lunes, 10 de octubre de 2016

TOM WAYMAN [19.243]

Tom Wayman 

Tom Wayman nació en 1945 en Hawkesbury, Ontario, a medio camino entre Montreal y Ottawa, en el valle del río Ottawa, Canadá. El padre de Wayman fue químico en la planta de celulosa en la fábrica de Hawkesbury. En 1952, el padre de Wayman tomó un trabajo en la planta de celulosa en Port Edward, en las afueras del puerto pesquero y de aguas profundas Prince Rupert, al sur de la península de Alaska. En 1959, la familia se trasladó a Vancouver, BC, donde el padre de Wayman trabajó como ingeniero de diseño de la planta de celulosa, y la madre de Wayman tomó un grado avanzado en su trabajo, de trabajo social. Wayman terminó la escuela secundaria, y asistió a la Universidad de la Columbia Británica, donde se graduó en 1966 con una licenciatura en Inglés de Honor. Durante sus años de estudiante Wayman trabajó como reportero en el diario Vancouver Sun, y en el periódico de los estudiantes de la UBC La Ubyssey (de la que fue editor en jefe de 1965 a 1966).



Waiting for Wayman (Toronto: McClelland & Stewart, 1973)
For and Against the Moon (Toronto: Macmillan of Canada, 1974)
Money and Rain (Toronto: Macmillan of Canada, 1975)
Free Time (Toronto: Macmillan of Canada, 1977)
A Planet Mostly Sea (Winnipeg: Turnstone, 1979)
Living on the Ground (Toronto: McClelland & Stewart, 1980)
Introducing Tom Wayman: Selected Poems 1973-80 (Princeton, N.J.: Ontario Review P, 1980)
The Nobel Prize Acceptance Speech (Saskatoon: Thistledown, 1981)
Counting the Hours (Toronto: McClelland & Stewart, 1983)
The Face of Jack Munro (Madeira Park, BC: Harbour, 1986)
In a Small House on the Outskirts of Heaven (Madeira Park, BC: Harbour, 1989)
Did I Miss Anything? Selected Poems 1973-1993 (Madeira Park, BC: Harbour, 1993)
The Astonishing Weight of the Dead (Vancouver: Polestar, 1994)
I'll Be Right Back: New and Selected Poems 1980-1996 (Princeton, N.J.: Ontario Review P, 1997)
The Colours of the Forest (Madeira Park, BC: Harbour, 1999)
My Father's Cup (Madeira Park, BC: Harbour, 2002)
High Speed Through Shoaling Water (Madeira Park, BC: Harbour, 2007)
Dirty Snow (Madeira Park, BC: Harbour 2012)
Winter's Skin (Fernie, BC: Oolichan, 2013)
Built to Take It: Selected Poems 1996-2013 (Spokane, WA: Lynx House, 2014)
The Order in Which We Do Things: The Poetry of Tom Wayman (selected and with an introduction by Owen Percy; Waterloo, ON: Wilfrid Laurier UP, 2014)


Woodstock Rising (Toronto: Dundurn, 2009)

No ficción:

Boundary Country (Saskatoon: Thistledown, 2007)
A Vain Thing (Winnipeg: Turnstone, 2007)
The Shadows We Mistake for Love (Madeira Park, BC: Douglas & McIntyre, 2015)


Beaton Abbot's Got The Contract: An Anthology of Working Poems (Edmonton: NeWest, 1974)
A Government Job at Last: An Anthology of Working Poems (Vancouver: MacLeod, 1976)
Going For Coffee: Poetry on the Job (Madeira Park, BC: Harbour, 1981)
East of Main: An Anthology of Poems from East Vancouver (co-edited with Calvin Wharton; Vancouver: Pulp, 1989)
Paperwork: Contemporary Poems from the Job (Madeira Park, BC: Harbour, 1991)
The Dominion of Love: An Anthology of Canadian Love Poems (Madeira Park, BC:Harbour, 2001)


Inside Job: Essays on the New Work Writing (Madeira Park, BC: Harbour, 1983)
A Country Not Considered: Canada, Culture, Work (Toronto: Anansi, 1993)
Songs Without Price: The Music of Poetry in a Discordant World (Nanaimo, BC: Malaspina University-College, 2008).

