Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Note Left on an Empty Fridge

Did you think words would be
enough? They stopped short
of every bridge

as though they were
an old man, arms draped
across the top of a tumbling

fence, eyes with that longing
look sunsets leave
in the retina’s arbours.

I wanted to touch, consume
the substantial, that meal
in a smoky, crowded café

tucked into a shoreline
of band. I wanted to
walk in the jazz waves

and touch your jazz hands
with a minor persuasive
solo. Did you think

a novel would explain
our convoluted plot? Fantasy
doesn’t solve every unsolvable

problem. We think that way
in today’s world
and we live the lives of clouds.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Catching Up


the hidden
the hiding
the spotlight
the shadows

a moon skates cloud laneways and vanishes
the way I do into October night (a rustling)

the way I do
and am outside
the lens

click and
yellowed memory
in amber
in noonlight

a moon slumbers on sunset’s crags
and views the housetops and dreamtops

of vision
fragmenting into
an album
and evening

and chardonnay
consumed blind
on linen
snow white

a moon rides the coal chutes of midnight
and crumbles like memories into choice


How Religion Fails to Capture Dust

anger at the moment of inception is pyroclastic plasticine
malleable to the gravity of hardening
into tenets and tantamount importance

which butterflies in an August clover field ignore

as their wings unfold against the certainty of night
to catch a setting sun’s last rays and the promise
sunrise exists undefinable and free as a morning breeze

Prejudice on the Multicultural Landscape

And you/having survived
the war to again end all believe
that death is nothing/just bodies blooming
in the landscape of destruction.

Yet I believe there is something
between the birth of star and nova/something
that guides us to a greater walkway
through the gravestones of a unified effort.

Call it the singular entity in a plural
world/the dashes on a highway going
against tectonic troubadours
proclaiming the division between

Acceptance and rejection/that nod to a stranger
on the road you thought you had to yourself.

Direction Quest

could you ever abandon words
where half-formed apples fall
from a drought-mad apple tree

(and it’s only July–it’s only July)

could you ever abandon words
on the doorstep of long works
like unemployed stevedores

(tide moving with each breath of the moon)

could you ever abandon words
to snowstorms in confused December
when snowmen battle an unforgiving sun

(and the heart longs–unfulfilled)

could you ever/ever/ever abandon
the sidewalk your feet walk
to each and every destination

( your words eyes and GPS)


what I need is for you to be
with me/to skip
across the cracks between the sun’s
fractured rays on a dusked horizon

to light the night’s soul with jazz
and cripple nightmares when I dream
of flying down the staircases
of all the wars my ancestors fought

I have no immunity against fear/no
immunity against facing
the sun shining upon each and every
action I’ve every annotated

as an act of history/I have no
immunity from time
and its relentless march across
the pages of my ravaged book

of lyrics to everyday music

I have no needs beyond your presence


and again enough

dog days and other events to carry us into the next disaster

lost, a murder of words to the crows
that polka-dot an Amish sky

gold finches have crawled up the rising thermometer
and sandhill cranes test hard Haliburton rocks

though what really matters is Chardonnay the colour of
burnt grass, that flower growing by the deck

time is a sponge soaking up each event
and the sun is a metronome for the music of each moment


I see you in my fears laughing
as you reach for the sunbeam tripped
by the half-drawn blinds

and erect a cross for you in the woods behind
our house where wildflowers dance

I imagine I encounter you walking with a grin
down the mid-west street of a town
whose name I can’t remember

all things become relative
and an orbit around what I don’t know

I fill this void with imagination
and cry because all things are possible
in a world falling into the spontaneous

release of time into life and death

Sticky Note for 6:30–Thursday in October

the sun is a cripple on the horizon–
peg leg hanging into the lake

and I’ve lost something half-way down
the stairs, about where the wallpaper is missing–

where I put documents concerning my birth
and lost them, lost them forever to a troubadour

who missed his way between villages and recreated
the history of that war to include sacrificed soldiers–

spent opportunities and foreited loves until the myth
of his experiences became the legends of our faiths

don’t expect me to remember anything before
we were together–history begins every day

and dies with sunsets/a falling out/the last glass
of wine/the way our vision is detoured

between the point of time’s execution
and the ripples moving away from what transpired

so tell me how
these dust clouds
form and reform–
call themselves human
after they’re touched
by a drop of rain
and time

