Friday, November 03, 2006
August sun waltzes on the dance floors of every horizon.
You can’t hear the cod band, but you sense it—
in the unpredictable fog machine and the twirling maelstrom.
At night, the moon is a shattered disco ball, seagulls
attracted to it like moths to the porch light—
always on, always expecting an absolute dark.
Friday, October 27, 2006
This is a train station. There are
schedules to keep to
going somewhere (a note, a note
as cold as the bending sky) on alternate tracks.
This is the way doors open and close—irrational
on the lips of an overwhelming sanity—this is
the corner and the turn—a line of streetlights
weaving through the night—this is
holding the thought of a chord against the first November snowfall.
I will remember rooms and conversations and rain against
dirty windows—the way smoke snakes to doorways where strangers
enter—that feeling we have deserted the world to enter it
and the curled lint of conversations sliding from the skin of workplace
family faith construction sidewalks alleys lazy theologies.
This is arrival at midnight. Hesitation. Full stop.
Buskers of the faith music will carry
us into morning and street sweepers—
six men walking to work—the confusion
of a trumpet crossing against the light—
oh so very eager to.
Sunday, October 22, 2006
note, chord hung on the wingtips of the sun or
snagged by the waking moon—
no words, no words at all, just this sense of how
everything moves—in waves
as though the oceans of the world have come knocking
to say hello and do you remember me,
your friend from the first moments.
we’re led to believe
and must choose—
is the colour of dying green
like leaves hanging over this old mill race
or is that colour confusion
between one aspect and the next
as though an iceberg has landed
in the Sahara desert and bestowed the destruction of water
on one soldier and not another—
the blind bullet/the blind poet screaming against the end
He saw the chasm between himself and words
placed on the horizon’s lips in a pick out meanings disarray of kisses.
It was love—dry love heaved out in a torrent of stairwells,
café’s, clandestine meetings between the sheets of King and Queen Streets.
It was separation and desperation during the moments of intense heat
when flash fires burned away all flesh to leave skeletons dangling
from the remnants of indecisions and impulsive actions.
It was taking up residence on the edge of a road leading into the impossible
and it was the impossible of keeping one foot balanced on the world
and the other balanced on all the ways in which the world was not.
There was only one opportunity to jump in either direction.
Thursday, October 19, 2006
and communicates through another world
he’s off his teachers mutter between bouts of discipline—
he understands with different/no values this child of a missing home
in a silence of voices he sits—prays for empathy and understanding
while setting fire to each and every bridge snaking out towards him
and pointing his finger at obstructions—bang/bang/bang!
the walls all rise higher and the moon refuses to set
don’t blink—you’ll miss
perhaps the night shower
that scattered worms and leaves onto a cloudy morning’s earth
or the white crinoline spread across
back roads when Queen Snow has returned
don’t blink—in this turbo world
you’ll fall asleep
a father—a lover—a son
and wake up a terrorist
stalked by the easiest solution to the meaning of security
Sunday, October 15, 2006
I have never discovered truth
(seagulls against moon) crying
in a cloak of dusk (red fallen ellipses
the devil’s work) and willing light
(no/we imagine mysteries as though
they’re cloaks laid across minutes
to disguise them)
but in the shadows an afternoon sun deposits
on the grain work of cities/streets/window views
(the thunder of an accidental storm)
and silhouettes swooning (through drawn blinds)
because (I have never discovered) truth
is the interpretation of dreams (sensitive
to light) and magic—that café where
(in the way history swoons)
we sit by ourselves and the world flows
over us (tsunami, tsunami, running bright)—
incantation to an idea/I see (branded on every action)
the way hope bends light into rainbows
before racing forever away
Sunday, October 08, 2006
we are); we dream in binary—pact between two who
survive/continue one step at
the point you made in our café, listening to that jazz guitarist,
sun scrolling down his left hand, wine
on the table, then magically gone—
we walked left from King Street and ended up in fields of houses
packed European (before suburban madness) around downtown—
we read signs proclaiming existence
in increments of culture, as though there’s a differentiation between
one cell and the next occupying space
within the yell we are—photographs on falling snow
Saturdays during market hours
He lives in the suburbs by a protected
wood-lot with spring trilliums and
jack-in-the-pulpits—a stream, a path.