¿Me perdí algo? (1994)

[ Una pregunta común de los estudiantes – después de saltarse una clase ]

Nada. Cuando nos dimos cuenta no estuviste presente
nos sentamos al pupitre, en silencio, con las manos unidas,
por las dos horas completas.

Todo. Distribuí un examen que vale
40 por ciento de la nota de este trimestre,
y asigné unas lecturas – vencen hoy –
y estoy a punto de repartir una prueba sobre ellas
que vale 50 por ciento.

Nada. Ninguno del contenido de esta materia
tiene valor o significado.
Sáltate tantos días como quieras:
cualquier actividad emprendemos como un grupo
no importará a ti o mí, de una u otra manera;
te garantizo que no tiene propósito nuestra actividad.

Todo. Algunos minutos después de comenzar la vez anterior
descendió un rayo y apareció un ángel
o un otro ser celestial,
y él nos reveló
lo que debe hacer cada mujer y hombre
para alcanzar la sabiduría divina durante esta vida y el más allá.
Esta es la última vez que se reúne la clase
antes de dispersarse para llevar las buenas noticias
a toda la gente en este mundo.

Nada. Cuando no estás presente, ¿cómo puede ocurrir algo significativo?

Todo. Porque…contenido dentro de esta aula hay
unos microcosmos de la existencia humana,
y están ensamblados para que tú los interrogues, investigues y reflexiones.
Aquí no es el solo lugar
donde ese tipo de posibilidad está reunido,

pero fue un lugar,

y no estuviste aquí.

Translator: Alexander Best


                                                        Question frequently asked by
                                                        students after missing a class

Nothing. When we realized you weren't here
we sat with our hands folded on our desks
in silence, for the full two hours

        Everything. I gave an exam worth
        40 per cent of the grade for this term
        and assigned some reading due today
        on which I'm about to hand out a quiz
        worth 50 per cent

Nothing. None of the content of this course
has value or meaning
Take as many days off as you like:
any activities we undertake as a class
I assure you will not matter either to you or me
and are without purpose

        Everything. A few minutes after we began last time
        a shaft of light descended and an angel
        or other heavenly being appeared
        and revealed to us what each woman or man must do
        to attain divine wisdom in this life and
        the hereafter
        This is the last time the class will meet
        before we disperse to bring this good news to all people
                on earth

Nothing. When you are not present
how could something significant occur?

        Everything. Contained in this classroom
        is a microcosm of human existence
        assembled for you to query and examine and ponder
        This is not the only place such an opportunity has been

        but it was one place

        And you weren't here

From:   The Astonishing Weight of the Dead. Vancouver: Polestar, 1994.


The day divides neatly into four parts
marked off by the breaks. The first quarter
is a full two hours, 7:30 to 9:30, but that's okay
in theory, because I'm supposed to be fresh, but in fact
after some evenings it's a long first two hours.
Then, a ten-minute break. Which is good
another way, too: the second quarter
thus has ten minutes knocked off, 9:40 to 11:30
which is only 110 minutes, or
to put it another way, if I look at my watch
and it says 11:10
I can cheer up because if I had still been in the first
and had worked for 90 minutes there would be
30 minutes to go, but now there is only
20. If it had been the first quarter, I could expect
the same feeling at 9 o'clock as here I have
when it is already ten minutes after 11.

Then it's lunch: a stretch, and maybe a little walk around.
And at 12 sharp the endless quarter begins:
a full two afternoon hours. And it's only the start
of the afternoon. Nothing to hope for the whole time.
Come to think of it, today
is probably only Tuesday. Or worse, Monday,
with the week barely begun and the day
only just half over, four hours down
and 36 to go this week
(if the foreman doesn't come padding by about 3
some afternoon and ask us all to work overtime).

Now while I'm trying to get through this early Tuesday
maybe this is a good place to say
Wednesday, Thursday and Friday have their personalities too.
As a matter of fact, Wednesday after lunch
I could be almost happy
because when that 12 noon hooter blast goes
the week is precisely and officially half over.
All downhill from here: Thursday, as you know
is the day before Friday
which means a little celebrating Thursday night
—perhaps a few rounds in the pub after supper--
won't do me any harm. If I don't get much sleep
Thursday night, so what? I can sleep in Saturday.
And Friday right after lunch Mike the foreman appears
with the long cheques dripping out of his hands
and he is so polite to each of us as he passes them over
just like they taught him in foreman school.
After that, not too much gets done.
People go away into a corner and add and subtract like crazy
trying to catch the Company in a mistake
or figuring out what incredible percentage the government
has taken this week, or what the money will actually mean
in terms of savings or payments--and me, too.