The Boat House Restaurant

guitar and microphone

and all the reasons for writing

Thursday night crumbles
cigarette ashes in failed light

His life is a distraction
work in the morning

Under harsh illumination pressed
from an orange sun

Plucked out of a dancing

Spatial Abstracts

it’s the incomplete line–
unfinished trim above the sink–
pictures hanging 85 degrees
to the beige carpet–
wallpaper missing in a corner
of the family room–
summer and winter clothes copulating
in the hall closet–
images of intent swimming
against the currents of reality–
the hobo-gapped smile of words
homeless in a world of contracts–
this rose opening this morning
against the background of these bricks
which capture the sun’s
incomplete journey to your eyes

The empty streets (weeds attack)
winding down to the receding gum-line
of the lake (rotting pier teeth)
capture the weariness of what we once were.

For C, Who I Will Never Tell Enough

A tip of the past to the last living
memory on Bristol Street. The one
between fat clouds folding themselves
into the horizon’s hamper
and a blanket on watered grass.
Open magazine dedicated to the structure
of Marilyn Monroe’s back.

A quarter for three songs and a nickel
to keep the needle down a crooner’s notes
wrapped in spinning bottles. The last
sunset before the world split and we
volunteered. Oh yes innocence is
quite the ineffectual weapon.

Innocence with head tucked between knees
waiting for ten million mushrooms to grow
into the poetry of their finality.

Now we manage to make it one-on-one knife
or gun our silhouettes drawn by
investigative services. History on the fly.
An incision between the end
and the events which brought us this far.

Forgetting it was always the sun
rising like a line of soldiers to fight
for another memory
another time
another song floating
like fog across the crags of everything we touch.

Everything we grasp with a baby’s unformed hands.

Perspective Between Reality and the Movie

we are dead
pictures of us alive are blooming flowers around
our pine casket

and the sun is setting
again the sun is
a fingerprint on the carbon-copy sky

we are dead
our adventures are retold
around the coffee urn campfire

and we don’t hear
the music continues long into
a snowfall across the footsteps of time

we are dead
and the sun is setting
we are dead

and we don’t hear


one wave and ‘I love
you Ca’ is washed away

‘rol’ in receding time
means nothing

I meticulously begin agin
a testament to

how we have spent years
in various fashions

and various moods

the sun is wedged
in the eaves

and a grackle sings
to the maple tree

there is no position I can assume
to hop-scotch time

throw my marker in
the circle I could reach

if it were not for
receding events

The Summer of Love

the motorcycle was more broke than run
and I worked on a sub-foundation
moving a pile of dirt
from place to place on Waterloo street

by August I was waking up
on an Innerkip farm
with two Georgians
wrapping my hands around
dew-cold tobacco stalks

I returned to school in September
spent some of my savings
on a white suit straight
from the pages
of a designer’s imagination

I don’t remember going
to Woodstock
I wasn’t there

what I remember
is the crusade crumbling
body bag by body bag dream

Friday, May 25, 2007

Random Thoughts While Responding to Alarms

I've never measured my steps
with the exact science of a mathematical sentence

not on these streets so far from where I was born
not having jumped through the hoop of change
so often that there is a blur between coal chutes and ATM's

I was torn from my homeland by circumstance
and given a country and a culture to learn

perhaps I've been in metamorphosis too long
to understand one equation from the next
one foot placed on concrete the other on a dissolving shoreline

just as one arm is placed across your heart
the other giving birth to another verse

today as I sit at the security desk alarms flash
by in ever-changing rhythms disolving to reform again
like this city which renews and grows with cancerous intent

the distance between my workplace and home is measured and set
the distance between my loves is variable and calculated with potential

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

A Poet Staggers

downtown and words fail away
in the same way the slope in stages negotiates
its route to flood plain awash
in swallows/finches/the stadium
wave into May

this path follows the river/peeks out
at gravestones of meadows become
corn fields becoming subdivisions
with their severe formality to line/function
expanding tax base

I snap photos of mid-metamorphosis/there are
no words/just muddy path/fading
trilliums in tree toes/faux
kame hillocks dotting the ripped
flesh of sprawling gravel pit

we imagine downtown on aging continental ice
shivering winds tracing grey snow
from Whitehorse to Albany/a crowd
of carrier pigeons fingering the downdrafts
of a wordless world

in silence we hike home

Monday, May 21, 2007

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Dear C/I Dreamt

last night ice boxes danced down
coal chutes/autumn’s jaws opened to
release/a windfall of leaves and we
somersaulted into a sea of ethereal events

do you remember the CPR rhythm to
resuscitate your laughter on Haliburton
dock/me chasing you into retreating tide
one Nova Scotian summer night

how I cried when L & M were born/
perceived no other joy beyond
the realization unfolded time had paused
a moment/before resuming to morph

