The East Village

Jo Ann Wasserman

going hi I am not sure if you will get this but I went out from Montreal today to the place your mother galled God forsaken which I had always misinterpreted as "Vietnam" but really she had meant "country" As in "that God foresaken country" terrible bumpy on the train I start like this, they ask, "you got Canandian?" and he then, "I got Keith's and Coors and Alpine" all night "I got Keithıs and Coors and Alpine" I have a head cold and then they say something about "my wife would pull it all in and I like my wife you know and then sometimes..." it is a bit homey out here am wanting home and easier but I am not Canadian the baby says, "bye car" last night the conductor went through and the old boozer always back there said, "isn't this grand and all we need is a bit of music on this train!" and the guy said, "so sing it your own self" and there was a sad sort of singing through the country and bye car byebye car and now I see my grandmother had meant God foresaken country meaning the fields the land and to me this was interpreted as being remembered in prayers I had little packet of jam on my toast today a toy dropped into the center aisle of the train it appeared to be eating a plush carrot and there seemed to be farms for sale passing out side in St. Roslaie or a soybean canning factory bye car and the elaborate pitch of a woman always speaking French, the wheezy laughing and "you got Canadian?" today the train pushes north east, harder into the Canadian country in a slow, movement opposing the direction my grandmother took to leave the country where near everything had died, the countless sibblings born dead or dying always someone was dying she said and about the not high-flown enough demeanor of someone I suppose she meant that they were all dirt farmers she wanted out and then had a house in Queens with linoleum and a plastic train laid across the livingroom carpet which you were not supposed to step off on the train today a young girl in a stocking cap and soft arms is reading On the Road thinking of it as Canadian I remember reading that being, I think, 19 and desperate to get out of New York City just out last night I dreamt someone asked "what do you make of this poem?" but it was a foreign country and the question came across as what does it mean if I paste this ³face of a poet² sticker on to my own photograph noting that yes, this was me always a bit thinner or drinking much more heavily and in the dream it always takes much longer to conjur up the faces, to fasten, in the dream (asleep on the train) all the little boys heads which are lighter and snowy and cleaner than any real person could be I woke up (bye car) noticing the signs "why are so many Canadian houses scheduled for demolition?" in tunnels my reflection is sudding inplace of the country I am darker and it startles me because I have recently become some sort of brunette out there is just me but always darker on the route you must have taken for summers up here and you watched all this country go by the train it just passes and I overhear bits of conversation Canadians like the young mother of two or bye car bye-bye car but I am not really in any of it, ever