Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The Cradle Which Once Sang is now Silent

I see your face in front of a setting sun,
soft E dissolving into minor sound

like railroad tracks at four in the afternoon when freight trains pass

on their way downtown, to congregate in
the industrial basin by the dry oxbows of a slowing river.
The activity in your eyes

is a flurry of snow, that mellows into Chardonnay,
then a debate about profit by association

and doors swinging open and shut – blinking eyes and a smile curled

into a perfect violin G.

You move your conductor fingers through your hair,
orchestrate a coven of words on the precipice of your lips
and sing an excuse

as you sail untouched through reality air. A world flares and dies.

I pick up consonants and vowels, arrange
and rearrange them into different tonal landscapes

until you might have said almost anything. That’s the way it is with Archeaology –
suppose and suppose again.

I sometimes hear nothing and it’s a beautiful song because I created it.
I sometimes hear the truth

and it becomes twisted into the voices of
ten thousand people in a crowded space. I sometimes shut out everything and watch

the tic in your left eyebrow, the way it falls and rises like tides.
There are times when you can carry me and times when
there is no support.

I sometimes hear a train on overused tracks complain. It transports
our heavy freight to tomorrow’s negotiated events.

Thursday, November 13, 2008


you didn’t grow up on my street
what the fuck do you know about how
to hide near nightfall or chase
the milk wagon for slivers of discarded
ice when July melts patchwork tar
in subdivision gutters and storms
slide along a slick horizon tearing
rain from cloud udders
or how November leaves rattle
in the graveyards of summer gardens
how winds leak through windows
and how we sat spouting Descartes
and beer after a day in the halls of
academia mixed with rebellion

oh it was future we created over
and over again with such fervour
and such music to a rhythm we’d never
heard before in the triangle of streets
we called the world of growing up
in Canada in Ontario in the region
of farmland and Mennonites in
the world which was never enough
when we could reach through our
radios and televisions into another
aspect of the whole world view

the universe explodes although there
is talk of the coming implosion
that fractal of the image I have
of myself sitting in front of a window
with a diminishing view of sidewalk
and lawn and rain falling gently onto
unraked maple leaves and a smell
of earthworms before the first
cigarette to celebrate another breath
in the world fast leaking out
of the door of life

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


This morning, over coffee with Winston Smith, I wondered how much wine
it would take to drown the radio, the tv; to liquify words entering my ears.

And how many preachers in the uncertain world of wrong are right. Dear
Winston, dear Julia, dear god who is the keeper of time; I guess the rules.

I assume in linear routes a way between the concrete and what a camera
can capture. An aspect. The deceit of one light while piercing the dark.

Yet without...I have six hundred books of memories hiking the valleys
of my brain. No trail leads to you. No war descends on you, just reports.

The journal of deceit, the travail poets in politics. My mother keeps falling
into the East European war of insane repatriation and recrimination. She

remembers the body-part shrapnel, the justifications, wonders why Saddam
Hussein’s family was crucified. What is the sense of repeating that

history repeats itself. Time is a fractal. Time is a word. Time is
the separation between experience and the newspaper reports of speculation.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Science tells us that the fire touch
we felt in a ‘67 Chevy deep in the woods
was nothing more than near grazing
of the atoms of our fingertips and tongues.

Yet there persists this confusion between
the sun streaming through the kitchen window,
lighting up the obligatory bowl of cereal,
dripping onto the bleak newspaper headlines –

and the inner mind’s perceptions of self,
the way we embrace impossible positions
and postures – how we position ourselves
against the inertial of history’s storyline.

And accept that nothing can ever be approached.

And pack up and move into societal creations.


Because it is better to have dreamed dreams
than it is to dream the possible positions

we might assume in sunlight and in rain –
in every time we reached out for the impossible touch.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

some things end badly and some end well.

some things are discovered ages later as coal or oil.

to be used for the profit of someone and something.

yet at the time it wasn't anything like that.

you see the sun rose on a cool autumn day and the rain which had for days clutched the north horizon froze.

it began to snow.

as we fell asleep we wondered if the snow would ever stop.

or if we would ever again wake up.

Friday, October 31, 2008

age cripples words as though
they track the body slowly easing –
or are a tree bent to almost resting
against the frost-touched ground –
the day the roses in the back
flower bed blacken and die –
as though they’re steaks
on the barbecue too long neglected
because the bottle of Bordeaux
has more finish than a desire to eat –
or the rhythm of our complaints
no longer draws us together like
opposite-poled magnets in
the magnetic field of understanding –
that position we reach when
we each have professed out love
and our need – that poses of
stubborn resistance to gravity between
two bodies moving inexorably
together while dancing to the beat
of separateness – lacking commonalities –
or a reason to share the same
breath of words at one time
and in one place which cannot be
as long as we are two duelling planets

Friday, October 24, 2008

Writing becomes origami zebras,
will not stop rain or falling leaves,
the red crush of descending sky.

