Tuesday, February 26, 2008

The Aging Parent Brings Guilt

If I could die
sometime before the information age
I wouldn’t have to know

how burnt leaves find deep gutters
in sub-divisions stamped
upon wild topography

before graders, before steam shovels
and boundary lines
the social level directing smoke

from unattended barbecues–

before I remember you
standing between the maple and the pine
staring into the distance

as though the horizon is Slovakia
on a summer evening,
boats negotiating the Danube

chickens in the graveyard
like tarnished memories of where
they’ve been– port to port to port–

wave to wave in the time machine


at ten in a narrow room
in the chemical drift of air
from bowels and umbilical chords
we converse about
the care of one patient,
the potential to meet certain
standards and once there
that patient
to be unleashed upon the world
as though reality can be sloughed
for the greater dream
of a budget balanced
by every minute saved
in hospital ware

A Season Sensed Out of Season

Oh October–
brittle wind slapping the granite faces
of a downtown buried in
the important game of business–
let’s find the reason for shoes
on the beach and mutual funds
in the cribs of babies crying because
it’s too far past feeding time–
let’s find the celebration in leaves
curled down sidewalks, across
railway tracks and into the back yards
of old men with rakes and bad backs–
let’s make money–
let’s allow cold lovers in outdoor caf├ęs
one last hug under an extinguishing sun,
one last kiss with brittle lips
that taste like wine and sex–
let’s feel our words lose their strength
in stingy sentences, in lame gaits
down hallways, through bars,
to the theater, in the aisles of grocery stores,
in churches, in the office;
while we walk to our chair facing
the western neighbourhood
through insensate panes, where a snowflake
drifts for a moment, confused
by whether it’s a fragment
of funeral gown, or genesis.

On the Assumption That Y is my Lover

This is a spontaneous desire
and I’m walking home to nowhere.

During the sunset of words on a plane
spanning pages as though history,

the knife I use to carve has gone mad,
slicing crescent moons from the fingertips

of my memories. I have
nowhere to go, no destination to find.

This is the result of expunging assimilation,
leaving those distinct traces of self

like bread crumbs on a roadway leading
into the abyss of between you and I,

the point where we decide who is
rock and who is wave–

who is wind society and who
is rain, the relationship somewhere

between love and a rotting place.

This Knowledge

everything is exposed by light–
I’ve walked down that trail
beside river and time–
fished the waters of memory
until waterfalls wash away
the lingering odour of life

and light follows me one
breath at a time–across
the savannah of days–
stepladder down the procession
of experience–hidden
acorns on an unbiased field


Know that I can’t sing a right-sided note,
but I wrote the words and that chord,
which hangs like a cloud on the brim
of a deep winter’s day–which flies
like an insane sunbeam down the alley
of the chorus–know that I cried
when I played it with the accompaniment
of a broken voice, which yours has healed.

Speed Bumps

sure, time, the origami memories
you fly thought early morning hours,
crash against these windows,
not those looking into the Danube’s maw

and claw through a million years

life is a fractal forever mimicking
greater things like stars and planets careening
through the void you feel so
dearly as the space between a window

and six squirrels running the hydro lines

time is one moment hop-stepping
after another until I see you walking Chaplin step down
the boulevard with your cane followed by your shadow’s
shadow’s shadow’s shadow forever looking in

to the empty places of disappeared things and events