Poetry Archive



Black Horses, Cobalt Suns

John Lent

The junction of the eye and the heart, that crossing,
like directions in a maudlin old blues song - at the corner of
fifth and Argyle, babe!
- is where I want to live forever,
whatever that means.

These times so laden with the self-promoting safeties of
irony and another kind of stylized distance, manufactured
as imagery, persona, mask, so fiercely competitive you
can't help tiring of all this bullshit, this earnest-
ness, these hand-over-hand, hard-on insecurities
that define competition: just what we

need more of now like a hole in the
fucking head, these jokes we've

become the strut for cool, for knowledge,
slick and packaged ruses of distance, all
roads covered and tracked, known
apparently, all roads paraded as maps
of discovery, now old hat, maps of

some big hole being filled is all:
maps of restlessness, need, and pathetic

bones of loneliness on parade.

What's become of my generation: bones on parade.

All this makes sense only from the
outside, though, and there's the lie. Inside,
like most insides, complex chaos and inter-
weaving accidents of hope and hopelessness
amassing themselves in another sky almost,
an alternate, if concurrent sky.

So, why these abstractions to frame it or bring
it into focus, this other sky? Why can't it replace
the flat, sure sky I spot above The National Hotel
across the street, over the rough shouts
of two guys leaning out the third floor
windows, hungover, flicking ashes onto
the wet, grey street below, grinning down
the morning?

Why can't we externalize these dark, glistening
hesitations and tendernesses in here as our air and
move through it as complimentary essences instead of
merely sensing a sky that judges us so harshly we flinch
beneath its arbitrary eye, separate?

In here I mull that alternate sky over.
My lungs expand and contract in its moist new air,
and for a moment I'm green with flesh and
bone, I'm gold in my body's insistence on
itself in both skies...

And heavy horses' hooves begin to clatter
beneath this ancient, cracked fir floor,
beneath these faked tables and all these
people sipping coffee and fumbling date-
squares carefully into the corners of their
pink mouths, open with longing, tongues
wet and flickering for sugar,

horses' hooves clattering towards both suns,
somehow, vague at first, faint, but


(We all know these things. But
knowing them and being them are two
different suns maybe.)



^ back to top

John Lent is the author of several books of poetry and fiction including Wood Lake Music (Harbour), Frieze, The Face in the Garden, Monet's Garden and So it Won't Go Away(all Thistledown), as well as Black Horses, Cobalt Suns (Greenboathouse Books). An inspiration to all writers from the Okanagan Valley, John is currently serving as Dean of the Kalamalka Campus of Okanagan College.


[Author: To update your bio, please .]