Chicken Little lives, Chicken Little lives.

Wide-screen, HD oracles pontificate
zig-zag Wall Street Zeitgeist
in lieu of October baseball.

Immigrants stand outside Tim Horton’s,
smoke and discuss the thread
and needlework of impoverished pasts.

They nod their heads, they smoke and drink double-doubles.

Skateboarders rule the curbs,
an old man stumbles before catching himself
in the middle of twenty backwards steps.

We have money for the theatre; we have
money for the arts.

On stage, we give the man in his wheelchair
a standing ovation. His words and music
have moved us beyond ourselves.

Ten beggars congregate at city hall. A gong sounds.

Our prayers are urgent pleas to the origami gods –
an aging queen, six dead prime ministers.
Anything for a bottle of wine and a loaf of bread.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

God is Good at Dying

young, I learned the faith of cycles, how
hop-scotch adhered to rules and a toe
falling onto the sidewalk meant the end
of my turn,

or an unanswered question
in geography class confirmed that I knew
nothing beyond the neighbourhood of
my house, my blanket, my bed

positioned to a rising moon, the tug
of gravity, the riddle of a dark
through which street cleaning machines
wandered on summer nights

evaporated by morning dew and games
in the schoolyard, trips to the corner store,
conversations with ants and squirrels
scaling the corporate jungle trees,

societies withing spiralling aspects
of Kitchener, from Farmer’s Market
to the library, city hall and King Street,
snake eating its commercial self

and I watched it all die to be born again

stock market, house prices, the cost
of almonds compared to dates from
foreign countries, softener salt, razor blades,
retirement or continue working

faith in the market, throwing out floppy disks
of arcane programs, a wealth of
useless Windows © manuals, ten
years of National Geographic, vinyl music

the perfect karmic way to wealth,
good sex, good skin, low blood pressure,
a diet of pornography, ten children,
servant’s quarters about the credit card,

greed on demand and bodies igniting
in twenty thousand renditions of Jonestown,
the unimportance of a mere child, the way
the animal lurks behind a man’s eyes,

fear, fear, fear, greed, greed, greed,
twenty bottles of Bordeaux, one Burgundy,
a yacht, brushed brass appliances,
calamari on a salad bed drizzled with olive oil
to feed the void of bones where god continues to die

Monday, October 06, 2008

When my heart stops – it will be
with the midnight sound
of a freight train crawling west.

Goderich. Then north. Sudbury.

Then west – beyond redtail hawk’s
eyesight into the event horizon
of birch oceans swaying

like wheat sways in Saskatchewan

when storms bump and grind
their way to Ontario. When my
heart stops – time will drop –
icicles in indeterminate March.

The world will be perceived as
a negotiation of revival
for some.

When my heart stops – midnight

will consume the minutes
and hope will fill the empty
spaces between all the words

which once set sail for Byzantium

heavy with the raw oar freight trains
dropped at rail’s terminus –
my life in Canada.

Friday, October 03, 2008

The Stock Market

in the village of paper
fear winds topple the most solid structures

and nothing will ever be enough

I imagine a street person walking Key West street
in rainfall between sunshine and more rain

his backbone supports yacht devoured in sunset
and Chardonnay his song off-key and alien

in the city of Corvette and seaside real estate and fenced
privacy he is the alternative

stockbroker Bukowski yelling at the neighbours who cavort
as though the Morlocks will never collect

a penny a dime a quarter a dollar a get out of reality free card
somewhere on the boardwalk where a hurricane

becomes the landed immigrant changing everything
in a moment when exclusion from the club

doesn’t really matter at all

Thursday, October 02, 2008

The Man Who Lost His House to a Hurricane Has Emigrated to the Moon

from water to dust
and in movement away
there is a taste of rust

a feral release
and hunt for home
so far below the sky

a knapsack against footprint and sentence for the memory of

waves and wind lashing
life in ten thousand
pieces of flotsam

until water recedes
the battlefield of known
against unknown

and untenable circumstances of time and place

I look to a future which has failed to exist / somewhere beyond the Magellan cloud / a murmur
of small sighs and birthing cries / a swallow on top of the light above the door / the splintered
tree which once kept leaves / hop-scotch chalk on the cracking sidewalk / ice cream cones / cold
backyard beer / slivers of love wrapped tightly in hands and white sheets / a final warm sigh

