Thursday, June 30, 2016

grad

on a short step ladder in the hall to the gymnasium
ordinary amongst all the other ordinary parents
          fruit ripens in my fists
as we clutch scissors, tape, and streamers
which we paste to the ceiling for celebration

there is a gravity in every motion

the sterile hall becomes the entrance to the garden
we the animals

there goes miss marge, a surprise as a cheetah
and dan's dad, a goof of a gazelle

just like the kids
we will run, leap, pursue, sink our fangs, or be defeated

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

realm of the beast

the earth's body pushes up a trough
just as a child's laced fingers
might push up a steeple

the pink pigs trundle forward 
glistening in moonlight
to employ their probing tongues

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

decorating St. Mary's for graduation, notes

i arrived early not knowing what time the parents were to gather to decorate for the graduation ceremony.

in the swelter of late sunday the indifferent expanse of the gym felt chilling.

there were but two tables of papers and streamers, glitter and cut out silhouettes, tape, stars with the children's names inked upon them. there were a hundred or so chairs, gleaming metal in lines, like a mastodon's skeleton.

how might we transform this terrible informal cell into something special?

when the other parents arrived they looked just as pitiful and lost as me. perhaps as desperate. we appeared pasty and weak to one another. yet we set about on our little missions.

two hours later when we stood back and stared past our fear - what surprise. what transformation.

what makes this place a place in which to celebrate? what makes this place a prison?

Monday, June 27, 2016

the shell game

what do you like? green things?
these are green things.

do you like fat rich soil?
do you like the skin of your soul?

do you like your fingernails over each nubbin?
your fingernails rake over each nubbin.

do you like being famous?
my eyes hurt with your fame.

anonymity?
i'm deaf to you. i don't know you.

why did we get lost?
you like being lost? you like questions?

you want to go home?
look up. this is Eden.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

coda

the earth is quiet
     the stone
     the wind
     
     the stone the wind the ocean
     even the screeching gulls
the earth is quiet

we come 
     a rabble
we come
     a raucous rabble
     
     "rabble-rousers"

here we are
     a greedy
     frightened
     raucous 
     rabble
     alarmed by our impending deaths

there are lightning bugs in the darkness
the earth is quiet

Friday, June 24, 2016

After the U-pick

This is really what summer is about, isn't it -
the bulging into beingness, the tearing of the veil and pouring earthward.

We're driving through this rural town drunk on strawberries, licking our fingers, 
and from out the rolled down windows tossing the eviscerated green mopped tops.

Our thighs are pressed so lovely-y outward on top of the leather car seats with contact,
our sexes tucked delicately like sweet peas into the origami of our secret smiling loving lips.

Present is the breeze along our skin's tops, and absolute presence sighs our pinkened sentience, 
our desire in every ambling breath like a bumblebee pressed into the flower patch being met. 

Somewhere beyond a lawnmower like a spark - a small dog's bark, and even this pittance 
of wolfdom cues the fine silk hairs along our deliciously bare arms to stand, startlingly erect. 

Thursday, June 23, 2016

corm of cyclamen

silent room
earthen hollow
hallowed be thy frame

unveiled vial
virtuous veil
blessed walls of possibility

you, my, me, amaranthine finitude
thee, quake of soul seeking source and solitude

blessed be the crack, the fissure
blessed be the stock-still, maintaining airy's form for the moment
blessed be the vacuum which lends residence to the gleaming seed

have harangued the chains holding this empty vessel
have bemoaned the meagerness of naught and space
have bejeweled the self in splendid stars of sorrow

yet, corm of cyclamen
storage house of ether
brief chance, dearest

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

all noun to verb to electric dust

the black bear moves 
across the stage 
unaware of language.

carbon, as there, bear, moves, 
is a pole held between two Thule, 
draped in a stink-wad lumbering fur, 
pretending, inaccurately, 
to be a muskox.

i have always wondered 
what a black bear is...

this one before me now. 

i think...

this dire 
stamping out of place
in the green foreground

rolls a log like a knot.

there must be lively white grubs inside?

i can't see them from here
but i have heard
that an animal 
spends energy 
to get some.

is this black furnace
a box on wheels?

from out of its depths 
it stops 
and stares.

do our glances meet?

its stars and cinders jerk
and lurch my seeking soul 
off balance.

are we kin?

i check my arms 
to ascertain 
colour, texture.

i spend energy
burning to dust
my personal stars
to understand 
what a black bear is.