But wait. It's still Tuesday afternoon.
And only the first half of that: all the minutes
until 2—which comes at last
and everyone drops what they are doing
if they hadn't already been drifting toward
their lunchboxes, or edging between the parts-racks
in the direction of the caterer's carts
which always appear a few minutes before the hooter
and may be taken on good authority as incontrovertible proof
that 2 o'clock is actually going to arrive.

And this last ten minute break of the day
is when I finally empty my lunchbox and the thermos inside
and put the now lightweight container back on its shelf
and dive into the day's fourth quarter: only 110 minutes.
Also, 20 to 30 minutes before the end I stop
and push a broom around, or just fiddle with something
or maybe fill up various parts-trays with washers
and bolts, or talk to the partsman, climb out of my
coveralls, and genrally slack off.
Until the 4 p.m. hooter of hooters
when I dash to the timeclock, a little shoving and pushing
in line, and I'm done. Whew.

But even when I quit
the numbers of the minutes and hours from this shift
stick with me: I can look at a clock some morning
months afterwards, and see it is 20 minutes to 9
—that is, if I'm ever out of bed that early--
and the automatic computer in my head
starts to type out: 20 minutes to 9, that means
30 minutes to work after 9: you are
50 minutes from the break; 50 minutes
of work, and it is only morning, and it is only
Monday, you poor dumb bastard....

And that's how it goes, round the clock, until a new time
from another job bores its way into my brain. 

From:   Did I Miss Anything? Selected Poems 1973-1993. Madeira Park, B.C. : Harbour Pub., c1993.


A man is running across Wyoming.
Away out on the high plains,
nothing around him but the wind and sky,
a man runs along the paved shoulder
of the great Interstate crossing Wyoming from west to east.
Cars pass him; the faces of children
stare out of rear windows.
And trucks pull by, the drivers high above the road
watch him run a long way ahead as they approach and go on.

Garrison is running across Wyoming.
He has always run. He ran in military school
and in the Army's summer camps.
"They wanted us to get up at 5:30 A.M.
So at 5 I'd be up doing laps. They couldn't believe it."
He went to college on a scholarship for track.
"I was good, but I wasn't that good.
I never could get into competition. I'd place,
but I think I only won in a meet once or twice.
I just liked to run. We'd have a good time,
me and a few others. I remember one relay
where the first guy on our team was great,
the second guy was good,
then they gave the baton to me.
I ran full out, but I lost most of the lead we had.
When I passed to my friend
he could see we weren't going to win:
he was even slower on that distance than I was.
So he ran one lap
then out of the stadium
into the dressing room
and was sitting outside having showered and changed
when the coach caught up to him.
The coach didn't know what to do.
He'd never seen anybody run right out of a race."

Now Garrison strides down a long hill in the afternoon sun,
his T-shirt plastered to his back, above the pavement,
face contorted with the strain.

"At college," he says,
"I used to run down from the jock dorm
about a mile to a little amusement park
where they had this miniature railroad
parents would take their kids on for rides.
There was a cinder track that paralleled the train tracks
so I'd run on that. Pretty soon
a train would come up behind
and I'd put on a burst of speed
to see if I could beat it.
The guy at the controls of the little engine
would open the throttle
nuh nuh nuh-nuh nuhnuhnuh and I'd tear ahead
trying to do better. People on board
would shout and wave
but I had to leap a couple of ditches
and in any case by the time I ever got to the park
I'd already run a ways so I wasn't exactly fresh.

"One day, though, I got into strip
and drove my car down.
I got out and hid in the bushes
on the further side of the worst ditch.
When the train came around the corner
I leaped out and yelled in the driver's ear
Let's go and took off up the track.
He opened her up nuh nuh nuh-nuh nuhnuhnuh
and took off after me, the people
screaming and cheering as he drew closer.
They thought they were helping win the race
but actually they were just sitting there yelling
and he would have gone faster if they weren't aboard.
Anyway, that time we were neck and neck
when we got round to the ditch again."

