Cecily Nicholson: from From The Poplars


a large group of men line the street
from the back door of the Land offices
they await an opportunity
to gain a piece of BC

tree island onto definitive tracks
blinks a haze of contact

shred through the built

a bundle of wars

war rights of the Crown
power distributed

right to do things on and to

rights later to infringe already
the municipality

a witness to glory gone hot

all in all a grand day, a triumphant day
for the City bypassed by the mainline

invested heavily in its own railway
connections south tap the spikes driven

to a band of steel that completes the union


endowed by forces of nature, forces such as forest fire

darkened save the plumed out stack
bowed-out steam

evaporation microanatomy
adhesion, stumps

of cell walls end-to-end fibre forms
under the niddle of machine

streaming silver-blue roofs
trains below trains above

upper tacking texture lines
cracked floor of a dry river tracks

trace along side

nation majorities

idyllic sense of security

minorities               pauseless

picking berries on the side of the road; an assertion of sovereignty


dead tree standing sunned and whipped dry
firewood lichen curls kindle

tree taken downtown
dragged carcass
across forest floor to blackened pit

dredge spoils

battle, an extreme form of dialogue
pain embraced by a loud river

ideality acts public out of order
wrested, returns

                 the mill turns around of its own free will


how the eye loves to rest on the water
determine to supplant the water
purchase a view of the water

taken from the ding
of the docks

looking east, looking west
looking northeast

an interior
view of the Golden Mile

early as a city

from the river, of new homes

to Poplar Island from the River Road

the view looking down the launch ramp


Cecily Nicholson is the administrator of Gallery Gachet and has worked with women of the Downtown Eastside neighbourhood of Vancouver since 2000. Her work, both creative and social, engages conditions of displacement, class, and gender violence. Nicholson is the author of Triage (Talonbooks, 2011) and From the Poplars (Talonbooks, 2014).