Tuesday, December 27, 2016

The Air has been Moved Through

The gifts were sought, bought
and then wrapped and given, received. 
It is the day after. The day after 
like the moment after someone has shot 
and no one knows yet for sure 
if the flown bird has been bloodied.
All you know is the tree is empty.
The air has been moved through.
Pine needles have absentmindedly fretted 
to the top of the snow and probably  
stuck into the toe of your new red socks.
Deep breath - you're almost there.
Where? Well, things are winding down.
People are closing their doors.
Need, once again, 
behind the gleam of each doorknob
is going to be polished.

Monday, December 26, 2016

ms. this, ms. that

beside the stove with my half gloves on
frying food for one i am 3.2 sizes. beside 
two small children i am diminished. beside 
the two larger ones i am closer to the self
at the stove with the half gloves on frying 
food for one and am therefore 3.2 - 2 equals
more than 1. what strange measurements!
holding my mother in my arms i am goliath
but my heart is impure and i shrink to a mite.
she floods my tiny hands and my tears nearly 
drown me. she reaches in and saves me. when 
i dry out i am one again. i return home to 
my husband's side. i stand at his throat. we 
climb the stairs two wrecked waifs. then the wart 
of me undulates in the chandelier's prism and i 
become everything, everywhere, everyone.

Friday, December 23, 2016


An amorphous figure 
dashes from the foreground
leaving a glove in the clearing

A rush of language
all feathered and swipe
barnstorms inside

The glove becomes animated

Takes your name

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

A Joy in Things

Having wanted moccasins for Christmas
James and I gave the children moccasins

The paper glittered and burned like a shiny fire

We gave them to them, breaking rules, a week before
This too carried its gloss and glow

Now the shoes rest like footprints at staggered intervals
Waiting to be rekindled by the children's contours

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Brutal Weather

Cold has wide white teeth
It bites the ends of one's wits off

Except for this:

Calmed by the storms
My son looks to me for parental confirmation

This is how it's supposed to be, right mum?

Monday, December 19, 2016

desire like the child's reckless mouth

i want to throw my arms up to the world like the simple minded one
i want to by the world of flowered things like by bees be wanted
i want to be naked to the sun, the moon, the breeze
i want to continue on just as we started

Sunday, December 18, 2016

what's white and black and red all over, notes

it happens more and more. wanting to write a poem but having nothing to say. yet feeling it directly. but more than this. less than this. wanting to write a poem and remembering instead the two or three things sticking up from the obliteration of what was yesterday.

yesterday. being a small black glyph. running down caddle road in the snow. stopping to stretch. a huge blanket of snow falling beside you from off a mammoth evergreen. sounding exactly like a huge tossed blanket. it. the snow. disappearing into its various body which is singular. beside you.

but before this. the first act. looking out your bedroom window upon rising. the world white. the world obliterated into whiteness. but for your vehicle's black wiper blades. (you lifted them in the snowstorm.) as though an insect has been tipped upon its back. and its legs are ineffectually trying to right it.

then after this. just after this. driving your daughter to her boyfriend's house. the van having broken past the berm. the van necessarily having been airborne. the van upside down and half buried by snow. the police car constant and motionless beside it. the lights whirling round. where are the people, you wonder. where are all the people? only the lights move. only your car moves past the lights. past the scene. past the aftermath in scenario.

then back to caddle road. back to. continuing. being the small black glyph. you are running along. running along for a moment. with the wind. (it will be a terrible negotiation when you change direction.) you stop for a moment to stretch again. thinking you are alone. but when you turn - the slow black mennonite wagon is just behind you. the slow black mennonite wagon's wheels are turning. slowly. in the snow. you nod. you don't see a face. but you nod. you understand the driver is choosing this slowness.

you run on. you run on slowly in the snow. ineffectually. sliding. along. behind the wagon.

it stops at the corner.

you understand someone is looking at you. you understand someone. faceless. is weighing your choices.

then further up. the all-terrain vehicle. the all-terrain vehicle with its plow. and its riled up engine. nearly hitting you. tearing out of its driveway.

you run on. you run on. a small black glyph. and change direction. into the ripping wind.

