Excerpt from Bearmen Descend Upon Gimli | Issue 10
by D.A. Lockhart
Artificer of Ice
Know that all things commence in layers laid down as if it a lineage of sediments over epochs, glacial in the sense that time passes only as it will not as one believes it must. Season after season returns, departures become muscle twitch, arrivals the necessity of being and each layer a testament to the way we react to the world we are given. Follow as he outlines the means to execute an end, facilitate the gentle sweep of broom over ice, the granite cascade as rock carries a touch’s momentum, outstretched hand dangled in mid-slide. Time is marked by layers we move upon and by those we must leave behind. Bits of slow fought work must reach through to both proper ends. In marten spirit, dancing cold foot forward, side glances, this one man mists another layer into being, softly leaves ice beads indiscernible to those that will play out resultant ends on the sheet cast in lineage partially his own.
Northwind Returns to Curling through the Preparation of Beef and Greens
Begin in iron cast black as lake bottom fat rendered to coat its surface in an oil slick most modern Indians come to fear or fight or worse. But this timeless way to render sweetness from bitter plant, this gift thar glistens as it receives browned flesh, awaits the tenderness of cooked leaves, warms the air, sweetens the room around it. Return to the clap of broom ends and cheek bone, return to the ecstatic glide atop ice, swirl the flesh in the bath of agitated oil and heat, feel that every motion of arm, every passion of anger leads a man here, to gifts being doled out, roles to be honoured with. Together, heat, oil, flesh, and greens are the love that no woman, no trophy gives. Northwind faces west, soon to eat alone at a Giant Tiger card table to CBC Radio. The love part, he is sure perched beneath the peat of the Orkey Islands, reserved for men with fine whisky last names, but passions can be unqualified affairs and the places where history and curling meet extend outward from there. As if glaciers have returned with mastodons, low seas, and free movement, he awaits cooked romance, dreams of the way history returns with a single plea into a winter sky.
In the world that would see Pelletier and Means as sentinels to that line that cuts treaty land from prison, their names would be shouted out, across ice that transforms this lake into a highway, booming outward like the grand entrance call bringing in dancers straight off Rocky Boy plains, Northwind can hear them descending. Throughout this poorly insulated night, drafty like an Indian Affairs trailer, they arrive in the red-glow night light cast by a GMC Conversion the colour of last spring’s run-off and Redbone doing their best to coax Gale Whitefeather back to the campground with each easy croon. It is all come and get your love and the quiet of warriors before putting down camp. Arrival, in this world cast after sunset, they pull up before Northwind’s place and unload every last man and their gear before any treaty agents could make note of the newest conversion van to hold-up outside Northwind’s lakeside single-wide on the outskirts of town. Night returns to the hustle of clouds ushered across open spaces of stars against the deep blue of groaning ice and distant restless trees.
Sixteen Stones in Staggered Motions
With each end measured in sixteen individual releases, through eight distinct points of friction 10 ends, 73 minutes, the civilized means measured rounds of conflict. Staggered in turns. Redcoats in regimental lines ripe for harvest ripe for killing ripe for honouring the warriors who knew better than to the leave the tree line. 7 rinks 5 days certainty afforded by vision the willingness to dance through process, to feel loss and know that fires will follow. Know that vision has foretold the future. We must now simply dance ourselves to the end.
D.A. Lockhart is the author of seven collections of poetry, including Devil in the Woods (Brick Books 2019) and Tukhone: Where the River Narrows and the Shores Bend (Black Moss Press 2020). His work has appeared in Best Canadian Poetry in English 2019, TriQuarterly, ARC Poetry Magazine, Grain, Belt, and the Malahat Review among many. He is a Turtle Clan member of Eelünaapéewi Lahkéewiit (Lenape), a registered member of the Moravian of the Thames First Nation, and currently resides at the south shore of Waawiiyaatanong (Windsor,ON-Detroit, MI) and Pelee Island. He is the publisher at Urban Farmhouse Press and the Poetry Editor at the Windsor Review.
Bearmen Descend Upon Gimli
by D.A. Lockhart
Frontenac House, 2021
Bearmen Descend Upon Gimli is a contemporary myth told in lyric form. The poems in this collection follow Raymond Northwind, a past-middle-aged Odawa guy, who happens to be the icemaker and custodian for the Peter Glint Memorial Curling Club. Fate finds Northwind in his Gimli, Manitoba exile and because of it, he brings forth a semi-supernatural curling team of Cree “bearmen” to face off against the best teams from around Canada for a large and prestigious prize. Below the surface of these poems there are meditations on the role of ceremony, the place of sport in culture, the spirit of the land, and those that come to inhabit it. This work inhabits the intersection of cultures in Canada as facilitated by what is often seen as a quintessentially Canadian sport, curling, in a place that is the geographic midpoint of Canada.
Issue #10 of Send My Love to Anyone
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