Sunday, December 12, 2010

Note Scrawled Next to a Photograph

best trip ever
we saw Venice / the pyramids
the Panama Canal / Bruce orchids
Havana afternoon / Washington
waddling the Potomac
late summer Munich / Portsmouth

and people wandered the streets
of each and every time rejoicing to be tourists
uninvolved rejoicing / their shadows
shading the doorsteps of historical relics

I have a thought and a photograph
a philosophy and a memory
a reference point which begins
in my living room and terminates
south of an airport / city center
causeway to paradise / the equator

but nowhere near the shell
of my aging body / the footsteps
which are an echo bouncing off
the fragile walls of history

like the afterimages my mother
sees every day since
the blood-letting days when
a world war arrived in her Slovakia
and she lost her world to arrive

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Why Two Conversations Never Married

origin determined as
the cobbled together ligaments
in a language
which is breaking wave
then sunset
then light burnished
bronze in an unattended window
with a view
toward unintended meanings
gridlocked between
the time you didn't arrive
and the time you did
just as the scene was
impossible to interpret

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


This is sandbox, goosestep
in the fields of permanence.
A light fading at noon.
The rose bush beside our house
has bloomed for thirty years.

Cut it down, you announced
in tandem with the first fevers
of menopause.

Bewitch the world, you
shouted at wrinkles
and ankle pains.

Our daughter walked away.
Our marriage decided on
a Cuban vacation. Roses
pushed into an umber horizon.
Eyesight faded until —
we danced and danced.

In the predawn cool
we build card houses
and observe their demise
one kiss at a time
when kisses are the wolf wind.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

The Impossibility of Love Affairs in Book Stores

In this year of self-help, I sculpt circles in familiar blood —

a jagged scrawl as though a limping drawl,
or accent from an ancient country
has invaded the spirit of my left brain

and you congeal — dance movement
as indefinable as the identity of common clouds.

In the year of the pronoun, we have become
a trade book store on a French Quarter Rue —
somewhere near Jackson Square

where we genuflect to the smug dictators of superfluous words.

There is a prayer for poems and for coffee grounds —
for Hurricanes and for Mint Julep. There is a prayer
for the silence of street cars and begnets.

No prayers exist in the space between our first sip and our final words.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Lake Erie Pier

History paints this chance
encounter, where seagull
careens into the earth's ectoplasm,
divines tide and turbulence.

Conversational crumbs our waiter
sweeps into a white towel,
return imbedded in Greek salad
and tender perch.
We toast the wine's genealogy.

Upon the infrastructure
of your question, I reconstruct
the pain of being sixteen, being
the ideal idiot savant
roaming Roger Street.

In the lore of nineteen hundred
and fifty-seven, I loved
my father's white Strato Chief,
dank fruit cellars, spin-the-bottle,
spin-your-45's — spin away —
and reading from twilight
into early morning. I digested
a thousand realities.

We were children crawling from
the war's annihilation; crawling
into the 60's unsustainable party.

Well met today, we are a man
and a woman at a pier-side table.
Sun tickles your retina before
touching down on an escalation
of accelerating motorcycles.

The bill is placed between us,
I pick it up — father on a cross —
mother attending a dream —
stare into the opposing direction
of accepted life and track
a seagull in a broiling sky.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Spider World

Spent August, early September,
a grander destiny — taut webs
span eaves and faded asters.

Frost is the army in waiting,
advances across Macintosh,
loiters on bleached curbs.

I recall rain, earthworm odours
on drizzled sidewalks, leaf
yard salad, warm rooms, windows ajar

and grass torn by a hard tackle,
resettled on shiver pads; cigarette smoke
coaxing the eight ball, side pocket.

Information is inexpensive — books dance
five-four — decisions swirl
at machine gun gait.