His feet, in Wyoming,
pull the asphalt behind him, stroke after stroke,
breath hauled in and pushed out with his long legs;
eyes blue under the blue sky.

He went to graduate school
in ROTC, studying education. He listened
to what people said about the War
and asked the Army about it,
so they let him go. After that,
he asked his professors about their work, too,
bringing his hound Ralph into classes
and offices, using the dog as a point of reference
in discussing teaching techniques.
He was living then at the edge of town
in a tiny cabin, and running
miles along the country roads
and laps around a tree-lined campus oval.

Until he quit, got a job working demolition,
then in the southern part of the state
went logging. "The only thing political down there,"
he says, "was the Birch Society meetings.
So I'd go along. Mostly it was a good place
to talk about hunting and trade guns and all that.
I'd refuse to take the oath of allegiance
to start the meeting. Freak 'em out.
Told them I was a Commie. Then we'd talk about dogs
and rifles. I kept winning most of the turkey shoots
they had down there, with my old single-shot.
They didn't know what to make of it. I figured
one crazy Commie at a Birch meeting
is better than a dozen films sent out from California.

"I remember one time I was over
talking guns with Billy Hankin.
I saw he had a couple of bumper stickers
on the back of his pickup:
Support Your Right To Bear Arms and
Support Your Local Police. 'Billy,' I said to him,
'you know if they pass a law outlawing guns
it isn't the Communists
who are going to come by to pick up your rifles.
It'll be Sheriff MacLeod.' Next time I saw the truck
the bumper sticker about the police was torn off."

He had enough education credits
to teach remedial subjects in the winters
and he logged, summers. He married
and got his teaching certificate finally,
had a daughter and hurt his back in the woods
so it had to be operated on.
Then his wife left him, and he came apart,
driving west to San Francisco non-stop
in his old jeep, and north into Canada
to a rural teaching job some friends got him.
There, too, he ran
and sat in the bar mourning his marriage
while the jukebox sang you can't hide
yer cheatin' eyes and he quit in January
and moved further north
to work as a counsellor on a ranch for delinquent boys.
"The kids could go to jail or to the ranch," he says.
"They were some mean little monsters.
A couple of them had been found guilty
of setting cars on fire. Shortly after they got to the ranch
they took off. We got the RCMP after them
and they were picked up in Hazelton.
The Mountie puts them into the back of his car
but one of them opens the door somehow
and zips away up the street. So the cop,
who isn't too bright, leaves one kid in the car
while he runs after the other.
By the time he gets back with the first kid,
sure enough, the other one had the cop car nicely ablaze.

"These kids are real puzzle-factory inmates,
penguins, that's what I call them. One night
a bunch of them got into a fight in the meal hall,
squirting ketchup at each other
and throwing bread around and everything.
I was supposed to be on duty, so I went in there
and didn't pay any attention to them
but began kicking over tables, smashing plates and cups,
tipping over chairs. Just went insane.
I looked up after a minute
and saw all the kids huddled into a corner
watching me. 'Now clean this up
and your mess too,' I said
and walked out, and they went to work
and got everything tidy. I just showed them
what it's like when an adult goes nutty.
No good yelling at them or threatening them.
They've had plenty of that.
If a penguin comes at me to hit me
sometimes I'll just wrap my arms around him
so he can't move his
and pick him up and dance with him. He gets really angry
but then he calms down and nobody gets hurt."

Now Garrison is travelling back to Colorado
for a long-delayed compensation hearing about his back.
"I never can do what I want to, Tom," he says
as we drive. "I got out of teaching because
I like to work with my hands. I have to stay in shape:
any job I've been on I want to work full out.
But most jobs, you're letting everybody else down
if you work too hard. I like the outdoor stuff at the ranch
but the place is crazy, it's really a jail,
the kids don't want to be there. And there's no women.
I go into town and meet somebody
and fall in love and make a fool of myself.
I don't want to do that. I want to be better to women.
But I don't know how."

His fingers reach up to twist
the thin blond hair above his forehead.
"Tom, who needs us? I mean
I think maybe this is the first time
people like us have been really useless.
What can we work at, give it everything
that isn't hurting someone else 
or adding to the sick way things are going?
What are we good for? Sometimes I honestly wish
I'd gone and fought in the War."