I write notes in Sauble sands
this spring day/I have become
a book/pages well-thumbed by experience
and downtrodden hope

I awoke at three wondering if
a beach dreams highlands/hears the faint
conversations of its voice
riding winds falling from

those glacial/urban/pyroclastic heights

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

The Fiddle

where has the north sea gone
and icebergs negotiating whales and whaling songs

I’m east and I’m west and I’m climbing the rock

there is no reason not to believe Brighton Rock or St. John’s
the love songs of cod in the Arctic Sea

we’ll eat cod tongues as the sun scratches
sharp rocks of Labrador/the waves of Newfoundland

and plays hop-scotch across the mining field of Wales

I am a melody and a memory in amber chords/I am
the tides of St Andrews by the Sea flowing endlessly

to battle the foundation of a newfound country

where has the fiddle gone
and history/the lyrics to its convoluted song

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Note to the Hyacinth Lady

The last snow has been
stolen from sere woods
across Lackner Boulevard
where I find trilliums and jack-in-the-pulpits
impatient (and moss slowly eating horizontal
trees limbs). Hyacinths are old
news. Geese protect goslings. Lounge
chairs crowd the deck along with
the cleaned barbecue. Grackles
have returned to reclaim the back
yard cedars. The snow shovel
hangs in the garage. The snow blower is stored
off to the side and last fall’s unfinished
refinishing projects have room
to sprawl where a car has so seldom been parked.
I am one year closer to the hope I can
retire. The kitchen needs a phoenix’s touch
as does the outside of the house. It’s eight
o’clock and the sun has yet to set. What time
is it now in Afghanistan? Today in the Sunday
Sun there was an article about our lost
compatriots. For each death was a picture
of them young on a black and white beach
riding a tricycle or posing for hockey
team photos. My mother will be eighty-eight
this year. I grew up with her stories
of the war in Slovakia. She never forgot
the price of exaggerated dreams nor how
people can be defined not by who or what
they are but by agenda and the need to consume
everything the eye can see. She says
this is history again and again and again. I will
retire this year. The days are warming
and lengthening. The gales of
will find me prepared.

Friday, May 04, 2007

A Forgotten Conversation We Must Have Had

Mostly meaning is a place-setting of words
while weighty matters occur around
the event of cobbling together a sentence to explain.

(When nothing touches or feels.)

Then we parse back to genesis, congratulate ourselves,
sleuths discovering that need. A poem, a book,
the way a table is slanted to the door just so, just so.

And the wave rises again because all waves are forgotten
once they reach the shivering beach. Only the pebbles
and sand retain a fading memory of having been

at a place and at a time. (For a while, no more than that.)

Thursday, May 03, 2007


I no longer believe the language of anything but trees

I no longer believe the language of anything but rocks

I no longer believe what my eyes see/they lie

we can create anything we imagine but the clouds
will not change/the sidewalk still exercises between
squat and steroid buildings/a table by the water hears
the difference in the songs of evapotranspiration
and ice/your voice draws me to you

I will no longer look for snow in summer clouds

I will no longer be influenced by the handcuffs of money

I will no longer regret each moment lost to anything but the plan
The Seasons in Two Rhythms

the sun isn’t dim (by five) on falling
snow and drifts lashed to rising boulevards
(so far north from forgetfulness)

at eight o’clock Kitchener waits
for the sun to set on greening lawns
and the months of despair

we’re again fifteen (or younger still)
and growing to meet the hours becoming
days dancing their memory dance

we can forget that in our bodies October
leaves still fall to be picked up by a restless
wind and that promise of lasting snow

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

For Those Shadows Beckoning

The poltergeist moves amongst us
pyroclastic as though
rebuilding the past.

A lost insect eating through onion skins
it lacks sea legs. I’ve memories of drinking Coke
on a Georgian Bay beach.

That was before this and what
happened in between. A mountain
has grown from the coarse summer sand.

