The Queen Charlotte Islands Meditations
J. Michael Yates
6 X 9 inches, 98 pagesPenumbra Press Poetry Series, No. 1
—and so begins Insel
This winter in which you find me is not your winter.
Because things much more dangerous than death remain unreined by names, they cannot, like island horses, be broken.
Nor shot to part them from their pain.
When the colourless hand of fog closes over the coast, it is not death, but it is not living.
Preferring to bide its opposite, things bide time instead.
Time to fangle, time to become a beach between at least two more and more unequal distances.
There are choices: Become a larger fisherman. Or a fisherman smaller. The boats lengthen or grow shorter. And fewer. Always fewer.
Begin fishing in deep winter. Go landless, navigate your vessel away from all harbours, have a go at the high ocean rollers.
After an unknown number breaks over the bow, expect the ice to begin and win and win until everything above water-line overbalances like a hydrocephalic child.
J. Michael Yates
J. Michael Yates has published poetry, fiction, dramas, translations, philosophical essays, photography, reviews, criticism, and commentary. His work has been translated into most of the major western languages and his dramas for radio and stage have been produced both nationally and internationally. Besides teaching literature and creative writing at several North American universities, he has also been a logger, a powder monkey, a motorcycle racer, an advertising executive, a broadcasting executive, a broadcaster, a print salesman, a commercial photographer, a publisher. He also worked a stint as a maximum-security line officer in the British Columba correctional system and has long been a student of law and criminology.
On Morningside, Peter Gzowski called him "a truly extraordinary man ... one hell of a poet."