By Cam Scott



[ROMANS/SNOWMARE is a potentially interminable life-poem, to which I add at least one sentence every day. The earliest layers of this project appear in a book of the same name, ROMANS/SNOWMARE, published by ARP Books in 2019, from which the first of these texts is excerpted. ROMANS/SNOWMARE is available in the United States from AK Press.]


ROMANS. Do faces have headlights, or windows? I’ve never slept the night before a trip, too busy planning about packing. Dark chocolate parching, an excellent source of magnesium. The stream of everlasting life is owned by Nestle, too. What’s on tap in the master bathroom? I’m so thirsty I could suck a faucet. If we’re going to have to suffer anyway, why wait? One must life equal parts in heaven and on earth. Is freedom a state or a road? “The law does not construct a subject who simply and unequivocally has a desire, but one who rejects its desire, who wants not to desire it.” Her dad was a cop or something. There were bagpipes at the funeral, no one wept. I’m a vicarious sensualist, lingering near second-hand smoke as one might have loitered at the mall. All atmosphere is lightly used. Nothing originates. Made with natural flavours, derived from natural sources. Breakfast at Tiffany’s, bus depot Thunder Bay. The lion’s mane has fallen off but carries on in name. Catching cobwebs in my hair, a silk proximity to skin, I bless the sickening illogic of it all. A putrefying factory or mobile lobe, courting contempt foot over fossil. Am I that bowl of brains, a swollen bag of blood? But then you never see a corpse that isn’t made up on TV. Slept past the water pipe emporium. Catastrophism is “for all”—no nukes, a meagre veganism. As she neared moral perfection, her to-do list dwindled to a few pressing mistakes. The region’s richest silver mine reduced down to a supple islet. A panoramic view inside a rock. O Sponge, your own name is a verb—conatus, indifferently sexed. One can’t mix poetry and politics without theft of necessity. Start with the ideas then. Nostalgia has no bearing upon justice: neither as fidelity to an event, nor as speculation on the resurrection. Imagine a world in which one may adequately mourn. The meadowlark tried in its way. A tradition that extends toward Antigone. The bowaldrome across the courthouse lawn was busiest at lunch, the nearby Travelodge stuffed with incumbent Christs. I hate to see a crust punk hustling on behalf of a suffering pet, as though one nervous system weren’t elaborate enough to bear the succulence of this privation, like one needed a proximate gullet to taunt. That’s my stingy conservative talking, he lashes out at any show of friendship he can’t monetize. No smoking, for example. What’s that odd smell wafting off the parking lot at dusk? Omega 3s, the nutritionist said, are to your brain as oil is to a car. But that light had been on for years, unblinking so ignored. I take the bus so I can tell my story, charmless braggart ambling least. I haven’t shit in Ignace in three years. It’s the acoustic boogaloo that sunders you. Like playing racquetball without a wall, writing a villanelle without a line rule. Galoot forgot his hairnet, had to wear a hat. His colon killed him. Dad’s cologne. A better question asked in bad faith. Who misses the Burger Family? At what point do free spirits go solo? I said that on a whim to see if we were listening. Whoever lingers longest takes the cake. 




SNOWMARE. Two-fisting flags inside the citadel, croaking a patriotic hymn. In tartan cloth transcribing commonplace, cannon pointed at the condos, new investments looming through the mist. Slope counterposed to pit, slats seeing past you like a state. The tourists had a staying problem. Albino eyebrows on a sunburn, arched beneath a dandelion mane. People are see-through, as a smear of grease on paper. Only banks are visible from here, over oxidized turrets, satanic antennae. Fog like a cobweb from apartment balcony to bridge. Pantless in spats, the musketeers were underdressed for gale force wind. Fort Bored. Hourly the farts of war sound from the ramparts. On Beaten Way Path, shedding experience like light, we stood beside each other’s shoes. Ramshackle brass band by the roadside, still a lot of horses. Where is Brooklyn? Nearby Avondale? Bark mulch for wakefulness. A road game, factory or sanatorium? Locals found the baby in a basin, a religious marinade. Right to Delusion Road. A red fire hydrant by the roadside, tufts of wild carrot like a froth atop the water facing. The war of shore and sea is different from the communism of the bees. Unspooled cassette tapes or translucent laces baking in the sun. Youthless and non-replacing, every postcard town a patriotic husk in trust to ghosts of the economy. We like it here. The only restaurant has been shuttered for years. Race distances gender. If you hold still the world approaches you. A riverine novella of a sentence, laundry like a grove. Turn right on Romans Avenue, stick insect in a stalled economy. You understood that our questions about money were really questions about the future. Lenin to Stalin, bro, you’re posting cringe. Faceful of phlox. Refried confusion. Royalty are eating pieces of the Berlin Wall, to break down barriers within themselves. I’d sooner a gel cap to sanction executive function. Children chill out as they dream. It’s understandable that you are worried because you don’t know me. An outboard bladder blanched from punch to ballet slipper in the sun. In this town, everybody looks like a former prime minister. Tent living can’t compare to the Chateau. Jezebel sonobuoys detecting subaquatic thought crime of incredible potential. “That others may live.” Squelching across a slushy lawn to get the mail, the postmark wet with dew. Return to whom? Labouring cultivars come from neighbouring farms. This restaurant seats gays, not gay children. It’s a lonely time zone, like the hours to yourself before dawn. Protest is boring sport, a digital parkour, and waged work is perruquerie. The closest you can come to patronage is opening a surreptitious tab. How do I justify myself in this tendential undertaking, an artisanal partisanry? But I hope this helps. Reheating coffee in a blackout. Flossing a long nerve, crossing the floor. If found hide again. Reckless pedestrian texting astride the median. Face echo is a texture of metropolis. Missing the bristle by his lip, like kissing Velcro. This has been your extra season. I’ll see you again, likely as revolution. So the sun will shine forever. 



Cam Scott is a poet, critic, and improvising non-musician from Winnipeg, Canada, Treaty One territory. His suite of visual poems, WRESTLERS, was published by Greying Ghost in 2017.

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