Such obstacles abound. No voices I have
can scale these realities. Rely on fire
and brimstone. Rely on rain and wind

to return us to the beach. In time.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Monday, April 30, 2007

Freedom Song

if I walk into this place with a can of pop
open it/infringe upon your need to profit
yet stay sober enough not to kill you son
when I drive home after my evening of fun
would you object

I see you nod your head not

then why do you put up this hue and cry
when I ask to bring in alcohol-free beer or wine
because I like the taste of fermented things
yet can’t drink alcohol

profit/profit/profit rules no matter what the human is
and you’ll tell the alcoholic he has to drink
even though the LCBO doesn’t regulate this beverage
to which you object/except that it’s not money
in your pocket/you the responsible citizen supporting
all the responsible things

side bar:

This poem found its genesis in a meal out last night in Leamington, Ontario. We phoned ahead to see if there was a non-alcoholic beer available for one of our number, who is on medication which precludes alcohol. Yet, she does like the taste of a fermented (albeit without alcoholic content) drink. We were told one was available, but on arrival, we were informed that the beverage was not then in stock. We asked if we could bring in our own non-alcoholic beverage and the answer was, no. There was a period of consideration and that was changed to, yes.

Now, the pertinent question becomes, why should anyone be put into that position to begin with and why are liquor laws being applied to non-alcoholic beverages? This is the same issue as that same person bringing a non-alcoholic wine to my daughter’s wedding. She was ultimately charged a corkage fee, which in Ontario is applied to those who bring their own alcoholized wine to a licensed establishment. There seems to be an arbitrary interpretation of the laws in these cases.

One might ask, what the difference is between someone with a medical disability and someone with a medical prerequisite. Probably none, beyond profit. Ontario has a long way to grow in its efforts to grow up.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Point Pelee

the most southern point in Canada expands
and contracts/depends on how storms
rising from America affect it.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

The Winery

weary with wineries in Essex County
we enter another and I imagine their prices
as a reflection of the sprawling edifice

(stone faces ravaging Erie
inland is a barn-board mask)

the co-owner greets us at the tasting bar
apologizes and tells us she’s a cancer survivor
still scaling the wall to elusive health
then leaves to attend to her side-effected eyes

we sample wine/we sample wine
and I drift away to a table filled with unframed prints
sort through them the way I once sorted through
45's/LP’s and books in that used book store downtown
on King in Waterloo

the co-owner returns and regales the bar-bound group
with another story of a dream somewhere
in metamorphosis for years before becoming this butterfly winery
we today have stumbled upon

the price tags on the prints inform me that this sale is for the charity
of Princess Margaret Hospital in Toronto which helped her so much

I look at our group approaching retirement and try to imagine
how many dreams we all yet cling to/those dreams tucked away
in the corners of our time/those dreams stalled in metamorphosis

dreams sometimes flow
as slow as frozen breaking waves

just as the beach I walked with you
those twenty years ago is now gone
to be rediscovered twenty miles west
by other young lovers conspiring
to control time

Friday, April 27, 2007

For John Gorka
in concert

in the laughter/tears
that truth again/conundrum curtain rising
to reveal a stage flying to the moon Alice/to the moon

(black into body bags and laughter/gentle war from radio free America)

for a moment the crusading children believed(and metamorphosis
created Picasso sociology)ski jump down a tie/the rubber mallet
applied/layers upon layers of innocent dreams

and we didn’t move/not one inch/dreamers forever sold

the price of a soul on ebay is very slight/much less than that charged
for a tank/an accountant/Marilyn Monroe’s hair
twisted into forget-me-knots/lyrics from the politics of control

Thursday, April 26, 2007

There is no truth in love
just morning dishes with their scraps of chicken cordon-bleu.

There is no truth in love
just flowers delivered through security
a thousand expressions of shortened life expectancy.

There is no truth in love
just walks in the rain with the dog
while the temperature drops at home.

There is no truth in love
something Michelangelo knew when he looked at David
ready to battle Goliath with a slingshot and a short-changed shoulder blade.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

The World Ends

so many billions affected
sculpting that final sunset

we argue again

the stress of falling apart
separates us into two parts

divide mass

we’ve divided the world
by two and debate

who is the sun and who
is the forever grateful satellite

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

There is this Political to the Photo

I took/the shadows and slow dance
with the invisible (kids/two cans between
a fishing line of string)

the way the ocean is meaningless
when a shore isn’t present even though
we always sense the heartbeat
with every breath

the shadows of our absence before and after
this unshaven man pulling a food cart disappears
down Guelph Street (I on the way to work/he
walking) where the food bank spills
out of a ten times abandoned garage

Monday, April 23, 2007

Sylvester’s Tombstone
on treeless slope overhanging celluloid fields and the beast’s eyes

that canary was the predator
sly avian in clothes mimicking
western civilization’s social
fashion cherished and realized

