Friday, July 31, 2009

Saying Things

The voice reading poetry,
as though pouring
a cup of tea at three
on a Jamaican afternoon,
will never describe death

completely – departure by
and arrival to – as though
tombs are worm holes
and a calm subway voice
during rush hour Friday

is more truthful than
grave-side hysteria.

The voice dying poetry
in a sinkhole in
Afghanistan, one step
away from an IED, one
thought from love

in a Winnipeg condo –
when the sun waltzes with
the million perceptions
of a world held in the shell
of a black walnut –

that world fades as well
as the setting maple tree sun.
Perception And Boulders

In seven years, they say,
every cell in your body
will have been replaced.

You’ll be the new man,
a fresh body with which
to tackle another sunrise.

I wonder, then where
memories are stored –
down what wormhole
they hide, ferment and
conspire – to bound out

at the most inopportune
times, like demented ghosts,
because after sixty years,
I am a child again
in the iris of my mother’s

fading comprehension and sight.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Timely Thoughts

Time is linear, time bends.
Time curls around itself
and like comfort food,
time is the embers you watch
at eleven o’clock
on a Friday night, wine glass
empty – as empty as –
well, your life just then,
a sticky note left
on a gravestone where you
buried the last one hundred dreams
when time experienced
a performance malfunction.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Accordion Bridge

I take the accordion out of
its case at midnight.
This is the basement
with cool August humidity.
Exams are in front of me,
open books a surround.

The first notes are from
Germany, the next from a
brothel in Spain. A riff from
a night club in
London follows, then ten
pages from a novel about rain.

I play six songs I remember,
as though they’re fairy tales
heard when I was five –
sitting with my mother
in the living-room,
listening to the radio.

I’m alive, I mumble to concrete,
I’m learning about
Hamlet and the spell
he was under when he killed
his uncle – to the rhythm
of gypsies around fires from hell..

Acid rock on the accordion
begets a thirst for beer,
for dances under starlight,
for dances to the dying muse
of polkas, weddings in white
and children from desire.

I play music at one
in the morning when
the street cleaner comes
roaring down the asphalt
like an alien invader,
or the sound of rockets

and guns at Dunkirk
in the early evening
when the sky bleeds
and bodies congregate
before liberation, before
western migration into hell.

I play the accordion – notes
footsteps in
New York, Toronto,
London, Paris
and Berlin – and hope
everywhere the sound lives.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

The Taxable Free

The art of creating
nothing is free –
holes in iambs,
moles on lithographs,
a tendency to use
concrete and asphalt
when mapping the soul.

And in academic rooms, argument –
as thought that will describe purgatory and heaven.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Folding Laundry

on the bike expressway slices wind
and clouds three cities away genuflect –

you fold my laundry, contemplate
ironing work shirts, exploring pant creases,
pushing socks into drawer moraines –

trucks drag commerce around the Maypole
of profit as though ribbons and dance
will progress one minute into the next –

there is a religion in folded shirts
a salvation in going to work
after a hearty and healthy breakfast –

when the rain (which has revved dark clouds
all morning) falls the streets become
an obstacle course of occasional pools –

when hell is loosened on asphalt and concrete
the Eden of fresh folded laundry sustains us all

Sunday, July 19, 2009

East European Immigrants Outside Tim Hortons, Sunday Morning

each hole in the universe is plugged
with the language of fuck
and I wonder – where are your women –
how are your dishes sorted
in apartment kitchens – spoons arranged
in the graveyard order of burning memories
and why does the sun set so differently
on grass in Canada

though this is morning
and coffee brews inside between
cigarette chains and scandalous conversations
about the recession,
the entropy of unemployment,
Dubcek, Milosevic,
the water fountains in Sarajevo –

King Street closed to create
a new roadscape, a new place
to cruise, so that the distance between
Yugoslavia and Kitchener
can be measured in empty coffee cups,
as addictive as unrealized dreams

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Arrival in the Emptiness

you in Afghanistan who remember
only war – you on a dirt road
slicing your life in half – you leaning
against a full train, picture captured
by a photographer from Finland –

don’t think yourself unique, or jewel
in amber, wind-song in downtown
eaves, the last inhalation of dust
before rainfall on rusted rails –
midnight whistle of departure
from port – don’t think yourself
arrival on the plane of yesterday –

the wind which whipped waves
against the breast of Europe,
the wind which unsettled each
carefully constructed agreement –
that wind now is a sullen traveler
on Asian dirt roads, the Indian cone,
Africa waiting for the circle
to be closed – that wind swirls dust
as though trying to recreate

and in recreation, Afghanistan remains,
constant, steps from one IED
to the next – a discussion in old age
homes, where the waltz at meals
is regression to when – time
was delivered in body bags –
one stillborn future after the next

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Creating Enemies by Killing Civilians

Again. It doesn’t end.

The country is a comforter,
each stitch responsible for the whole.

The knife severs threads, pieces of the picture
hang like unwatered flowers in July.

That’s the confusion. The greatest fear
and not the greatest hope.

Every road is another colour of blood.
Every house the shell of a dream.

Saviours incite death. In the name of.

In time, no names are remembered.