TOWARD AN IDEA OF CITIZENSHIP I’m trying not to think of my country as a girl drinking drinking coffee in a drizzle after her boyfriend has gotten on the train. drinking Her dyed-black hair is piled on her head, this morning’s cobbling together drinking of last night’s style and fire. Her eyeliner is smudged, but not from crying. drinking She sips from the cup, thin shoulders folded under the boy’s windbreaker. drinking She’s got work in an hour — Saturday’s bleary-eyed afternoon shift better drinking than jealous Friday night’s. She’ll have time at the register to wonder drinking if what she’s so sad about is him going or just knowing what comes next. There is always a girl saying goodbye drinking to a boy who is leaving the shitbin they call home. She is always drinking wondering if he will return, if he will send for her, if she will be stuck drinking her whole life while he goes on to become a partner in some firm drinking and father brilliant children with a woman from the city whose father drinking did the same thing forty years ago. There are always the women in the city drinking who know the names of artists and designers and have elaborate ambitions drinking instead of impulses and regrets. And there is always the boy, drinking who is blank with the change, whose only chance is to forget everything, drinking who hates the town for being so familiar, who hates the girl for staying drinking and himself for leaving, who hates the train, the sky, his oily face, the traces drinking of kisses on his neck, and most of all the insistent pulse that pushes him drinking toward whatever it is in this forsaken world he is going to become. THE LAST MATADOR It is good to be finished, finally. I am relieved. The protesters and politicians have their points, and if a certain species of man is allowed to fade into extinction we should, perhaps, praise progress and look for new sources of spectacle. Man will have his bloody games. Just not this one. It is a pity, but only for those of us who believe it to be a form of art. My fellow killers have changed their names and entered the banking industry. We are too decorous for soldiering, though one or two have found a place with the drug lords, who still feel that death and style belong together. I will miss the adulation, I won’t deny it – the roses they threw. Blood on the sand, sand on the roses. But mostly I will miss my body’s lithe movement alongside the beast, and his magnificent heat. And the moment when he looks at me, the banderillas draped over his back like the feathers of an exotic bird, when he looks at me with that single-minded resigned ferocity as if to say, So, it will be you. Excerpted from Complicity. Copyright (c) 2014 Adam Sol. Published by McClelland & Stewart, a division of Random House of Canada Limited. Reproduced by arrangement with the Publisher. All rights reserved.
ADAM SOL’s fourth collection of poetry, Complicity, was published this year by McClelland & Stewart. His previous collections include Jeremiah, Ohio, a novel in poems which was shortlisted for Ontario’s Trillium Award for Poetry; and Crowd of Sounds, which won the award in 2004. He has published fiction, scholarly essays, and reviews for a variety of publications, including Pank, Lemonhound, and Joyland.com. He is an Associate Professor at Laurentian University’s campus in Barrie, Ontario, and lives in Toronto with his wife, Rabbi Yael Splansky, and their three sons.