undulating black waves

my mind can not apprehend 
where its bones are.
this troubles me.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

first swim, june 19th, notes

there's something about a ham sandwich with tomatoes, mayonnaise and mustard. cheap ham. ham lunch meat. slick and nearly thick with slime. it's a sandwich that you'd have had in your mother's house. not one that you loved but one which served your hunger. back when someone else grocery shopped. back when someone else had control of what your options were.

you are at the park. there is an escarpment that you face which tore dramatically in the years you've been paying attention. birch trees have plunged downward, let loose from the anemic sand base. now they lie about as though a gentle kind of havoc has been wreaked upon them. the havoc of time. below that - a clay face. and below that - the river.

there is a bank of rocks on the other side of the river just a little further down which has been worked smooth. precambrian rocks. hard. there is force in the water's movement. seriousness force.

your boy has crossed it.

you chickened out.

in fact, it was more serious than this. trying to cross the current your body was pulled with such rage, right before the river's bottom fell away to nothing, that panic surged through you and you struggled back. but your boy made it through. he didn't understand that the terror you had for his crossing was pure. it will be so many years before he understands anything like pure terror. instead, he threw himself into the current trusting previous years (which offered weaker currents) and used all of his physical strength. and prevailed. just like he knew he would.

there are limits.

this was yours.

the other kind of limit. allowing him... 

well, you would instruct him thoroughly and seriously before he set out later to come back. and then you would turn your back on him as he crossed back over. there would be nothing you could do...

but now you are here, on this side of the river. and he is there, lying peacefully upon a rock, his long white body exposed eagerly to the sun and wind.

your skin dries and feels and smells incomparably like beach.

you consider all of the trees opposite the river. all of the variations. the thick leaves. the palm sized ones. the stippled ones. the hundred shades of green. you turn your head and see the looming coniferous further down the river and gasp. the colours here are tribal. two seagulls cross the air overhead eager for french fries. after all, it is summer. you sit still and dry against the air and sun. and you think of ham sandwiches.

you have not had one of these ham sandwiches in over twenty years.

now you can have anything you want. any time you want it. the whole economy works this way now. and as a consequence, so does our thinking.

but sitting here beneath the face of the escarpment. the river poundng by you too forcefully for you to cross. the trees too many, too varied to count. what you wouldn't give to grow hungry and go to your mother's cupboards. to have to eat what was provided.

Monday, June 20, 2016

the occasion

"lupine," i say. point there. 
"june," making the equation.

later he points at an empty place
and asks, "you see deer?"
i had been looking for moose.
"deer? saw none."

the highway is flat and long.
what we're geared to see
must pass faster than electric line.
what we see fastens us loosely
to the day by a shadowy ladder.

going to the city to get grad clothes.
grade eight grad. high school next year.

the city streets are flat and wide.
"bet we could fry an egg," he says.
"bet we could," i think.

the mall is wide and polished grey.
we pass through it quickly,
ants broiling atop a greasy spoon of oil.
masses of well groomed dilettantes
poised to buy, stoop and fester.

pants and shirt, a belt.
not as cheap as one might think.

those poles again. 
passing and passing.
we'd use them for momentum 
if we could grasp them.

one more stop in a neighbouring town.
grocery store. food for the occasion.

son clears his throat.
settles on a feigned hard note.
asks, "shaving cream?..."
his first gleam of a sharp razor.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Tom, who warbled once like a songbird, bays now in his zip-up suit like a basset hound

Tom, to see herself, turns toward the light bulb.
Tom walks with a smile directly into the brick wall sadly.
Tom, he, unravels her locks and lays them (to find them) over his shoulders.
Tom splatters some words. Deciphers the tea cup.
Rides a dog. Too small. Tackles an elephant.
Sits in a room alone. Frightening. The perfect mid-sized adventure.
Tom flexes her endocrine glands.
Trills his hemoglobin.
Spelunkers the cave of her epiglottis' cartilage.
Tom lays out his ephemera and measures the world's meridian
(using scotch tape) minus the length of his shadow.
Tom throws himself like an ink dot at the moon.
                                                                       Misses.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

2012, statistics

i can not think of galway kinnell 
without thinking of his little boy fergus
and his pajamaed body tucked so pleasurably
between the pages of his parents' bodies.

so when my boy cried out in anguish
i didn't know if it was for the horror of crashing bodies,
the terror of fascinating desire,
or because the man on top of me was not his father.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Super Power

As mother and children sometimes do
we are discussing super powers.
Which power would you have it
that you had?  

Are these things ever relevant?

My son is already flying off down Imperial Street...

I am too nervous to choose.
Can't settle on any one.

My daughter answers,
Whatever I would say would be right.