He’s fallen in and out of love
as though life moves with the rhythm
of bellows and ends with the uncertainty
of enough air to play that one last note.
The jazz accordion player dreams
of being in a band, playing a Yamaha
keyboard and seeing Canada coast
to coast from the window of
a white van in need of an oil change.
At the corner of King and Scott,
he imagines playing the Frigid Pink
version of House of the Rising Sun
and having someone stop,
listen and say, Yes, I remember that moment.
The jazz accordion player plays
for vendors bringing in American fruit,
white sausages and chicken wings,
rye bread, dried flowers, frozen fish
and he worries about the bleak,
imploding November sky.
Friday, October 06, 2006
Couplets, Haiku. We
were walking Oslo harbor.
It began to rain.
The cafes’ tables
were full, awnings funnelling
water away from
red wine glasses.
An Ibsen rain, an
Ibsen line—as dreary as—
oh, life revolves a-
round so little. We
build it up and tear it down
as though there can
never be happiness.
Yet we hope against all reason
to be a raindrop on our childhood
falling on the Rosetta stone.
looking for the scent of you
and I’ve gone looking
for the reason you
live in words. There’s
nothing to touch except to touch
and a blade of grass tickles my cheek.
Not dead, my body feels misplaced
against this slope where the sun is really
looking for grapes/not
anything beyond a reason to survive seems
too much for the table/too much
for the chairs arranged to catch Marie Platz—
an ego away
from—I know the sound
of a chevy engine breaking downtown open wide looking for
you—looking for the speed of you—
looking for the pedestrian way.
Having shed the carapace words,
is there time for a review of the hundred sides
you’ve given each event strung
pearl necklace between one-thirty and three
(showers and sun/sidewalk and lawn/
drink and book), or do we continue our dance
to the hip-hop saxophone riffs we’ve attached
to our education in current events?
Perhaps and perhaps not—not when you look like that—something frozen in the amber of recorded fact—no, not now, like that.
In the ballet of how much we’ve both lost, history will remain unwritten by a certain hand and survive—a wavering light in the shadows.
Will it not?
Two river meet and then…
which oxbows and meanders are
the rustle of events? Which thunderstorms breaking on
fragile branches in mountain alleys
speak up to become?
Oil and water running down the windowpane of events—
oil and water and time to be shaken together and separate again.
Jam a riff in piano, sax and drums—woman in shadows (and dressed in), summer room—her hand rising with cigarette smoke as if (when have we taken the time) to touch, to morph a minute into wine and angel notes full of the grace of chords, the fabric of dusk, the odour of flight (down stairwells, arrhythmic footsteps, a surprised cry), when gravity turns us into statues—jam a riff for the American street, the American comedy of money, the accordion man displaced (pennies on a bent and scratched bureau, a view of smokestacks stretching to), elbows jutting through doorways—the accordion man with European eyes, playing Tin Pan Alley and acid rock; (America, the beautiful) hearing lithe veils around campfires—the accordion man dancing to the rhythm Boeings tattooed into the soil of a thousand unresolved arguments for the safety and creativity of a uniform, silent layer of dust.
Sunday, October 01, 2006
The sky won’t disappear
and that soldier with his casual gun
slung over his shoulder is a cloud.
Trees sliding down the horizon to the river
are philosophies like railway tracks
linking place A to profit B.
We only imagine we know how storm clouds
congregate in armies and slash
through the comfort of armchairs in back yards.
How we listen is by constructing myths—
one page of time after another flipping over
in the wind before we can feel.
We are neither woman nor man—
we are stories laid to rest on the ticking arms
of a sundial—that place where we imagine.
Thursday, September 28, 2006
The last thing you did was slam the door so hard
it bounced back open
and I saw that splatter of blood
on the wall from the Friday murder—resembling
a Munch sky,
or the cod’s mouth as it lay in the bucket
gasping for ocean, unable to comprehend
the difference between one side of a split second and the other.
