Amanda Earl: Three Poems

once I built a city

“Cities are an immense laboratory of trial & error.” —Jane Jacobs

once I built a city
made of luxuriant
green space for thinking
a luxury of thinking
something we’re never
allowed to do
it housed a populace
who walked everywhere
to jobs schools & myriad
boathouses theatres concert
halls hospitals public libraries
swimming pools playgrounds
food banks shelters river views
gardens full of roses both indoor
& out farmers markets abundant
w/ fruit & good meat buildings
that didn’t shut out light but
let it shimmer warm places
for winter viewing of snow as it blew
across fields ice hanging down to
painting the dormer windows silver
musicians playing violins & french horns
as pedestrian commuters strolled to their
jobs in the mornings slowing down to hear
the music

impermanence of concrete

I saw the ruins of Pompeii
once alive bodies cast
in the shapes of their dying

concretes bound to give way
see the cracks in the new grey towers
showing through to the bones
human sarcophagi
above traffic fumes

does bricks destruction take longer :
wrecking ball anothr dwelling
torn down for anothr generic
vertical structure of cement to
cage the anaesthetized

I am lost
I am in love w/ the city
I am alone in the city
impermanent as concrete

do you feel the presence
of all the ghosts of all the
children who have ever
bounced a ball gainst
walls of someone elses home
their laughter lost to
sounds of high
heels clatter ovr
sidewalks vehicles
choking the streets
w/ smog

I am lost in the city
I am in love w/ the city
I am alone in the city
impermanent as concrete

can’t sleep so I wander
give sole toonie
from purse full of
lozenges & paper dreams
to youngster on
corner at four am
too early for tricks

I’ll die here not some
old folks home too far
to walk away from

let my ashes fly
w/ the pigeons
or blend into the
burnt lime of cement
erasure as palimpsest
bird claw prints in
fresh grey slabs

I am lost in the city
I am in love w/ the city
I am alone in the city
impermanent as concrete

the car is an iceberg

a land mine
not a field of poppies
the car is not an oasis
it distorts the mirage
w/ its blur of speed
a dull engine throb
a dirge of motor over
free will the car is
an automaton a yes man
a sycophant a gps system
w/ automated voice
programmed to prevent
you from getting lost
the car is not a shadow
looms like nothing
blacks out colour chokes
nature to death
w/ energy from the sludge
of the earth yellow black rock
made from the dead
imaging the drifting creatures
of the sea floating in the waves
feeding on marine snow
               keeping away cholera

now drive



Amanda Earl is an Ottawa mayhem maker, libertine, bon vivant, writer, visual poet and publisher. Her books include A World of Yes (DevilHouse, 2015), Kiki (Chaudiere Books, 2014) and Coming Together Presents Amanda Earl (Coming Together, 2014). Her most recent chapbooks are I Owe Saint Hildegard The Light (unarmed, 2016), Queen Christina (Ghost City Press, 2016) and firstwalks of the year (In/Words Press, 2016). Her poems appear or are forthcoming in Arc Poetry Magazine, Canthius, Canadian Literature, Crap Orgasm, fillingStation, In/Words Magazine,,, Vallum, the White Wall Review and The Windsor Review. Amanda is the managing editor of and the fallen angel of AngelHousePress. She co-hosts the poetry podcast, "The Small Machine Talks" with a.m. kozak. Two of her manuscripts have been shortlisted for the Robert Kroetsch Innovative Poetry Award. In 2014 Amanda was inducted into the VERSe Ottawa Hall of Honour. For more information, please visit or connect with Amanda on Twitter @KikiFolle.