Wednesday, August 31, 2016


it was a full year after my heart had been ripped out
and every little knickknack's worth extinguished
that i looked up into the mess which had become my life

and said, thank you

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Me and Coyote

I'm standing up at the bend in the river as I know it this time of year.
Everything has found its stride again between its coming and going.
The beaver hurries up his work and to protect it from me, smacks his tail. 
The bears shit their chokecherry scat, keeping the rubies for heat, more constantly.
The swamp across the road has drained to a meager swill.
The asters rise, the dragonflies hover and the ferns humble.
And the birds remain, for now, at work with their bird things, realistically optimistic.
The sky has rubbed raw and scabbed itself to that late summer hue.
It slides like a hood over me, back, then forward - startling me to a mind's rupture.
I have been mistaken my whole life thinking one thing was passing, 
being replaced, and then the next. Like clouds for instance.
But the coming night of the world works its magic
and I can see that it is the entire sky sliding by, nonstop, 
horizons grazing against one another, whole animal kingdoms churning.
With my eyes I can see the music of the spheres.

If this were a poem I would show you something, not preach it.
This is not a poem. 

How many earths exist with its green/blue oxygen like this one?
I'm alone at the bend in the river as I know it 
but can easily imagine a coyote slipping in with her slender figure. 
This imagined coyote almost is.
How many atmospheres can allow me and coyote our simultaneous breathing?
How many nostrils to support this infrastructure for fact and fiction?
Consciousness, my friends, consciousness!
The sky is sliding over our frontal lobes in this world!
And we get to be aware of it!

Monday, August 29, 2016

small a (ars poetica)

ice coming to crystal
upon the world's window

what of this heart's urge,
by way of its pumping woundfulness,
lifting to drag one's finger, to scrape

not writing to write
but writing to see, to remember

Sunday, August 28, 2016

a short drive nowhere

good people, or at least
with effort to show benignity
we are driving back roads
with our field guide
stopping and stroking
trying to name flowers
before they surrender
to autumn's power
flower  poem  flower  poem
we also have this other book
and so it is a consecrated effort
to use our hands and eyes only
to stop and stroke and see
the windows down
we rolling
the asters exploding
the jewelweed dangling
and the goldenrod swaying
its lioness body in the breeze

and all over our bodies
despite our will
we delectably 
clench and release
in tandem
to this insufferable beauty

until we face Shema by Primo Levi 

what force of weaponry
as mirror
in this unadorned poetry...

there is a terrible silence
in which we are both 
isolated in ourselves
and deeply totally utterly 
and culpably weeping

until at last i manage, primrose
my husband at this conceding
us both conceding
this is all we might safely give


                                        lemon petaled primrose 
                                        delicately scented
                                        harming no one

Saturday, August 27, 2016

The Translator as Last Human

Confused customers with metal barnacles and plastic horns in rows
hold things up with their manicured clapperclaws for the clerk to verify.
Bewildered, Are these machine converted mementos for out-of-doors?

One is made of birch bark.
The other leather.

The clerk's mouth takes the shape
of that of a zer—O.
She slaps her fins together.
She's made a map of our excursive wandering.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Near The Borderland of Five Mile Swamp

Another evening.

And so six more things have been added to the sac, two remnants broken.
This is how different you are from the night before.

You're on the road again between two swamps.
Always this strange interloping half-way location.

You throw your eyesight and hearing out on lines 
and test the link with bated breath for vibrations.

You sense things frightened stock-still in the background, 
or charmingly confident, crouched and charged, waiting.

They know each of your eyelashes. 
You don't even know if they have bodies.

Friday, August 19, 2016

discovery, understanding and dance


before i can think
an ashen silhouette
travels in and out of form
in the spaces between bushes beside me


much more exciting than seeing the bear
is not quite seeing the bear


blood is vibrating through my body
i am music

Thursday, August 18, 2016

10 p.m., notes

Something has struck me. Or entered me. Or changed the rooms, denuded the truth of them. Or has taken a shape outdoors in the form of a talisman. And I am moved by the fever of ten p.m. and must go out and find it.

Blindly I grope through the dark in the shed with the lock. Pry one bike off the other. Disentangle the lock's cord which surges and bucks like a stiff serpent against my hands.

And then I am off. Standing and pumping up the hill through the uncanniness of night like swimming in a black lake entirely devoid of water. Accompanied only by my manufactured shadow. The street light blinking off after some other passing. And then blinking on with my advancing. And then back off again as though I had never been.

There are a few others out in the night:

   A man on a bicycle with a light which strengthens in ferocity as he pedals. I pass by him. I feel like a phantom while he looks like he belongs. He with his light and his sensible reflectors.