and eyes which are
now insensate dust
and leaked potential

I walk the kingdom
of moon and marvel
at how oceans dream

how they become a crusade marching across the infidel face of land

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

History Lessened

these are the days of
eddies in the wetlands / slow
river meeting ocean / leaves
dancing in the thalwag

like confused mice
maze-bound / a surge
of days pushing events-detritus
into the songs whales sing

far out / where memory
can no longer see / where
the event horizon is
no longer breached / where

the world is a point and
the magician makes
everything vanish
and words are cracked

cobbles on a road
which is really a tin can /
string tied between beginning
and ending / or the point where

the bungee chord has accumulated
as much potential energy
as is possible and reacts /
flinging events back

helter-skelter / word storm / word
speed / you relate your
strobed history / I marvel
at the gaps / you fill them

with the hundred stories
you’ve considered and discarded
until now when the sun is low /
the wind picks up loose

stragglers / a stand of events sways
slowly south and life is
as fragile as the next day / you are
my mother / you are changed /

you are loved

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


Inside his clock, a man sees
time negotiate curves in an opposite
direction. He emerges into life
from death. Mid-aged sons and
daughters dwindle to his first
delivery room view. His wife
begins as a completed book and ends
with her first word on their first
date. And the man -- he falls
from crutches into a swimming
hole on a tepid summer afternoon --
surfaces as potential -- two
lovers on a rainy morning.

I lie on wet grass -- stare
into the hurricane's blue eye --
the clock-wise curls of energy.
Yesterday on the weather channel
the widdershins movement
froze me with approaching history.

Friday, September 12, 2008

if books read each other isn't that like making love?

well no / or yes / or an arranged marriage between reader and word /
the places we perch / the places we crouch / the places we orchestrate
in a flood of angel words / look for the rhythm / look for the love

look for the sun floating on a sea of sky westward / ever westward
like fame on a train to Hollywood posterity / notoriety / forever
searching along the beaches for tracks you might recognize as

a string extending from pyroclastic beginnings into the shallows
along a lazy river / fishing line disappearing into the face of God /
smiling Jesus Christ / twelve pages are asking for a divorce

Thursday, September 11, 2008

The Effortless Cost of Flying

you’d think time would behave / prow
to stern / and ripples be the children of moments’
hand shadows / hand puppets enacting
the play of events / you’d think you standing
in the line for coffee would throw a line
to the cashier / expect to be tied to a
shoreline of Tim-cups and hic-cups after beer

you’d think that events would settle like feathers
from a tagged swan swimming in the park
pond / you’d think the statues would stand up
and swim to their place in molasses history
entangled in sunsets and white chairs escaping
from patio café’s / arms akimbo / unaccustomed
to any freedom outside the pages in which they survive

you’d think the story would take chapter breaks
for coffee or tea / and perhaps an instructor willing
to lead through stretching exercises designed to
leave space for desert / a saccharin denouement
after the plot has thickened and stalled on the same
rocks forever moving us through history / one unit
like another / unlike anything else / a prejudice

Sunday, September 07, 2008


from crib to grave a reason
that sunlight strikes the innermost places –
alights like wind on the backs of October leaves
and whips them down the street
and they become – the waking dream
which twists bone into steel – milks
magic from the backbones of evening meals –
infuses the streets to the movie house
with the ethics of heros – injects speech
into the voices of the mute and irons
the wrinkles from a game of street hockey
played Saturday night under full moon
and a full house of houses – each with a vision
that flickers between them being there
and not – some bodies have set sail
for tropical sands – some bodies have
lost their oars – and a bottle floats – an empty
bottle floats out of dead eyes whose last
vision was the miracle of a full sink
of dirty dishes – oh hallelujah! hallelujah! --
from crib to grave the dishes march –
toy soldiers – tin gods – no time to prepare for war
when the dishes wait to be washed –
oh hallelujah! – five sinners and a patriot
were born from the game and a smiling face
went to Russia – another starved while insane –
oh hallelujah! the world is upheld
with miracles – the world is guided by faith –
six boys are being called home tonight –
John / Gord /Bob / Tim / Maurice / and Sid –
all from the edge of an ocean and the sound
of creaking timber – some ships negotiate
the whitecaps of humanity – travel without wind –
travel by worlds grouped into magic spells –
and each sentence is a pull of the oar –
each fantasy breaks down the concrete of reality –
each movement of the dance decides
the patterns in the swarming seconds –
from crib to grave life is the dream against the pain

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Rio de Janeiro

These faces lost are found again –
everywhere a reminder of
the disappeared / the unaccomplished /
the thread stretched / out of the door
and into a sultry night / a southern route
that snapped.

