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This report is taken from PN Review 152, Volume 29 Number 6, July - August 2003.

Girls, Handsome Dogs & Stuffed Olives Marius Kociejowski

Norm Sibum and I visited one of Montreal's more fashionable drinking venues and no sooner did we begin to discuss poetry than our thoughts fell instead upon the barmaid whose every physical move was a small miracle. I can see her still, her lovely hands positioned behind her neck in the most improbable of attitudes, as though choreographed from above. A member of the Ojibwa tribe, she was professional enough to understand that in a place such as this, which caters to the crook, the senator and the poet, intimacy is an illusion involving mirrors and distance. She poured the wine and spread her smile with equal measure. The Italian writer, Aldo Buzzi (not to be confused with the Italian writer, Aldo Busi), in describing his visit to Djakarta, reduces his experiences there to a single glimpse of a woman's bare feet, finding in them a strong case for the existence of God, more convincing, say, than the ontological argument of Saint Anselm. Yes, God is in the details and that night, in Montreal, He was in that girl's exquisite hands. A sensible woman will read this and guffaw and she'd be perfectly right to do so. What is man but a walking compendium of his own follies, about to fall flat on his own face? If, however, he is unable to ascribe to the barmaid a fair portion of the universe, what chance will his poetry have? I would suggest that poetry comes from the same doubtful region ...

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