I was abandoned to hunger
after the sanity
of my species
and falter at realization

Sunday, April 22, 2007

For More Than Forty Years

Drowned by music/a lyric of line thrown to the man
reaching for the reef/rhythm in each heartbeat
idling on King Street/sun stretching across the kitchen
as a feline form/supine verbs scratching at
each attacking memory/you emaciated and walking
to a point which will exist/and we all saying/saying
the situation which exists is/memory, memory, memory
and I print the past/we can view it in amber
for a while/although footsteps on a beach with waves
playing the drums as so transient/a man stepping
off a slow night freight train/staring around before
embarking again/sunlight on a forgotten pen.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Modern Poetry

Is modern angst. The small things floating in your eyes. Ghosts of your position in the word broth. How you’ve tweaked reality to suit yourself.

With modern tv, we can watch five thousand channels of modern interest. Scan across the intents of countless minority groups. Consume each footstep placed on an over-indulgent history.

There has been a collapse of the position we gave to truth. Truth has become too occasional; as though truth is nothing more than a comment, a gesture, a conceit.

A take, a take. Let’s redo it, construct it differently to express what we want. Let it all fall apart into the broth of words we exude. Armour. Mantle. Sword.

When I asked you about it, you said that it didn’t matter. I called in the bulldozers, the cranes, the structural managers, the dictionary and the thesaurus.

You countered that you loved me. Then you built a weather system which deconstructed everything we ever shared.

You had a word for every drop in temperature; every deviation from forty years of Mr. & Mrs. Norm.

Eleven The Hard Way

Years ago, Earth turned away
from the doorway. Brushed snow
from her shoulders and walked down
cracked sidewalk. Streetlights illuminated
her progress. A waxing moon
snagged the Etruscan tower. No money
was lost. Earth brushed snow
from her shoulder. It fell everywhere.

We walk to upper Ball's Falls. Spring
has arrived. Green leaks from
brown cover. The only sound is moving
water. I see the moss-covered
rocks. And imagine Ms Earth walking
away from the last altercation.
In the news, we are strobe lights--

pieces of flesh caught
in time, fermenting into action/inaction--
rolling for time and a glimpse
of what is really what.


Friday, April 20, 2007

Dear C,

don’t feel guilty. No one ever did.
In the cradle of the sun setting
to rise, no one ever felt. Guilty
is a word affixed to verdicts after
a trial. By fire, we sat and pondered
each action we ever took into
the event horizon of a fabricated
history. So don’t. Feel guilty.

Each word we ever heard is a particle
in a glacier. We’re as frozen as
that slow movement of the past
until it melts. There is a crashing
and an epiphany. We are the cradle
of change. And we cradle each word
which is a step on a horizon
that never existed. At least for
a thousand generations of words.

So don’t. Feel guilty.

Thursday, April 19, 2007


Beeps surprise the office air.
You lose your train of thought
to the alarm screen.

Doors are forced in Halifax and Edmonton;
Canada is insecure.

There is this movement from one event
to the next: five thousand people
and as many occurrences.

All of this is documented, forming
an incomprehensible parade
looking for the perfect profit song.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

The Common Word

I forfeited you to the common.
Just a word lacking conviction.
A broach pinned to a lapel
as a strange societal predilection.

And the world became dark.

That’s when the search began
for something so common missing.
But I’d forgotten your name
and misplaced your need.

There are songs to your fingers wrapped
in the fabric of quiet moments in café’s
and there are poems to your strength
during the most confrontational times.

Today I can hold flowers and watch
the colour of spring as though captured
in amber–the heat of summer pyroclastic–
the empty dress of autumn swirling

in a wind which has taken too much.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

The Event Horizon for News

the quiet is the after
it lingers and never leaves

though time rains over the scene
washes all evidence away

echoes in the eaves
careens through the is

and settles dove landing
on the asphalt of has to be
The Soul of Coffee

Thursday morning, Boetger knew astrophysics.
He shot stars from his Timcup and pontificated.

Loudly, loudly, loudly.

The lord of Waterloo knew the woman who died
and the faux-husband who cried as he purchased
chicken and Bavarian sausage at Saturday market.

The duke of King Street is the street person who
sleeps in the ATM booth in Frederick Street Plaza
and picks used cigarettes out of Queen Street rain.

There’s a half-hour each weekend morning,
when words run like wine into the glasses
of the Tim Horton’s crowd on their plastic chairs.