Sunrise tints napping clouds,
colour loses direction; spider weaving
from front door to bay window

has yet to visit Rome and we haven't
permitted ourselves to create beyond
the peneplain of syncopated vision.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Alien Blood

In transit and transition
between one door and the next,
combination or key lock,
we have not escaped the veldt,
emaciated prowling lions,
the frenzy of the watering hole —
and in an alien country,
where language has been deconstructed
into unrecognizable components,
intent baked by sun — when a bullet
is the irreversible solution,
steering back into before —

the man who ran from the TO bus
with a knife in his hand hugs sidewalk,
off his meds, off his life,
off the trail most of us imagine following.
The Dark Side of Your Kiss

arrives at three in the morning
under unreliable clouds / peekaboo moon

bar stragglers mutter staggered nonsense
car and apartment door slam / harmony

you mumble and you sleep / a spider
struts your memories / spins
imagined event threads into potential

in the morning over coffee
with bacon and eggs you'll recall

I had the strangest dream
and nothing quite made sense

listening to your somnolent tale
I wonder if the earth really loves
its hostage / the baleful harvest moon

Thursday, September 23, 2010

A Concrete Wilderness

Elevator glides linear,
mooring at cubular countries,
then sails.

Cacophony carousel,
a murder of business,
monetary lint.

Above the 19th floor,
vultures slowly surf
September afternoon.

When EMS arrives,
the woman with heart
palpitations decides to be well.

The parking lot
is ticket heaven,
another courier arrives.

On this carousel,
the centre falls apart,
spins into the away

of cold shoreline
and doors which remain
permanently closed.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Autumn comes to asphalt
and concrete meadows
bereft of the grandeur of death —

the pageantry dying seems
to tear from all of us —

that last stand in curling waves
and unstable beach, that last fist
shaking at consequences and time

that last kiss for the faded flower,
the last slice of sunshine flowing
down a sluice of maple trees

disappeared into the arms
of a rising moon singing
a lullaby to Charon.

Autumn comes to asphalt
like rain seeking cluttered gutters

shearing the everyday detritus
from our vision and our minds —

as empty cigarette packagers,
coffee cups, useless lottery
tickets, gum wrappers,
a condom mimicking dam

against the river connecting
birth and death,
celebration and celebration

a voice we hear and silence
although October wind rattles
the shutters of our eyes.

Thursday, September 02, 2010


world glued to world
flexible cinema
and alternate endings

with rain machines
full gutters
people-wash philosophies

a discrete cafe
table in the corner
with centrepiece rose

a far place
far from the near
the streetlight and bus

the brush kiss
over starters
of calamari and rye bread

you know me
and I know you
all too well

but what the hell
this is September
and rain clings

like a phone number
to the sides
of our sentences

call me
ball me
stall me

as daylight leaks
like love from a wound
of rush-hour traffic

and we're caught
in its rainbow
of infinite colours

under this umbrella
of faded stars

Friday, August 20, 2010

Suffering on Saturday

Dear Jane,

do you think anyone cares?
August unravels,
implodes and bursts
in an explosion of time seeds -

potential. And I appreciate
where light lives, when the sonic
pirates board my ears, sail
straight into that song
I haven't heard since I was six -
a familiar of outliers
at the extreme limits of harmonics.

Because my body sings the jazz
of windows and doors. Of pieces
cut like rogue bands from a festival
dedicated to corporeal ditties -
frailty, vision, memory, pain.


I have my bucket list,
my must do list, my make plans list,
my never give up list,
my I will list of impossible
feats. I have what I wake up with
each morning - my will
to live dream list.

And everything is entangled
into the next hospital visit,
the doctor,
the chemo appointment,
the sleepless night,
the unending pain,
the reality my body
will fail my mind's vision.

Friday, August 06, 2010

So What

(written while listening to
Miles Davis' 'So What')

the window trills
at midnight the window
a breeze
October the window
where piers
are lit
and the river is
onyx fur
and below each light
a tint the window
yells hard
bass sidewalks
and posts piano-rolled
into a staggered
one o'clock
walk the window opens
a mouth for
fretless cigarette smoke
clouds the window
unfettered dissolves into one unsustainable chord

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

A View From Horizon and Highway

He dreamed through
the winter wheat harvest
and christened himself
'Wild Fire'; dressed
in the red ochres of
a wounded and fleeing sun.

They tagged him as
'Victim six of the brawl
behind harbour warehouse
twenty'; and firmly
negotiated his three day
ash journey home.

Monday, August 02, 2010


This miracle — water into wine,

then wine into blood —

this metamorphosis.

Or has the imagination

merely been well-fertilized

with Sunday dinners

and Sunday school. A want

of answers to questions

we only ask when

it is dark and the sparrows,

all fallen from the eaves,

are as silent as absence.

