Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

Happy B'ak'tun Eve! Or, finish my poem

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Tomorrow marks the end of the cycle of the Mesoamerican Long Count calendar. (I think. I'm not so good with math, me.) In celebration, I’ve written a poem that wends through history and events Wikipedia tells me happened (or could have happened) around the time the long count moved into a new b’ak’tun, or Long Count period. (It also addresses my illogical fear of asteroids hitting Earth, which has been in high gear all week.) Today, on, the eve of, I offer a poem, and a make a request – that you finish it!

I’ll be reading this poem tomorrow night as part of PEACE ON (maybe, quite possibly, our last night on) EARTH!, a variety show of sorts organized by two of my lovelies, Catherine Montgomery and Tim Carson, to raise money for The Stop Community Food Centre. I’m looking for an ending to this poem, and whoever provides me with the most awesome one (here in the comments or perhaps on my Facebook), I will use your ending tomorrow night – if there is a tomorrow night.

Help me out, Internet! I can’t finish this poem without you!

And I hope I see you tomorrow.

PEACE ON (maybe, quite possibly, our last night on) EARTH!

A night of music, comedy, and words in support of The Stop Community Food Centre

The Toronto Heliconian Club (35 Hazleton Avenue)

Friday, December 21st, 7 PM





The trees don't mark the path, the path does: the pebbles lead back
to that vague year, where even the shell and its emptiness is not the beginning,
where I sweep the room I built to catch the sun and its surety, and still

the dread of the asteroid hurtles back so I trip
to the path where under the rocks, more rocks,
where I lift stones to align myself with light and come to the conclusion

that yes! sure! ok! asteroids are spinning to laws which keep us safe
from destruction, and now is the appropriate time to create some laws
that will keep us safe from destruction, to mark the path with order,

but they made sand from glass, a liquid that let light in, and I can’t stop
my hands from trembling and I can’t keep the path from leading
to the supply room where I have locked myself in to photocopy

pictures of babies, then copies of the copies until the babies look like asteroids
and the paper feed jams and I’m forced to bury
the bodies in the valley where the sun beats like a drum against

my grief, left behind as I turn to Troy,
and get the intern draft letters to my wife, who may be dead
before I get my hands on all that fucking gold: Dear wife, how is home?
Have there been any asteroids?

and yes, the intern is cute; I consider leading him to the river where I will
trick him into founding a city with me, our babies growing into Romans into
empire but first we need to learn the art of warcraft and find our way through

the forest to the city where we will besiege Wei to rescue Zhao, not that
it matters much to the path – what with the asteroid – so I run underground
and light tallow candles for the first mass, but light leaks through cracks,

sheaves of day that lead to the path where the snakes have all left,
which is probably a sign of the asteroid (as the snakes likely know),
so I keep running, up the temple steps to sit at the top and empty my mind (closer to the asteroid)

listening for the dark rumbling of the sky and heard nothing, really, nothing,
just the drums of the wars of man, just the crumpled map,
just my iPhone buzzing in my pocket,

no new messages, no sky, no glass, no path
but the path, no trees but the trees marking the distance
to other trees, and if I stop – and look long, and straight, enough, a






Maybe I'll read them ALL!

Oooo. Too awesome to decide!

disappointing crenelated marvin-the-martian asteroid,
a war martian asteroid that doesn't even look like a
happy fuck you
As Chuang Tzu said when he saw a similar asteroid,
asteroid, no-asteroid, no difference,
Zhou folded back on Wei-Hous
Better to sit with a cup of water than a cup of non-water.
Better to have a path, but the same with no path.

beam of sight dashes through airwaves, through
particles of might and their solar powered canopies
through the paths of pebbles left by greater imaginations than mine, the crumbs
of a holiday feast that dreams

The views expressed in the Writer-in-Residence blogs are those held by the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of Open Book: Toronto.

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Sachiko Murakami

Sachiko Murakami is the author of the poetry collections The Invisibility Exhibit (Talonbooks, 2008), a finalist for the Governor General’s Literary Award and the Gerald Lampert Memorial Award, and Rebuild (Talonbooks, 2011). She lives in Toronto.

Go to Sachiko Murakami’s Author Page