Wednesday, September 27, 2006
Tuesday, September 26, 2006
What does it take to control
so many, a few, or one—
words tempered with dreams,
a plan, an idea, a side-road dalliance
in the daisies ideas are?
Perhaps a single word
at the right moment, as when
your dog is running for the street
and you yell, “Come!”,
knowing that it listening will avoid
fate for at least a minute
and no longer.
Sunday, September 24, 2006
Ejlert, you're sooo late.
We sacrificed this scene without you
and have gone to the harbour.
The clouds are howling into the fiord—
the colour of dropping leaves—
don't kill yourself to meet us.
Remember the train ride
downhill through Aquavit increments
from Bergen to Oslo?
Ejlert, you're such a drunk
in a sober era—get high on words instead,
the way you did at University.
Don't meet us at love turned
to stone; we'll be inside
with the petrified man from Gomorrah.
The petrified man from Gomorrah
Friday, September 22, 2006
to leave again. Always at odd hours.
Perhaps between a bath and a story, or when morning clouds
settle three poles down the road (you know,
that land surrounding the castle and the dragon—that land
noone claims). I watch
my father in constant motion
between meals and the elsewhere which occurs
behind doors/downtown/across the street/at odd
angles to a drill press/tumbling through Sunday
in a shot glass/repairing the sofa/in the snow
of a Motorola black and white tv before
the test pattern mantra of tuned in.
I watch my father, but he never becomes.
Wednesday, September 13, 2006
but here. Sun sets and clutters the buildings with
music. Yes, colours are music and soft voices and emotions
flung across time’s tapestry like a comforter.
Cuddle up and digest the day turning into memory—
a midnight snack of arguing over cloud lions, peaches,
the direction between one point and the next—straight line,
although a lingering curve is sensuous. You’re reading
poetry. I can’t imagine anything beyond the sound of a drill,
the gasping compressor, how wood swells with changing
weather, dust distributed unevenly with each opening
of the loading dock doors. I know how grain inhales stain
as though it’s putting on a dress, a tux, a pair of socks.
You’re reading poetry in a voice I associate with nursery rooms,
library back corners, a tet-a-tet between two absolute
universes dancing at opposite ends of an opulent room—
a gentle pat on the back in the middle of a rush hour crowd
waiting for the subway—a smile from the woman standing
in the rain—the sound a memory makes when it returns. Forever.
Friday, September 08, 2006
Haiku for the baptism,
sonnet for the wedding—drive-by shotgun words ringing (or)
tires on fresh asphalt delivering to a destination, for a price—
and passing countryside (a promise to revisit) sometime soon.
Bank account battles a rose. Clouds bend to pick up a penny.
Music’s supplied by accordions like reflections in windows
facing the news, guessing at words.
Wednesday, September 06, 2006
Three glasses of wine into
I tried to say everything in a bursting bubble
Of course, I was saying nothing, though
the reader thought it poetry.
Yes, there’s room there for interpretations;
that marmalade on toast in the mourning
for what we might have
Monday, September 04, 2006
Friday, September 01, 2006
Another One Bites the Rust
This distance between—and lawns, gardens, bungalows—
cars from the first bondo Studebaker to cruise control Corolla—mind tooled
to a metal press, pieces of iron forced into form—this product
of unfinished pieces, snippets of song and walks to corner stores,
down spur lines, this person of Saturday night hockey and haze—
this meat and potatoes political philosopher camping, at the cottage—
this worker, whose soul has been outsourced to Mexico and Taiwan—
it’s Thursday night at the mall and he finishes his Big Mac.
Rust spreads across his face, makes his joints grind as he walks
to the garbage bins with dinner’s waste, tosses them in and continues
down the mall’s south walk—past Sally’s, Tom The Tailor, Bethany’s,
Cinnamon Heaven—this figure fading into the undying twilight
that death by change emits long after the old world has been buried.