Your face – which becomes
the neighbourhood’s face / the city’s
infrastructure / the moment when / you turned
and someone
remembered your smile –
this face is silent.

This face is rain and drought.
It fades into memory knots
that unravel between
August and December. We are
reminded one moment / again before
colour turns to / sepia

and new loves are / consummated / on a dwindling pile of ashes.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Leaving With Snowfall

here's your coat - snow is falling
on the same countryside
again this year - everything as different
as deja-vu - except the drapes
have been replaced
the puppy has wet
in the corner by the sink
and where the sun strikes
the kitchen table
the flowers are gone
as temporary as summer
clouds hugging sunset - placed
there to collect colour for
a moment - just that -
a moment of sustained note
in an aria speaking to lost
love and life and hope against
that mood which crushes
my heart - that mood which
makes us roll apart as though
we are lepers or the whores
of need - that mood which
propels us in circles -
a hawk on autumn wind
discerning mouse from brown
leaf and natural shivers -
history laughing at
its limited repertoire of tricks -
one cat skinned in one
thousand and one ways

Friday, August 29, 2008

I am

street wo/man schlepping a cart of words
down avenues I’ve known since sentences
first gave birth to stories

rumours and smoke signals on a summer breeze

I sit

against bricks and the fantasy needs create
to validate to oil progress
against all advice

a civilized world has decided is law

I cry

for the unrealized loss
as though life and potential
have again been aborted

for the sake of stories with recycled words

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Take One Giant Step

Nothing we said was true. In the same way
sun seems confused in some windows
and rain rallies in the ninth inning
of separating clouds. Or waves lie
when going through customs on foreign
beaches. We were part dream and part
realization that reality has never existed.

Our senses were abstraction and August
wind rattling through the blinds of ‘67
leaving rat-print tracks on the curve
of the second-hand dresser and green walls
and your passionate shoulders in moonlight.

In the morning there was a residue of truth
and the odour of the past burned away.

We began new constructions from ruins.
Destroyed and created like mad urban planners
unwilling to commit to one path and one
style. We made little progress
stuck in the muck of memory and fantasy.

This afternoon you sit and accept
the sun alighting on your shoulder
and the sun is an old friend
and confidant in a life where shadows
contain truths we have never
found a way of expressing.

Everything we say has become the way to
another truth. There is no room for lies
no room for a progression in which
we might live and be.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Slow Service

Don’t know (want to know) the coffee stain’s
history on white tablecloth
a formal stain in an informal situation
in the eddies events almost create
like doused arguments leaking potential
fire in a café corner.

Or the sun almost singeing your face
with glare (you sparring like a fighter)
and the air has become
a drumbeat of words. Secret messages
from the before you
of tomorrow and today?

Or lost potentials
(the island having risen to become
a continent again subsiding)
such as autographs nearly collected
concerts nearly heard downtown
something imagined nearly conceived.

We wait patiently for the waitress
to clear spent dishes
and lipstick-smeared coffee cups
a napkin become used origami
so we can order over coffee stains
and mark this spot as again having been.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Smudges on White Paper


red fox was always slow / teeth protesting extraction
in so few words /and the confusion of light
continued to become

vowel / consonant /consonant / vowel / pretty pattern

something to sing or hear /in footsteps / in tree branches / a leaf
against cloud sky / wind rhumba
a failing of smiles / and a casual hand / hard table top

soft food / cold drink / white tablecloth / knife / fork / fallen spoon

and concrete earth / below sensual breath / red for beef
and sweet deserts / slow red fox / behind the pack and unable
to catch up / knots confusing meaning

before you came / leaving already in the air / like October in July

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Emigration’s Endgame

On the recliner in her Waterloo den,
she senses Europe and

nothing has changed now for ever more,

nothing at all, though her language becomes English
and the books she reads track the foreign territory
of love swirling in an American drink.

In a Slovakian drink, she dances
with all the soldiers and all the prejudices
we now can’t acknowledge,

can’t believe are real,

those phantoms on the face of a changing moon
prowling a crippled night,
when the eye sees no land but homeland.

She accuses me of being the confused traveller
born, but fallen out of time, my soul
sinking into the quicksand heart of a Kitchener street,

foot heavy on the gas pedal
cruising a crumbled downtown,

dreaming of nothing
that ever existed in her here.

