Wednesday, April 30, 2014

music from the body

rain, spring's conductor
maneuvers its lowly baton
slowly coaxing the coloured notes
from out of earth's corpus,

the sleek red bodies of the dogwoods rubbing,
the shaft of the lowly grass erupting verdure,
the trembling tips of the multitudes of pussy willows 
tufting in sweet soft white cries, 

the symphony swells and bursts open.

music instinctually knows its notes
as the earth instinctually knows music,
and the body is the earth
and our spirits are as green as grass.

come lover, come to me,
make me new again.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

i can see it rather clearly, the end of my nose, my nipples, my gut, protruding like the crown of the iceberg, taking the form of my ego, while the rest of me is lost to the cloud of wholeness (or not lost to self/thereby found). or is it my shoulders and my head on up? or is it my sagging ass which anchors me to erin? or are they/am i radiating and flashing points, sometimes belonging separately to self and at other times absorbed into the wholeness? either way i can see it clearly, where I begin and end, and where the rest of me takes shape, formless, eternal, wordless, and free.

Landscape With Boat

An anti-master floribund ascetic.

He brushed away the thunder, then the clouds,
Then the colossal illusion of heaven. Yet still
The sky was blue. He wanted imperceptible air.
He wanted to see. He wanted the eye to see
And not be touched by blue. He wanted to know,
A naked man who regarded himself in the glass
Of air, who looked for the world beneath the blue,
Without blue, without any turqouise hint or phase,
Any azure under-side or after-color. Nabob
Of bones, he rejected, he denied, to arrive
At the neutral center, the omnious element,
The single colored, colorless, primitive.

It was not as if the truth lay where he thought,
Like a phantom, in an uncreated night.
It was easier to think it lay there. If
It was nowhere else, it was there and because
It was nowhere else, its place had to be supposed,
Itself had to be supposed, a thing supposed
In a place supposed, a thing he reached
In a place that he reached, by rejecting what he saw
And denying what he heard. He would arrive.
He had only not to live, to walk in the dark,
To be projected by one void into

It was his nature to suppose
To receive what others had supposed, without
Accepting. He received what he denied.
But as truth to be accepted, he supposed
A truth beyond all truths.

He never supposed
That he might be truth, himself, or part of it,
That the things that he rejected might be part
And the irregular turquoise part, the perceptible blue
Grown dense, part, the eye so touched, so played
Upon by clouds, the ear so magnified
By thunder, parts, and all these things together,
Parts, and more things, parts. He never supposed divine
Things might not look divine, nor that if nothing
Was divine then all things were, the world itself,
And that if nothing was the the truth, then all
Things were the truth, the world itself was the truth.

Had he been better able to suppose:
He might sit on a sofa on a balcony
Above the Mediterranean, emerald
Becoming emeralds. He might watch the palms
Flap green ears in the heat. He might observe
A yellow wine and follow a steamer's track
And say, "The thing I hum appears to be
The rhythm of this celestial pantomime"

-Wallace Stevens

Friday, April 25, 2014

my lover wears nothing

it's a horrible way to be. the worst. to come alive like this. in the absence of. in the quiet.
how delectable the truth sings like a silence behind the noise at all times, yet calling like the siren!
what then of the other nine-tenths, of the cacophonous pleasures of the everyday,
of the radio, of the cars careening past, of grocery stores and news casts,
the greedy hands of strangers handling you uninvited with precise intent,
or even the loving hands of your children (which are, let's face it, greedy too),
how survive the landslide of the ordinary plenitude when the single word, 
wide shouldered and naked, its shaft of light angled, exegetic, erect, 
stands beguiling you from the empty room, seductive, and beloved?

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

stamping the provisional

in sleep my body leaves me like the saucy twin who mounts the Greyhound bus, sits at the window sulking into herself, staring, unwaving.  my mind gets on with the conversions of pleasures into fantasy, or routines into horrors. the Greyhound sveltes out a fine grey cloud of particulate.  my mind carries on, a chemistry set off-gassing.

daytime stretching, reaching up into ether to pull the mittens of my hands back on, rub my still blind eyes, slowly regaining sight, groggy.  go hunting the heels of something that will pull me into something else.

Wu Hsin says we are seekers, and we are, but what we seek we don't want to hold, we want to convert, breast milk into power, power into our damned fine important moment on earth.

someone else said God was the king of nouns and verbs, Creator.

even when we sit still like Wu Hsin we transform.  even when we're quiet the consequence is deafening.

we all want to be god.  and we are.

Monday, April 21, 2014

[sssshhhh, i am not speaking. instead the curtains are opening and closing, hooked on otherwise invisible shafts of moving air.]

i am swimming underwater far removed from the hard movements of those who walk on earth.

each morning at daybreak i must reach out to touch ... something ... i do not need to touch it but i must reach out.

overhead light breaks against the water.  shafts of light descend downward.

somewhere on earth the curtains are moving.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

let the beautiful empty page open
and with a single vine-like stroke
let the story begin

but please, keep it brief
and keep it neat, as in: a few tight lines
(i don't mean: keep it clear from chaos)

but if you have a heart for me
you'll keep it to a vein's circumference
and bleed it out steadily
                               lovely, rare

my daughter, the country of not that (3 short poems about my children and me)

if you ask Canada what Canada is
she says, not America


mother and son

five years ago i was pretty
   and you believed in Santa Claus


the blade cuts the hand while striking the soil

tiny seeds, 
   the sharpest pain 
      from this lifetime of sowing you.

who am i to farm?