At a rest-stop, he says he wants to stretch,
cramped from riding in the small car.
He changes into strip and starts east down the freeway
while I finish some lunch, check the oil
and drive out after him.
A speck in the distance
at the edge of the highway
Garrison runs as the traffic speeds past him
in the hot day. The only human figure
in the vast panorama
of wind and landscape, a man
is headed for Rawlins,
running across Wyoming,
running towards Jerusalem.

From:   Did I Miss Anything? Selected Poems 1973-1993. Madeira Park, B.C. : Harbour Pub., c1993.


I begin each essay with a calm mind--
a fresh start.
But as I consider what they have written
I get angry: the most cursory of rereadings
would have caught this sentence fragment,
and here is a misused semicolon
after we spent more than an hour on that in class
and where I talked to this student individually
for another thirty minutes about this persistent mistake.
And instead of the simple structure of the expository paper
which we have also gone over and over
and which can be so helpful a model, a technique, a guide,
here again is a jumbled series of random observations:
trite, contradictory, obviously hurried
and spelled wrong.

My red pencil becomes enraged.
It stalks through the words,
precise, bitter, vindictive,
acting as if it is pleased to discover error
and pounce on it, hacking and destroying and rearranging,
furiously rooting out sloppiness and weakness
as though upholding some stern moral precept
against another, softer age.

But the hand gripping the pencil
begins to tremble with remorse.
It feels it has led the students on
to try to expresss themselves
and then betrayed them:
attacking what they have exposed
of their ideas and emotions.
What use is righteousness, the hand wishes to ask the pencil,
without charity?

I read the name at the top
and think of the young person whose effort this is.
Now all I see on the paper
is a face, crestfallen when I hand back what they attempted.
Eyes look up at me
apprehensively, as at a judge.
We both know my weighing of their skill
will be taken to be an assessment of themselves.

It is as though I have been asked to mark
not essays but their faces,
not sentences but who they are.
I raise my pencil, but my hand still shakes.
I want to show them what in normal English usage
is considered incorrect.
But I can not assign a grade to their eyes.

From:   Did I Miss Anything? Selected Poems 1973-1993. Madeira Park, B.C. : Harbour Pub., c1993.


After a while the body doesn't want to work.
When the alarm clock rings in the morning
the body refuses to get up. "You go to work if you're so
it says. "Me, I'm going back to sleep."
I have to nudge it in the ribs to get it out of bed.
If I had my way I'd just leave you here, I tell it
as it stands blinking. But I need you to carry your end of
the load.

I take the body into the bathroom
intending to start the day as usual with a healthy dump.
But the body refuses to perform.
Come on, come on, I say between my teeth.
Produce, damn you. It's getting late.
"Listen, this is all your idea," the body says.
"If you want some turds so badly you provide 'em.
I'd just as soon be back in bed."
I give up, flush, wash and go make breakfast.
Pretty soon I'm at work. All goes smoothly enough
until the first break. I open my lunchpail
and start to munch on some cookies and milk.
"Cut that out," the body says, burping loudly.
"It's only a couple of hours since breakfast.
And two hours from this will be lunch, and two hours after
will be the afternoon break. I'm not a machine
you can force-feed every two hours.
And it was the same yesterday, too...."
I hurriedly stuff an apple in its mouth to shut it up.

By four o'clock the body is tired
and even more surly. It will hardly speak to me
as I drive home. I bathe it, let it lounge around.
After supper it regains some of its good spirits.
But as soon as I get ready for bed it starts to make trouble.
Look, I tell it, I've explained this over and over.
I know it's only ten o'clock but we have to be up in eight
If you don't get enough rest, you'll be dragging around all
tomorrow again, cranky and irritable.
"I don't care," the body says. "It's too early.
When do I get to have any fun? If you want to sleep
go right ahead. I'm going to lie here wide awake
until I feel good and ready to pass out."

It is hours before I manage to convince it to fall asleep.
And only a few hours after that the alarm clock sounds again.
"Must be for you," the body murmurs. "You answer it."
The body rolls over. Furious, and without saying a word,
I grab one of its feet and begin to yank it toward the edge 
the bed. 

