Steven Ross Smith | Banff, AB | LCP member for years

The Man with a Nosebleed

Tilts his head back to keep life from pouring out. The body keeps its secrets mostly

under wraps but occasionally reveals a rupture, a cough, a stumble, in spontaneity

a coupling. Red, the most striking. But black’s the common wardrobe colour, worn

for sombre ceremony, casual attendance, or flung off in a heated moment, and also

on steeds that lug and bump, ubiquitous on the circling carousel. With a big whisk

she stirs the frappaccino to a froth while Zimmerman honks his nasal tone. The

vulnerability of any joint – wrist or ankle, all bones delicate – invites a kiss. The

body is an artefact, a museum and somewhere right now it’s a plastinated all-too-

real-inside-out-revealed husk on display in a gallery in a major city where panes of

glass soar high and wide. An icy towel jammed against his nose, in an auto, he reels,

races against time. “There’s a career here,” they often say when they don’t mean it,

but sometimes they do. How to know? These are the fluids you’ll need, especially

with the dust. Nothing excites more than a glimpse down a shirt, a nose for trouble.

The attendant is petite, alluringly fragile, dressed in white, but not a nurse. Numbers

jump in our heads – for instance, nine or eleven, or seventy-seven, a lucky one on a

yellow race car, or on Nicole Brossard’s white page etched with smart articulating

letters. All that ground to cover, and what’s ground in on the oval track, on the

fingered sheet, on a nostril’s breathing edge. A cold white cloth, a heart a-flutter, a

breeze’s touch, a backward lean, all do make the forehead spin.

It’ll get your attention
Like Dylan at Newport in ‘65
Wailing with Butterfield blues men

Steven Ross Smith has been creating and performing poetry and sound poetry for over three decades in solo collaborative and solo contexts. Fluttertongue 3: disarray, won the 2005 Saskatchewan Books Awards’ Book of the Year Award. He has published twelve books of poetry, fiction and non-fiction, and has performed and been published in England, Holland, Russia, Portugal, USA, and Canada. He is currently the Director of Literary Arts at The Banff Centre.

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