We all click our minds three times, mutter, ‘There’s
no place like fantasy’. Then the political murders begin.

Loudly, loudly, loudly.

Monday, April 16, 2007

What Beauty Exists

that breaks the bonds between
a cup of coffee in the morning
and a reason to write.

Tv’s tuned to American Idol.
You’re told to be one of a kind,
yet slammed for trying.

I wonder where the ships moor
before accepting passengers
for Byzantium. For Wroxeter.

Who watches for the tide
to turn; that moment when
time flows out to the new?

Do gunshots announce it–
hopscotch death racing
main street? Juiced car.

The edge, the edge, always
the edge. Just before
the mortality count.

This is a matter of how we
live in the void and try
to fill it with pieces of what we are.

And protect that, no matter what.
I’m kept on earth by gravity.
Down is the direction.
Simple road map and simple signs.

Answers swell up like artesian wells.
Down is the direction.
That’s where warmth greets long winter.

And I’m home, I’m home forever.
Down is the direction.
Solidly anchored, unable to set sail.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

R Squared

It’s difficult to sing never having
heard a song. So it was the baby
steps of harmony that became words.
Words slipped into phrase and phrases
married to become sentences. A history
was book and books were peopled
with generations of words; the DNA
of telling time.

There were nationalities of mystery;
principalities populated by horses,
dogs and athletes. Each plot was a ticket
for a slow freight train trolling midnight
and moon. In the end, I joined the gypsies;
learned their language; how to dance
and how to hold language like a flame
forever burning, never frozen.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Greater Love

a greater honesty
a greater civility
as though time passes at varying temperatures

as though there are seasons (the season of
responsibility/the season of war/the season
of clouds scrubbing away blue/the season
of never ending snow)

and we are captive in time’s seasons
detritus/the flash point when the phoenix realizes

and stones roll/rock across history in small scenes
from the corner café

Observation–Spring, Back Yard

hare stares to the court
dove staggers under the hedge

the squirrel is missing–that rodent who watches our windows
and reverses the animal kingdom's order

Friday, April 13, 2007

dear m,

last night imagined you
naked clothed in bed (had music for the scene)

and we/and we/were we/that intersection
between March robin and September frost


the lies I followed/music that led nowhere
in the alleys of rooms/open/closed doors


your voice creating positions on a chess board
like twenty-four to the twenty-forth power


crumbles the way it does on water
because nothing at that time is political

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Linguistics From the Line Steward


A repeatable wonder should
prosper produced in Mexico
with materials from Malaysia.

–that exotic touch, like miracles on the assembly line–

We could use it as an attachment
for our eyes, so we shine back
at the camera with gold, not red-rotted desire.

–eyes jaded by watching the wind blow detritus down Queen Street–

We could create a reseller’s marketplace
on the internet; a place to
trouble-shoot and praise.

We could attach values to the unvalued
and license vendors from sea
to profit-driven sea in small mall kiosks.

–purchased with vouchers and twenty percent discounts off arbitrary
monetary place-holders–


Poems crawl from the shadows
when I stand under streetlights. Imagination creates
mythologies; populates the unpopulated worlds
I see in doorways and blind alleys. I’m
in metamorphosis, looking for definition.
Each reality is a brush stroke against
the canvas of time; ethereal wonder.


Material desire is a defense
against the failure to find the creatures
within; stencils on glass for Christmas
and Easter; ghosts attached to maple trees
in October; the flag flown on mast day.

We write the manual for the importance of life
and the importance of death. In this world,
there is a clash of novels. The poet
stands aside and cooks the ten thousand
meals to be consumed before.
Caution: Watch Your Step

Water is a liquid, it may spill
onto your dry lands; that distance
between reality and the flood.

Streets may vanish in the folds
of your dogma. You may
experience moments of angst.

Forget everything and step
forward. The future exists
where you didn’t search.

Life is risk. Life is chance.
Throw the dice and watch
the result on the evening news.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

To you in the Storm

It was two weeks ago I took
my camera to Victoria Park.
Canada Geese and ducks
owned the lake,
crowded the shore. Crocuses were
blue promise under
the old island trees.

I have a picture
of a hawk on a limb.
By the pavilion. Remember,
where the playground spills
towards the wading pool
and I took photos of you.
It was summer then, wasn’t it?

I tracked the storm on the weather channel. Everything rushed up
from the US middle. Hot moist Mississippi air kicked Arctic butt.
This is now mid-April and there seems no end to global warming.