thinking hard about necessity

looking for the winter animals
(the wolf, the fox, the hare, the mole)
you don't find, in all the landscape, a single footprint

when the child is racked by the tantrum
the mother holds the head in her hands
silence finally entering the earset like a well spoken sentence

hat, mitts, scarf, shirt, jacket, pants, socks, shoes
solid barrel of metal circumference
never mistake the clothes for the body

at the centre the heart
no matter how big, how small the body
at the centre the heart, literal, or metaphorical 

dear muscle i know as heart
how you close your fist!
such a delicate nature

Saturday, December 17, 2016


I exited the avenue
She skillfully pursued me
Maneuvered behind me
Swiftly twinned me
And entered through the vestibule with me
Then overpowered me
Entered and conquered me
Resumed me
Became me

Friday, December 16, 2016

Following, Quiescence

Every year it snows 
and so one might be moved
to find the error as truth,
that things are revolving, 
To the child snow means
that her bruises are distinctly sewn 
to the backside of shadows,
solicitous happenings
as she plays on the floor,
even the carpet's pile cold.
But now you look and your bruises
don't have an original skin.
Time is not stitched to a flake,
certainly not to a snow one, 
the no-thing which
flutters and floats
and then vanishes,
itself but a stage.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

How Far Back One Must Go to Pray

The lady 
drops the prayer beads 
back onto the arm 
of the store display. 
They swing 
     and then lock. 

She backs away. 

The wooden beads 
have left warmth in her hands 
which she carries 
back into the forest 
in search of their tree. 

She presses the heat back into the wood. 

They engage in their xylem and phloem. 

The wooden river
flows from the earth, up into the sky. 
A cardinal
plucks from this circuit a winter berry. 
It seems 
there is a drop of blood volitant over snow. 
This blood 
is the mouth singing Hosanna.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Wetting One's Hands in the Feel of You

Touching you 
has all the complexities of prayer;
it is despair and what follows,
the predicament of the unanswering,
but the approaching the answer,
as one might dip one's hands in water
to grip moonlight. 

Monday, December 12, 2016

The Weight of Starlight

For Mary, Homer and in memory, Marissa

It's not the sentiment, I think.
And so one needs to lean upon it,
tip it toward the millstone,
reduce it to what is elemental,
to its only,
find its barest form.

They had given up belief in doctors.
Doctors work under artificial lights 
in cinder block constructed edifices.
They had returned instead to Gaia.
They were walking, literally, 
toward the garden (a neighbour saw them). 
Just three forms. Let's see them.
The two surer bodies upright.
Carrying the third.
Don't cry; why are you crying?—
All of them are smiling.
It's one moment like a star.

The three figures seem 
only one ounce more than a silhouette. 
What's heavy here? What hurts the heart?
Make your eye a jeweler's lens.

It's their shining that's difficult.

The smallest one has weight but grows smaller.
Their zero g-force smiling, as they walk,
spreads over the garden, a dual sided sword,
the source of a wounding beauty,
and the soon betrayal (sorry),
the lecherous (sorry again) outcome.

The third body isn't any more. 
She's been rendered dust and memory. 
We've seen this. Dust. 
Just over three pounds.

As idiom, this isn't what weighs upon us.

What hurts the most is the glare of their hope in that moment.
It lords its regency all over the organs 
of our lovely, loved and loving parental reigning.

The light from that moment is still traveling on. 
Two of them still obambulating through it.

And it cuts.
It glares and it cuts and it clobbers.
It hurts one soundlessly.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Some Months Pass

The mothers gathered
at the riverside and
         their little boats.
They sang songs 
          sweet as sugar, 
bedded the boats with flowers.
We laughed and cried 
and laughed and cried
over and over
           and slipped
The flowers grew 
sad beneath us.
The moon, so far away, 
soothed us. We followed
its light along the river
We laughed and cried. 
The moon remained 
its sweet 
              stern distance.
The mothers waved
with leaves 
                until the trees were bare. 

In the winter
we could walk on ice
but only a few of us dared to.

