Trains rust on the tracks.

For years, the parks

have been closed to civilians. Books

may be accessed

at airports and bus stations only.


Once, we believed it was possible

to understand what went on

around us: Dawn. Rain

in the streets. Then

shop became a verb: the universe

opened and wouldn’t stop rushing

away. We discovered that God

was money and vice

versa. Now we’re obsessed

by clothing. If a child

runs naked into the street

it will be taken in by agencies,

given new fingerprints,

and raised by humanoids on the moon.



sells more albums

than all other bands combined.


There is one newspaper

published locally

under thousands of different names.


Even casual sleep

is monitored by satellite.

Those who forget their dreams

can buy them back

on video for a nominal fee.


Last year the birds left early.

Now the sky is clear

as a bell jar. Leaves

turn black and blue but never

fall. Snowflakes

burn unrepeatable designs

into our hands and faces.

Puddles glow in the dark.


South of Toronto

a forty-foot yawl

leaves a lime-green ghost on the lake

as it fades (for a fee)

into some less stressful dimension.


We’re crazy for gasoline.

Those who can still afford it

dab it under their arms and behind their ears

spray it onto their faces after a shave.


The future trembles like a mirage

in a bowl full of colourless jello.

Those who have bought it

polish their silver spoons.

George Amabile

from Rumours of Paradise/ Rumours of War, 1995


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