Friday, August 01, 2008

The Last Day of Poetry

we were detained and wordless / directed
to an island where waves washed ashore
no new ideas alive /we were

questioned concerning the glue we used
to bond one word to the next / and how a line
drawn on downtown sidewalk could become

a soul riding storm clouds / we were
inn guests in an innless world / abandoned
on a pier / brushed aside like a spider’s web

which stands between one point and the next
on everyman’s walk through time / we were
the sweaty dream on an August night

that pushes a wedge between a dollar
and the sound of the perfect word
dancing with the perfect note

we were misunderstood

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

The Conflict

rain falls in two parts–
want and
don’t want

(or an epic struggle between lawn-mower and beer on the deck)

as I feel when you care
or politicians do although
you must know they don’t

care for anything beyond the wastelands of the public purse
but / but / but

this is a thought about how we drink coffee on the deck
and the sun is rising against the other side of the house–

at eight in the morning
we half-finished the newspaper somewhere
between births and ads
I stretch for the comics

and you ask for the daily menu of events (daybook still
thought dishevelled by a lack of place)
I already in afternoon

and knowing which wine I want with dinner
which television I don’t want as the last light is flicked off
like a dream
onrye/holdthemayo/and damnthetorpedoes

racing for the future while the past
seems still so very quite a serviceable tool

Friday, July 11, 2008

Back Stage Disney

in the ordinary world

bedclothes and breakfast ornaments


lives the common life

roasting ants with a magnifying glass and

the words in books
against encroaching bodies

I have a dream
it rattles off the rules of every world
ever built by man

I have a dream
that waves fall in supplication to
concrete poured this morning

and love is a skittish rabbit running
back yards in the neighbourhood of

the way July
bleeds into September

I have a dream regarding love
and making love
and making peace

while the paint on the garage door dries
and the doves in the side yard pine coo
to the history of

the differences between a European refugee
and those escaping African genocide

as though a bullet would know the difference
or a social faux pas

or the sun setting on towering pines
and not on mangos / banana trees /a coral reef

or the sun setting
against our concrete kiss on the border

where the ants struggle against the universe of garage
and the gods remain confused

about boundaries

Tuesday, June 10, 2008


in a field constrained
by cultural fences
though wild in veneer
they stare at the wind
riding shape-shifting clouds
with a twisted sneer
and consider cars
racing into the heart
of the triple crown
home money children
and huddle by the far fence
at a place where
the grass grows tall
in dreams for the stream
eroding the upper places
to the commons
where pilgrims hunt witches
or a white lightening-bolt
is swallowed by the green giant

Sunday, June 01, 2008

-- old poem, working towards the next chapbook --

Living in a Disarranged Home

I fold what remains
of today into Ella’s voice
and Satch’s brass; arrange it
in a drawer of alleys,
where weak lights are turned on
by weary tradesmen
and doors, set in mortar,
in stone and bricks, lack
any sense of definition
or destination.

I dress a statue
of Christ in a French maid’s
black and white uniform,
place Him by the window
where He can’t watch frail
boats on steel water, where
He can’t feel the desert
in this city swept with snow
and intermittent rain. I trust
that He will know
how to sweep up and make sense
of the ashes clinging
to everything in my mind.
Without grace, I pray for this.

In this dusk,
my mind is a motorcycle,
my hands are the curves
in gravel roads, my hair
is the wind courting barbed
wire fences which stretch
between one thought and the next,
which are the crowns worn
by those who desire.
Oh, I lust to suckle on Ella’s voice,
to flow into a room from a horn,
to smell the oiled rags
of long dead relationships,
to stare at a clear sun riding
the wings of crows strafing
cold fields and not
this drop of blood leaking
from the sky like dust,
like a tear.
Thunderstorm Grass

Subdivision sunset/roses fade/maple lurks
and the sky bleeds from blue to black.
The child within/the child who never sleeps/
the child who ran the backyard fences
and thunderstorm grass/the child who explored
the basement caves of a thousand musty houses/
the child who slide into home plate
on every ball diamond in the city/that child
recreates each moment on the ashes of the last.
There is no dam to hold back time/there is
no time which contains the child.
Child and time/time and child through
the swirling atoms which have for a moment
settled and become this image already gone.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Buggies and SUV's

Three horses stand in snow,
snort, shuffle their hooves

in Hawksville, Ontario,
where Mennonites reside.

We're on another Sunday drive
through countryside,

from Kitchener
and its crumbled
facades and habitues

and mated Waterloo, where
condo’s sprout, are consecrated

for each and every student
able to afford to get ahead.

There is a University
Of Waterloo initiative

for outbreak, innovative
new-science businesses.

