Friday, December 20, 2013

Mumbling Detritus

It was in Quebec City, snow
squealed from a sinking sky, the wind
a flute, streets audience and cold
a drink of forgetfulness, when
the card house tumbled down, became
ruins.  We walked through them, ignored them,
cried because the walls resisted
completely being ground into
no problem mon Jamaican sand.

We are Canadian, I said,
half ice and half again a lake
whose water is frozen too long
into April.  The fish are rock,
the trees a repository
of how a green leaf converses
with rain, though you insisted that
there was a schedule not being
met, as though the buses were all
running empty from one pickup
to the next.  .Nothing here, move on. 
Move on, nothing here except a
crash of old words, nothing at all.

And yet, and yet.  In the silence
of staring out of a window
(winter and wind), of dissecting
time as though it was a newborn
dandelion — time loves us, time
loves us not — I imagined there
is a path which rock time doesn’t rule,
where change is a measurement of
speed and words well up, so sharp and
dangerous, unpredictable
as they slowly morph into our
crystalline, predictable state.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013


Probably, this snow will abate
and the pines sigh like rain,
though the thermometer says
minus ten and descending
further when night crawls along
snow shadows like talons,
like fangs and the cars on
our road begin to slide,
a shimmy dance with ice,
an echo against frosted
windows and faces and cats
hurrying home.  Probably we
will sit in the living-room, a
glass of wine as near as any
memory of where we were
in 1962, of how the Kennedy
assassination was merely
the first act.  Terrorism, that
event which bends the mind until
it unravels into as many threads
as a spider web in high wind,
a metaphor which loses shape
with age, changing into more
than it was ever intended to be,
like love which is stalked through
ever evidence of its existence,
like the wind which is now abating,
allowing the snow to fall, a
curtain which will probable bury
the street, like our words will bury
any reason why we should not.

Saturday, December 14, 2013


Young, we’re all different
people.  With age, the
character marks begin
to appear.  Lines lead
into experience, assume
the colour of October
leaves, the exhilaration
of cold air, the skin of a
year or more in an
occupation, the texture
pay cheques have,
and children and
places of residence.

With age, the roadmaps
we’ve discarded are
rocks and grass, slopes
slanted down, a glance
of perhaps and streets
intertwined, as lives are,
the head turning without
conscious effort to
sunset, darkening and
diminishing, the view
over the lip of a filling cup.    

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

The Mind

seems always ten feet
ahead of the body,
eight fingers negotiating
a keyboard, while
tech support languishes
in a drive-thru, halfway
between super-sized
fries and a fix for
the breakdown between
the expectations of
visualization and the
everyday, the small
moves and entries, the
comma and the decimal
point, the way a
conversation ends on
a jagged note, like rust
eroding ideas, like
waves cleaning a
complicated slate,
equations blending into
glorious contradictions

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

The Long Flat

the Earth presents, the
long shadows that are
sentences, both bound
and free, the waking
coffee and the grind,
the tablet and the
table, the morning
bacon and eggs, the
door, the door to tales
of evermore, the
bus, the city and
the street, the constant
noise, the traffic and
the lull, the changing
lights, the sky, the blood
of snow, the wind, the
wind, the evermore,
the space, the screen, the
rites before cold black
coffee with milk and
its evermore of
people and problems,
the score, the tally
the way the day falls
into afternoon,
and the mind begins
to stir — evermore,
oh, evermore, that
is the score, when night
begins to fill the
hollows with its void,
its invisible
breath and dreams and stars
so bright they crack the
carapace of night

Saturday, November 30, 2013

I’m 66

What do I need,
another gift, another
card, another
victory, another day?

I’m 66, December is
a crumble of bad
weather, snow, wind,
short light.  Life has
its grievances and
successes, those
moonless thoughts.

What do I need?
Perhaps another
thought, another way
through the endless
detritus of events
swinging with the
hour hand.  Perhaps
a new way of
passing a moment,
of leaving a trail
which will not
disappear — words
which freeze in
someone’s memory.

Stepping stones
across the expanse of
waiting, which is an
ocean, which is so
treacherous, which
is crackling and
devolving time.