The Dazzling Oppression of the Real #7

Jude Dillon presents: Ingrid Ruthig in “The Dazzling Oppression of the Real”…..



The ethos of past
present and future
in a plane of passage
contained by a frame
hinged to the changing
gate of its door (means
nothing unless it’s
locked, but it’s not).
On one side the were.
Inside, are, or the thin
now of between.
Through, and the future
presents the you
you were meant to be
only moments ago.
(Doesn’t matter the room
you’ve left or entered
the need for hello or good-
bye. Even silence alters.)
There now behind
forward you morph
into flipbook is
form renewed here and
here like pages lapsed
and settling one on
the other. Shapeshifter
you, pulling was
like stubborn sweet
taffy into this and
is and being . . .


Instantly, Dopplered and digitized,
your blood pump comes up on the screen,

               its sudden rooms busy with rhythm,
               dimly lit, and peopled, it would seem, by

ghosts who, handless, open/close doors
and slip in/out, chamber to chamber, like

                waiters shifting through double-swungs,
                or seawives sounding out horizon

from shutters flung wide then shut
against the threat of yet more empty.

                There’s evidence in a pulse, shudder
                of shade, in space made fluid; proof

someone’s inside, inhabiting, roaming
sleepless. Is it you playing phantom, an

                old-film hide-n-seek? Or echoes
                of me calling out, trailing you night-

visioned through quadruple rooms that,
while drugged and drifting, you can’t see?

             Undaunted, me keeping up, keeping
             watch, locked on these monitored cells?


the dream billows in and fills
like a single breath, lingering

like oxygen. fashions itself nebulous
and invades grave halls,

floods undefended dark, then
funnels deep into the bloodstream.

nearly dormant – the gap
between in and out, a source underground

untapped – the dream harbours
some tiding, seeps past the coral of nerves,     but

you do not remember it for
what it was, rather

for what it has borne:

you, faithfully

small possible deaths.


Someone claimed you didn’t sound well –
though now it’s hard to say who – so,

useless, we drew our conclusions, and
theories like conspiracy shot through the room.

A stain of two handprints, splayed crimson
on one wall of the stage gave away

nothing, save for clues to some earlier,
maybe pleasurable, crime. In the end, we

poets withdrew to a few scattered groups,
did well what we came to do, and

despaired of your ailing, your absence.
Witnesses were not numerous, though

they clapped as any crowd would;
a local rag gathered all the evidence

after the fact, taking down names
for the photos of the diminished. Still

the missing were missed, and sinless
as a voice that’s aiming to speak.

after Sappho

                 And the moon has set,
And the Pleiades. It’s near
Midnight. The watch goes by,

                And yet time is still
As this bedside glass. A mere
Spectre, the void unfilled.

               And desire has drained
All the meaningful. The night’s
Left me. To dawn it slips,

              And weakness takes hold,
So over I turn. I’ll dream
Nothing. You know it’s late,

             And I lie alone.



…and again, the Tibetan shop yields to
             the cold, exiled from snow with glass,
a closed door. The owner – Good to see you!
             – knows my coat (a past sale)
but my face, after a year?

              I’d like A hat to match, or mitts. Truth is
something else. Strangers knit hope,
              a plea for the displaced, in the rainbow
wool I wear. Warm shelter, yet heavy
              for shoulders this thin.

At last, a tassled hat turns my head
              into a prayer wheel. He takes cash;
I accept free incense and a braided
               bracelet made for the sake of a monk
who, living, did not leave his cell.

               How do strands of so simple a gift
knot complex ties to my wrist?
               Bound, as the exiled unsilent
by vows of their own, to return,
               I buy a hat. Then backtrack again…


You are far away too, oh farther than anyone.
Thinking, freeing birds, dissolving images,
burying lamps.                                   

These men who spill murals with bare hands
dipped in tree-wash, in pure iron-mine blood, in
ground cobalt rainbows, fingers lacquered and flying:
                 they mount laddertops and windowsills
                 they dance on steeples of ice
                 they dig, thinking: here, only here!

These kids who steer rowboats with bare hearts
laced to shoe knots, stitching ditch-threaded miles with
weed-tassel wishes, laughter hooking back shutters:
               they mount ridged roofs and sail-tree rigs
               they dance as leap-frogs in sun
               they open, freeing birds: up, only up!

These days that drag dreamlines from bare roads
strung-out on whims, punching through rockface on
lake shoulder cellos, rainfall blurried and running:
               they mount windmill wings and ghosthouse eyes
               they dance from tin can to cliff
               they fall, dissolving images: gone, only gone.

These shadows that carve portions off bare rooms
snagged up on rugs, gulping chairs with small dogs,
want simple candles, outrage building past fury:
               we mount hasty rungs and tuck love in
               we dance to silences sung
               we close, burying lamps: once, only once—


sun, rising flag of Hirohito red; sky’s twin

               terns over harbour; skin on skin on Sunday

berthed duck, misplaced grey in rusted slip

               hollowed hulls; lips’ touch recalled; need

prowler city creeping into history’s lake

               mercury, hope in this fake spring

factory stacks’ steaming confections

               tug; ferry; expectation; ring of hotel phone

jet losing west, alone, yet faithless

               car-pearled necklace, asphalt strung

breeze-mated flags; passion; wrung sirens

                scaffold pendulum; your wired voice

gravelly rooftops; boisterous waves

                islands hooked concave; this dawning

latent love; flawed motes on memory’s sun

                splayed, life done, that thing below, floating

like us, unknowable; one determined boat

                 through years, notion of coming home.



Ingrid Ruthig is a writer, editor, visual artist, and architect living near Toronto, Canada. Her work has appeared internationally in numerous publications such as The Malahat Review, Descant, The New Quarterly, Cordite, Magma, Grain, and most recently Ditch. In 2005 her poetry won a Petra Kenney prize and the Eden Mills Writers’ Festival literary competition. Recent projects include a collection of her poems, the haiku sequence and companion artwork Slipstream, the book Richard Outram – Essays on His Work (forthcoming from Guernica Editions in 2010), and an extensive mixed-media series based on an in-progress manuscript. More information about Ingrid and her work can be found online at:

Published by lenavanelslander

Lena Vanelslander swam many waters. History, Comparative Culture Analysis, Languages, Mythology, Literature, Poetry, too many to sum up. After a life of tribulations the turning point came in her mid twenties: she started to write actively poetry in English. Her melancholic and darkminded nature colour her poems to an individual signature in both time and space. Poems got published in the Stray Branch, Savage Manners, the Delinquent and The Sylvan Echo. Her first chapbook ‘Ma Chanson de Rien du Tout’ has been released in September this year. Her first book of poetry, written with Marilyn Campiz, Quills of Fire, will appear in November 2009. Currently she edits writers' profiles for and

3 thoughts on “The Dazzling Oppression of the Real #7

    1. Ingrid’s poems are cryptic, thought-provoking, startling and…puzzling; wonderfully dark and beautifully written. They also point to a poetic ideal yet to be achieved where the words suddenly coalesce into a climax of new and brilliant something that will shake the literary world.

  1. Pingback: Ingrid Ruthig

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