Friday, December 9, 2016

Them Cows

Driving home from work, you turn off 
the literal and metaphorical air waves of racism, 
sexism, us and themism, and political percussionism, 
blocking out the personal attacks 
and all the kinds of badgerings and bludgeonings
that go on between human tankards.
You notice off to the side of the road 
in the dim light, almost dark, 
an enclave of cattle gathered into a circle, 
their necks stretched long and low, 
the snow having burned itself away 
in an earth-toned penumbra
surrounding them all.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

An Idea, João Cabral de Melo Neto

So as to not hurt with our emptiness,
not saturate, not taint, not sour,
not shake, rattle or alter with echo,
so as to not cause damage as a bag of rivets,
so as to not be less than a bag of rivets,
or more than, 
or equal to,
so as to not be bits or broken,
so as to not swell —

     Open one window in the east,
and then on the other side
open another.


 The Emptiness of Being a Man by João Cabral de Melo Neto

The emptiness of being a man is not like
any other: not like an empty coat
or empty sack (things which do not stand up
when empty, such as an empty man),
the emptiness of man is more like fullness
the swollen things which keep on swelling,
the way a sack must feel
that is being filled, or any sack at all.
The emptiness of man, this full emptiness,
is not like a sack of bricks' emptiness
or a sack of rivets', it does not have the pulse
that beats in a seed bag or bag of eggs.

The emptiness of man, though it resembles
fullness, and seems all of a piece, actually
is made of nothings, bits of emptiness,
like the sponge, empty when filled,
swollen like the sponge, with air, with empty air,
it has copied its very structure from the sponge,
it has made up in clusters, of bubbles, of non-grapes.
Man's empty fullness is like a sack
filled with sponges, is filled with emptiness;
man's emptiness, or swollen emptiness,
or the emptiness that swells by being empty.

(translated by Galway Kinnell)

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Reisterdam dreams itself, notes

It was through the night after reading Robertson Jeffers' "De Rerum Virtute" that the dream emerged through me.

As a woman there were certain things I already knew. They had been proven to me twice through science. Through experience. Indisputable cold hard facts. That things hurt. That things would hurt more. That terrible things would shake the body. Move. Through. The body. Overpowering the body. And the mind would fall off the body like a hood. Useless. Only an observer. But that this was the way of the physical world.

They arrived through the flesh. The tremors. They racked the flesh. They sent the mind squealing in circles like a piglet under the moon. At first only slightly injured. This the critical rallying time for decisions. There was more to come. The wave would arrive and swallow all sense. All middling. Reign like a wide black voluminous monarch. I was pregnant. And the first shocks welcoming the egg's fruition were throwing up my eyelids. And this was the way. Is the way. Would always be the way. Nature coming through me. Binding protein to protein. Networking its synthesis. Its directives. Through the incubator of my walls.

But I was dreaming. And I grew bored with pain. With racking. With the preoccupation of being utterly occupied by the formation of blood cells. Bored with the screaming mind forced into a corner and made quiet.

So at this critical time I exited my body. And sat in a new body across the room.

Apparently progress had allowed this. Apparently the new world structure allowed this. Apparently it was possible to become comfortable. Distant. Cool and controlled. Apparently one might become dissociated from the body. From the terror of the body. From the hegemonic anarchy of the body. You know. To get things done. To be busy elsewhere. To remain calm. Self disciplined. To retain a harmonious and yawning timeline. To be uninterrupted. To be unusurped. To be whatever it is man thinks he ought to be. Free. Master of his destiny.

I guess I did things. I can't remember what. They mustn't have had much significance. Maybe I read a book. Wrote one. Dusted. I don't know. But time passed. And I didn't sweat an issue.

Meanwhile my body lied on the floor. I neared it.

At the goat's head of my pubis the infant's crown must have pressed toward the liminal. With my new hand held at the old body I pressed once.  The lips parted. The head passed out.

I stepped back from the body appalled. Revolted.

For self preservation I turned back to my doing.

And so the dream passed its long night in greyness. Nearing stillness. An unsentimental ditty playing like a parboiled lullaby in the background to whatever it was I endeavoured upon.

Before I awoke I examined the thing. The scenario. The situation. Once more.

It was a kind of static copulation in reverse. The infant's neck was as long as a penis about to enter the vulva. The head on the end of it a black bulb. Everything hardening. The potential of delivery was absolutely aborted. I tugged on the thing and it was unequivocally final. The body and the baby were growing together like contiguous cargo. Unfeeling. Evident. Dead.