   I see a man behind a partial fence. He sits in his backyard smoking at a table. Only his arm moves his cigarette to his mouth. Then smoke forms. And disbands—a cloud. He is the anchor of this cloud. But I'm not sure how he'll remain. He might alight from the smoke somewhere else. Or his molecules might disappear into the cloud. Gradations of grey through white.

   A cat crosses the street furtively. It's low and electric. When I pass by it it erects itself static in the bushes and glows like a lit statue. As though it has stored the full moon's glow in its fur.

At the traffic light at the top of the hill chaos converges. The night train is drawing close on the other side of the highway. But nearby transport trucks are screaming past me. Ruffling my hair. A Native man calls out to a friend through the shadows in the park on the corner. I see only his hand rise up, Hey! And then descend again into darkness. Behind me the light of The Confectionery turns off. I hear a car radio passing. The gears of a truck shift. A few dizzying camper-trailers rock slightly by. A little recklessly. Their drivers probably sleepy at the wheel.

The traffic light turns green for me but the hair on my arms is standing. Ten p.m. in a little town! I'd normally be turning to bed. How on earth all this bedlam? I want to cross but another transport comes on. His lights accusatory on me for pushing the cross button. I'm not sure to trust its brakes. But the streetlight is short and so I gauge it. Breathing. Measuring. The moon high and full. A few hurried steps of people disappearing around another street corner. Something in the transport's face bruising itself to slow. Some colossal effort. An anguish. So I go. Crossing the signatory stroke of the trans-Canada highway that dissects this small town.

The other side of town seems abandoned. It's quiet like a dead crow. Everyone either lost and gone. Or secured firmly to their bedposts. Tied into their slippers. Pressed beneath their lamp's light to a novel's pages.

I used to live on this side of town. I used to know it. It was a skin to me. A comfortable jacket. Or a family dog—a domesticated co-dwelling sentient.

Tonight the houses seem the same as they once were. But the energy of the bodies inside them snakes unfamiliar. A woman I don't know at a sink with a glass of water. New paint colours on some of the walls. A house which was once a reliable wreck now has flowers staged on tables, a gentle light above its doors. It's a ghost town. But it's the houses which are the ghosts. The people only the breaths that come and go through them.

The train is still coming. It's been coming for a long time. Perhaps I felt it back in my living room and this is what called me out. I know I heard it when I fumbled with my bike lock. When I passed the man with the lights on his bike. As I pushed the button to command the highway. The train is coming. I can hear it behind my left ear. A memory sounding there. A low rumble in my head.

I bike down the dark street and appraise the shapes of bushes in the dark trainyard. My eyes can only barely discern shape and density now. Perhaps movement. I stop my bike for a second and wait. Notice not one leaf moving. And so I take to the dirt trail I knew by foot so many years ago.

The moon is exactly where I left it.

The train is coming from the west. It comes constantly towards me. It is three perfectly shaped white orbs of light which blur and pulse at the edges of their defined circumferences. Until they finally break free and become one.

I mean to stare and receive it.

But I can't.

The train's whistle blows and blows. The train passes from my eyes (from its coming), to the hair along my arms (its being beside me). Something in my blood opens its hundred little mouths and tips them skyward and howls—while my eyes stare forward. Motion. Slack. Motion. Slack. Motion. Slack. It moves past my body. Counting off each of its cars. The moon illuminates each car fully as though each car is a cow and I can make out the long stretch of the sensual back and the barrelling of each chest. Each car's shining udder. Motion. Slack. Motion. Slack. I stay until it's finished. Whatever this night is. Until I'm left standing alone in the grasses straddling my bike. Until there is nothing left to do but turn. And return home.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Murmur and Burn

The starling have blighted the base of the bird feeder.
Their black swarm has opened a hole in the earth.
No, now the starling rises like a black dream, a fever.
Threatens the arms. Flies south over the sex and the legs.
The starling is one thing and obliterates the backyard,
the tree line. Then finally the sun.

We are young once. In my first marriage,
we tried for alignment. We cut the corners
off our irregular shapes. We arrived at eclipse.

In my second marriage some days 
the fire travels up the chest of my plumage
and over my wingtips. Then down the rod,
on which hangs the bird feeder. 
Some days my husband's beak is in flames
as he recites his verse and I sit in the treetops
watching, listening, as the fire approaches.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

of noble mien

man holds his head and rests his elbows on the table

for him there are four directions:

one, meat
two, hunger
three, word
four, silence

if you add them all together you create a cyclone which empties into nothingness

he holds his head and pulls his hair
then holds his head and combs his hair

Monday, August 8, 2016

Looks Like Rain

I'm pinning out our pants and shirts, 
socks, and under-things, along the thin line
which bridges our back porch 
and the property's edge.

The neighbours are out 
instructing one another
on how to water plants, 
but things are rarely as they seem. 