From:   Did I Miss Anything? Selected Poems 1973-1993. Madeira Park, B.C. : Harbour Pub., c1993.


Dave Bostock 

Late on the day of his death,
high in the alpine
above the trees, I crossed a field
more stone than earth
and found what I had climbed for.
Where ice and the cold
pummel the hard ground,
where frost and the relentless glacial wind
tear at whatever tries to live,
the moss campion
adheres to bits of soil
lichens have generated over eons
from rock. The campion, too,
has infinite patience:
a decade passes
before it will flower.
After a quarter-century
it spreads no wider
than the outstretched fingers of a hand.
But the flower digs in, buffeted by the nightly chill,
by solar rays, by hail, the Spring melt,
smothered for much of the year beneath snow.
Air trapped in its leaves
and clusters, however,
forms a minute protected place
out of the wind and
warmed by sun.
Here, other plants are born
and nurtured.

His laughter
was such an enclosure
in the roaring life below.
One time I'd been working welding
on a logging show in the Charlottes
I had a couple of grand saved
so decided to quit. This was when
if you had any kind of trade, any kind of ticket
you were in demand.
It was no big deal to change jobs.
On Friday
I picked up my pay, and made a point
of finding the boss
and telling him exactly, in detail,
what I thought of him 
and where he could put
the whole outfit. Then I was on the plane
for Rupert, with some of the other guys.
We'd already had plenty to drink
before we even got on board.

On Monday I woke up
in the Rupert Hotel.
I had no idea
how I had spent the weekend
but I discovered I was absolutely broke.
Every cent of my two thousand dollars was gone.
I phoned to the camp I just left
and asked if I could have my job back.
"Sure, Dave," the boss said.
"Report as soon as you get in."
"Uh, Mr. Johnson?" I had to say.
"Could you advance me the money
for the plane? I don't have
quite enough to cover the fare."
"Okay," he said. That's how it was at the time:
tear a strip off 'em on Friday
and grovel on Monday
and they'd rehire you.
It was special. Try that today, though,
and see how far you get.

I camped that night
just above treeline, by a cluster of dwarf firs,
a krumholz, formed on the barren
by a single plant
whose roots tunnel upslope
and emerge, or whose branches
pushed down by snow
take root. Such gatherings, too,
create within themselves
an eddy of more hospitable weather
in the high, harsh air.
These conifer islands are also how trees advance,
pushing toward the summit: forerunners
marking and clearing a path
others will follow in relative certainty
and ease.

I had a job with a pile driving crew
--metal piles. The company was Ontario-based
and I think this was the first time
they had hired union labor.
Anyway, one of their foreman
was forever showing up to order you to do
some task you'd already begun.
I'd have finished a weld
and was packing up my gear to move
to the next spot, when the foreman would come by
and say: "Dave, I want you to pack your equipment
and haul it over there for the next weld."
For a time this guy only seemed silly
but one morning--I don't know, it was a bad day
or something--he really started to bother me.
When for the nine-hundredth time
the foreman ordered me to start
what I already was in the middle of,
I lost it. I began to whine, real loud:
"Aww, you're always telling me
to do that. I don't wanna. Why do I
have to go down in that hole
and weld? How come you don't tell
anybody else to do it?"
The foreman's face went white.
He didn't know what to say.
He backed off, but others on the crew had heard
and a few minutes later I heard a whine
from over by the crane:
"I don't wanna do that. You're always
saying I have to. How come I
have to be the one to do it?"
After this, there was no stopping the guys.
All over the site, whenever the foreman
tried to tell anybody anything
you'd hear this incredible whining:
"Awww. I don't wanna." Afterwards, we called it
a whine-in. The foreman
only lasted a couple more days
then he was gone.

The heat of my fire
slashes at my face
when I bend to lever
a log further into the flames.
The song of his life--his work,
his music, his joy--
brought him a cancer that spread
through his body, shrunken
beyond remedy, and then the pneumonia
he chose
to let kill him.
From the peaks around me in the dark,
wind and sun and the earth's turning
bring the snowpack
to the valleys we dwell in
--whether as water
or cold air
we breathe, and then we don't breathe,
leaving behind
our laughter or rage,
our unfinished stories
whispered toward the stars.

From:   The Astonishing Weight of the Dead. Vancouver: Polestar, 1994.


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