Three Poems by Carter Vance

Spain in Heart

Life becomes binary series:
some welfare office file folder
laid end to end, flung between
hands, hastily shipped, shining
bright in steel city ‘til the
shadows come as half-moons,
stars hand as sticky-tacked together

Without that same withered spark
to speak, that same unchased dream,
that same unconquered hill with
gunnery’s plume,

without that same reason.

You don’t run
as black,
as red
and all that
khaki-crossed mythos,

all that fooled,
“could have, if only . . .”

Live with glass splinter
of months as Catalonia,
the next five years as
reactionary bayonets.


Start Together

Four late trains, four missing
minutes more of pacing unused
dockyard, four times unspent
together in heated, deathly starlight:
bit bent, bit wavy, streaky road tar
paint; I collapse.
But you hold up: water bottles,
backroom bedding, why didn’t
have to, why do?

Nearest thought: it’s a bit charming,
to have a drapery, a kind word,
a chuckle,

or, maybe, we started something.


The Afterlife of Ideas

If we have names,
given by stars, neighbours,
passports, plastic cards
there isn’t so much more
to give, to take, but
silence, but company of strangers.

If we have homes,
crests of rose-harp
and half-sarcastic maple,
cliff and burren shorn of all
but colonial signpost to mark,
what need we ferryboats?

If we have titles,
embossments made in tusk towers
to choose between a kindly construction
of worthless parchment transformation,
squeegee wash dish platters pushed,
are not we emboldened by them?

If we have capitals,
red brick lake places in hearty cheer,
celebration of frontiers unconquered,
empires deceased, imagined, decayed,
are ever-fleeting these joys as
passing stations, professorial notions?

If we have moments,
tenderness by Turkish candlelight,
the switching magnetics of traffic
din symphony, couch-bound war cries
for struggles ever-far afield,
what use is there in lifetimes?
And if we have long evenings,
spent in tradition revival of
intellects, lovers beyond ourselves

let them last,



Carter Vance is a student and aspiring poet originally from Cobourg, Ontario, currently studying at Carleton University in Ottawa. His work has appeared in such publications as A Swift Exit, (parenthetical) and the Scarlet Leaf Review. He received an Honourable Mention from Contemporary Verse 2’s Young Buck Poetry Awards in 2014. His work also appears on his personal blog Comment is Welcome .