Monday, September 23, 2019

Snow in the Temple of Memory and Hope

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On Saturday, June 30, 2018, 1:27 AM, Finn Harvor <> wrote:

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On Tuesday, August 29, 2017, 7:13 AM, Finn Harvor <> wrote:
Below and attached is my submission. Included is the text of the poem.

Finn Harvor

Name and duration of Film: Snow in the Temple of Memory and Hope, duration: 9 min 41 seconds
Name of director: Finn Harvor
Country of origin: South Korea
Contact details: fharvor @ fharvor @ Ph: 82-10-5696-5812.
Name of Poet: Finn Harvor
Name of Poem: Snow in the Temple of Memory and Hope,
Synopsis: Attached is "Snow in the Temple of Memory and Hope,” a poetic treatment of the life and death of my brother, who was also a poet. 
This is a mood piece about an encounter between two addicts: one an alcoholic living on the residue of a divorce settlement, the other a homeless person. The first is aware of the plight of the homeless but, in his guts, too afraid of being ripped off to do much for them; like all addicts, he has a morbid fear of losing his share of what it is that he is dependent on (booze). But he is also painfully lonely. This loneliness manifests itself in terms of a desire for friendship (which is not fated to be), and a deep sense of the past.
This particular work is from a book-length project entitled “Family Maps”, which in turn is part of a much larger text-image-and-music project entitled PLASTIC MILLENNIUM.

Filmmaker biography: I’m an artist, writer, filmmaker, and musician who lives in South Korea. I have published poetry and prose in a wide variety of literary journals, and my visual work (both drawings and videos) has been shown in Canada, the US, Greece, Korea, and Cuba.

For more detailed CV, see also:

pw: baramone


Snow in the Temple of Memory and Hope


Winter’s People

pw: baramone

Fade in.
It’s a cold day’s end
In downtown Montreal.
The sidewalks are
Crowded with office workers
And students –
The employed and
the employment-wishing –.
There are others, too, on the streets;
They linger more than walk,
And so, logically, should be extra-visible.
Yet, in the eyes of the stressed-out,
Society’s bustling winners,
This last group –
Impoverished, and too degraded to wish a salary –
Discarded and loosened,
And loose-change desiring –.
Does not exist at all.
All these street people are, in the eyes of the healthy,
The ranked successful,
Existentially gone,
Existentially vacuumed.
But my brother sees them.
He sees them
With pity
And multi-tiered fear.
He, with his bad skin, bulging belly, dirty coat,
Smelly hat,
Is, in fact,
Close to being one of them;
He wants what they’re often pan-handling for --.
he’s carrying it, glass heavy,
In his hand.
But even though his attention
Is focused on them
(the normal people disgust him),
When he sees their wrecked faces –
Francophone pale,
Inuit tan,
WASP red –
His heart goes out to them.
But despite this unfaked, comradely empathy,
His anxious desire for distance is primal,
His food supply
(Correction: liquid bread)
Shall not be shared,
Shall not be depleted,
And so he carries the 
Weight plastic bag,
Filled with bang-clinking
Full liters of Colt .45
(And for, good measure, 
one bottle of Blue),
And proceeds down Parc Avenue,
As determined to ignore the street people
As the office types
And pain-virginal McGillers.


The sidewalk is so frozen
Its slushy, then freeze-dried curlicues of kick-coloured ice
Are striated
Into clumsiness-causing shapes.
It’s hard for pedestrians 
To keep their footing.
“Got any change?” a man’s voice says.
My brother turns to it.
He thinks: a native guy –
Indian or Inuit,
He can’t figure out which.
He likes the man’s voice.
(In reality, the man is neither: 
He's a Chilean who was a refugee
Then a regular guy with a regular job
And a marrow-painful past: 
It all 
Crashed –
There's only so much
One bodysoul 
Can take.)
“Got some extra change? I need some food.”
My brother looks at the homeless guy;
His face is oval,
His skin is pocked –
Handsome and haggard at the same time.
He has good features that’ve been
Kicked around.
The homeless guy looks at my brother –
He has pales skin with cheeks both white with too much inside
And rawly reddened
By the cold.
But the reddening continues;
It climbs up the bridge of his nose
Like an ant up a tree,
And is on either nostril
Like red lights on a toy car.
And he has a big, bushy beard –
A beard so thick that it 
Looks animal:
Rough and wild
And flecked with odd substances.
My brother looks at the homeless guy
And knows he’s a drunk.
Inside his mind-guts: shame
That the homeless guy – whose eyes seem fixed
On the plastic bag in my brother’s hand,
With its four-bottle content,
Knows him, too – sees through his privilege and his apartment and his 
Spoiled doom.
Sees him as a drunk
Without even the courage
To plummet.
A moment of humiliation
Suddenly bursts.
“Sorry,” my brother mutters.
He walks on.

The earth, 
Which has been continuing its spin
Has moved Montreal farther
From sunlight,
And now the cloudy winter sky
Is at its deepest evening blue 
And grey.
The temperature drops another degree.
The ice on the sidewalk
Hardens its unevenness,
And cold water
Begins to fall.


My brother hears a plaintively vulnerable cry –
The shrunk meowing of an animal baby,
And spots a little cat.
It’s a tiny creature
Maybe an adult whose size
Has been limited 
By limited food.
The cat’s face – direct, humourless,
Ignorant of charm –
Looks right back at my brother,
Its mouth opening (teeth looking like model dinosaur fangs).
It meows again –
Meows rights into my brother’s heart.
My brother stoops to pet it,
The dear creature;
Stoops with his blurry, badly coordinated balance --.
Clunk-heavy clink --.
The cat flees, and my brother, straightening,
Harrumphing at this feline snub,
Doesn’t notice that his grip has weakened.
The bag of heavy bottles is snatched by the earth’s gravity
And breaks cleanly and multiply
On the hard street.
“Fuck, fuck, fuck! Godammit! Shit! FUUUUUCKKKKK!!!!!”
Passersby glance at my yelling bro,
And close their nostrils
Against the broken smell
Of spilled beer.
‘FUUUUCCCCCKKKKK!!” My brother’s rage is boundless –
And useless.
Cold, cold, cold.
He staggers another block
And turns his head
To the omniscient sky.
It, too, has its way of blinking.
Flakes of snow,
First tiny with cold tentativeness,
Are falling from the sky,
Then bigger.
These flakes,
Like spittle,
Fall on my brother’s face
And the memory of childhood
Fills him with such absoluteness
It is like –


Recalled: Ottawa, 1969 –
Walking with Mom, Dad and me
To a neighbourhood rink.
outside sensations:
The feeling in old, gone memory
Of living on a quieter, nobler planet --.
The feeling of great, pervasive quiet.
The feeling, too, that the past equals the present,
And has the power to enter it.
Inside sensations: our rickety home,
Our bright kitchen.
Skating for hours outside,
Returning to heat.


My brother suddenly remembers the homeless guy
And feels a big regret.
He feels like he just let down a friend.
He backtracks,
His movements a little more agile
Than they’ve been recently;
Like any addict, being denied his addiction
Cheers him up.
But the homeless guy’s spot is empty, now
The past is shoveled aside by the present.
Friendship-potential is – these are the odds – usually bombed into oblivion
By reality.
My brother keeps walking,
His face and hands
Turning more and more raw,
And he leaves the present
Once again,
And he walks down side-streets that are
Concrete portals,
Simple temple doors,
To childhood
And past. 

Finn Harvor

Friday, September 6, 2019

Tender as Tea

A new version of a videopoem now published as Former People in the chapbook The Baram Series.