Ken Howe

Notes on the Urban Hare

1. The diurnal hare is a precipitate of one's mood on dim winter afternoons, accumulating in hedges and banks from the soiled cotton of shadows.

It takes form somewhere in the visual cortex before travelling backwards along the optic nerve
to lodge somewhere in the pupil,
always moving laterally
across fields visual or terrestrial
in the saccadian manner typical of such artifacts.

There it goes--sproooooooing sproooooooing across the playground, merging briefly with the fox and goose track, sproooooooing, sproooooooooing, melting away into the drab snow.

2. Emerging
           from the hedges of the south as I advanced,
          in the underbrush further along,
          from position as I arrived again,
          along the street dipping periodically to
          kick forward from the ground like a skateboarder rolling,
           slightly serpentine on the off chance I might have a slingshot.

Thus did we travel
several blocks together,

neither anticipating our common trajectory.

3. The year of spirits when
shadows grew longfooted and
roamed the neighbourhood. Across
Dewdney Avenue plague was brewing,
germs grew
big as jackrabbits, migrating southward
in threatening traces.

Saucy leverets
with unheard-of infections fulminated
by the stripmalls, their bodypiercings garishly ulcerated.

Yet they were noble in their mutual solicitude.

The phenomenon (described by Banfield) of hares
in the forest glade, the trees
thick with frost, the full moon perched
among a spackle of stars.
Hares have come together to gambol, flitting
in and out of the shadows "like pale
ghosts" racing and wrestling, chasing
each other along the patterned snow.

4.  Voici venir le soir, ami du levre criminel, across the park at the
city's heart, leaping
toward and away, amid the massiveness
of the anguished urban tonsils, cloaks of light solidifying around the lamps, the
torn fuse box of the black trees, trunks half sunken in a jewel case of snow,
with the lilting hare, the coursing hare,
the hurdling hare, the hare frozen against the quivering crepuscular flower,
gazing into the spread labia of the sky.

5.   "I am Lepus.
Under the flowing cape of wires I traverse
the cirque of boxes at the commercial urban periphery. Dämmerung am Stadtrand.
Subpolar night against the
lavalamp of the western sky. The mountainscape of Montana Joe's
craggy against the sun. Facade of Chapter's-Starbuck's blank and

There is a Utopia subsisting
between the horizon's layers, even enhanced by the eructation
of these motored light-fountains streaming into the dark lot.

flagrantly do these structures
transcend lagomorphia,
crouching within their forms
they lack vital content,
trembling in their sudden
unexpected permanence."