And the hole gnawed through

the chain-link fence

enclosing all that we dread

suddenly gains a voice.

We are asked to change,

we are asked to alter —

we who are less than

mortal flesh — we who

are undisciplined scree

tumbled somewhere in

the mountains by Eden —

we who have been

abandoned in a rain

which falls like wine

and smells like blood.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

River Walk

Morning dresses the Grand's

curved meander.

Sun has yet to penetrate,

delineate and define

with light; denounce

the lack of clarity

in shoreline trees —

five ducks tacking

lazy eddy, time looped

and looped again —

gold ring settled

on your finger reflecting

without presence.

It's difficult to cut

night from day

with surgical precision,

remove dark garments

from the hidden,

reveal faces in a face,

translate our language

from the fog's

pidgin silence.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010


Our long goodbye begins in the middle

of hello, morning, roses opening to sunshine

or rain. An ill-conceived path tracks

the lawn's undulations, ends abruptly at

the fence, where another world begins.

You're familiar with other worlds,

I'm not. The clay, which constricts the garden,

chokes the roses and the radishes, that clay

defines me too well. I'm not malleable,

not a flimsy umbrella in a rainstorm,

Superman in a telephone booth, caught

between identities. I'm the man who

secretly cries at all the right times

while watching a 'chic flick', sings along

in the silence of elevators, believes

every lie as though it's the genesis

of another universe. I'm the man

at the end of a garden pathway,

looking with longing into his neighbour's

back yard, wondering where you're going

and memorizing six tender scenes

which will make Shane come back.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

For The Dramatic Woman I Met On A Toronto Street

Just like, reminds me of —
do you feel the pressure?

Less than a ten-word necklace
and already your head is —

in the oven of summer, birds
drone the air below
threatening clouds, bifurcate
between buildings

and the stream of consciousness
parades past primordial
concrete constructs.

You stroll the promenade mall,
primitive primate hunting
the ultimate toaster,

the idealized id, the question
of what exists between
money and earth mounds
flattened by falling time.

In muzak you are born,
in Freud you die, in life
you are challenged
to perform — street musician

riffing out your, riffing out
your, riffing out your
very last thoughts.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Lost Children

This is an ingrown toenail.
Something from the end of the universe,
somewhere in the arc of the belly flop
back, separated from the handholds
of the expected. Somehow cobbled together,
an old leather shoe with distance scrawled
across the sole, in an almost illegible hand,
with a dull pencil and a duller intent.
Something that presses against
a queue of events, with runaway emotions
looking for a destination, a track. Somewhere
after the canal through trees, past
streets languid with dawn. Stretching
in a jagged curve with a painful moan.
Somewhat lost and somewhat compressed
with an unknown fear. A band of words,
a camaraderie of phrases, the ping-pong path
of an atom through atoms, a foghorn
during a storm, trying to articulate a message
that must be relayed.

Saturday, July 10, 2010


Life is

like colliding

atoms — you never hit

the same atom every time

you try.

Thursday, July 01, 2010


God sells tacos at that corner place —
the one I passed each weekday last winter,
snow falling like Mexican jumping beans —
falling onto La Cucaracha traffic.

It was the season of the living snowman,
appearing in front yards, brazen in
his bravado, his lack of understanding
that time is transient, not a local fixture.

Spring arrived jazz blues — warmer days
cut into frozen snow nights, crocuses rousing,
stretching their arms — supplicants
to the returning warmth of Eden.

This is a year now and leaves fall, scratch
across sidewalks and yards, obliterate
the green and gray — those days which
stretch through the heart of will.

I no longer understand the difference
between heaven and hell, the difference
between you here and gone, or whether
I purchase tacos from God, or just walk on.

Friday, April 30, 2010


The morning. The flower. The clouds.
Hand on railing, flesh. On flesh.
A drapery of skin, then river.
And flight. Soaring flight.

Into the weakness of words and vision.
The erupting peneplain of perception.
And small tracks across memory.
A place on park bench.

Trees which speak in foreign.
The office tower bowing. To concrete.
Cool concrete. And a hint of roses.
A pinch of quarrel.

An answer of writers' consensus.
The murder of crow carries.
Aloft. The precision of doors.
Open, close, open, open, close.

