of this city midway through self-demolition 
− half-metamorphosed half-decayed  −
passing shadows of my former self
on streets where storefronts have shifted, 
signs altered, brick facades from another century 
caught in a bank tower’s funhouse mirrors.   

And turning a corner I sometimes glimpse
the virtual, the becoming city
as near in time as this red brick 
though barely imagined here at street level
where for years I’ve crossed against the light 
and soon the first transhumans will cross, 
become one with their devices.  

At the edges of vision they pass like shadows
eyes never meeting, as if they don’t see me 
or if they do do not see me as forebear
− flat-footed, astigmatic, fatally flawed −  
an X of flesh in a world of unknowns 
caught in reflection between walls of glass. 

 

Copyright © Colin Morton. Originally published in The Local Cluster (Pecan Grove Press, 2008).

 

Twice winner of the Archibald Lampman Award for poetry, Ottawa poet Colin Morton has published more than ten books, ranging from visual and sound poetry (Printed Matter; Two Decades) to historical narratives (The Merzbook: Kurt Schwitters Poems; The Hundred Cuts: Sitting Bull and the Major). His other work includes a novel, an animated film, and many reviews and essays. He has collaborated with poets, artists, and musicians in the poetry performance group First Draft and with film-maker Ed Ackerman in the award-winning animated poetry film Primiti Too Taa.

 

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