Wednesday, March 14, 2007

From the old poems folder:

In His Hands

of pulp, progressive disintegration
of the strands. These are the fibres
we have in common. History,
as strength and density reduce,
the trajectory of matter as words slip
off the page and the whole liquefies, blends,
and meshed, is re-formed.
(The fragile value of brittle age.

The second-hand novel received with such significance--
a hint of discoloration in the corners
where your fingertips, palm, held
the book open, the sheets
offering up these words,
(would that they were mine
to be brushed so casually, dry
caress of a calloused hand
over thin yellowed
leaves, this touch so common
between us.

Found body
of a love letter, crushed
rose petals pressed between the folds,
faint scent lingering.
Years later, perhaps only a post card:
a European landscape, sketchy,
familiar writing, a few spare words about the weather.
The important stuff is never really said anyway. Not
while on vacation in the south of Spain,
(the sun heavy on your shoulders
like the hand of God.

We work to say more than ink tattooing the flesh of paper,
those sun-burned lengths peeled from shoulders and back,
can ever say. Listen,
always, wanting
to hear more.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007


Steel grey steamroller clouds overhead, my head
this morning in the clouds, watching
trees bend to the gale, burgeoning red
branch tips tossed and shaking
like tassels on a stripper’s tits.

The sky has fallen.
The ceiling so low I am Chicken Little:
not running, only standing awed that it stopped
inches above me. Thunderheads
continue their tumbling roll in depths
of metallic grey – I can say silver, now.

You said there was coldness to that colour
and predicted snow, but the thermometer
returned reality: 15 degrees. (What instruments we have...

Yesterday, rain drops pelted the car, fat
as your thumbprint in the small of my back, as wide
and wet as small fruit squashed underfoot, your moist eyes
glistening in the dark. The sound on the soft top foreign
to my ears, lacking the sharp ping and echo of metal,
like skin with its give and curves, the sudden drop of cheekbones.

The rain, brief, sudden, without much relief, lacked the fury I yearned.
Today morning clouds roll by. The wind whips last fall’s leaves into eddies
with garbage – flattened, sun-bleached, stiff, cracked cardboard and plastic ––
launches leftovers against cement curbs, the cement wall
of the rail overpass; concrete, tarmac, steel tracks, everything
blends into this awful sky.

I’m holding out for release: I crave violence, thunder, lightening,
deafening electricity – to be in it with you under cover of the porch awning,
your hand channelling this furious charge into mine, through my body to be grounded,
out my feet into those old wood boards. We will stand after the storm, full
and defeated. And as we walk back to our close bed, the boards
will bear the weight, and creak.

Monday, January 30, 2006


Striped woollen toque slumped
on the backseat car floor, a smear
of colour against dark carpet, blending
rough with pebbles, road salt, ground-in dried leaves –

This casual interference, casual recall
of presence, questions of ownership, images conjured:
dark features, rugged skin to match the knit, nose
and cheeks flushed with November cold – already
it is spring, and seems the hat has been lying there,
forgotten all winter, this surprise appearance:
eyes rimmed by rolled knit edge – no alternating
duality to finish flat with even purl knit purl knit.

Saucer face, eyes, and curved lip: hat top
bottom scarf – this cupped face, fairly steaming.

Thought of the possible:
Thieves cupping opportunist hands to backseat windows,
or aiming penlights between the seats, at side-panel pockets for
any item worth the 3 second break and grab – only

the toque and its red, yellow, brown stripes
claiming a tired presence, eyes closed, the face
drifting into carpeted oblivion. And he,

the new passenger, casually checking
his backseat blind spot from the corner of his eye,
slides the seat further back, accommodating
his leggy length, slightly pauses, mid sentence –
the last word, almost
dropping off.

Distance instils. Wandering thought. Flashing leap-split of synapse, linking 2&2:

A headless hat.
The man
who’d worn it.

taken back.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Red Mustang

askew in the intersection square of Sherbrooke and West Broadway:

He stands some feet
from the car, startled
awake from one dream
to find himself locked in another.

We're riveted in gridlock--
yellow tape and pylons delineate the edge
of his territory: a caged animal,
impromptu zoo, he's the first
in a three-ring circus--we stare
thick with onlookers, the sidewalk narrative travels waves of whisper while he turns
around on himself, a music-
box dancer, spinning
a slow nightmare.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Bowls 3
(for Steve)

“You must see the world
differently,” you said. “You must—
Just then,

struck by your cupped hand
arcing the spine of my slim volume,
its chord. Your fingers, slender
as the legs of Pholcidae1 spiders,
still light on the page, resembling
grace, loosely held

filaments, silk spun like fingering
through the counters and bowls
of this score. You hold
the moment still, pulling
at this or that string, tension
in your hand balanced
by how lightly your fingers
strike chords, still.

—see poetry in everything.”

[1] Daddy Long Legs

Bowls II

One stacked inside the other,
I carried them to you the way
a child tight-ropes down the hall holding a cup of coffee,
white knuckled, with both hands to his mother.

and she does not mind afterwards,
getting out of bed, padding down the hall, content
and proud, with the empty dishes,
the trailed round drops of coffee, puddles of affection
she almost doesn’t want to scrub out.
The carpet is so threadbare already.

These bowls, an offering. Completely
empty except for each other.
Their ill-fit rattling, my hands
trembling like wind on still water.

Set the bowls down side by side.
Do not criticize the chips, the wear.
Imagine only
what they can hold.


For a moment, stillness as before rain.
The kitchen holds me.
The many bowls,
filled, once, with your lukewarm soup
are lined on the counter in all their simple imperfection, waiting
to be wrapped in newsprint and stacked in boxes.
This is not an easy decision.

We threw out the peels from onions and potatoes
long ago -- such hearty food!
The eyes, cut out like so many bad metaphors,
lay crying in the garbage by the sink for days
before we knotted the bag and left it at the curb.

Now, such a fragile reminder. I’m packing gingerly.
Cleaned, dried, the chipped earthenware pieces, the unbreakable
Corning Ware with blue trim.
The kitchen walls blur.
We shift slightly and adjust
to focus, contain all this, anew:

the bowls, the room
& movement.

(Like bats, by sonar.)


Windshield wipers pulse,
timing traffic lights, blinking

at the armadillo in the parking lot,
far corner from Loblaw’s

huddled at the intersection, sheltered
by a lean-to of fir trees netted in green plastic

minus 27, minus 40 with the wind, the camper
rocks with each gust of eastbound traffic

(yesterday the fur of his hood frosted with breath,
I lugged the tree home and righted it, let it thaw.)

7:42 on the car dash, rushing
to school to daycare to work. he sleeps,

I imagine, under layers of wool blankets, a rustic pot-bellied
stove burning the raw sawed-off stumps of trees he’s sold,

needs to keep selling, to stay warm
through the night, keeps an ear cocked

for an approaching engine, the quick crisp footsteps
of thieves stealing trees from the lot, or he’s out

another 25 or 40, another stump of fuel, an hour’s
warmth. what furred burrowing in, what layers

of animal pelts, what woodland creature does he become
concealed in that metal-armoured shell?