Saturday, February 28, 2009


repetition of self
greater than

the whole
but no progress
just repetition

God might be speaking about His creation

or we are left to ponder genetic by-laws –
extinction for speeding against the grain
Memory and Rage

Justin – time moves. Even
in Montreal.

Somalian immigrants settle
on the rising Canadian shield.

There’s a traffic jam
on the Highway of Heroes.

Ducks are dead in oil sand effluence.
Vancouver/Toronto drown in drug wars.

And you want to honour volunteers.
Perhaps they’re watching

an aging parent die neglected
in a hospital bed at the end

of an unswept hallway. Perhaps
they’re driving downtown

in a GM product. Perhaps they’re
shopping on line for sex dreams

or leaving for Cuba in March.
Perhaps they’re unemployed

and waiting at a food bank.
Selling a house they’ve been in

since their children were born.
Perhaps they’re learning the lyrics

to a new protest song – watch us
watch us watch us watch us.
River Walk Winter

There’s form
in the abstinence
of absence. White space
where the bent branch
for years brushed against
passing river water.
In sheared time.

I wasn’t witness to the cold
moment of severance. Snow
throughout day and night.
Cat o’ nine tails crying – wind
from the American center.
And this river escaping
its banks. Running free.
Revving dangerous ice.

With children, between one day
and today emotional weather
changes. Unseen elements
suddenly strut the boulevard
of parent and child relations. I’m
amazed I don’t recognize
I communicate with fable.
A limb of societal norm
has disappeared.
White space floods relationship.

Between words there is
enough room for a universe
to flicker and find life.
There are streets to walk.
Store fronts to browse. Parks
to explore. There’s time to watch
night descend from
the chariot of sun. There’s time to
find a room above
a bakery. Time to shop
for furniture. Arrange clothes
in the closet. Iron shirts
against the need
of looking for work. Cook
a meagre supper.
There’s time to sleep.
And awaken from restless
white seas.

Between you and I
a universe of words
flourishes. Frail words
in a soil once tilled now
abandoned to weeds
and weak promises.
Emotions in cruise control.
The safety of repetition.
Silverware in its place. Cups
filled with filtered water
and futures fabricated
in China by slave labour.

And all the words fall
into the white hole.
The missing. The corners
of conversations and time
which we could never fill
yet always felt
were so important that
we could not continue without them.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

And After 1952?

The repetition of images in a slide-show is
a parade down King Street past the Biltmore
which has morphed into a late-night club
where across the street Diane’s Restaurant
once was, a Friday walk from Waterloo into
Kitchener, for a hamburger and coke, before
walking further to Heintzman’s to listen to
45's straight from the era of rebellion.

Nothing I learned from that era prepared me
for where I am today, on crumbing streets
in a crumbing economic environment –
retiring man, walking away from old buildings
housing dying industries – retiring man
drinking coffee with street people in Tim Horton’s,
watching sunrise creep down city streets
like an invading army of MBA graduates.

My mother sits in her back room (cancer survivor),
watches birds fight for the seeds she spreads
across the deck beyond the family room sliding doors,
tries to control access to food between
raptor squirrels and innocent doves –
pontificates about her memories of Dresden,
the Tatras and DP camps, spins another thread
through what discrimination means when
you are force-fed into an alien culture

and I remember shorelines, waves, that crashing
against rock, the first feel of sand beach
after all the effort to become, to become,
to be a part of the history breathing around me –
person in distress unless I preform AR/CPR
to substantiate that which I’ve pinged off of,
man on the street, giving interviews which
make people laugh because they’re not
the reality they grew up in, or the reality
they could ever follow, the way I follow
forest paths, covered in snow, just waiting
for the first spring flower to bloom.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Knitting and Time

The exact cost of imperfection is this –
nothing is retrievable / the bullet of history
does not reverse direction, nor come
to rest on the calm beach / in the quiet cove.

This is all a matter of mathematics / the way
my father said / after his stroke / that he was
one hundred and ten percent / and we were
left to imagine exactly what that meant.

We had to suspend reality and imagine that
a lessening of capability and potential
was not negative / but rather positive / the result
of roots on an irrational number line.

Nothing was proven / though one could not deny
that there was a certain potential for possibility.

There is also a potential for fraud / for lies
in the arbitrary way we denote west as different
from east / the melting of reason which occurs
fifty steps across the border of conformity.

Or how love becomes the sheer stress between
people / how an inability to be blind is seen
as the malady of not seeing. And so I remain
at a loss for words / for shutting down reason.

In a crucible of change / I continue to observe
and remember / how the world becomes smaller
with age / how windows continually narrow
until the only thing we see is one isolated atom

and that one atom is as powerful as any false god
has ever been in our worlds of personal deceit.