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DANIEL COWPER

 

 

eDaniel Cowper is from Bowen Island, Brittish Columbia. After studying medieval literature, philosophy, and law in Vancouver, Manhattan, and Toronto, he has returned to Bowen Island, where he is finishing his cabin with an eye to his wife's comfort. His poetry has appeared in various magazines and reviews, including Arc Poetry, Vallum, The Literary Review of Canada, and Contemporary Verse 2; his poetry chapbook, The God of Doors was co-winner of Frog Hollow's Second Chapbook Contest and in 2017 he was long-listed for the CBC Poetry Prize. He serves as poetry editor of Pulp Literature.

 

 

 

Fugitives will bring the news

 

 

Our guests draw close to the glow

loosed by your slow furnace;

 

your flesh a space-age chassis concealing

the workings within. Astronauts and novelists

 

worship you; after midnight our callers

leave without hats or coats, dazed

 

as sunbathers. I finish my morning coffee

at our kitchen table; a mermaid squirms in the cup.

 

Each dawn of married life I cut appleskin

to check if cinders fall out smoking — if you’re

 

some crime I’m charged with. I walk to work

wondering whether to warn you how

 

if you turned to other men my fundamental

constants would de-calibrate — my stars

 

start blasting nuclear filth instead of light.

Curious hagfish and squid

 

scavenging my gulfs would convulse

as my abysses steeped

 

in the grief you bred. Over my world’s

wreckage I’d rage like a friable god

 

unable to abide the fickleness

of mortals or free will’s vicissitudes.

 

As I walk home

thrilled as a suitor trysting with you

 

on ground gummy underfoot with offerings

I stagger, stoned on our daring

 

like a submersible diving to experimental depths

while the ocean piles higher and higher.

 

 

 

 

 

Sir Orpheo's Return

 

 

An old hobo’s in the hall,

wrapped in a scrap of tarp,

and everyone’s asking him

Where’d you get that harp?

 

Even wolf spiders,

he says, hold a string

behind them, to show where

they’ve been. This pretty thing

 

I found with a skeleton

in a cave I came across

in a mountain storm

looking for somewhere to doss.

 

Good harp. Couldn’t leave it

on a pile a’ bone.

Then he plays the old king’s

songs as good as a gramophone.

 

And stones shiver clear

of their mortar to listen;

clematis vine in through

the casements to hear;

 

wolf spiders wave their pedipalps

where they’re halted in the grass;

and dead men held in chapel-graves

clink skulls against the brass.

 

 

 

©2018 Daniel Cowper

 

 

Author Links

 

"Searle's Chinese Room Problem" - a poem

Cowper's chapbook The God of Doors (Frog Hollow Press)

The author's twitter page

 

 

 

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