Friday, August 25, 2006
Following the Consumption of Various Perceptions
I’ve come to believe/in storyland with the eyesight of expectation/I’ve come to
rage/with dusk mind and dusk eyes/
creator of playing-card empires because this is the way the world’s built/this is story/
people shadows and speculative/
DNA constructed from ill-fitting words/those dreams that have lain in the sun/under
a cold moon/those dreams/those dreams/
and I’m a falling tree in the forest of time/listen.
—To smithereens, ma, to smithereens—
This is the exploding book—
the shredded plot—
alienation from gentle pages
between birth and life’s first trauma.
This is new song—
devo, devo, devolute until
the spine lies crumpled against rock
and elemental metamorphosis.
I stood with a stranger
beside the ruins. He spoke
through a catalogue of family
who lived there before night fire.
The morning after,
embers simmered in the empty shell of foundation.
He recalled the charred
litter of books, family papers—
and incessant north
This is a play for bodies—
this is a script for how they come
marching home in disarray.
This is a play for two moments
which stand beside each other,
bound to each other as though
they’re lovers in a deserted place
where waves tick-tock restless shore—
this is for the moment they realize
they’ve never touched, nor ever will again.
We drove our bikes west
beyond the gravel pit.
It was August morning—
still damp from overnight rain—
under a bearable sun. In St Agatha,
we turned, down gravel road,
pedalled breathless until Jeremy asked
a farmer for directions. To the next crossroad,
veer right, about a mile
to rising moraine—there, down
a lane dead-ending in a field planted clover.
It was very quiet, to the point
I imagined the silence sang
in a deep voice. We joined the group
by the single-engine plane wreck
and listened to them decide
how it had all really happened—
and why. Before leaving, we tore a piece
of skin from the wing—
our adventure, our souvenir.
This is from
the country of adjectives—
that effort to describe
This is for words detailing
displacement and instant rearrangement—
the way the afternoon sun,
stretching across silver bridge—
dripping into flat river—
the way the sun constantly pushes
shadows into drifts against the seagulls
and the cormorants—
how between one look
and the next, the air has dropped
a feather and a feeling
as unceremoniously as any tear.
In the smithereens some mornings are,
I walk the border—that line in the sand
that time has drawn.
This is a place of fog and echoes—
fog and echoes and questions
through what has happened.
Last week, I googled the site—
I typed in his name. There were
no hits, yet I remember his last
communication—a letter from
The summer of love had just
ended and he was
joining the army after spending
August and September priming
tobacco outside of Drumbo.
He’d worn his Canadian souvenir
to the roller rink
(a fashion torn from the flower-child dream)
and there was a fight.
I don’t understand how
you can sit there with your crystal ball,
cocksure that tomorrow
at eight in the morning,
at the corner of King and Victoria,
a truck driver will lose
control and his truck will jump
the curb and I—having gone
downtown to take architectural
photos of the old Kaufman plant
in undress between rubber factory
and downtown lofts—and I’ll be
run over and pronounced dead—on the spot.
I don’t understand how
you can predict one fine
in my song, when I’ve spent
a lifetime unable to predict
one stop, one pause, when between
one note and the next,
I’m in a different key,
singing different lyrics
and the dance partner whose steps
I thought I knew
has been replaced by someone
standing in the sunlight
drifting impatiently over
the tick-tock smithereens
of my memories.
the language of buildings
(though dressed differently from
country to country) is universal.
We recognize a bedroom and the bath—
we enter rooms through doors,
view the countryside through
windows (where a cloud is always
up) and roadways, paths, from
dwelling to dwelling are
unconscious signposts directing us
to an understood destination.
If only language—that glue binding
our minds to our experiences—
were that easy.
Let's converse in the poetry
of doorknobs and blinds—
the way blue paint has peeled
from the windowsill as couplets
(over a division of rhyme)—
how a careless pot has wandered
into the haiku of flour/sigar/
salt and pepper cannisters—
how the piano-key staircase
is frantic with the iambs of laughing children.
The language of a street corner—
in lines and in stores,
at airports and over dinner—
that language is the craft
of time and place—an argument
of cultures—too often so right
at latitude 43 and so wrong
about the 67th.