We, as neighbours,
have arrived at this,
our new 
comfortable horizon.

Last night after the Wright's extended family left,
Gayle ushered over the extra vegetables
which would go bad in a matter of time.
I, a little uneasy accepting gifts, felt obliged
feeling caught in the freshness net.

This morning Gayle snaps at John,
Don't water the leaves! They'll burn in the sun!
It's still the a.m. and overcast;
rain expected, but not for hours.

They fight openly,
one of them storming away
to the slam of a car door,
the other thundering into the house.

I offer them my support
by keeping my back to them,
inching our stuff further out along the squeaking line,
while half of it circles back.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

a partial debunking of the fates

sometimes grace allows us to hold the cup
sometimes we choose to hold it
sometimes we drop it and luck plucks by
sometimes we loosen our grip
sometimes we throw it

Saturday, August 6, 2016

The Word Body Beating, an erasure poem

The word body beating
the lips   the mouth

Farther - grief married (inheritance) 

And so - dead

New being's first word - "Terror"

"It"   "And"


First word - "Perhaps"

"And yet—"

The child births verb
The human word receives blood, hair
The mouth speaks the eyes

I, the it, pass(es) speechless

The word - the cup
Verb - the blood


The Word by Pablo Neruda  (translated by Alastair Reid)

The word
was born in the blood,
grew in the dark body, beating,
and took flight through the lips and the mouth.

Farther away and nearer
still, still it came
from dead fathers and from wandering races,
from lands which had turned to stone,
lands weary of their poor tribes,
for when grief took to the roads
the people set out and arrived
and married new land and water
to grow their words again.
And so this is the inheritance;
this is the wavelength which connects us
with dead men and the dawning
of new beings not yet come to light.

Still the atmosphere quivers
with the first word uttered
dressed up
in terror and sighing.
It emerged
from the darkness
and until now there is no thunder
that ever rumbles with the iron voice
of that word,
the first
word uttered—
perhaps it was only a ripple, a single drop,
and yet its great cataract falls and falls.

Later on, the word fills with meaning.
Always with child, it filled up with lives.
Everything was births and sounds—
affirmation, clarity, strength,
negation, destruction, death—
the verb wook over all the power
and blended existence with essence
in the electricity of its grace.

Human word, syllable, flank
of extending light and solid silverwork,
hereditary goblet which receives
the communications of the blood—
here is where silence came together with
the wholeness of the human word,
and, for human beings, not to speak is to die—
language extends even to the hair,
the mouth speaks without the lips moving,
all of a sudden, the eyes are words.

I take the word and pass it through my senses
as though it were no more than a human shape;
its arrangements awe me and I find my way
through each resonance of the spoken word—
I utter and I am and, speechless, I approach
across the edge of words silence itself.

I drink to the word, raising
A word or a shining cup;
in it I drink
the pure wine of language
or inexhaustible water,
maternal source of words,
and cup and water and wine
give rise to my song
because the verb is the source
and vivid life—it is blood,
blood which expresses its substance
and so ordains its own unwinding.
Words give glass quality to glass, blood to blood,
and life to life itself.

Friday, August 5, 2016


one from a white house and one from a black
pretend over a glass of red wine and lasagna
to be sitting inside a green house together

orange flames bake them in fire
until they dress again
and return to their separate houses

Thursday, August 4, 2016

do you hear in colours splashing?

is there a tulip lip that opens
a rosy and cauliflower ear
through the tube (and beyond)
of your known senses
and does it sway out there 
toward the other galaxies
of other coloured countries
garnet red   yellow  violet-blue
blossoming and blooming
and throwing wet blubbery kisses?
are you being seduced before us
by the invisible spheres
and is that seduction led 
by the goddess
not a lady 
but a baby 
the infinite infant of all that is?

(if yes, i want to know you)

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

a fading paleness

 having grown accustomed 
   over time 
to the smallness of my jaw

the underwriting of my eyes

and the affliction of
continually coming up short 

the one thing which continues to sadden me
is that i  
will never 
a thick 
black mounded

Monday, August 1, 2016

say, we can't

the sea's thighs have pressed and parted 
     the blastula of the being body is sliding forth

who knows for how many millennia it will writhe upon the dirt 
before its lips too will part and cause to pour a troubled burble 

perhaps even this will be too much hurt for you

but know, around every body abides the eternal chalk scrawling
the circumference of failure -

this is our safety

say you, truly, house, once
and it will crumble

say bridge, fountain, gate pitcher, fruit-tree, window, absolutely
and your lips will disappear forever

say the one column, the single tower
and being will become inverted

you, fish-thing mouthing sun-kissed somethings upon the shore
loathe the encircling scaffolding, hate the penumbra

but swim toward it, never requiring achievement
until all nouns are silkily unstitched upon the ocean floor.