Sunday, May 31, 2009

Self Portrait

How harsh and hard my lines
intersect memory, noon sunshine,
ignore those clouds a concern
somewhere in the belly
of experience and summer,
small moments leaking heat,
dust, cracked clay, bleeding
concrete odors spiders exude
in basements, on grass green
and glue for bare feet already turning
gray as though October is
born prescient, always leaves
departing on slow freight trains.

The eyes turned south
are north of destination,
hair longer than social fashion,
mouth open on a word,
tongue turned into verbs,
fingers flexed around
a gesture slipping off
the page of present, past a belt
holding up potential, body half-turned
to poetry, wearing photography,
forever never arriving
at an imagined destination,
the way history arrives in a text –
counterpoint to another version,
another experience, another day added
to the menu, yet never in season.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Moving Pictures

The view is dark
but not without
woodwinds and expectation,

an explanation of character study,
then, when the wings
have been filled with names,

there is panorama
into micro focus,
and we are left awash, almost

drowned in the suddenness
of action,
a confusion of words –

time ticking and terminal,
then running away
in a series of scattered photos.

There isn’t a hand to hold,
not in rain or laughter,
nor is there a place to sleep,

awake, remember and recover
because light is a highway
of this and not that, the place

where I lack this movie’s answers.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

After Abstracts

Death leaves,
as well as love.
Feeling abandoned,
time follows.

In the corners
of this room,
a rustling.

I’m riding
my bicycle,
the sun,
in a tu-tu of clouds,
dances the sky

and the moon
which graces
Australia, listens,
learns lyrics
only sung by gypsies

on asphalt bending
into the momentary place
I thought.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

A Farewell to Abstracts

Nine this morning,
I sipped coffee
and death walked out.
No look back,
no metal and manufactured
laminates slammed
into a shivering frame.
No, death simply went
and he was gone.

At ten-twelve, love
rose from her place
at the kitchen table.
She ignored me,
the moon remained
in heaven, the air
dividing us refused
to become an ocean
and dishes in the sink
stubbornly huddled
in their grimy coats.
Love followed death
and she was also gone.

At half-past eleven,
I contemplated a lunch
of tuna and lettuce rinds,
heard the whispered pace
of time, neither rapid,
nor slow, in the upstairs
hallway, then descending.
Time ticked and clicked
as he passed my place
in the livingroom.
He briefly glanced
at the blank page
in front of me,
then he was gone.

Alone, I continued
my search for
a word – large enough
to fill an empty page
with poetry – a word
smaller than love,
death, or time, yet
more far-reaching than
the universe of I.
Mind Palpitations After Another

In the valley of city, there are asphalt trees,
direction warbles in the shrubbery of contradictory signs.

Windows are blue pools, which eddy and babble
when opened and closed with the irregularity of care.

The street vendor is a rock, his eyes quartz; radicals
on the dolomite sidewalk when a young girl skips by.

there was a murder / I could mention a name / by tomorrow it will have changed

Friday, May 22, 2009

The Philosophy of Writing

In the end, no matter
how many times
you send out words
cobbled together
in the shape of boomerangs,
none return
and you forever
mourn their absence.

This is the same
desolation you feel
when the music fades,
the drummer stands
and swaggers into the wings.

The audience exits
by the closest door,
deep in conversation
about next week
when the entertainment
will be –
and you are left to linger
in a streetlight circle.

A hesitant wind begins,
trees tango with the moon,
you hear a dog
three blocks away
and no bar is close enough.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

You’ve never believed in script writers 

Keep it improvisational,
is the mantra – wings
through autumn air – that swirl of leaves

our neighbour describes
when pointing at the maple.
An infestation of clowns has been enticed

to climb in and out of the windows
of our relationship vehicle –
you plunder their clown greasepaint,

pirouette in their exaggerated footwear,
mimic their histrionics, speak
slapstick – anything to avoid the heart –

anything to convince the gathered crowd –
you’re the midway shill for soft landings
onto unforgiving concrete fantasies.

I’m a café umbrella, advertizing beer,
Toronto skyline, jumbled street lights,
red hand adamant against red light –

taxi avoiding another Saturday night ride check,
door locks and safe sex,
a salary between nine and five o’clock,

cocoon for our children. You’re a leaf
liberated by the dysfunction between
time and how the maple mourns vanished seasons.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Moving On

I’d like to say a few things about the soul
in man, as found on certain streets I’ve walked.

I’d like to confirm my commitment to
the ingress of experience, the egress of
doubt; state that the greatest fear we have is,
once asleep, asleep becomes the solid state.