Saturday, April 19, 2014

the corpus awaits

the jack jack jack of the metal tin,
the can of sardines ratcheted open.

once i saw an autopsy on Quincy,
the guy's chest pawled back like that,
strung open like a tarp,
the whole thing man inside out, backwards.
if he had been outside, instead of being protected from rain,
he would have been open to it, a container.

or like the worm i sliced into in grade seven,
its body relenting so easily to the pull of the knife,
like an expected breath exhaling evenly between the lips of the slit,
the tiny shining pins holding back his dark elastic skin.
they thought they were teaching us biology
but they were teaching us about the spirit.

in the dim light this early morning,
my chest intact,
the four points of my body, peg holders, shine in my mind, 
my skin muttering its rosary there too to be sliced open,
so that a poem might open me like a casket
and enter my living body.

Friday, April 18, 2014

the grand feat of balloonery: fancy bitches and studs

often we think that god the surgeon
fashions our bodies first
then splashes in the silver tray
fishing out the slippery spare parts
he will stitch onto our cores

but i maintain he is less a surgeon
and more a clown
snapping loose the balloons
and blowing us erect
directly from our groins.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

there are a couple of things to remember:

that the foreground is made up of coal cobbles
the trembling of stuff in the earth's sphere
creating the list of things like: 
stones, skin, crows and diamonds

and that further off in the background
the seaglass is forming
its eternal coming forth the song of the high notes
caught sharply in the mermaidens' throats

the first thing is clearly evidenced by how black your hands get with the weight when you handle it
the second by how your weak ears are always honing toward that which can't be heard

Tuesday, April 15, 2014


as we drove away past the trees, past the springtime runoff, past and past, past everything, the motion becoming beside me (inside me!) a pleasant blur, a sensation of nearly tangible time,  i felt that there was a door inside of me, a squat door, that opened like an oven's, and inside of me was the smell of woodsmoke, cold and anxious feet (playful), days measured by poems, snowstorms and streams and seductively tousled hair never long from bed, a long and running backstory nostalgically (eternally!) born, always toward my future, the dream life, right there in my stomach, the smoke rising up behind my nose (then eyes), distributing itself like small packages fed out into my bloodstream, feeding the cells which nourish this mind and body, these memories and hopes, and invariably my soul.

it was a day later when i would remember with recognition what it was we were driving away from, the at first unrecognizable body, the head lowly hanging from the cupped neck, the feet sewn on like mittens, a mother otter whose fur had been pulled from her body like a hassock from the ground and discarded beside her like a bundle of wet clothes, her body opened with the decisive shank of a raven's sharp beak, the almost square exit door left swinging open in her soft belly, her perfectly formed baby strewn a foot from her, forever unreachable in the melting spring snow, the colour of her blood so rich, so ripe (as close to green as red might ever be) it must have been fed only moments before by the circulation of her own sweet life murmurings, small packages of her dreams now exposed in the tangle of entrails and blood, burning their way through the cold uncertain air into light.

(photo by james)

Sunday, April 13, 2014

would could i only
open my hunger like a melon
and pour its hobbled quarry to my gut

would could i only
open my arms to air and receive the spirit 
like clogged birds

Saturday, April 12, 2014

a series of small notes from last saturday morning ...

no matter the staccato of the slantwise rain, or the cicada killers daintily mudding nests to earth, no matter the unfurling neck of the milk-ripe weed, or the loose afghan of stitched-white snow (each a different kind of silence), every day is a blank tableau. 

faced each day with a new tableau i imagine how my life might have meaning, what might need to happen to nudge the shoulder of value.

not one thing might do but the beginning point of the pen which will mark the page. not one thing might suffice but a first word or form breathed into existence.

at the cusp of each imagining hulks back the tidal wave of what is possible and while the wave never completely comes, never reaches fruition, i wait along the cusp feeling, willingly cutting my hands upon the edge, knowing only a black wounded desire for the deep skinned articulation.


sitting quietly with coffee in the morning, my body aligned with my spirit, my heart where my heart should be, my lungs, my clavicle, my limbs, i nudge my shoulders and create a small pocket of distance between where i am and where i should be.  inside of that distance, if i stare down with hollowed out eyes, i see my breath, not as it sustains me (although what is mysteriously born does sustain me), not as it is a motor tied to my body, but i see it as the mist that blankets a black river on a dark night. and i long to go into it and i fear it, these two things being the same one.  i am excited by it, excited in my mind and in my body by the chasm. it becomes my destination.  i can't help but to become desperate for it and to, in some way (in any way), find my way there to make love, thereby drawing the chasm tightly against itself.