A code. And nothing sustains.
Means. Because dissonance exists.
A hair falling across a sentence.
A perception dissolving.

And rain falls forever. On beliefs.

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Image #005

mendicant in the strip mall,
by the bike rack, with a dog,
carrying three plastic
grocery bags, dressed in ripped
pants, ripped jacket,
on Sunday, at closing,
people a blur of activity,
hardly recognized you — truth,
isn't it, you strange kid.

Saturday, April 03, 2010

Image #004

know time the moment when
(latch sound)
the moment is, know time,
latched against when
the moment is
time (know) the moment
listing with meaning,
know latched moments
listed when the moment
was time picture perfect,
a perfect picture of time

Friday, April 02, 2010

Image #003

The grackles have returned to strut
the back yard lawn, to chide me
for my presence there, I sawing industriously
at the limbs of the Cortland tree

until it is down and wood-burning stove sized
on thawing ground. One launching pad as they glide
into the cedars with food for the nests
is now gone. Tomorrow, I begin on the Red Delicious,

a larger mass, with more intricate limbs
and memories. It's age, you know, this desire
to level the topography around until
only a peneplain of effort remains;

and what needs to be accomplished mimics
transcendental meditation; nothing to stir
the heart. The side yard pine tree is safe
for now, haven for robins, harsh xenophobics,

who last summer swarmed a wayward grackle. I don't
need this war zone, which is something the chipmunks
digging under the back deck should understand.
There is a place for wildlife and for man.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Image #002

between (here and/and there
and the conceptions memory stores
in the front corridors of stories)
here and on St Lucia, Soufriere,
Soufriere, saxophone in St Louis
cemetery number one, Lofoten
leaking clouds out of north Atlantic
ocean (here and/and) at
the bus stop where I wait,
where I wait, where I remember
where I was and having been there,
between, untouched and touched,
between understanding and a brush stroke
in any colour of lady-slipper,
there should be understanding
and conclusion, resolution, but
there isn't/there is
just wind, an alley, an open
window, a cat, street signs
covered with graffiti, twelve
commandments stapled to a telephone post,
a photo album of pictures taken
while trying to misunderstand.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Image #001

Never imagine life linear;
never perceive a spiderweb world,
strings running everywhere,
roads bunged with snow,
awash in June rain —

never, never, never expect
anything but the misty froth
of memories bumping against you
like distracted shoppers
in an overcrowded mall,
where direction is
as aimless as electrons,
photons, a half-second after
the big bang, twenty minutes
before closing time, a thought
before the open door blast of.

Saturday, March 27, 2010


Because you're here,

then is problematic,

the way doors in motion

might be...either-or,


exposed or persona

clamped tight,

a death-lock on time.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Three urns beneath windowsill
in this house, sun set bottom
left, east/west, west/east....

Perhaps by attire, how dishes
hap-hazard write the kitchen table, time....
Conversations surface, dive, dive, dive!

Forty years are strobed onto
smoke screen, each moment falling
from the imperfect linear —

and these arms (one in shadow)
are feathered into
empty/full —
sunlight through an open window.
Capricious woodlot vine
slices light windershin —

passionate drama with
bluejay chorale.

Dusk diminishes and jells —
the innocent leaves.

Monday, February 15, 2010

After Abstracts (edit)

Death departs
hand in hand with love.
Sensing abandonment
time abdicates.

In the corners
of this room —
restless memory.

I ride my bike north on Weber Street.
Afternoon sun
wears a tu-tu of clouds —
sambas with soul.

Sunday, February 14, 2010


Typography becomes art;
words migrate from meaning
to the esthetic of existence.

Graphics, architecture, sculpture —
a line which commences on the Parkway wall —
skid mark ten feet from the ground.

Aural vision extrapolates, builds pages
of script into histories; the mind documents
with experience pen and speculation ink.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Random Conversation  

Sun smudged the Cortland, just beyond the deck
and I, turned away from you, witnessing how brick
can exist more steadfast than theology, enquired:

Is there really such a thing as a poetic voice?