Three horses stand in snow,
snort, anxious to move on.
Anne’s Song

The wrong faces in a crowd,
the displacement
in juxtaposition and coping
with fact and fantasy –
when neither will give up
and end – when pebbles
are too weak to form a beach
as crucible for charging waves
and midnight cannot pass
into another day because
decisions are still dying
on the clothes-line in October.

the craft of sentence is place-
marker between sentience and
the construction of myths/
how concrete is a lower
caste to tooled gold
and morning robin and worm
are scorned by war-monger hawk
alighted on up-drafts

power to deconstruct quickly/
power to initiate laws for behaviour

but you said/say the small
things/describe in bite-
sized bits/so this morning/
lying in bed/sun revelation
to a grackle chorus/these birds
blind to history/I looked behind
your curtain of ‘if you really loved me’/
saw the winches and the sweat/
your struggle to be powerful
Circle #2

dead places/with memories
and words with neither gender nor time

a south-facing chair while sun sets
and lines stretch/dark cadavers of unravelling history

life is
a sentence/
life is
a door

in evening breeze/a carnival is closing soon/ acrobats/shooting galleries/
the lady who can’t exist/sand dunes creep across the meadow of important things/

tents a-falling down/child’s laughter/a simple song/the shadow of a janitor
sweeping with indifferent stroke/shreds of events cling to undiscovered corners

life is
a promise/
life is
a bus stop

bus leaving for faith

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Circle #1

we arrive at
train station/cold/sun
carrot soup spilling
over rooftops/love
knot of/coffee
inhabits paper
cups/heat of running
for something flushes
our faces/we arrive
having worked out
the dictionary/having
slept/having been too
hungry to think/cold
disembarkment from
red wine/we arrive
under a flag of
truce/bitter at how
the war evolved/believing
in the Disney book
of history/sprinkling stories
over stale croissants/at
20:13h/when the islands
of heaven have drifted
away and I hold
your hand yesterday

Monday, May 26, 2008

You go to your Corner, I’ll go to my Room

t’was now on an unrelated matter
between glasses of Pinot Grigio –
gourmet meal with mosquitoes and traffic –
and I wanted to say to you that –
but chose poetry as the bullet (no fatal
shot there) which left a wound

possibly mathematical symbols tattooed
on the silverware would have sufficed
though I can’t imagine how – shotgun
scatter of outcomes for each event –
or a smattering of smart philosophy
leaning heavily into the Kant be done

If the complexity of a buck’s rack
were based upon the age of the deer
our marriage would be impossible
to unwind or lift – as are all the words
and phrases we’ve burdened with
so much meaning and intent

that they’ve become meaningless

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Voice and Other Vices

voice – use it you said unspecific
about the body parts words shed –
snake skin onions
and olive oil in the frying pan –
sizzling with the heat of rumours

last Monday I wrapped an adjective
around that lamppost down
there where our street converges
with the next and we rise
in the stream-flow index –
mercurial voyage downtown

where we drink decaf in the afternoon
before wine with dinner
conversations reliving
the building-blocks of each hour
spent and not forgotten
with all the meaning of Hallmark cards

use it you said – expressive
and expansive searching the veins
of our siamese existence
for that deadly virus neither of us
really want to flush
The Artist

Their refuse was recycled with character –
haunted wine bottle eyes, copper chest sinews,
gaping soup can mouth, all welded loosely
to a sprocket brain by wires and child-like whimsey.

Oil-drum feet were moored in concrete
ponds. Art reached into the front yard
trees with aviator arms, disdainful of all
neighbourhood protests and pleading petitions.

On sunny days, the artist climbed the old maple
to sit beside the behemoth’s chicken soup
grin and spy into nearby alleys,
where dilapidated hookers lounged.

Long into red sunsets, he contemplated new-age
art and the inflated price of decent garbage.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

How Many Sides Does an Argument Have?

With music, the first bad note comes just before the certainty the sheet music is correct and my eyes can see direction in a dot.

How could that certainty exist when I never play a song the same way twice? And the tepid air in my room never pushes the keyboard’s sound to the same places each time I sit down to play a tune.

In poetry, each revision is a new poem, or a lost poem I thought I’d found, as though I hear a voice I’ve heard before – a voice I can’t associate with a conversation I’m certain we’ve had.