I awoke confused. I neither felt physically. Nor emotionally.

I scanned my life. On the surface I could not see any transgression.

But the toxin was clearly a bolus in me. A cork. My core. What was it in my waking life I had left unfinished? What was I neglecting to death?


how it's done

tarrying to work and the shops, then home again

through all varieties of skies
the hawk seamlessly circling

forgetting to teach the kids again
about net revenues, success, progress
i note how smart Venus looks alongside the silver moon

things which have humbled me:
thunder, my being wrong, a broken tooth
pulling hard the carrot i had only lightly pressed to the soil as seed

Sunday, December 4, 2016

not much, notes

having nothing much to say this sunday morning, i pull the note out of my jacket pocket, spilling sunflower seeds.

there is no planning the best times in your life.

late saturday afternoon your son and you perfect the burning of cheese on a fried ham and cheese sandwich.

at the local cafe, where the lady sells knitted socks, larry is drinking his coffee. he brings you up to date on his cell phone photography. larry is the guy who rides his bike around town. you've been waving at one another for years. he tells you he brought his daughter up fishing at eight mile point. caught a four pounder. made her happy. your daughters go to school together. didn't take a photo of the fish but they fried it up and ate it.  —your daughter asks, why didn't larry make eye contact? you remind her, you don't think larry's used to people talking directly to him.

at the community hall you buy two loaves of bread, a plate of fudge, marshmallow cookies and frozen cabbage rolls. it hurts not to buy sabrina's snowmen or the wreaths that ring the hall.

mr. martin, the kind mennonite man, has lost a tooth.

at 4:07 exactly, the sun splits through the base of cedars.

in all the forest, the little chickadee, finds your hand.

considering what it means to be human

walking through the maze of suffering
you stop to listen to the chickadee sing
in the last of the day's sunlight

how cold your hands feel
while watching the beaver dive
beneath the thin veneer of ice

what beautiful alchemy
at the lip of the ice
as though the frontal lobe is silenced

hoof beats upon the ice
as deer move toward the opening
an empty sound of wholeness

Thursday, December 1, 2016


i want to explain to you how difficult it is to know what is bad.
no, i want to understand myself that goodness is not as reliable as,
let's say wood or water. boss number one is a heavy lady. we were only
protecting what was ours. or rather, what was our big boss's, the end of the 
food chain being so far out of sight, or rather being the top of the structure. 
the owner (the big guy) seldom comes by. spends his days placing the diamonds 
we chip out of the earth into his synthetic compound. it's brilliant when the light 
hits the diamonds at either end of the spectrum, up above in the air, or down below when
sky comes down to get them and they glint out from the bedrock like eyes
locked in servitude, but cagey, cunning, knowing how to glean survival
from light. we had placed mouse traps all around the food, you understand - goods
and services. and the big lady, boss one, stepped back in the morning
and then leapt forward for she had stepped upon a little creature of form
which pulsed like a bottle of sloshed water. i have never been able
to unseat this lady so easily from her order but there she was shivering
back and forth all over the kitchen. but damn it, the plot that we had
devised the night before had not been accomplished, as inthe mouse had not
died completely, but instead was struggling with the back part of his form
held tightly in a vise, his little brown furry feet in his front pleading,
his ears comically endearing, thumbprint sized carved sculptures in litmus paper 
on either side of his bulging eyes, made to capture plots of our beguiling slaughter.
we had killed seventeen of his closest friends and we'd kill countless
others, but this one, now in a plastic sac in my hand, so close to my skin,
and closer than in mere distance...what could i do? could i release him
from this terror? my boss offered no support, or direction. her pay bracket
removed her from such uncomfortable proximity, and questions of life and death,
or, wellanything.

out back near the fringe of tall grasses i scraped his broken thighs 
from out of the trap, his front parts making a valiant effort of working himself
toward his would be future. then it started to rain and this scurried me back 
toward the maze of doors and windows. i watched on as it rained 
huge hurtling droplets, then a full-out deluge. even the hawk 
pressed itself back up into its nest just behind the fringe.