The news from Afghanistan
continues to be horrible.
Six more body bags will soon
return to Canada. We were promised
glory and the genesis of
a new world. I have seen
these storms too many times before.

We get into our car
in the morning. The sky
is blue. By noon, clouds patrol
the horizon and the wind howls.
Snow walks through afternoon,
smothers us in a heavy
white blanket by dinner time.

My mother continues to do well, although time drags her down
and back. She talks about Slovakia and the world which no longer
exists. Time is a white page and she’s forgotten how to write on it.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

The Foreign Tongue

In a street car (careening bumper-car
down Bloor), I reconstruct Eliot’s lines.
September rains on chalk drawings,
October frost epistle to Canadian ears.

A maple sugar bush is ferreted from
London pubs. The hush of newspapers
over dinner becomes a horse and buggy
on a mud-slapped Mennonite road.

Acadian music saws northern lumber.
A steel rail runs from Nova Scotia
to British Colombia. Were Eliot to read
this language, he would hear a stranger.

But I smile and consume the lilting breath
of each small word; happily hum at home.

Monday, April 09, 2007

The Illusion of Recycled Time

I look at photos of before
and fear there will be none for after.
The creationists would know
where to find that bridge,
though I have never believed in
the relationship between these
maple trees, jumbled clouds
and a steeple rising from farm land,
all moulded by a calloused hand.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Ballet For Scene

1 a living-room and wine. Nine people. Interaction.

2 the argument which flows. Outside, moon rests
on the horizon’s steeples.

3 a trajectory graph. Near misses. Hits and
the wounded dodging the past.

In a field where fires burned there are now
ashes I once imagined to be snow.
The biting cold demanded immolation.

In the voids between sixteen years
and seven thousand time begged
fulfilment. For each second spent.

There are stories of old race horses
and back-road glue factories. Why would
I imagine the glue of my experience

to be enough to hold together
all of the photos I have used of us to decorate
the hallways of my memories.

3 you live in Montreal. We talk once
every other year.

2 that moment is still a dam between
our mountains and our valleys.

1 I didn’t leave. You did. Before my truth.

Painting Over the Windows With Magic

Cloud wreck on the horizon. Rush hour
flurries. Debris scattering across
the page of Easter morning. The news
remains worrisome. This is a morning
to fling open the windows where people
and events once crowded memory’s sidewalks.

Over coffee and the Toronto Star, let’s
begin building legends. Stories that are drawn
from those spaces where windows
now crowd the landscape as though the stars
have been cut out of the firmament.

Let’s brandish stories like magicians brandish
magic tricks from empty sleeves. One moment
nothing and the next a rose. A rabbit. A dove
escaping into the amazed crowd. A memory
outliving the event.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Friday, April 06, 2007

Third Floor Room, St Jacob’s

The view from the window is
scrambled eggs, a squirrel playing
dead man’s leap with parking
lot cars. Down the driveway, traffic
genuflects to rush hour and
that nagging pain in the side sings
verses from the history of....

On stormy days, I’d lie on the front yard, watch the clouds come down from the north and rain on Waterloo. Summer basements smelled like caviar drawn from sump pumps, fruit cellars and long forgotten clothing and chairs. The world ended at the horizon. The world ended at the tip of my travels on the East Ward bus; my walks downtown to listen to 45's in a booth. Life is so simple when it rhymes.

A cloud grazes blue,
the trees are lighthouses
espousing life. On the tip of
my tongue rests a eulogy–

when I’m dead and gone, please....
Two Lawyers

Three pm. Cuban rum about
gone. No resolution to Conservative rule.
No words that fight
in unison with the sun creeping
the blinds into evening.
Reality reduced to cradle ethics,
that reaching for the sky
which crumbles into a ceiling
and falls forever
into the last breaths of unresolved debate.

Who will drive to the liquor store
for the next court case?

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Universe Beside the Window

If I turn to you and say, the light should by now be green, you’ll tell me that I’m not a poet. You always do.

Suffering seems to be important. And this vast landscape called; a usable interpretation of reality.

We’re drowned in input to the point where we regurgitate. Layered reality drives us beyond acceptance.

Sun touches the deck. Tomorrow, they say it will snow. A robin argues with the grackles. The grass is turning back to life. Maple keys think the rake is suicide.

We’re one day from Good Friday.
Who should I forgive?

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Through The Fog

How the mountains peak–
lighthouses to the sun submerged.

The ocean cries to pine
pillars grasping a breath of land.

In a cull-de-sac, we exchange the image of verbs–
seagulls moving across a vibration of waves.