In the same way, you and I are a daily recreation, though so many parts seem not to have changed since we first met. And the arguments remain the same – drum breaks between the violins.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Waging War

change is the fairytale told
and hung on a clothes-line

I get up in the morning
the sun slithers between

Lackner Boulevard and
Lackner Woods

in the morning you can't
sit on the front porch

this is a place for evenings
and light faintly trickling

to the bottom of the driveway
as though seasons occur daily

one day a squirrel disappeared
beneath the wheels of an SUV

yesterday i cut down a tree
and the birds were silenced

when I turn on the computer
there is war everywhere

mimicking the latest PC game release
and the political of a country at war

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Certain Words

in certain words I hear the sea/the waves in full iambic poetry
against basalt outcropped like noses sniffing sentence wind
riffing/riffing detritus from the history of sea

and I perceive in the muted movement poetry of hands reaching
across tables/the air in treacherous rooms/sunlight confused
by windows/I see the plots novels love so well in evolving

moments/infant/child/a maple tree beside the drying river
in August/farewell encased in concrete/asphalt as a
forgive me card/road sign stamp on forgetfulness

and I imagine the way we’ve lived our lives together to a fault
the way a casual acquaintance would imagine us after
reading our names in the newspaper under accident victims/

lost in a fire/divorced/proud grandparents/lottery winners/
opening a business/losing a loved one/writing a novel/
in a tsunami swept out to sea/clinging together/praying

in the language of relationships/only choosing certain words

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

May 06, 2008

Through the window now open
after the cold of last week,
I hear our neighbour’s gas
lawn mower as he works
the spinning blades
across his front yard.

It’s four in the afternoon,
he’s home from work.
This morning, in the still cool,
I mowed our yard.
You’ve asked me to define
retirement. This is it.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Reading Poetry 325

Hosted by Alex Waters, Internet Poet.
Published online, not in print.
Has his own blog and is a force
on Facebook, where his wall
is constantly assaulted by fans
of his direct speech concerning
the will of words directing language.

His primary focus is on family
and friends as they influence
the dichotomy between the pressures
of work and children.

Expect to see language both
explode and implode around
the ties between the kitchen and
a back alley. Learn what modern
poetry concerns itself with.

Be prepared to offer both fresh
poetic creation and critique.
Be prepared to be ignored.
Go on living and do not expect
a good mark simply for
attending and for being alive.

Remember that all the poets
before you have accomplished
everything that you could ever
imagine. Be prepared to explain
why the poems about you
are not. Then go on to live
in that way.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Wine Poem One

If I could
take a piece of wood
and sculpt it into
the Madonna giving birth
I wouldn’t need to
ever write another poem.

Or scour the depths of a dysfunctional language to discover
time’s ectoplasm and suspend it in effigy above each piece
of stitched together memory called history.

But these are more banal times devoted to an abused remote
and big screen HDTV philosophy along with MP3 and the
mystery of on-line gambling feeding frenzies free.

In the modern
dumping-ground of utility,
the next millennium's
anthropologist will find
the working grist of
self-immolation jn ecstasy.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

3 a.m. Blue

wanna run through
the one, two, three, o’four clock night
a naked note and celebrate
the vanished sanity
of language, the way trees
become locomotives through the quiet world
the root and river world of earth
the way buildings are transplanted and grown
as high as the relative imagination
of snapshot light on a misplaced corner
where more than one is gathered
in bus stop tones
and the liver of love drowns
in the bars of expectant wood
dreaming of becoming a bookcase
a sideboard, a headboard, a cross
slashed into the earth of love

or a tear waiting to fall
because language is expectation’s disappointment

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Happening At The Zoo

I watched Guantanamo gorilla through the chain-link grate doe-eyed
disinterest the way passing Cuban (we contained by bus) considered
us – tourists on a tour of the other world with its otherwise like us
culture twisted the way our front yard mulberry tree twists towards
the driveway and our two cars parked forever homage to a garage
full of things unfit for house for marriage and for home decorating

and I considered the considerable of cages (caught) containing even
this wind leaking from sunset down the boulevard of verandah
the verite of vermillion eyes encased by square links and the certitude
that escape is only a way of discovering other cages craftily constructed
to contain the considerable conclusions of our hapless helplessness
in the dull moments we cry out our failures to care or love enough

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Boomer-Ku (Spring Rituals)

maple larva unfurl, tide from the womb,
sun's palm warm on dormant grass, slight
snow shawls deserted in north yard shade

I stand in my suit, wait for you beside
the car, impatient with sour anticipation
of the journey to Mt. Forest and yet another


Thursday, April 03, 2008

Boomerku 2

in the book store I’m inundated with ideas
though tide edges away from rocks to touch sand
and arrange homogenous patterns
and I’m inclined to wash dishes
mow the unruly lawn short
clean the washrooms before lunch
tie my thoughts into Gordian knots
and have a glass of amber wine

Wednesday, April 02, 2008


what began with words is ending in the same way–
book litter, idea litter and life library where will and power of attorney is the denouement
before a chair, a window and the pecking order of diminishing perception

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

A Drink Becomes History

Time sinks through moraines until
it finds bedrock like rain slowly
settles into a parched landscape.

