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- Presents The 2021 Ted Plantos Memorial Award Winner -

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David Alec Knight



Here is what our Judge and Selector had to say about this poet:

It is with pride and honour that I recognize this year's recipient of the Ted Plantos Memorial Award for poetry, David Alec Knight
whose poetry carries the torch as received from Ted.

His short poem, "Beach," which he acknowledges as both a poem written thirty years ago, and as a poem owing its brevity to a
Ted Plantos workshop, the lines wash like waves to the shore, and like the waves when they retreat leave "a tire ... dead fish ... "
as they "recede from this alienated shore".

In another poem of equally perspicacious observation he writes "The truck driver sat for hours spinning a quarter," and the poem ends
"The road on fire reached his heart."

David Alec Knight is a worthy recipient of the Ted Plantos Award.

- John B. Lee, Poet Laureate, Brantford, & Poet Laureate, Norfolk County.

Poems by David Knight

Jackknife

The truck driver sat for hours spinning a quarter,
Staring at four shadows cast from bottle and coin.
His reflection warped in his half-empty bottle.
He said nothing and sipped.
He had lost himself with her.
Everyone there heard his silence above evening's noise.
His only words were:
When things go wrong, I break the past over my knee.

He left the bar for his rig parked across the way.
On the black roads of that night, he rode the fire.

He saw flames ignite his soul.
The road on fire reached his heart.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Dawn Patrol

He walked across the construction site
with a combination of caution and broadcast.
He observed his earlier boot-print and recalled
a high-school textbook with that famous boot-print picture
taken on the moon.

There was a Psalm he tried to remember.
A woman he could not forget.
The flashlight was heavy.

The beam fell along the barbed wire fence
where a raccoon was caught
writhed and clutched
torn from neck to ear.
He did not know what to do, so he raised the flashlight
and brought it down.

Lines from an almost forgotten Psalm returned to him.
My soul waits for the Lord more than they that
watch for the morning...

Gulls flew above him in the darkness.

His shift was almost over.
He wanted to go home
to sleep until she woke him.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Beach

Waters once blue-green gone grey, wash ashore.
I stand by jetsam tangled branches imbedded in the sand.

Waves lap, raise a tire, leave dead fish.
The waves recede from this alienated shore.

The silence of strange gulls deafens.
But, when their shadows no longer strafe the sands,
the waves recede from this alienated shore.

The water's brackish froth pleads.
The waves, a dying din, return: they lean into me.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Leaving Sirens

Beyond the last cemetery
The moon spreads defiantly
An even flowing squall of light.

I listened to the weak voice
Tell how you were taken from us.
Late night high speed
Bets with our lives:
We left the sirens
And flash of lights far behind;
The spit of gravel was our laughter.

In the pattern of the rural winds
The wheat waves in elegy.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Acid Freak At Tim Horton's

Sitting at his table, on acid...
To accompany his trip
he stares into his coffee cup.
He moves the mug from side to side
in front of him, slowly.
Residue between porcelain and formica,
the sliding is a chant.
Vibration ripples black coffee,
catches and plays with light,
with the blur and with the glare.
This reminds him fondly
of the kaleidoscope he had as a child
and now wishes for.

Vacant Moon And Vagrant Stars

Her stone-wash jeans are second skin of thin legs.
Her long straight metal-orange hair curves like flame.
The night wind joins exhaust from her cigarette.
Each breath in and out is laboured and lived-in.
Split ends around her face tickle into mouth.

Flagellating winds scourge her bitter body.
She walks weary, in her exhausted circles.
She hangs tightly, onto her exhausted self.
Though her dreams of grandeur are more than all her
delusions, all who love her are infidel tonight.

The ability to love, slowly leaves her.
She has locked the backyard gate to him, again.
Long ago, she turned off the light at the front.
Hurt once more, she tries again to understand.
The betrayal is too much to allow sleep.

She tries to count all of this night's vagrant stars.
She loses count, then can't recall their number.
Vacant moon shines brighter than those vagrant stars.
In the oppressive stillness, in this deep dark,
she begins to count them all over again.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
The Barfly, Reflective

He sits at the bar,
drinking without pause.
His only clear intent is to do-in
his feelings that demand too much.

He scans rows of bottles behind the bar.
His reflection is distorted through the bottles,
but not distorted in the mirror behind them.
He jumps at the sound of a loud break
followed by an air ball hitting and rolling.

He looks up at the television above the bar.
Music from the speakers is not so loud, but
he hears only a tinny and indecipherable drone.
Images fly across the screen; nothing registers.
His eyes water, with strain, he tells himself.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
The Heart Is A Hollow Organ

At this point we turn,
closeness ever seeming;
I draw into myself
explore the depression,
but you won't embrace that.
Not meaning to turn, I want
to feed you back but I'm tired
and you're tired and we scrape along.
If I turn from you, do you turn in?
Your worries are as much as mine.

When time for love is supposition
my questions only have my answers.
Do I need to hear within, what I hear outside?
The heart is a hollow organ.
And I beat that drum again.

Inside of the heartbreak misery cries out -- keep on.
We only want what takes so much out of us.
We push too hard for the 'maybe' and the 'what if'.
The heart is a hollow organ.
And I beat that drum again.

If I could talk, I could tell you: it is still love.
You could make almost everything all right; enough.
I tell you, to tell myself, "Sleep. Sleep."
I lay awake. You dream. It's still love.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Autistic Heart

I know who I am, what I do and do not want, what does and does not work.
I am only wise in a way that wounds me, oppresses me, and perplexes me.
My skull may seem thick; my skin is thin: worry weakens the weakened conjugation.
I clasp too long onto the passions that are best lived when brief and impermanent.
I need to learn in loving but evolve in leaving, until finding the forever in another heart.

Ready to heal, surrounded by those needing healing more than loving;
wanting to love -- it feels good to heal, but would feel better to love;
if their love is not for sure I settle to heal and feeling everything else as much
as I feel love, gets in the way of feeling for who is there. I know too late
I know no difference between the fear of the dark and the fear of the heart.

I expect from another what I expect from myself, but that may
be more than either deserves, so I'll walk away from my wounds;
I'll fall into arms that fall into mine: I have an autistic heart.

 



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