Tuesday, June 30, 2009

If the Sun Sets, Then Why Don’t Clouds

Think of this as a child’s
innocent question, when
they’re not thinking of God,
or reproduction, or imagining
an image which drops
out of three o’clock
in the morning dreams,
lies on the bedspread for a moment,
then scuttles onto the floor,
where under-the-bed
monsters spy an easy snack.

It might be a chink
in the armour of a decision
made over cocktails Friday evening,
or Saturday morning evaluation
of thick steaks assembly-line perfect,
under glass, at market,
or the rationale for ignoring
the contents of a mountainous
Saturday afternoon to-do jar.

Perhaps it’s the punch line in
a casual conversation
at the near corner, where
the corner people always argue

(airing life from Adirondack chairs
positioned just inside their two-car
garage, beers at the ready),

for the amusement of walking
dog owners, two dogs pulling
the real world in different
directions, dog barking
as twisted as cohabitating leashes.

More likely, it’s the answer
to a crossword question
Sunday morning, when the paper
arrives, as heavy as
an intercontinental missile –
the kind we were warned about,
were instructed to go
down to the basement before
their arrival, find an exterior wall,
put our heads between upraised knees,
pray perhaps, but more likely
just wait for chance to hit or miss,
for life to keep shining,
or to suddenly set
under a nuclear cloud.

Friday, June 26, 2009


Light years from where I was,
it’s time to go home.

(Not curl into a ball, evaporate
and fall, rain against windows
with an alien view.)

And time to admit that roads are often
blind turns into heavy traffic.

The grid can swallow us, spit us out
sand on sidewalk where industrious ants
have constructed their anti-views.

Time to admit a chair, sunset, the perspective
through maples defines enough

and spectacular vistas into the self
are unnecessary, unwanted and impossible.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Leaving Photos in Obscure Places

A world evolves between
two anchored rocks on sand beach.

(Construct and the (de)construct)

Waves bless permanence in this impermanence,
this seasonal menu from one restaurant.

I think of strobe lights, sectionalized events,
that guess bridging leaps the ocean advances,

or our affairs, between five-thirty and nine
on a summer morning, when the sun staggers

through atmosphere (dull invader) and leaves
a jagged rip, bleeds words which deny

the vanishing footsteps of our progress.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Ghosts And You

Words are condensation on the window
between the maple and my chair -

breakfast dishes form a road from the table
to the sink, moraines on the counter top.

I miss the walks we took for cigarettes,
to the corner store, for fries from the drive-in -

I miss the baby steps and the way September
shed heat, worms in rain, stories with coffee.

I regret first snowfall, leaves clicking polka
in the hedge, the way dreams migrated

south and never returned. I rue twenty thousand
rhymes grown in wine petri dishes,

knocked senseless until they became poems,
anecdotes, lies, the sounds of an accordion

played long past midnight - in immigrant time,
for breakfast, in the milk of gunshots,

dressed in the flesh of uniforms, reciting
the differences between, with falling bomb sentences.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009


Now abrades against then.
Sunlight tags clouds, ants on sidewalks,
grass in waves to foundations.

In the sky, fighters flying by
and I run, refugee in a safe country.

My mother remembers skin torn
from bodies, sprayed across her arm,
stranger in another gutter.

You wonder at my moodiness,
it’s hard to explain.

I’m an immigrant in a land
that denies my experiences.
And I’m left to choose.

Is there a right choice, or are all
choices nothing more than denial.

Blood flows differently on different streets.
The Right Side of History:
For Neda Soltan

Evolution is a dividing point.
As is where spilled blood pools.
The right side of rivers receive
sunlight, the left a footnote.

When nothing happens in isolation
and the whole world knows,
death is meaningless
only when night prematurely dawns.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

The Visit

I don’t know
where I live, how
will I get home?

Will you take me,
do you know?

How’s Bill, is he
doing well? He’s dead?
When did he die?

My knee hurts,
I hurt it when I fell,
walking across
a curb, there was
ice. I’m worried.

I don’t know where
I live, do you
know? I worked
in Toronto for years.

Did I have children?
How old are they?
They’re too young,
I have to
take care of them,
I worry.

I worry about everything.
Will you take me
home? I’ve forgotten
where I live. Do you
know my children?

I hurt my knee,
I’m worried, I
don’t know. Where I live.

Was I married?
John died, but
I couldn’t go
to the funeral.
I don’t know where.

Do I live
in a nice place?
Will you take me
home? I don’t know
where. I don’t.

Time eats everything.
Do you know where
I live? Will you
take me home?

Thursday, June 04, 2009

June and the Sun Sets

Remember what the sun is,
this elongated June evening –
cracked pomegranate, inflamed
silicon, spilled vin de pays,

the predictable result of an often observed event, whose variables can be defined by the components of their composition.

(Composed of atmosphere, transient evaporation/evapotranspiration having reached dew point, refraction through distance and unpredictable emotion.)

Remember aggregates are
a stepping-stone in construction,
the way the pieces do not
predict the whole –

concrete foundations which resist the fetch of events washing against them, wool spun into a thread, frayed ruins which continue to endure into...

but this is another avoidance.
Together, we’ve watched
the sun set – thirty-nine years.
It’s never danced the way we do.
Songs Street Lights Hum

hung above the intersection (Stanley & Yonge), rocking
in June wind (red too long for traffic entering north stage south)

a strip mall on one corner, service station on the other,
advanced green from the burbs to Tim Horton’s

a large sign announces another condo construction,
swimming pool, sauna, games room and security

I think in simple cords, like C, though minor in their strike,
a trill, then full notes changing with tractor-trailer gears

and everyone is shunted through, as though this is
a railway clearing yard – shared concept with fast cars

C will eventually break down and fall into A,
seek a sullen tone, a migrating murder in the sky.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Our Open Wound

is a slow freight train travelling through
the cold air of somewhere.

Word crossings flash red in small towns
with names like, Last Friday, The Unmown Lawn,
Vacation Before New Camera.

Dilapidated warehouses welcome cracked asphalt,
daisies marching to the door behind which are stored
arguments from 1999, love once under moon.

The slow whistle from slow freight
punctuates the occlusion of night between us,
when wine and restaurants won’t heal.

I will come with roses and wait at a station
somewhere on the pyroclastic plains trains inhabit –
tremble on the fault line where so much tumbles

from boxcars, is left unclaimed – a graveyard
in which the tombstones know too much.

Monday, June 01, 2009

Imagination And The Next Moment

We communicate on the almost plain,
herds charging a vanishing point,
because prediction exists in statistics,
not rain moving in from north-west,
felling the deck umbrella, spilling
newly planted annuals into the yard.

Nor is your latest pretense predictable,
that rush into an extended rebuff,
the way reality is coerced into streams
flowing through the peneplain exchange
we walk– a landscape of touch, talk –
troubadour between villages, between life.

If you want, we can go for a walk
through leftover rainbow country,
down the trail where the heron visits,
through the trilliums in spring woods,
across the river’s edge, the gravel pit,
the sunshine ray I don’t understand.