The word right strikes air like iron.

Right at its source is irrelevant:
I mean, whatever comes out of my mouth
would be changed midair into the right answer.
Like if someone asked, what is two plus two 
and I answered three, the air would bend my answer
to four.

We are in the kitchen. 
She has a knife in her hand.
The wide one with teeth. 
She is cutting bread.
I can see us all in reflection.
But she is largest.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Textus of a Soul

(after Zbigniew Herbert)

"...thought is a thread, and the raconteur is a spinner of yarns -- 
but the true storyteller, the poet, is a weaver."

Robert Bringhurst

Sitting so still 
in the lamplight
I dare not disturb him.

I enjoy this slowing
of the clock
so that i might know him,
see him,

take him, 
poet lover,
into myself
as a single image.

No muscle.
But i'd wager 
that inside
he's barrelling infinitudes.

What is it  
that rests
on the table 
of his soul?

He has risen toward me,
a man breast-stroking ocean.
At times a warrior,
a scrounger.

At others 
he's borne me, monk,
as delicately 
as a leaf might bear
a droplet of water.

So still. Lips barely parted.
And yet that mind!
I peek inside
through the lung's breath.

On the table of his soul
is another book
laid open.

Inside that book:
instructions 
to unravel
the original text.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Watching the Young Woman Get her Amicable Divorce

She breaks from the water
taking light into her gills
as though it is life's alembic. 

And it is.

She is a fish who swims
the river Smile,
the waters Optimism.

Over and over again
her beautiful rainbow body
is ejected on high 

from out of turbulence and mire.

She hangs in the air a moment—
gups her mouth, looks my way.
We see one another, ten years apart,

from opposite sides of the mirror.

Friday, June 10, 2016

The Camera Obscura and its Shutter Speed Called Life

What if we ignore the people?
What if the black plague that rises like a pestilence

will pass?
What if the insidious shadows will move back into themselves, 

arm into armhole, leg into leg, 
and centralized, become merely the thing 

and its shadow again,
like how a leaf casts only an option for an insect?

What if the wave that was divided by mouth 
at the foot of the orchid reunites?

What if Cypripendium acaule accoutres with its lady's slippers
and clips on its orkheos (testicles) like earrings,

steps off its maroon stage, and dissolves into light?

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

parenting

i am awake long before the light in june and yet the birds are singing.
i'm reminded of a morning in the concrete lot beside the red roof inn.
the highway was nearby with all of its insouciant chaos, 
machines munching on, eating distance in their pursuit of plenty.
remarkably, and strangely, birds sang from nests embedded atop lampposts
but not one bird could be seen.

                                                i had a dream.
i dreamt the worst. again it was christmas morning.
and again i had failed to put up a tree. panicked i pulled the gate
down from the attic. i had also failed to buy the children presents.
the cardboard box i stowed the presents in months in advance
had shrunk, was mouse eaten and empty. there were sheaths of
construction paper nearby. perhaps we could make chains!
the nearest thing to celebration. did we have a stapler?
but the paper was sun faded, yellow and blue; no red and green.
awake long before the light, the children unaware, singing their dreams.
it's not that i was poor, but i was this. oh, i was this. 
but that there was not one worthy token in the world to give. 
not one. none. nothing.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

An Unconstructed Thing

We're standing between a snarl of snag and a scum spackled sprawling pond.
My husband muses, 
          I wonder what it is the raven and the fox think when they see one another.
There's no answer to this.
But I remember once cleaning out the ash pan beneath the wood fire.

I had swept the floor after a weekend's project,
sawdust, oak curlicues, whatever else was hiding below
          and chucked it all into the living furnace.
Two marbles gleamed out from the pillow of ash only slightly misshapen,
narrowed eyes,
          stared directly into the iron in my blood.

Monday, June 6, 2016

one day i saw our shimmering birth

                                     after Jiménez and Saturday

one day i beheld the grass,
thus beholding love.

one day i beheld the wind,
thus beholding love.

one day i beheld a wave,
thus beholding love.

one day i beheld fire,
thus beholding love.

one day i beheld a man,
thus beholding love.

one day i beheld myself,
thus beholding the shimmering grass.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

an untitled Rothko

It was as if what he’d reached once--call it a truth, meaning, or absolute--was so vitally important to him that he had to keep on trying to get to it again. A point in infinity where beauty, truth, feeling and experience come together; a level of reality which makes all other levels of reality seem pale, uninteresting, insignificant.