Sunday, July 30, 2006
in fields of tobacco
I would ride the machine and prime leaves
dreaming about our nights—together—
call it love—or phemones singing the future fantastic—
though anyone else—
would you call it magic—this inability to explain
what seems so simple for a moment
I never imagined you to be smoke and mirrors—
but rather a tenant in a shared building—
you facing east and I facing west as we view
the sun on a horizon forever defining the same land—
even if we can only hold a conversation in north and south
Friday, July 21, 2006
Billy Blood and the Hijackers of Time
At the campfire, he played guitar and sang
until the last beer was drowned.
Against night’s blinds, cigarettes were fireflies
dancing languid cymbal-brush waves.
Wind-scattered cormorants slept as far as Hope Bay;
an owl cut the Milky Way in half.
‘Once upon a time,’ he thought—‘once upon a time in the spider’s
web of politics and guns; high tide, rogue moon—
once upon a time on dusty streets, in raucous café’s
where 60’s hobos waited for the last milk wagon
out of time, searched for Eden in wood-lots,
spaceships and permafrost—once upon a time.’
He walked the path to his car, placed the guitar in the trunk
and wrapped himself in the night’s sentences.
Paragraphs pooled against parking-lot lights. ‘The world is
an airport, each plane departing events.
I need a chair on which to sit, a book to read,
but every book is copyrighted by me.
Planes leave erratically,
ignore every schedule.’
Saturday, July 15, 2006
Wednesday, July 12, 2006
I’ll create a religion this evening
to how I feel about sunrise
and sidewalks snaking like dead trees
through the horizon’s eaves.
I’ll baptize the events of making bread
evangelize a button and loose thread
fluttering—a tattered flag
in the hallways of a Sunday event.
I’ll move into the temple of my thoughts
into the music of my talk
as the subway car spins through
the apple’s core.
I’ll hear no sounds and see no bodies
only visualize the destination
of my prayers.
Saturday, July 08, 2006
The Infrastructure of a Cog
Elemental is the distance between building
A & B this year. Information packets flow—
hard copy business realities.
This is maintained by ‘Timmy’s’ coffee—
suspenders and cigarettes—an atmosphere of 50’s diner.
We could call it resource conservation,
or recycling. That the environmental by-product
is downward mobility coming to rest
at the feet of poverty—that’s immaterial—
information packets flow.
That Small Book Store Beside the Fish Market
This blink—page there, page gone—
and ideas falling off the earth’s mind—
this newspeak of old events—
don’t tell me society doesn’t need
the ridiculous point of view—don’t
tell me there shouldn’t be countries that
fly under the flag of misinterpreting
the shapes in clouds. An unbalanced ship
has never been able to navigate
from New York to Oslo, yet we are asked
to accept one playing-card construction
of words as enough.
Just don’t throw contradicting ideas around.
Friday, June 30, 2006
to find ourselves in another country
where our world walks down
an alley past shut doors.
We wonder about doors
and the mysteries behind.
Phone calls come and go, aeroplanes
pass overhead and the pool party
two doors away boisterously continues.
W really have no time for doors, for keys,
or other implements which may secure.
Poets are voyeurs looking in for a moment,
describing and ignoring the lifetime.
Tuesday, June 27, 2006
balloons treading sunlight/there’s grace
in fluid lines
we’ve come to watch a window close
and shadows pass/how the ocean’s hollow elbow
holds its children/and memory/and memory
it’s too easy to find sacrificed gods
and blood flowing from sunsets
Saturday, June 24, 2006
the importance of
the solid anchor—
as a woodpile.
Deny a tree is responsible.
your feelings for
the side chairs aligned—
like the stars—
in your dining room.
Perceive the persistence
of what is dead
to influence us.
Be charmed by gravestones.
and become the novel
Manufacture your pages
Thursday, June 15, 2006
Midnight is shadow—waits by the corner where buses
never stop. A dog barks through open window
and half-moon rides bucking clouds. Midnight lights
her slender cigarette, exhales the bones of misspent
love affairs. There’s a mystery in that doorway leading
to the grand piano and amber rye. Gargoyles
dance and chuckle in the lengthening hallway’s angles.