Last month when we drank water
I wondered when we were
drinking–a day in 1969,

rain falling on asphalt like music,
or restless wind shuffling memories,
a deck of 51 cards a fortune teller

reads? Today sunshine spins around
me as I dance to call rain
from the treetops where it sits, raptor.

Do you remember? I wore purples
and white. We made love and the moon
bowed to the sun, laughed and said, brother.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

The Impossibility of Love Affairs in Book Stores

in the year of self-help I draw circles with my blood

a slow scrawl as though a drawl or accent
from an ancient country has invaded
the spirit of my left hand

and you materialize as a dance movement
insecure as the identity of clouds

in the year of the pronoun we have become
a trade store on a New Orleans side street
somewhere where there once was Jackson Square

and we genuflect to the sweeping actions of too many words

pray for poems and coffee grounds and for those trash men
who will take away the litter life and love leaves
against the shoals of our shifting memories

where were and is are nothing more
than the latest argument of falling leaves that surf
November winds and dream of cleansing snow

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

The Aging Parent Brings Guilt

If I could die
sometime before the information age
I wouldn’t have to know

how burnt leaves find deep gutters
in sub-divisions stamped
upon wild topography

before graders, before steam shovels
and boundary lines
the social level directing smoke

from unattended barbecues–

before I remember you
standing between the maple and the pine
staring into the distance

as though the horizon is Slovakia
on a summer evening,
boats negotiating the Danube

chickens in the graveyard
like tarnished memories of where
they’ve been– port to port to port–

wave to wave in the time machine


at ten in a narrow room
in the chemical drift of air
from bowels and umbilical chords
we converse about
the care of one patient,
the potential to meet certain
standards and once there
that patient
to be unleashed upon the world
as though reality can be sloughed
for the greater dream
of a budget balanced
by every minute saved
in hospital ware

A Season Sensed Out of Season

Oh October–
brittle wind slapping the granite faces
of a downtown buried in
the important game of business–
let’s find the reason for shoes
on the beach and mutual funds
in the cribs of babies crying because
it’s too far past feeding time–
let’s find the celebration in leaves
curled down sidewalks, across
railway tracks and into the back yards
of old men with rakes and bad backs–
let’s make money–
let’s allow cold lovers in outdoor cafés
one last hug under an extinguishing sun,
one last kiss with brittle lips
that taste like wine and sex–
let’s feel our words lose their strength
in stingy sentences, in lame gaits
down hallways, through bars,
to the theater, in the aisles of grocery stores,
in churches, in the office;
while we walk to our chair facing
the western neighbourhood
through insensate panes, where a snowflake
drifts for a moment, confused
by whether it’s a fragment
of funeral gown, or genesis.

On the Assumption That Y is my Lover

This is a spontaneous desire
and I’m walking home to nowhere.

During the sunset of words on a plane
spanning pages as though history,

the knife I use to carve has gone mad,
slicing crescent moons from the fingertips

of my memories. I have
nowhere to go, no destination to find.

This is the result of expunging assimilation,
leaving those distinct traces of self

like bread crumbs on a roadway leading
into the abyss of between you and I,

the point where we decide who is
rock and who is wave–

who is wind society and who
is rain, the relationship somewhere

between love and a rotting place.

This Knowledge

everything is exposed by light–
I’ve walked down that trail
beside river and time–
fished the waters of memory
until waterfalls wash away
the lingering odour of life

and light follows me one
breath at a time–across
the savannah of days–
stepladder down the procession
of experience–hidden
acorns on an unbiased field


Know that I can’t sing a right-sided note,
but I wrote the words and that chord,
which hangs like a cloud on the brim
of a deep winter’s day–which flies
like an insane sunbeam down the alley
of the chorus–know that I cried
when I played it with the accompaniment
of a broken voice, which yours has healed.

Speed Bumps

sure, time, the origami memories
you fly thought early morning hours,
crash against these windows,
not those looking into the Danube’s maw

and claw through a million years

life is a fractal forever mimicking
greater things like stars and planets careening
through the void you feel so
dearly as the space between a window

and six squirrels running the hydro lines

time is one moment hop-stepping
after another until I see you walking Chaplin step down
the boulevard with your cane followed by your shadow’s
shadow’s shadow’s shadow forever looking in

to the empty places of disappeared things and events