Each breath evaporates like commitment and love–
footsteps across a cobbled beach.

Fingerprints are observed in invisible light.

Sunday, April 01, 2007


we walk Front Street
Toronto. April pounds the ground.
money is a curve ball tossed like
discarded Tim Horton’s cups.
bowling for Canada.
we look south where Fidel rises
from his bed to wave and
George passes soiled uniforms around
the table. Steamboat Willie
begins the parade. the Pope is
dead somewhere on the dark side
of the world.

I’m drawn back.
a reviewer of destroyed celluloid
the gaps filled with
steamboat whistle. this is patchwork.
fields of grapes in a mundane
drizzle. people toiling at holding together
a flawed dam. the valley will be
lost to sluggish fish floating past
stumps and bodies and stumps
until the valley again rises.
responds to the pounding drums.

we are on Queen’s Quay. a vendor
sells us sausages made in Portugal.
we remain Canadian and do not
become Portuguese. snow turds lie piled
against glass and brass infrastructures.
we are in the shadow of the world’s largest
sundial. the time is wrong.
if this is Sunday morning
there is a logjam of horses and
buggies at the intersection in Wallenstein.
Canada geese break the geese barrier.

time eddies. a bottle of milk
left in the milk box on a January
morning for shift workers
would freeze were it not for the heat
leaking out of the house to drum back
the ice skates cold.
like escaping children.

Slow Spring Coming

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Dear Ellen E.

you asked for words to fill the cracks
(protect your back) and slide into the booth beside you–
hamburger and fries

I saved some words without definition (am sending
them on) without recollection of what they are
except words--like excess shoes

lost in the closet down that dark hallway where
we never talk. no, never talk.

really, shouldn’t flowers and gray walls be enough?
there is that comfort zone. coal chutes, milk boxes
and socks hopping through foreign mud.

temper-tantrum mantras, a street light burning,
encoded with falling snow, the epistle
of our hands touching on a maple table

just as the sun leaps across. it’s the void which hurts
you, burns words into meaningless stumps.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

For Thirty-Seven Years

Fallen branches tied
in a bundle bouncing on my shoulder
and drifting road

to horizon. They’re collected words
for the fireplace. For the times
we discuss the direction

we’re travelling. For the coal chute
accepting coal and keeping
us warm through winters.

It’s the silences which are frigid
Baffin Island in January. Cod navigating
icebergs bouncing off the shells

of negotiations concerning
the kitchen sink. The colour of
the walls between the front door and the back.

The place we’ll go this winter
to escape the cold. Perceptions concerning
the aesthetics of our children.

It has never been a question
of the fire between your lips
and mine. The point where we

said we would. Where we believed.
It has lately been a question
of how high to turn the heat.

Friday, March 16, 2007

I Spoke to you in Jazz

I Spoke to you in Jazz

and that rhythm rushing
waterfall over notes

as though dust motes are trapped
in the chamber of women and men
moving across the aspect
of architecture.

Pick up a cigarette and light it. Blow down
memory’s streams. Ignite cognisance.
Become a wall between the philosophy
of vagrants and the sanctity of St Peter.

Judge. Then leave the crowded room.
A man watches you with a woman’s eyes.

In the infinity of common places,
we reach, touch with open hands.
A symbol should be placed at this exact
location on the road.

Then torn down by the wind, whose wisps
languish like stale relationships,
or fishing lines trolling every aspect of life–
reason in love with the quest for cause.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Slanted Time

In the mispronunciation of events
history is born so far
from the existent world–
a road angling through apartment pines

where men with drooping
bedroom eyes sing you
to sleep into nightmares
of postponed end days–

coal chutes giving way
to laptops and the milk
wagon horse stumbling
from milk-box to milk-box–

forever lost, forever misplaced–
forever horse on the cusp of
an SUV trolling schoolyards
for MBA candidates–

to carry on the faith,
to carry on the markets,
to carry into the future
a scrap of DNA marking us

as people who strived for.

Avian Photography

bird captured by air
branch genuflects to

that moment when wing

adverb not quite

touching earth, though expecting
alight in the middle

of conversations
folded sheets waiting for

bodies and heat, the miracle

of fantasies.
nothing but

death remains
in time's eddies.

once upon a time the poet
himself in music and rhyme,
afraid to come out, come out,

wherever he was–

message smeared with rhythms,

costume obscuring
the concerned heart–

man without answers,
yet alway
trying to give
change a jump-start.