The gaze across the water at the islands of another place

9 Aug


We were always going to Montreal. By car, by train. We’d rent a room at the cheap, clean Armour Tourist Hotel on East Sherbrooke and go Christmas shopping there back in the eighties when we had a little money — the Bay, Eaton’s, the funky shops down by the river — in those years we lived in upstate New York. We were always going to Montreal but alone I was always going to Canada, the slow fade across the border, over the St. Lawrence by bridge or ferry, going on across into that deep geography: forms of land and water against which the national must, I’d think, define itself. And define itself also against the U.S. and what passes here for municipal culture or New World Order or whatever this country is selling now. Whatever’s being broadcast. George Bowering talked about “the antenna grope for Buffalo TV,” that in a poem written before cable. The gaze across water at the islands of another place.

— C.S. Giscombe, from Into and Out of Dislocation

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