Open a bottle of Petrus,
you replied. Let it evolve
tides across your tongue, then tell me what you experience.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

A City

as this body
of quarrels between
frenetic intimacy and molten
aversion; between high rise hugging
and green space separation. A city walks
forever on the cusp of copulation; a bipolar
blindness driving all effort down the autobahn
of unrestrained creation. Concrete is its only aphrodisiac.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Blue Heron Over August Stream

Focus is imperative; there exists
a depth of reality
equivalent to wingspan,
to the neck's curvature,
to what dark pupils can cradle,
then comprehend.

The primaries, dipped to gravity,
caress hydrogen molecules,
straddle colour frequencies,
imprint a perfect trail
of avian desire upon
compressed atmosphere.

Flight demands this unconscious ideal,
this faith in the unseen,
unlike the constructions
of sentences, which are
malleable clay –
prone to cataclysmic events,
to immolation by misadventure,
to sending forth the pilgrim
on a fool's gold pilgrimage.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

The Mystery of Shopping Carts

Who knows why shopping carts
gravitate into alleyways,
hump curbs, luxuriate
in rain, and rust to
burnished sandstone shades.

I’ve seen them dance
to inner-city gridlock madrigals —
frantic partners of vagabonds,
suburban leaves evicted
from row-house boulevard trees.

I’ve observed their bent bars,
sensual in sunlit waltzes
with chickadees, playmate
to summer-stained children,
last confidant of the dying homeless.

After Listening to Creeley Read

When I listen to

poets read, I hear

words severed from

the alternate universe

of white paper and think —

Oh God, who are

these beggars, what

is this road between

a voice and a pen —

how have they managed

to articulate so much

of the lives

of the social elementals,

yet sound so scared,

as though they’re caught

halfway, trapped in a door

that can’t decide

if it’s opening or closing,

a universe of unresolved

lunches with gin, loves

forever cast adrift — carrion

for vultures to savage —

these poor polemics for

the cause of angst

and redemption, Charon

and salvation, manicured lawns

for the moon and nights

in day when the only light

comes from that moody fire,

burning at the speed of doubt.

no point of departure is alien

There are always open doorways,
road signs leading in Aqua Velva progression,
photographs being snapped by tourists
stunned that even this exists —
the ‘lost and found’ fantasy.

There are stray cats
and wandering sheep deferring
to cows switch-backed
on a lonely country road,
red brick taverns courting
white tables just where
the alley ends — and in summer,
wedding parties, because
the limestone walls,
which fall into the eddies
of a slow river — those walls
are weathered into
the expected style of permanence
every marriage seeks to possess;

an eagle high in November wind,
playing dodge-ball with irascible
clouds which slowly transform
into the hand of man.

Security Shift

For an arbitrary set

of circumstances, respond

and ponder why the door

is held open much too long,

a sneeze can attain

the same frequency

as shattering glass,

the motion sensor senses

no motion when a body

passes near and why doors

are unsecured by

more phantoms than employees

hard at scurrying

late reports between

the walls of rising floors.

The aging truck driver

in receiving, with a compress

against his scarred forehead

is real, as are

his complaints to EMS

concerning a sore neck

and waves of dizziness.

Real as well,

as I go to my car

at four this afternoon,

is his truck in the lane,

where I parked it —

waiting, like a faithful dog,

for its master to return.

Winter Heart

Dear Jane,

The house is quiet

at eleven this evening.

I’m writing you

a letter on the piano.

The key is A minor,

the perfect pitch

for sunsets, red wine

and fog slowly dancing

across hollow waves.

My eyesight is hollow

these days. The house

is ill-kept. It tends

to ramble as though

it’s an old man,

or old woman and life

is divided between

the universes of porch

and bedroom window.

There’s always division.

It creeps slowly

in the fibres of subtraction

and addition. It haunts

every equation.

Perhaps I should pray

for sums. I dream

of summations and

conclusions. I long

to see a pier,

a dead end sign,

the terminus of a valley,

where dolomite is

a hundred-foot step.

I need a reason to

come to a complete stop.

With B flat, icicles

form in my memory.

Long talons hang

from the eaves of events.

Yesterday is

a Royal Dolton scene

on red velvet.

Last month lumbers into view

and I’m stopped

at a red light.

Diane laughs beside me.

The world crumbles

into snowstorm.

The key of C is summer.

It doesn’t exist

on this piano. I can

play a song in A minor.

Love, Carol.