Cicadas sound like gunshots—the alley is
a gaping wound. Breathing trickles in the gutter
and footsteps fill the streetlights. Midnight whistles
a monotone tune—today disappears, another page
is turned. The stranger’s secret will finally be revealed.
Midnight and Hammett are trapped in a sultry duet.
Cue the quartet—Coltrane appreciates this music.
Thursday, June 01, 2006
I’m taking the garbage out—
We need more coffee—
there should be a weekend sale
The paper is late and so
No time to read emails this
Life seems so rushed lately,
as though I’m lead-footing it.
If no one touches me at work today,
Don’t plague me with your problems,
the fact your life isn’t as perfect
as you tell everyone it is
each and every coffee break.
The Louisiana-humid air hangs;
a coda above
refracted sun. Let
the day unfold with its lines
stolen from a cut-rate porno flick.
I’m driving out of town
and so are they.
We’re the tide,
first trained in the primordial soup
to float, to do the backstroke:
to engineer our survival against
the shore’s wasteland.
Give me my coffee—give me
my morning news. In exchange,
I’ll give you the emptiest eight hours
out of every twenty-four.
Sunday, May 28, 2006
You got to be Cowboy to pony
through today, spurs
to bank book, straight-up in
enterprise’s saddle, to negotiate
morning’s first cigarette
like abrasive prairie
dust howling down your throat—
you got to be Cowboy, on I 75,
pinched by the herd
(slow-motion stampede into
fording market river, lassoing
driftwood profit, thalwag man
of the world, tipping your VISA
Gold hat to each passing merger—
you got to be Cowboy to survive
snow love winters in deep hope foothills,
desperate, camped under frozen
touch forests, living for moments
of tenderness and promises, before
storms of lingering withdrawal—
you got to be Cowboy, forever
stretched toward horizon, to gallop
upward from each training course,
degree in holster, schemes in saddlebag—
straight-shooter of the greenback sage.
Friday, May 19, 2006
Lie still, spread your verbs
Don’t quiver in the assault
of attacking adverbs.
Be benign to the voices which will never understand
beyond the field of their own vision.
Realize there is not one noun
which will spell ‘world’.
Adjectives are perception
and perception is the tide time deposits
on the beaches of experience,
the rocks beyond which we float.
Be accelerate to floatation devices
delivering you to the beach.
Begin to crawl and never stop.
Thursday, May 18, 2006
There isn’t one way to bear witness
to the world, or one place to feel its spine
through the lustrous energy of light.
I pour between
the beakers of one moment
and the next.
The horizon is a fallow field
accepting the seed of moon,
the trees are shrouds draped over
a paralyzed asphalt river.
I’ll travel blind under this strangle of clouds,
I’ll bury the pieces of myself
in deep woods and I’ll search for them
in the bleak ice after time.
Friday, May 05, 2006
long after I looked at the scars—
long after I saw time draped across
this tapestry of skin
as though a snapshot expresses anything—
when the moon was folded over
asphalt and the sighs night releases in August—
in that precise moment the assembly line falters
and everything sails out of windows
into the woods/into the sun’s seine—
then I know that my eyes are
an airbrush for the moment passing
like ants/linear on the linoleum of this place—
I walk the rails/tightrope walker falling
into the never ending sea of possibility and belief
So what about asphalt,
thin folds of sky draped over
light laughing into windows,
the distance between the words
and the listener?
So what about this rhythm
consuming any hope,
the desire to slow down in a field
of blossoming interpretations
uncertain of where the landmines
are placed in such a simple
sentence on such a simple spring day.
Tuesday, May 02, 2006
stretched out on
the flat page—
meaning tanning in
the sun of a dictionary—
construct your meal
a consumption of moments
on the piazza—
relive and relive again
the one word which tipped time into
the maelstrom carving a new future
out of the topography of what we share