I’d like to affirm my arms will never reach
across those gulfs I’ve always failed to negotiate,
because my reach is no more than a shadow that
fades just short of racing imagination.

I’d like to make an omelet for breakfast, do
the dishes, straighten the bed, repair the crack
which journeys, unfettered between the bathtub
and the tiles. I’d like to paint the living-room.

All that will mean much more when we’re
prepared to sell this house, than will a poem
taped to the fridge door, bordered by screaming
smiley faces, a ketchup stain and signed,

Don’t forget the mouthwash.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Because the substantial (the corporeal firmament) is validated by light

I think of you, from zygote to senility – as linear and unbroken
history – a woodland walkway defining voyage and destination –
unaltered by external stress – the entire egg, uncracked.

You are a motion picture show, a face and body that flows
from baby fat, through corporate lean, desire, dread and death –
you are a memory, even as events begin to unfold.

I see you twenty years from now, on a cedar bench
by the river’s oxbow, as your light arrives – you wear a scarf
and feed lean birds gathered in frigid November air.

And you are here, across from me, in this café, ordering
croissant and a Turkish coffee – dressed in the skirt
I know so well – it reminds me of wind on hungry sunlight.

On the edges though, you are already gone – the child who in her crib,
gathers night into the mysteries of goodbye – welcomes morning
on the window-sill as the arrival of the first spring phoenix.

I think of you and you are time – midnight train, rainfall waves –
traveller captured in proceeding light – gone yet still arriving.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

At The Viet Nam Memorial

forty years later, small truths
are quieter than the wall
where I walk, snap pictures,
attempt to capture essence
in macro – history in photograph

my Californian aunt forwarded an attachment – Dresden
as phoenix, Dresden moving death's stone (my mother
says people jumped into the river and the water burned,
my aunt simply says that she was there and saw it)

my truths aren't large – high school classmate,
American citizen, now soldier,
returned to Canada for a brief visit
before again departing, the summer
of nineteen hundred and seventy
on a tobacco farm with a Georgian
who in November joined the US navy

small truths, few names,
little acreage consumed in Arlington

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Portrait of Myself

taken at nine
coffee in cup

a flagon of sunshine and a soupcon of hands –

holding hands holding
the table washes away

cat scurries linoleum with paw-print pixels
lands with aplomb against words and smiles

in the caverns of our understandings
you remain steadfast – in the by-waters
between opposition and argument
you remain dolomite – not easy
but not impossible
so water attests

and I continue the ringmaster of words forever foraging
the itineraries desires manipulate –

a want and am ballad
singer of the impossible songs

Monday, May 04, 2009


A poem written on a train travelling from Halifax
to Montreal in nineteen hundred and fifty-two,

as winter leans an elbow
on the tabletop of Canada – that poem
will have soot in its veins and coal for skin.

That poem will sing with the rhythm of small towns
spying from birch forests, crows idle
in steel air and rivers bowed

across the harsh violin of the Canadian shield.
That poem will reach Winnipeg within a week.


By the laptop, there is a mouse, card reader and spindle
of fifty DVD’s. I am transfixed
by the new white paper, six hot pixels,

an error message; I fight the compulsion
to play solitaire, isolated

in this cubicle of space, eavesdropping
on the web’s white noise. I cannot envision

a poem journeying as far as
the screen’s dead snow.

Saturday, May 02, 2009


H1N1 is spread by planes
landing at YVR, YYZ and YUL–
as undeclared vacation souvenirs
packed in the bloodstream,
not in tissue-thin wrapping –
ceramic gods, smuggled Ron,
nouveau pornography – wedged
between soiled underwear.

H1N1 remains undetected by x ray
examinations, dogs and the removal
of uncomfortable travel shoes.
It lacks a passport, it cannot be
described by cross-referencing
existing terrorist profiles
and it is not traceable with
swabs designed to absorb
a hint of explosives residue.

H1N1 treats latex gloves
in the same manner
the German army treated
France’s Maginot Line –
as non-existent resistence.

I recall, via our tour guide,
in two thousand and one,
an historical aside,
translated (from Italian
into English, while travelling
in a van) concerning
the discovery of a cave
filled with human
remains, high in the mountains
of northern Sardinia.
Archeologists determined
that the bodies were not the aftermath
of an unsuccessful conquest campaign;
nor the logical success
of a mass, pathological murderer –
they were instead the victims
of a plague, unceremoniously
gathered and transported
far from human domains.

I imagine graveyards (not caves)
five years from now, with fresh
gravestones dedicated not to a lost love,
an unfortunate twist of history,
but rather to the unfathomable code
of lover H1N1's fatal last kiss.

Friday, May 01, 2009

spring advertises --
so much invested
in one woodland flower