There are books that sit on beside my bed or on my shelves that I leave for a while in the middle of reading. They perplex me. Their words are deep and introspective and I am not certain if they are good or bad. I have a hard time when I first start reading them that I decide I need to put them away for a while and review them again when I have a quiet moment. And when those quiet moments do finally come, I pull them out and read them and read them again. Then, in some cases, I find they are worthy of my time. And Kilby Smith-McGregor’s collection of poetry in Kids In Triage is just such a book.
Morphogensis (for Alan Turing) (excerpt) page 50-51
Yet every Cambridge, every set of oxfords raises a fresh god;
everything that is the case against you, the world broken
down to word between wars between words between man
and his mirror, the master. Anti-realist vet vs. Government Code
& Cypher School; Guys vs. Bletchley; dick-measuring sequence:
those high gilt zeroes and one run through to the hilt with logic’s
sharp. These days it’s seamlessness; embedded logic
of razor-blade apples, pills, chips slipped beneath skin to out-god
even the notional autonomic gnomic gnostic mimic – sequenced:
an evolutionary narrative’s lithe tail, forked and broken
over a war’s chair’s back, chained to pipes, to pixel-ratio, time-code
plus today’s paper evidenced in the frame-by-frame of X man
though known (or lost).
I admire writers that can make me think or question something in our society. The craft of sitting down and turning a careful phrase must take time to create. And the time to sit down and read that phrase and ponder it takes time as well. No doubt, Smith-McGregor must have taken time to reflect and write these phrases for her poetry. They are deep, sharp and introspective. And I feel guilty taking my time reading this book, but I wanted to give each phrase careful consideration and reflection. So for the past 5 months, I have read and re-read this book several times when I found myself a few moments solitude. And I found the experience worthwhile.
Chapter II: The Pool of Tears (Excerpt) Page 52
I wish I hadn’t cried so much . . . I shall be punished for it now,
I suppose, by being drowned in my own tears.
-Lewis Carroll, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland
The river of my childhood is the Speed River. Starting near Orton, Ontario, it flows south through the city of Guelph.
Archivists have described it as wide, shallow, rapid, unnavigable – also: a source of power. That seems about right.
The river that runs just beyond the view of my window.The one where I have caught crayfish and cast sticks to watch them whisked away. Living on Rural Route Five
in the lower half of a large split-level which had once been a school, I sit at my small desk by this window drawing a series of trap doors in a green Hilroy notebook.
It is an illustration for the kind of Alice story that consumes a certain span of youth encompassing coming into the world, and is later returned to, looking for a way out.
I wish I hadn’t cried so much.
There is introspection and reflection here, and there is also some ponderings about the human condition. Smith-McGregor notes small items of society and enlarges them for us readers to see. Again, it must have taken time to think about these details and create the perfect phrase to describe her thoughts. But the result is what many readers crave in a good piece of literature.
Red (Excerpt) Page 27
Red is a reflection, a fetish, transgression. Red dresses
a theme of sharp points.
Red eyes: bruised wells, betrayal of the photographer’s flash
I’m sorry but it’s anger.
Red crosses. Even in love.
It is history and injury. The history of injury
I will not go on about wounds, scars protracting the red-white
continuum through time.
This is not a productive conception of time (toward white) –
it is a concession.
Someone else’s idea of healing.
Yes, the apple.
It was a Red Delicious. Even the flesh was red,
blood apple. They write that out of the Bible.
White is an invention of History.
Kilby Smith-McGregor collection of poetry called Kids In Triage is deeply introspection and reflective but is unique and enlightening. Although I felt badly for taking so long to read this book, I am glad I took the time to savour it. It is a read that should not be raced through.
Link to my Q&A with Kilby Smith-McGregor -“I love that the title resonated with him. I could see it in his face. It helps remind me of poetry’s potential to reach humans-at-large, not just writers and their friends.”