Sacred Street

Sacred Street 1

Go about poetry
like a soldier
fully erect

march up the street
remind them of relatives
who went somewhere

swing your arms in rhythm
know where you’re going
even if it means into the trees
or the woods
let them take a second

look long and lean
in dark crisp uniform
a lone figure
at twilight

the whole pink sky behind you,
a maple leaf on your shoulder.

Sacred Street 2

Write poetry fast as a fire engine.
Jump into your pants
slide down the pole
go through stop signs
race round round-abouts;
sometimes you have to plow down
a No U Turn sign
to get where you want to go.

Be your red self.
When people point, wave.
Toot the bell.
Floor it.

Park anywhere.
Block your tires.
Don’t run away.
Get your ladders in place.
Unravel your hoses
not any old way;

go into the smoke.
Even if it is a false alarm
walk straight into the burning flames
because the bell rang
and someone may be lying

Sacred Street 3

Instead of a tower above the town
be a Smoke Bush.
Be the tree that absorbs all.

Know you are called to a higher purpose
beyond your purple smoky leaves.
Grow wild, wrap around rocks.
Change the invisible air around you simply
by being.

Provide a place for birds to hide.
Trust the mountain,
let your roots grow deep.

Cotinus coggygria,
use mysterious photosynthesis to transform carbon
by breathing.
Take in the fumes of all around you
and exhale as oxygen.





Veronica Gaylie is a writer and teacher from Vancouver. Her work has appeared in Geist, Grain, Lake, Room, Ditch, Filling Station and elsewhere.