                                                                                                          Geneviève Vidal on Rothko

the river is a band of steel shine bent into an ingot of colour not yet named,
the banks sheathes of sand shaken in the forsaken Sheikh's clenched fist,
the fish flickerings plunging crescents beneath the lunky conveyor belt moving up the mainstream.

the son's cuffs are folded three times as he wades with weighted pockets after the threading, 
a streak of light, an aberration of colour, a hovering, a playful patient presence,
a piece of the puzzle never quite still or fitted.

he is fishing.

Saturday, June 4, 2016

on the card was a kitten, on the envelope a sticker, inside a world she did not know she had written, notes on a birthday card

i'm not close to people. i can't be. they all seem to be here.

and i seem to be over there. out there. where. things which are things are not things. but clouds of being.

i got a letter the other day. a card. a note inside. from my mother in law.

it is not what one would think.

i am not a good daughter in law. i can't be. she is here. and i am over there. out there. where...

but the note said the loveliest things. found me in the loveliest things. met my voice. out there.

and there we spoke with one another.

we spoke of hawks. of plants. of seasons. we spoke the ancient alchemy of bread. the dreams of breasts and babies.

i was running through the woods thinking of our discussion.

and as we spoke i kept calling her Mary.

her name is not Mary. i know that.

but Mary she was.

and on and on we spoke. holding hands. as i ran like river water under light's patterns beneath leaves. jumping like a deer over the broad and determined tree roots. my body working one of its rare times. beautifully. beyond me. pure muscle.

i barely know the woman.

and yet i know her intimately.

we held hands.

and she was Charlotte. and she was Joanne. And she was Andreea. Oh she was Mary. she was every woman i've ever known deeply and loved. she was even myself. not in the narcissistic place. but in the forgiving one.

and i nearly broke apart my muscled body upon a tree trunk into water droplets. for i loved her madly. so purely. so completely.

*

over there. out there. where. things which are things are not things. but clouds of being. where i ran and where i thought and spoke with Mary. this poem came to mind. where the sexual is not the sexual. but the spiritual. where pure love burns. where the individual oscillates so fast she becomes the whole person. no person. all person. love.

*

You Have The Lovers (Leonard Cohen)

You have the lovers,
they are nameless, their histories only for each other,
and you have the room, the bed, and the windows.
Pretend it is a ritual.
Unfurl the bed, bury the lovers, blacken the windows,
let them live in that house for a generation or two.
No one dares disturb them.
Visitors in the corridor tip-toe past the long closed door,
they listen for sounds, for a moan, for a song:
nothing is heard, not even breathing.
You know they are not dead,
you can feel the presence of their intense love.
Your children grow up, they leave you,
they have become soldiers and riders.
Your mate dies after a life of service.
Who knows you? Who remembers you?
But in your house a ritual is in progress:
It is not finished: it needs more people.
One day the door is opened to the lover’s chamber.
The room has become a dense garden,
full of colours, smells, sounds you have never known.
The bed is smooth as a wafer of sunlight,
in the midst of the garden it stands alone.
In the bed the lovers, slowly and deliberately and silently,
perform the act of love.
Their eyes are closed,
as tightly as if heavy coins of flesh lay on them.
Their lips are bruised with new and old bruises.
Her hair and his beard are hopelessly tangled.
When he puts his mouth against her shoulder
she is uncertain whether her shoulder
has given or received the kiss.
All her flesh is like a mouth.
He carries his fingers along her waist
and feels his own waist caressed.
She holds him closer and his own arms tighten around her.
She kisses the hand beside her mouth.
It is his hand or her hand, it hardly matters,
there are so many more kisses.
You stand beside the bed, weeping with happiness,
you carefully peel away the sheets
from the slow-moving bodies.
Your eyes filled with tears, you barely make out the lovers,
As you undress you sing out, and your voice is magnificent
because now you believe it is the first human voice
heard in that room.
The garments you let fall grow into vines.
You climb into bed and recover the flesh.
You close your eyes and allow them to be sewn shut.
You create an embrace and fall into it.
There is only one moment of pain or doubt
as you wonder how many multitudes are lying beside your body,
but a mouth kisses and a hand soothes the moment away.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

feminism

my breasts are two things,

things which float me upward  
and things which weigh me to the earth. 

i am smack-dab in the middle.

when i loom myself
through the garden's gloam

and load the shovel into loam

in quest of earthworms,
my breasts are certainly two glutted things.

they do not get in the way.
they are the way, 

the strong hands, the whistle.

come morning while earthworms squirm 
their gristled pinked selves away from sun,

my breasts swell -

my thoughts rise my own.
this body is my home.

this body is no protest song.