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CJ Evans: Elegy in Limestone

Three floors above Toronto's very popular Lakeview Restaurant, Lacey (today's reader) and I shared an apartment and terrace perched above the back doors of the diner. As of recently, I no longer live there, and I definitely don't miss the constant hum of the ventilators that you can hear in this video, or the constant drumming from our downstairs neighbour, but I do miss 2 am peanut butter&vanilla milkshakes, the Ideal coffee garden, Hawker Bar, and above all, Lacey. When Lacey and I were choosing the poem we wanted to use for our Lost Rivers/Trinity Bellwoods Painting Project, we were initially very attracted to this one, as we both felt it captured how central a force water is in our lives. Evans explains this very eloquently himself: "In the places I've lived—Seattle, Portland, New York, San Francisco—water is everywhere, dictating the landscapes and cities, even though in my day-to-day life I so often forget to consciously see it. And loss is the same as water—everywhere around and within, even when not consciously attended to. Loss becomes the unacknowledged dictator of the entire landscape."

 

You know what's hard to consciously see? The water in Toronto. Maybe that's because there's a massive concrete highway and a wall of condos blocking it. At least the condo people can see it, until another condo is built in front of their condo. Hurrah for condos, down with lakes.

 

CJ Evans lives in San Francisco, is the author of two collections of poetry, and is the recipient of the 2013 Amy Lowell Traveling Scholarship. He is also the editor of Two Lines Press, which publishes contemporary international literature in translation. "Elegy in Limestone" can be found in A Penance.
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