we might think that making love is the oldest trick in the books. and it is. but it is not the trick we think it is. it is not a consequence of body. (although it is this too.)  it is man's work in broaching the chasm. language is making love (poetry), seeing (photography, art), attention in its every embodiment, moving this body given by god (or magic, or biology if you must) against that body given by god or magic or biology. making love is the concussion that tells us we are here and that there is more to it than these simple parts, that here stretches toward the infinite there.


i close my eyes and press along the brow ridge and try to see statistically a line with black ticks dissecting it telling me what is bulk and where is value.

i remember many days of being hungry and eating only empty food, candy or purely pleasurable foods, and still surviving despite the lack of nutrition.

i am drawn to the darkest densest ticks on the line and yet the whole line is sustenance.

i like to sit like this, with my eyes covered. 

but then my children makes noises in distant rooms
and i look up.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

april 10th while picking up my taxes...

i had taken off my shoes because it is spring and the world is messy and in canada that is what you do and she said, oh, don't worry. i do my floors again soon. you can wear your shoes. my grandchildren do. and i laughed and put my shoes back on and exited the door, four/five/eight steps to my car, laughing all the way about a grandmother's love, and here my key, such luxury. 

but then a disembodied voice on the radio speaks, tells me children in Bangui have been beheaded.  

he says children in Bangui have been beheaded.

as the crow's wings glint and gleam


the crow heaves his shoulders
leveraging himself against the light

this is how the crow is, i think,
how it becomes a crow

not that it enters the world whole and separate
but that it becomes itself along the plane of its resistance


in this way
my daughter is a crow

and (remarkably)
i am her light

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

april 4th it snows, converting preconception backwards into february. inside the clock on my kitchen wall ticks.

on the 5th the sun plumps its chest like a rooster. it's not yet warm and yet bundles of snow loosen and fall from my roof. i decide this time i will not shovel. i will wait instead, walk until the plowed ridge at the end of my driveway releases my car.

what if i walked all year long? what if instead of working against, i moved along with?

do i secretly love my passion of throwing aside snow?

what is any man's life?

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Having been at work
   i now need to read the clean poem to make me right
which means 
   i need to touch your skin and you mine
which means 
   i can not survive the dark night not believing in the light day
which means
   God, if you can hear me now make a sign
       make the spider weave his web
       or make a bird call three times
       or make light 
          and make dust move through it.

Monday, April 7, 2014


nubbed, noduled and muculent, this cork nose came from nowhere. this grim mouth, this thin face, this snaggletooth.  this narrow neck begging to be petted (only in your mind) that hinges this sleek jaw to the soft padded feet supplanted to the nothing at the end of these lithe legs - came from nothing too. this infinite-to-its-course stomach dictates hunger to each and every twitching muscle. these coarse wise whiskers! this long bushy tail remarkably terse enough to pull a truck came from nowhere. opening his eye the aqueous brain hooked history of fox steadily comes forth from nowhere. what he knows is as sharp as a knife and could kill your came from nothing skin.

and yet we debate the nature of this and that, our denial steadily pouring forth from where?

Sunday, April 6, 2014


i had no idea what i was getting into the seven years ago or so when i started writing on-line, the relationships that would come (and go), the personal growth, the faltering. (oh, there has been plenty of faltering.) and the kindnesses - i had no idea the capacity people would have and exercise in terms of kindness.

i explained to a dear friend that i made the decision to close my blogs rashly, in a desperate moment to break with parts of my past and with parts of myself as well. but the truth is that there are so many things yet to be explored, learned and shared, although in all honesty i am so surprised anyone reads here. in many ways i don't make it easy. and if i am going to be true to myself, i'm sorry, i can't do or be otherwise.

please know i had no intention of asking for attention in saying good-bye, as i have no intention of asking for attention in saying hello.  hello, and for the time being i will stay, uncertain of the future.  i'll live and i'll write and you can always email me if you are moved to share.  

and so for each of my friends who wrote a letter or a comment, or who even considered for a moment that my going might be a small loss, thank you. you have encouraged me to stay and continue.


i sit for a long time at my desk. 

it is dark out when i write this.  

there are reflections of my room in my window.

i hear cars go by on the road below. 

Friday, April 4, 2014


i had this poem in my pocket when james and i married.  i had thought perhaps i would read it at the time of our brief ceremony but then i was so nervous, and i felt that if i opened my mouth to say the words, somehow, through some earthly alchemy, they might unfortunately become less.

It Happens All The Time
by Hafiz

It happens all the time in heaven,
And some day
It will begin to happen
Again on earth -
That men and women who are married,
And men and men who are
And women and women
Who give each other
Often will get down on their knees
And while so tenderly
Holding their lover's hand,
With tears in their eyes,
Will sincerely speak, saying,
'My dear,
How can I be more loving to you;
How can I be more


i had this post ready to post very early in the evening on march 31st.  since then there has been a tremendous opportunity for humility and learning.  i post this photograph as i love it, and the poem, for both my husband and my children.  i will leave this blog present until monday, at which time i will pull it back for now and until i do more learning.

i love this world very much.  it is often not easy to be alive, but when i am truly alive and aware, i am grateful.